Introduction

If you are happy with your existing operating system installation and would simply like to upgrade your hard drive capacity, you can clone your existing hard drive to your new drive.

To clone a hard drive, you will need a way to connect the second hard drive to your Mac. Our silicone 2.5" enclosure or one of our Hard Drive Upgrade Kits works great for cloning your drive over.

To clone your hard drive, we recommend a program called SuperDuper!, by Shirt Pocket Software.

The following instructions assume that you’ll be using SuperDuper! and the 2.5" hard drive enclosure to clone onto a new 2.5" drive. If you are using a different setup, your installation process may be somewhat different.

You will need to put the new drive into the 2.5" enclosure in order to clone your existing hard drive onto it. Before inserting the new hard drive, note the orientation of the SATA connectors embedded in the enclosure:
  • You will need to put the new drive into the 2.5" enclosure in order to clone your existing hard drive onto it.

  • Before inserting the new hard drive, note the orientation of the SATA connectors embedded in the enclosure:

    • The wide power SATA port

    • The narrower data SATA port

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Using the previous step, orient the new drive so that its SATA connectors will align with the enclosure's. Slide the drive into the enclosure's opening. Push the drive into the enclosure until it stops sliding and the SATA connectors are completely seated.
  • Using the previous step, orient the new drive so that its SATA connectors will align with the enclosure's.

  • Slide the drive into the enclosure's opening.

  • Push the drive into the enclosure until it stops sliding and the SATA connectors are completely seated.

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Stretch the remaining enclosure corners over the drive so that the silicone cover encapsulates the drive. Stretch the remaining enclosure corners over the drive so that the silicone cover encapsulates the drive. Stretch the remaining enclosure corners over the drive so that the silicone cover encapsulates the drive.
  • Stretch the remaining enclosure corners over the drive so that the silicone cover encapsulates the drive.

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Power on your Mac and wait for it to fully load. Plug the enclosure into your Mac's USB port.
  • Power on your Mac and wait for it to fully load.

  • Plug the enclosure into your Mac's USB port.

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Under the Go pulldown menu, select Utilities. Open Disk Utility from the Utilities window.
  • Under the Go pulldown menu, select Utilities.

  • Open Disk Utility from the Utilities window.

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Select your new hard drive from the left column in Disk Utility. If the new drive is not showing up, disconnect the enclosure and check if the hard drive is properly connected to the enclosure. Select the Erase option near the top row of buttons.
  • Select your new hard drive from the left column in Disk Utility.

    • If the new drive is not showing up, disconnect the enclosure and check if the hard drive is properly connected to the enclosure.

    • Select the Erase option near the top row of buttons.

    • Select a name for your new drive, and select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" for the format.

  • Warning: Pressing the erase button will erase the entire contents of the drive. Make sure you have selected the new hard drive!

  • Press the erase button.

    • This process may take up to 10 minutes, so be patient.

  • Quit Disk Utility once the erase is complete.

When I try to partition, I message comes up saying "file system formatter failed". What do I do?

Cameron Matthews - Reply

Download and install SuperDuper! Under the Go pulldown menu, select Applications.
  • Download and install SuperDuper!

  • Under the Go pulldown menu, select Applications.

  • Open SuperDuper!

With the newer OS-X & MacOS releases its wise not to use 3rd party cloning software.

A better approach is to use Apple supplied Migration Assistant during the OS install on a fresh drive, or you can do it later its located in the Utility folder.

Sadly, cloning apps don't create the hidden partition the OS installer does and if you are not careful you can wipe it out with the cloning app.

An alternative is using Disk Utilities Imaging tool which allows you to create an image file that you can then reuse over and over again if you have to manage multiple systems this offers a very quite way of cloning a standard set of config & apps.

Dan - Reply

In the copy pulldown menu, select your current drive.
  • In the copy pulldown menu, select your current drive.

  • In the destination pulldown menu, select the new drive.

  • In the method pulldown menu, select "Backup—all files".

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Press the "Copy Now" button. If prompted, provide your password. Click "Copy" when warned about erasing the drive.
  • Press the "Copy Now" button.

  • If prompted, provide your password.

  • Click "Copy" when warned about erasing the drive.

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Wait for the drive to copy (this could take several hours if you have a lot on your hard drive). When prompted for registration by SuperDuper!, either choose "Register" to purchase the software or "Later" to register later. After the copy is complete, click "Ok" and quit SuperDuper!
  • Wait for the drive to copy (this could take several hours if you have a lot on your hard drive).

  • When prompted for registration by SuperDuper!, either choose "Register" to purchase the software or "Later" to register later.

  • After the copy is complete, click "Ok" and quit SuperDuper!

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At this point, your new hard drive should be a clone of your existing drive and ready to install.
  • At this point, your new hard drive should be a clone of your existing drive and ready to install.

  • However, we recommend testing the cloned drive before physically swapping the drives. This can be done by attempting to boot from the new cloned drive through the USB enclosure.

  • Keep the enclosure connected to the computer and restart the computer. Hold down the "option" key as it reboots until a boot option menu shows up.

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Select your new hard drive from the boot option menu.
  • Select your new hard drive from the boot option menu.

  • Wait for the computer to boot up to verify if it works properly.

  • Your new hard drive is now ready to be installed in your computer.

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Conclusion

Remove your new hard drive from the external enclosure and install it in your computer. Installation instructions are available for a variety of Macs.

32 other people completed this guide.

Mike

Member since: 11/01/2010

11,709 Reputation

3 Guides authored

Team

3 Comments

This guide was straightforward and helpful along the way when I replaced my hard drive! My only comment is that this should be a link in the "MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Early 2011 Hard Drive Replacement" article, since the Youtube videos link to each other, but the articles do not. Thanks for all your help with these fantastic guides!

Melissa Smith - Reply

Great except you extol the use of the SATA Wondercable but you don't sell it hen I followed the link to eBay, it listed dozens of various adapters. I did not see this SATA Wondercable.

Disappointed with the answer

jimkidd1 - Reply

Wow! Thank you Mike.

Everything went very well with a big bonus. My older version of Photoshop does not work with the newer Mac operating systems. Now that I installed a new 1TB hard drive, I can upgrade OS if I want. Then I can use the old drive in an internal enclosure replacing the DVD running the old OS X keeping all of my older Adobe apps!

Ifixit rocks!

charlesspowell - Reply

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