Very often friends that have a Mac or PC tell me that they need to buy a new Mac/PC because the present one has become too slow. Generally these machines have no internal SSD installed as system hard disk. In this case I often recommend to install an SSD instead of buying a new machine. Doing so the machine will become from 4 to 6 times faster, and the procedure is much cheaper.
I will explain here one way to do it for the Mac OS X. The procedure of doing the same for a PC is not explained here. The different versions of Windows or Linux are so many, that writing a procedure for each variations of those systems is beyond my time and/or motivation.
Upgrading your Mac OS X to run in an SSD drive
1. Depending on your budget and the size of the existing hard disk,
you go onto the following site and buy the size of SSD hard disk that is appropriate to your needs.
I chose the Samsung SSD because I find them to be very reliable. I have no experience with other brands though.
Note: Always make sure you are buying an SSD that is of equal capacity or higher than the existing hard drive.
2. Because you will need to use the existing hard disk as external one for the migration of your system, you will need to get an external casing for it. Here is a site that give lots of possible alternatives of cases for your 2.5 Inches existing hard drive.
3. Once you have bought and received the new SSD, find a reliable Mac service center around you and ask them to ONLY replace the existing hard disk with the new SSD. That’s all, you’ll do the rest of the migration. This way you limit the costs of the Mac service center and learn how to do it. You can then do it for your friends later on.
4. Once the SSD is installed in the Mac and you have received the external casing for the hard disk, open the external case and install your old hard disk in it. It is quite simple to do.
5. Connect your external hard disk(containing your original hard disk) to the Mac’s USB port before turning it on.
6. Press on the option key (‘alt’) and keep it pressed while you turn on your Mac. You will be presented with a choice of hard disks from which you can boot. Very likely there will be only one presented: Your external hard disk.
In any case, chose to boot from the Orange color hard disk (that will be your external hard disk)
Note: This booting time will take much longer than usual, simply because the booting hard disk is accessed via the slow USB port as opposed to the regular internal fast port.
7. Once you have completed the booting and logged in, start your favorite browser and download the program: Carbon-Copy-Cloner. This program can be downloaded without purchasing it. It will have advertisements on it as long as you don’t purchase it, but it has all the same functions as the purchased version. Double-click on the downloaded .dmg file to extract it, and place the ‘Carbon Copy Cloner.app’ into the Application directory.
8. You start the Hard disk Utilily application (Disk Utility.app) found in /Applications/Utilities/ directory.
Partition the Samsung SSD hard disk as a single partition and completely format this partition as ‘Mac OS Extended (Journalled)’ file system format.
WARNING: Make sure you are making those changes on the proper hard disk(SSD) and not the one you are using as external hard disk. You certainly don’t want to delete all on your original hard disk before the migration is finished. ;-(
9. In order to be able to migrate your original OS X and data to the new SSD, you will need a special program that will do the job properly, including making the new SSD bootable(very important part). Download this software from:
– Install and Start the ‘Carbon Copy Cloner’ application.
– Assign the source and destination hard disks.
. The source hard disk will be the external hard disk (probably of orange color)
. The destination hard disk will be the SSD (probably of grey color)
– Start the cloning procedure. This will take some time.
Note: Very possibly the Carbon Copy Cloner application will immediately complain that you don’t have a recovery partition assigned in your destination disk and that it is recommended to create one. Simply accept and follow the instructions. This should send you to the Hard Disk Utility ,where you start the creation of this recovery partition, then when finished, it should throw you back to the Carbon Copy Cloner where you can continue the cloning.
10. Once the cloning is finished, shut down your mac normally.
11. Unplug the external hard disk and turn on your Mac. It should take a bit of time for it to try to figure out from which hard disk it should boot. It should then automatically boot from your SSD.
12. Once booted, to make sure that your Mac doesn’t take too much time to figure out where is the disk to boot from on next boots, go to the System Preferences and select the icon: Startup Disk (in the fourth row). Select the SSD and Click on ‘Restart‘ button. This time the booting should be very fast without delays.
13. Once booted again, you need to install the TRIM Enabler software. Here is why:
The TRIM function is meant to do some regular house cleaning on SSD hard disks.
If not enabled the hard disk will, with time, become slower for writing new data on it.
Since Apple OS X doesn’t enable the TRIM function if the SSD is not an Apple SSD,
we need to use a third party software to do the trick and enable it.
You can download it from:
The purchased version most likely has more features which you don’t need just for the TRIM function.
Install it, start it, turn it ON and select the option that it should check for the TRIM Enable status ever time the system boots.
14. That’s it!! You can now use your external hard drive as a backup of your system or anything else and you’ve got a new Mac, well not really but much faster 😉
I recommend, besides doing backups with Time Machine, to make regular backups of your full system onto an external hard disk that is as big as the system disk using the Carbon Copy Cloner.
The way in the advent of a crash and/or unable to boot you can:
– boot the backup system from this external hard disk via USB
– backup the data that is new on the SSD that is not on the backup system
– use Carbon Copy Cloner program to clone back from the External drive to the SSD
(like you did for the first migration)
– recover your latest data from the data backup disk or the Time Machine