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"The Operation was a Success, Doctor."

With all of the podcast production I've been doing, I was feeling cramped by the 60 GB hard drive in my MacBook. So, I took the plunge and bought a new, roomy 160 GB drive from Other World Computing.

When it arrived last week, my friend Ed (a big ol' Mac and IT geek) came to my house to help me do the upgrade. His thought was to use Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) so that I didn't have to go through a manual install process on the new drive.

After three hours and a bottle of wine, we were unable to achieve success. (Yes, wine and computer upgrades are fine companions, thankyouverymuch.) ;) I put the original 60 GB drive back in the machine and decided to install the new disk using the tried-and-true method of a clean install - of both the OS and all my applications. (*shudder*)

This weekend, I was about to embark on the clean install journey when I noticed that my check list was becoming (*ahem*) rather large. For example:

  • DeAuthorize iTunes

  • DeAuthorize Audible

  • Backup!

  • Do a clean install of 10.4.4 Intel

  • Create identical user account with the appropriate permissions

  • Install the 10.4.8 combo updater

  • Copy "/Library" from backup to new install

  • Copy "/Applications" from backup

  • Copy contents of home directory from backup

  • Install Alesis MultiMix Firewire Drivers

  • ... get the idea. During all of this, my wife and son were also becoming more and more upset by my absence from family activities.

I decided that there had to be a better (and faster) way.

So, I started playing with Carbon Copy Cloner again. I'm usually a pretty good geek, but I guess that my frustration with my lack of available time coupled with some relatively confusing documentation led me on a frantic search of all the usual Mac geek sites to get a better handle on how CCC works.

While poring through Mac OS X Hints, I found this thread which contained this post from "mm2270" aka Mike Morales:

I like CCC, but I stopped using it in favor of SuperDuper!
It works under Tiger just fine, and offers some additional features. It also feels a bit faster, though that might be just in my head. I ended up paying the reasonable $20 shareware fee for the extra features, such as the 'smart update' clone, which only copies changed files over to an existing system, and it really works!

Thanks for the tip, Mike!

The SuperDuper! cloning process was, er, Super. The application and accompanying documentation carefully explained each step along with the respective consequences.

It was, quite literally, a "set-it-and-forget-it" process.

I selected the backup volume - a 200 GB external Firewire drive - then went downstairs to spend time with my family. When I came back 90 minutes later, SuperDuper! had created a bootable backup of my entire system on the external disk.

I swapped the original laptop drive for the new one, then booted from the Firewire drive using:

Option-Command-Shift-Delete - Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)

I ran SuperDuper!, instructed it to "erase, backup to, then restart from" the newly named "Macintosh HD" installed in my MacBook. When I returned 90 minutes later, I was up and running on my roomy new drive.

Sure, I could probably achieve the same results with CCC if I had some time to play with it, but SuperDuper! represents the best $27 I ever spent on a piece of shareware. It's now my backup solution of choice.

'Cuz you just can't beat having a complete, bootable system on an external drive in case of an emergency.

[tags]MacBook, Hardware, Upgrades, Other World Computing, OWC, Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, Apple, Mac, Macintosh, Backup, OS X, Firewire, Technology, Software[/tags]

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Reader Comments (4)


January 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commentered

So I gather it's not like Windows where you want to do a clean install of the OS when you upgrade drives to clear out all the weird crap that has piled up and killed overall performance?

January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Wall

A clean install is always better, regardless of the OS.

That said, Macs are better at handling this kind of migration since applications are installed as a single package and don't litter your drive with random DLL's and other random crap.


January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjf

Great tip...Thanks for sharing. I just disovred this website while "researching" GTD on

January 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

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