A few months ago, (before the Thailand floods and hard drives prices went through the roof), I purchased a new 500GB 7200RPM 2.5″ SATA hard drive to replace the 250GB hard drive in my 2009 all aluminum 13.3″ Macbook. Changing the hard drive was a preventive measure, a job of changing it now, rather than AFTER a hard drive crash.
Before changing out the hard drive, I did some research on the web about “cloning” my old hard drive onto the new one. After a lot of research, I settled on “Carbon Copy Cloner“, a free, shareware program written by Mike Bombich. I found this program much easier to use than Apples’ Time Machine, and was able to do exactly what I wanted to do, make an exact clone of the 250GB hard drive. I used an external USB 2.5” SATA hard drive case that I already had, placed the 500GB drive in it, and “cloned” the 250GB hard drive to the new 500GB hard drive. After cloning, I installed the 500GB hard drive into the Macbook. All in all, a fairly easy job, removing a few small screws, installing the drive, putting the screws back in, and I was done! The swap out process took no more than 10 minutes.
My old 250GB had OSX 10.5 on it, and I had bought an upgrade ($19) to OSX 10.6, but I decided not to “upgrade” before the drive swap. I also did not “upgrade” to OSX 10.7 Lion, after installing the new 500GB hard drive. After getting everything the way I wanted on the new 500GB hard drive, I cloned it back to the 250GB so that I would have a “backup” in case the new drive failed.
Since the hard drive swap, I’ve used the cloner to perform incremental backup’s without a hitch. If you have a Mac, do yourself a favor and check out Mike Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner. And Mike, my $15 donation to your project is in the mail.