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I want to get a new Mac. Can I simply dd a disk image from my older mac's hdd to the new Mac with a bigger HDD (this will be further partitioned, but the old osx drive will fit within one OS X-style partition)?

I've done this with windows machines before, and I know there can be driver issues, I don't expect that with OSX but if there are other OSX specific landmines to know about, that would be great! Such as, will the serial number update to the new machine correctly

I don't want to reinstall things.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

dd can be used to clone volumes, but it's rather slow and only works if the new & old volumes are exactly the same size. For cloning HFS+ volumes, use Apple's asr command, or one of its many GUI frontends -- the easiest is probably the "Restore" tab in Disk Utility (just be sure to enable the "Erase destination" option). You'll need to boot from something else (you can't clone the volume you're booted from), but that's easy: Disk Utility is available from the Utilities menu when you're booted from an installer DVD.

Whether the cloned volume will boot the new Mac is a different question. In general, when Apple releases a new model, they make a special build of OS X with the necessary drivers added. Then, next time they release an OS X update, they'll roll those drivers etc into the standard OS. For example, if you were running OS X v10.6.6, you could transfer & boot that OS on anything released before 10.6.6, i.e. anything except the latest iMac models. If you wanted to use it it on one of the latest iMacs, you could either update to v10.6.7 before transferring, or transfer it and then boot from the install DVD that came with the new Mac to update it to the special build of v10.6.6.

Or you could just use the Migration Assistant, as @Journeyman Geek suggested.

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Cloning the disk using using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner is your best bet. I've had mixed success with migration assistant. My recommendation if you do use it is that you check your file permissions once you are done. Sometimes moving things from one computer to the next is best done by hand even though it's time consuming. Your new user accounts might have issues accessing the files that you migrate because of the way the files were set up. I know from experience that sometimes I don't have permission to overwrite something in my Applications directory and to delete it you have to authenticate.

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I used SuperDuper –  cqm Jul 12 '11 at 19:15

This is actually really simple, the simplest way to do this, is to take out your HDD, put it in an enclosure or use a SATA to USB (or firewire) cable, and use SuperDuper to clone the drive to your new one.

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And you're sure everything will work afterwards? –  slhck Jun 11 '11 at 22:54
    
this is the same thing as dd, I think I'll go the migrate route –  cqm Jun 11 '11 at 23:22
    
Yeah, I did it myself, everything works just fine. –  rab777hp Jun 12 '11 at 18:22

One thing i'd check is architecture - if its a PPC to Intel, there is no way it'll work.

However, i would point out you have the option of migration assistant, which should manage most of it.

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I was gonna say, @RD, just don't do it and migrate instead. You beat me by a second, so +1 for that :P –  slhck Jun 11 '11 at 22:54
    
+1 for migration assistant. –  vcsjones Jun 12 '11 at 3:16

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