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I just bought a new solid state drive, and I'd like to copy all of the files and setup from my current Mac OS X hard drive onto it. What is the best way to do this?

I have a 1TB external hard drive, my drive backed up on Time Machine, and Snow Leopard on a DMG, but no external mount for the SSD, and no install DVD (it's at my parents house, promise). I'm familiar with the command line and booting up Mac OS X from a hard drive.

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can't you put the new disk into your mac, boot it using some linux distro boot cd, then do a dd of the existing hd to the new hd? Should be the fastest and least error-prone option. – stijn Jun 20 '12 at 7:39
@stijn How, if there's no mount for the SSD? – slhck Jun 20 '12 at 7:39
by first booting the mac with the original hd, dd to the external drive, then swap disks and dd from the extarnal drive to the new hd – stijn Jun 20 '12 at 7:41

Assuming you have a complete Time Machine backup on your external drive, add another partition on the drive, namely a ~10 GB one, formatted as HFS+.

From Disk Utility, select this partition, and click the Restore tab to restore the Snow Leopard installer disk image onto this partition. Select the Snow Leopard image and the destination partition by dragging the partition from the left pane to the Destination field.

After that, swap your internal hard drives and boot up with the external drive. In order to do this, hold while booting. You'll land in the Snow Leopard installer if the image has been restored correctly.

Here, after clicking Install Mac OS X (or similar), select the Utilities menu from the top, and from there, Restore from backup. Select your existing Time Machine backup and let it restore the backup to your SSD.

You could also do a clean installation of Snow Leopard on the SSD before – completely neglecting your Time Machine backup. Later, use the Migration Assistant from /Applications/Utilities to restore only needed data from the Time Machine backup.

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