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I own a MBP 13" mid 2009 running Snow Leopard. Now, I just bought Mountain Lion and haven't installed it yet. I am planning to get a new SSD to replace my optical drive.

Here's the process that I think is the most practical:

  1. Installing Mountain Lion on my HDD
  2. When the SSD arrives, I'll replace it with the HDD
  3. Now what? (something with the disk utility)
  4. Install Mountain Lion on the SSD
  5. Replace the optical drive with the HDD
  6. Backup all the HDD stuff except "System" folder - Is that right? How should I back up it?
  7. Reformat the drive
  8. Copy the data I backed-up back to the HDD
  9. Move "Applications" app to the SSD - Again, is that right? What about the "Application Support" folder?

Now to questions:

  1. See above: Number 6 question
  2. I read that I need to run disk utility before installing the DVD on the new SSD, how and why?
  3. Is it legal to install it on my current HDD, then install it on the SSD and remove it from the HDD?
  4. How can I move all my Apps to the new SSD?
  5. Do I need to move Library to the SSD also? If not, how will I configure that all the apps need to use the Library folder from the HDD?
  6. Will I have to re-install applications?
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You can install it from a pendrive, no worries. Also, there is no serial number, no check. You can install it anywhere, anytime. So if you have the image file of Lion, use a pendrive to install it. And that's it. – Shiki Jul 28 '12 at 17:12
@AdamGold My apologies; I misread the replace my optical drive bit. – Daniel Beck Jul 28 '12 at 17:48
That's fine :) what should I do then? – AdamGold Jul 28 '12 at 17:52
Please read my edited question :) – AdamGold Jul 28 '12 at 18:06
Is there are particular reason you don't want to just reuse the system you have, with preferences, applications, documents etc. on your SSD? Your process requires a great deal more effort than any of my suggestions. – Daniel Beck Jul 28 '12 at 18:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can create a Mountain Lion DVD image for an installation from scratch as described here. That way you can install the new disk and don't need to worry about not having e.g. the rescue partition for installation after installing the SSD.

You can use the same image and write it to a USB thumb drive to boot from.

You can replace the HDD with the SSD (keep the optical drive) and treat it as a regular disk upgrade installation. You have several options to transfer your data from one system to the other, and they're presented during OS X Mountain Lion setup:

  • by creating a disk image of the old system and then restoring it to the new disk when booting from DVD.
  • by having a Time Machine backup und restoring that to the new disk (be careful, you should probably install the OS from scratch first so you get the recovery partition)
  • by getting a 2.5" USB enclosure for the old HDD, and connecting it that during or after (Migration Assistant) installation.

Afterwards, remove the optical drive, and install the HDD again. Use it for data.

Alternatively, remove the optical drive and install the SSD.

  • You can copy the old HDD volumes to the SSD in the installer (boot from HDD recovery partition or thumb drive). Then, boot from SSD into your OS and format the HDD.
  • You can boot into recovery and install OS X onto the DVD, with the option of restoring a Time Machine backup to it.

All of these can be performed before and after installation of Mountain Lion. As always, keep good backups, especially when playing with disks and disk management utilities.

share|improve this answer
Wow, I really am confused right now. What you're saying is: I should burn the installation DVD, then install it on my current HDD (no harm right?), and when I get the SSD I will install it on the SSD. But how will I do that if the SSD will replace the optical drive? – AdamGold Jul 28 '12 at 17:43
@AdamGold Fixed my answer. Should be more useful now. – Daniel Beck Jul 28 '12 at 18:04

Working on an updated version of this idea with the final MBP 13" 2012 (v9,2) and an OWC SSD replacing the internal HD which Apple supplies. I'd rather OS-X 10.8.x boot for the first time from the SSD, setting the OS up as efficiently as possible.

Here's the basic plan:

1) Replace internal HD with SSD

2) Install HD into enclosure

3) Boot machine holding down "Command R" and hope it finds Recovery Partition in the external enclosure

4) Format the SSD from the Disk Utility with one partition

5) Follow the "Install and Migrate" method to install OS-X on the SSD, connected to the internet, then bring everything from the main partition of the original HD over to the SSD as well.

6) Hopefully reboot with just the SSD and live life happily ever after....

Then... use a USB-3 memory stick to recreate a complete recovery (and install) partition instead of using valuable SSD space. Hopefully I can copy the "Recovery Partition" using CCC to the USB-3 stick, update it online, add some utilities and have a portable boot disk via USB-3. Several versions of the instructions are online for building the USB OS-X stick, hope to find the best method since I travel a lot where I won't have internet to DL additional parts later.

Thoughts? Thanks - Chip

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I recommend to:

  1. Wait for the SSD.
  2. Replace the HDD with the SSD.
    (This means your HDD is effectively a backup outside the system).
  3. Reinstall a nice clean OS on the SSD. Either via the optical drive or via a pen drive.
  4. Enable trim on the SSD.
    This requires some patching with 3rd party drives. But if you mess up you still have the HDD with all your data.
  5. Replace the optical disk with the HDD. Organize your data as you wish.

This way your boot and OS disk is the SSD. That has two advantages;

  1. It is the faster disk.
  2. You can use the HDD to store some infrequently used data (such as movies). When not using the data drive it can suspend, resulting is less power usage and thus longer battery life.
share|improve this answer
the SSD I am buying is only 60 GB so it will only be enough for Apps + System, which means downloads and other stuff will be on the HDD. Now, after I'll do what you said I will have 2 different OS on my computer. Which one will boot? How do I delete the old one? Also, can't I install Mountain Lion right now? – AdamGold Jul 28 '12 at 19:48
Deleting the old one is easy. Backup which you want to keep from the HDD. Reformat the drive. Copy the data back to the nice clean and OS-less HDD. - And yes, you can install ML right now. But then you would be installing it twice, which is more work. If the SSD arrives soon then I would wait. If if is weeks before you buy/get it, then install M.L. now. – Hennes Jul 28 '12 at 20:11
Edited my question. Thank you very much. – AdamGold Jul 28 '12 at 20:22

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