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So the last time I reinstalled Snow Leopard I put it on a different internal hard drive, then migrated my stuff over, and then deleted the old system. Now I’m running into a problem where it can’t find my new startup disk unless I hold option and choose it (it’s the only option that appears).

Is that a Snow Leopard specific thing? Or do I need to swap the drives into different drive bays? I’m not sure if the OS always looks in drive bay 1 for the system.

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Of course, check that you have the right boot drive set in your System Preferences under the Startup Disk section.

Boot off the Mac OS X Install disk and run Disk Utility to repair any disk and permissions issues you may have.

Remember to reset the PRAM by holding Command-Option-P-R and wait until you've heard the startup tone a few times (2 is fine).

You may want to read up on resetting your SMC, but only do it once because if the SMC crashes on a second attempt, you can ruin the internal battery's life (the one that runs the clock, not a laptop battery). Instructions on Apple's site.

Past that, you may need to re-bless the system folder. This requires the use of Terminal and a bit of command line. In Terminal you can read more about bless by entering the command:

$ man bless

Or read more in a discussion from the macosxhints.com message board.

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I'd like to comment instead of answering, but don't have the rep yet.

Anyway, I think we need more details. I'm assuming this is a Mac Pro with two hard drives.

  1. When you migrated your stuff over, what was it exactly? User folders? Applications? /Library?

  2. If you go to the System Preferences -> Startup Disk, do you see your Mac OS X in that list? If so, select it and click Restart… . Does your Mac automatically start into your Snow Leopard installation after this?

One thing I'm not sure about that others might be able to answer is whether or not OS X must be installed on one drive vs the other in a Mac Pro (master/slave issues?). Never having owned one, my experience comes more from booting off external USB drives vs internal MacBook using that Startup Disk Preference Pane.

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