I am looking into upgrading my MacBook's drive and would like to transfer the current's drive contents on the new drive.

This is a relatively well covered topic here, and several solutions such as SuperDuper or CCC appear to support cloning and imaging.

The wrinkle here is that this being a work laptop it was set up with PGP whole disk encryption. This authenticates me prior to MacOS booting and manages encryption thereafter. This is required for VPN and any network connectivity at the company I work for.

I am concerned of solutions like SD and CCC working well with the PGP-based encryption described above since they are mostly file level utilities. In my case I would ideally want a raw / block level backup to ensure all is set up as it was before. To the system things should be transparent, unless I'm missing something else about PGP.

On Windows 7, you can use the imaging utility built into the OS and then after switching the drive boot into the setup DVD and restore the image. The above backup solutions appear to require you to set up a whole new copy of MacOS, which wouldn't get the encyption, prior to being able to reinstall SD/CCC and finally restore the backup.

What is the right way to do this?


As long as you have a boot CD (or access to a linux box) that gives you a terminal shell without mounting the hard drive, you can use dd to do a raw copy to the new disk.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. Do I need to do anything specific, other than booting into a separate system and running the command? Will the drive / disk show up under devices even when not mounted? Also, do you have any insight into the preferred DD command to be used? The wikipedia entry for DD has the following example for hard disk cloning: "dd if=/dev/ad0 of=/dev/ad1 bs=1M conv=noerror,sync". Is that appropriate in the case of a Mac system or is it irrelevant at this point since the copy is raw?
    – Episcopus
    Sep 12 '11 at 3:52
  • I since found the following page which answers most if not all the questions I asked - so I will mark this answered. Cheers! serverfault.com/questions/4906/using-dd-for-disk-cloning
    – Episcopus
    Sep 12 '11 at 16:51

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