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My 15" late 2013 Retina MBP has a bootable 1TB SSD. I want to back it up to a 1.5TB HDD and then restore it to a (potentially) new bootable 1TB SSD at a later date.

Sorry if this has been asked already, but everything I could find was about SSD->HDD or vice-versa rather than the best approach for SSD->HDD->SSD.

All of my user data (minus applications) lives in the cloud, on Github, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

I'm experiencing kernel panics on my machine that may be hardware related, and if I send in my computer to be fixed, my SSD will probably be wiped or replaced, so I want to back it up. It took me 3 days to get Windows 8.1 booting in EFI mode alongside OS X, so I want to back up and restore everything, including my partition table, bootloader partitions, OS partitions, and recovery partition. What is the best way to do this?

I'm considering bitwise-cloning the SSD to the HDD with dd by booting a *nix variant from a USB stick, but I have a few concerns: - If the SSD gets replaced, it could have fewer bits than the old SSD due to error correction or manufacturing tolerances - I've read that copying an HDD to an SSD can cause alignment issues with a substantial performance impact

I'm not afraid of the CLI, but I also don't know much about partition tables, hardware, and low-level system tools, so I need some advice.

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Another alternative that I use and recommend is the Clonezilla (open source), you can use one pendrive to install and boot. http://clonezilla.org/

  1. follow the instructions here to make a Clonezilla USB bootable flash drive > http://clonezilla.org/liveusb.php
  2. Boot from the your USB flash drive
  3. Do a disk to image (Old_SSD to an image file in HDD)
  4. Do an image to disk (Image file in HDD to New_SDD)

or you can do a direct disk to disk from old_SDD to New_SDD

  • This sounds like what I want to do. Will it maintain alignment? I haven't been able to find anything definitive one way or the other, and the Clonezilla page doesn't mention SSDs. – Julian Ceipek Jul 11 '14 at 20:50
  • SDD alignment is new for me, in this link (lifehacker.com/5837769/…) i see that if it is incorrect you can fix using gparted (included in clonezilla). I think that the clonezilla will maintain the alignment (free blocks in the start of disk) by using the option disk to image, because this option will clone the entire disk structure (like MBR and all partitions)to the image file. – Renato Jul 11 '14 at 21:03
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I did exactly this with Acronis True Image.

  1. Download a trial or buy
  2. Burn bootable image
  3. backup SSD (all partitions) to HDD (you could alternatively clone the first SSD to the second SSD directly but then you wouldn't have a backup)
  4. recover from backed up image to new SSD

Alternatively you could do a direct clone using http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx from SSD to SSD.

Macrium reflect will also let you generate a backup image while running the live OS.

Clonezilla is another option that will let you do a bit-clone.

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If you are booted in *nix or any other OS for that matter, the SSD microcode presents the device as a hard disk. The sectors aren't on the SSD even any particular order in relation to what the software OS sees. This is why you aren't supposed to run defragmentation programs on an SSD for instance.

The bottom line is you should be able to use any backup and restore procedure that would work with any hard disk. I agree in thinking the dd approach could run into problems if the new SSD is a different "hard disk", but on the other hand with EFI, if I'm not mistaken, there is no traditional partition table and boot locations are done with offsets so it might work, but I don't think you would bet your data on it. Two different kinds of backups might be a good idea in any case.

SDD alignment is new for me, in this link (lifehacker.com/5837769/…) i see that if it is incorrect you can fix using gparted (included in clonezilla). I think that the clonezilla will maintain the alignment (free blocks in the start of disk) by using the option disk to image, because this option will clone the entire disk structure (like MBR and all partitions)to the image file. – Renato

Thanks, this was also news to me. I checked my Crucial m4-ct256m4ssd3 as I had partitioned it with Linux fdisk with an Intel Rapid Start hibernation partition. I don't know who is responsible, fdisk or the Crucial microcode, but both partition offsets were divisible by 4096.

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