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Migration manual

The following migration manual requires a Time Machine backup on an external drive and a hardwrk-adapter fitted to your MacBook Pro like shown in our manual. As well it is necessary to deactivate File Vault before the migration. Once you are finished you can turn it on again.

Instead of using the data linkage described below you can alternatively create a Fusion Drive. Detailed instructions can be found here.

1. Booting OS X

If your MacBook Pro was already shipped with OS X (Mountain) Lion or Mavericks you can, taken an internet connection as given, boot easily over network. Therefore you keep "cmd" und "R" pressed while starting your Mac.

If you have bought OS X Lion in the AppStore you can download an installation file when using "alt" and click. Copy the downloaded file to a USB stick or an external harddrive and keep "alt" pressed while booting to select your bootimage from the external device. You can do this with Mountain Lion and Mavericks as well, but it is a bit different. To make a bootable image on a USB Stick just follow this how to for Mountain Lion, this one for Mavericks, this one for Yosemite and that one for El Capitan.

If you want to install an earlier verison of OS X connect your now external Superdrive to a unused USB port on your Mac, start it (press the power button) and hold down "alt" while doing this. Put the installation DVD that was included when you bought your MacBook Pro (or a full version DVD of Mac OS X) into your external drive. The symbol for the external DVD now should show up on the screen, next to the harddisk symbol.

If you push "alt" too briefly or too late, the originally installed Mac OS X will boot automatically. In this case just switch of the computer and try the alt-startup again.
If your MacBook Pro hangs while booting or is showing a kernel panic - the screen with the message "You need to restart your computer. Please hold the Power button until it turns off..." - then it is most likely that the used Mac OS X installation DVD is not the DVD provided with your MacBook Pro. The DVD mandatory needs to be the DVD included with your Computer or a full version of Mac OS X newer than your computer!

2. Start Disk Utility

After booting your MacBook Pro from the installation DVD, which from experience can take a little longer, you need to format the installed DVD at first.

Therefore you start Disk Utility form Mac OS X. In the left column the built in devices (SSD and HDD) will be listed for you.

In the following example a 80 GB Intel SSD was used as system-SSD and the Hitachi-HDD which was built in by Apple was used for the user-data.

Click on "Erase" and name your SSD-partition (i.e. SSD like here), choose the standard option "Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)" as format and klick on "Erase". Mac OS X will create a new partition on the SSD where you can recover your system with the Timemachine backup.

If your harddisk isn't appearing in Disk Utility, it is caused most likely by one of the following things: 1) You have forgotten to reconnect the corresponding SATA cable to the harddisk. 2) You have been bedazzled and bought a super nice, super fast SSD, manufactured by some intergalactic sounding brand, which is either defect or has a firmware that has been programmed so well that it isn't even recognized by Mac OS X (which actually happens quite often).

3. Installing Mac OS X on the SSD

After preparing the SSD you can now continue with the installation of Mac OS X. Simply click "Continue" on the installation dialogue in the background and chose the SSD as target in the next step.

The installation of Mac OS X will take some minutes, so now it would be the time for a coffee or tea. At the end you have to create an admin account, which will only be temporary. This can be called "migration-admin" or "rocket-admin" it just needs to be something that can clearly be differentiated from your regular user accounts.

4. Migration of your old data

After successfully installing Mac OS X on your SSD, your MacBook Pro has been rebooted and you can now log in with your admin account created during the install, or you are logged in automatically. Next you need to migrate all relevant data from your Timemachine backup (i.e. all applications). Therefore the application "Migration Assistant" will be used. You will find it under "Applications/Utilities" in the Finder.

In the migration process it is important to only migrate the users but not their data.

Therefore you choose the users you want to migrate and de tick the checkboxes next to the folders, like shown above.

All other boxes should be ticked so all your settings, user data and applications will be transmitted. When you are ready with choosing the desired data you can click "Continue" to start the migration. This will take several minutes, depending on the size of your data and the speed of your harddisk. Once the migration has finished, you should take a close look at your SSD in the Finder to determine if all your data and applications have been migrated correctly.

At this point you are still registered with the account created while installing Mac OS X! So it is normal that none of the migrated applications knows about your old settings and your keychain is empty!

5. Integrating your user data from the HDD

At this point you have successfully migrated all your data and user (without data) to the SSD. Before continuing with the migration of the user folders, you need to download all Updates for your freshly installed Mac OS X with the software update application!

The following step needs to be performed for every migrated user.

Mac OS X has a built in option to swap the user folder of a single user to a drive different form the system partition. This comes in handy and is supported by nearly any application. To update your user accounts go to "Users" then to "System Preferences" (You'll find this easily with a click on the Apple on the system bar upper left)

In the user-module all accounts will be shown in an overview.

Now you need to identify as an administrator by clicking on the lock in the lower left of the box. With CTRL+mouse click on the user on the left you will open a contextual menu called "advanced options". Click on it to see the following adjustment options:

In the user options you can now set a different user folder location (i.e. on your old harddisk) and confirm it by clicking OK. In our example the user account "herr" will be assigned to the system folder "/Volumes/Data/Users/herr". Here "Data" is the Name of the HDD partition and "Users/herr" is the old user folder.

As soon as the user "herr" will sign up the defined folder will be set as the user folder and all applications should be working with the familiar settings. The Applications will be running of the SSD and all settings will be called from the HDD. The migration now nearly is finished. If you are running into problems here, it is most likely that your migrated user has been given a wrong User ID. Once again go to the user menu and open the advanced options. The migrated user on the SSD needs to have the same User ID it had before on the HDD. This in most cases is 501. Changing the Usaer ID and rebooting should solve the problem.

PROTIP (optional)

To play it safe you should make a shortcut in the filesystem (a so called symlink) for every user account in the SSD users folder ("/Users" in Finder), because some applications may have stored the old path of the user folder absolutely and with simply not work without the symlink.

Before you can establish the symlink you need delete the temporary created folder in the user folder of the SSD via the Finder. Afterwards it is the fastest way to use the Terminal application an the In-command.

In our example "herr" is the user account and our HDD partition has the name "Data". If this all is too complicated for you, leave it alone for now and only take this extra step if you run into problems with older files later on.

sudo ln -s "/Volumes/Data/Users/herr" "/Users/herr"

6. Delete unnecessary data from the HDD

Basically the migration has been completed with step 4. But you still have the old Mac OS X on your harddisk consuming a lot of space. We advise you to keep the old system for the next one or two weeks and test your new system. If you feel safe about deleting your old Mac OS X on the HDD you can do so, except for the users folder (/Users) - actually only this is still needed, since the rest of the comes, with rocket-speed form the SSD.

7. Tips & Tricks

There are some more tips & tricks which will make life easier with the SSD/HDD combination. But since this would simply be too much for this migration manual, we have a separate tips & tricks page.

If you found a mistake in our manual, just want to tell us that everything worked out fine or you have hint XY for us, either send a tweet to @hardwrk or use our contact form. We are happy about any feedback and hope to optimize this manual steadily with your help!