Owning a mac is great, mostly because of the plethora of simple, and effective tools that can often be had for free. Carbon Copy Cloner is an excellent example. This essential tool allows you to make exact (bootable) clones/backups of your hard drives. Some of the key features include, block level disk to disk clones, scheduling, network based backups, bootable disks, and fast incremental backups.
Step 1: Format the Target Drive
Attach the hard drive you will be using as the destination of the backup/clone.
My intent here is to migrate my stock MacBook’s Hitachi 250GB hard drive to a new Seagate 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB drive.
Open Disk Utility and select the destination hard drive. Select Erase and by default the Volume Format should be Mac OS Extended (Journaled). If its not go ahead and select that option and give the drive a Name. Be sure you have the correct drive selected and select Erase. It will erase the drive, and create a partition across the entire disk.
Step 2: Download and Install Carbon Copy Cloner
Navigate to http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html and download the latest version of Carbon Copy Cloner.
Drag the Carbon Copy Cloner.app to the Applications shortcut. Once installed Open Carbon Copy Cloner.app from the Applications folder.
I suggest making a small donation to Mike Bombich, there is a link on his website to provide a donation via PayPal. If you only use this app once its well worth the small contribution.
Step 3: Carbon Copy Cloner Simplicity
Since I am migrating my hard drive to a fancier ST9500420AS drive I will be selecting a bootable clone. To do this, select your Source Disk "Macintosh HD". Then select the Target Disk that we just attached and formated, called "Mac HD". Select Backup everything, and it wil indicate that the Target Disk will be bootable.
Once the options have been selected, click the Clone button to initiate the cloning process.
Step 4: Cloning Screen, and waiting…
Truthfully this entire process doesn’t take that long, even though its conducting a block level dupe of your active hard drive. For me, the process took 1:45min to copy my 250GB Hitachi to a 500GB Seagate.
Since my goal here was to duplicate my hard drive, my next step was to swap out the hard drive and boot up on my new hard drive, and it worked flawlessly. If you are cloning and replacing your current drive, be sure to run a Disk Repair in Disk Utility once you boot onto the new drive.
In future posts, we will go over scheduling, incremental backups, and network attached backups with Carbon Copy Cloner, additional we will provide the instructions for replacing your unibody MacBook hard drive.