Moving or Upgrade Old Mac HD to a New Mac HD

Okay. Moving or Upgrading from an old Mac HD (including its partition, boot, installation, recovery) to a new Mac HD (maybe because you want to increase the capacity to a higher HDD) is relatively an easy task.  The hard part is just for the preparation on how you want to partition your new HDD.  Here is my story.

I am coming from an old MacBook (early 2009 edition – the white one) and my latest maximum Mac OS X version that I can install is the Mac OS X Lion 10.7.  Since I am a developer, I increased the RAM capacity to 4GB – the maximum it can get.  Now I am planning to increase its internal HDD size from 120GB to 500GB since I have a spare 500GB HDD that I am not using anymore.

As I am writing this blog, I am also doing the upgrade at the same time.  Here goes:

Partition Planning

My old Mac HDD (120GB) have by default 3 partitions – a MacBook partition is the primary bootable partition and this is where the Mac OS X Lion is installed and this is also where I am installing any apps I might have.  My second partition is the Data partition which is where I am storing my data (unencrypted – since I hardly connect to the net from the Mac) – data includes my huge collection of music files (Hey, I love music!)  The third partition, is the mandatory Mac Recovery partition – which is named Mac OS X Base System.  This is where we will boot just in case anything goes wrong and we want to re-install the Lion again.

First, get your Mac OS X Lion DVD and boot from it. Holding Option key when the Mac is starting up.  Then open the Disk Utility.

Now, I got my external USB drive, and then change the HDD inside into my spare 500GB drive.  Inserted it. Erase *all* of its partitions from the Disk Utility.  Then setup my own partition, which goes like this:

Partition 1: MacBook – main bootable partition to which we will clone our old previous installation into this.  I set this into 200GB.

Partition 2: Data – my data, and music partition – 200GB

Partition 3: Reserve partition – to which I am planning to install Kali Linux and CentOS for experiments (developers love to experiments) – I assigned 98GB for this.

Partition 4: Recovery partition – Mac Lion needs 2GB of space for this.

When all is said and done, click Apply so that your partitions will be saved.  Also be sure to backup first your data before doing this since changing the partition WILL erase all your data from your new HDD.


There are ants crawling on my computer, I hate them now.  Anyway, the second process is to Clone your previous partitions into your new partitions.  Cloning is the right term since basically it will copy ALL files, boot, permissions, folders, from your old HDD to your new one.  It doesn’t matter if the size of both HDD is different.  Theoretically since I am upgrading to a higher size HDD, I have no problem.

Now, to clone the main partition from your old HD to your new one, click the main partition and then click the “Restore” tab.  You will see that there are input fields labelled Source: and then Destination.

Drag the main partition into the source, and drag the new main partition into the destination field, and then click the Restore button.  This will copy everything from the source to the destination; erasing everything from the destination.  It will just ignore the free spaces, so it should have no problem if your HDD have different sizes.

Do this for the (1) main partition, (2) data partition, and (3) recovery partition.

Then you are done!  If you have more data, then the process will take longer.  Please wait until finish.


To check, restart your Mac, and hold the Options key while booting.

It will display a list of bootable partitions to which your Mac can boot.  At the minimum, it should display: (1) Old main partition, (2) Old recovery partition, (3) New main partition, (4) New recovery partition.

Once you see this 4 partitions, you are good to go.

You can then open your MacBook and then remove the old HD, and replace it with your new HD.  And when you boot, holding the Options key, you would then see the 2 partitions from your New HD (the main, and the recovery)