Installing a New HDD and Restoring a Time Machine Backup

October 12, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Okay, so before we continue, let’s have a checklist.

So far you should have freed up any space on your computer’s existing hard disk drive and found that things are still tight enough for you to justify purchasing a new drive. You will have checked the various compatibility issues of your potential new hard disk drive and decided whether or not you’re going to make the upgrade yourself.

The reason you’re reading this is because you’re ready and prepared to upgrade your hard disk drive – or are you?

You should have already made a backup of everything on your Mac, and the best way of doing this is by using the Time Machine utility and an external hard disk drive. This way, once your new hard disk drive is installed you can easily restore the backup onto the new HDD, seamlessly expanding your available storage!

Installing a New HDD and Restoring a Time Machine Backup

Configuring Your New Hard Disk Drive

If you have opted to install the hard disk drive yourself, you will need to find a useful guide on how to install the HDD on your model of Mac. The best option is to head to YouTube where you should find video instructions for installing a drive in your Mac.

The process of installing a new drive can be slow and painful or fast and painless. For the best results, take it easy, be patient and if you run into problems, walkaway and do something else before returning to the task.

Once this is done, switch on your Mac, insert the OS X disc and hold C. You will then be presented with various options for restoring your backup.

Restoring a Time Machine Backup

Our previous guide on Time Machine should have provided you with all of the answers you need to create a complete backup of your Mac. With this backup saved on an external hard disk drive and a new, blank hard disk installed on your computer, you will be ready to restore.

After switching on your Mac as above, you should see the Utilities menu. Select Disk Utility and then select the new drive. You can then choose to create a Partition (this will need to be larger than the backup) or select Erase to create a single drive. With the second option you will need to assign a name to the drive before clicking Erase again. After completion, close Disk Utility.

In the main screen, select Restore from Time Machine Backup (Snow Leopard users will find this option in the Utilities menu) and click Continue for the tool to detect your external hard disk drive, which should be connected and powered on. When you see your drive, select it and find the backup you wish to restore. Click Continue to proceed – in the next screen you will select your new drive from the devices list, and then select Restore; click Continue one last time to restore the data from your old hard disk drive onto your new device!

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