Greetings dev[in]elopers! This is my first article as a contributor to this rocking blog. I just went through a horrible ordeal upgrading the hard drive on my Macbook Pro. Cloning the Mac partition and getting OS X to boot was easy, but cloning the Bootcamp partition turned out to be a huge pain. If you want to share in the pain (or learn a few things to save yourself) then read on!
I rock an old school Macbook Pro circa 2008. The worst thing about it was the 320 gig hard drive. My Windows partition was only 30GB and my Mac partition was just starting to fill up so I purchased a new 1TB Seagate ST1000LM014 solid state hybrid drive. One of the cool things about the older MBPs is that their hard drives are really easy to get to. There is just a little lever to pull and a panel pops off the bottom of the laptop. With the panel off it only takes a tiny little screwdriver to remove one bracket and then the drive pops right out. It’s a shame that they moved away from this convenient design. The one inconvenient part about the swap is that you need a tiny, tiny torx driver (t6 maybe?) to swap four little metal screws from the old drive to the new drive. To save money you can sneak your two drives into Frys and do a covert change on the tools aisle.
Cloning the OS X partition was really easy. I created a new admin account with no startup items and then used Apple’s Disc Utility to create Mac and Windows partitions on the new drive. Next I used the “restore” function to copy the old partition to the new one (don’t use the mac while it’s restoring). To clone the Bootcamp partition, I first attempted to use the popular DriveImage XML to make an image of the Bootcamp partition and then restore the image to the new drive. Creating the image worked perfectly but unfortunately DriveImage XML couldn’t read the drive information on the new partition so I could not restore the image on the new drive.
I tried a few other cloning applications that didn’t work and I was getting pretty frustrated until I tried XXClone. XXClone does a drive to drive copy so I hooked up both my laptop drives to my desktop, one in my external USB enclosure and one hanging off of an internal SATA cable. Of course I downloaded the free version of XXClone, which I found out can only clone the C drive. Rather than renaming all the drives on my desktop, I put the original drive back into my Macbook, booted into Bootcamp, and then did the drive to drive clone from inside the running OS. By this time it was about midnight, and cloning my old 38GB (yeah I really needed the new drive) Bootcamp partition took until 2 am. When the clone finished (of course I couldn’t sleep until it was done) I browsed around the new partition from OS X to verify that it looked ok before I passed out.
In the morning I woke up, put the new drive back in the laptop, powered it up holding down the option key, and it booted right into the Mac OS with no Windows option. Google brought me to a helpful page and so I downloaded rEFIt to “sync the GPT tables”. I installed rEFIt and then spent about 20 minutes reading their documentation trying to figure out how to actually run it. The installation just completes silently without adding anything to your Applications or giving you instructions of what to do next. From the documentation I learned that rEFIt runs when you boot the computer with the option key. I tried that and it did nothing. Next I attempted to make an rEFIt bootable USB drive which also didn’t work because it wasn’t formatted in HFS. After I reformatted the USB drive to HFS, copied rEFIt to it, and ran enable.sh on the USB drive it showed up in my boot menu and then magically the rEFIt on my main partition showed up as well.
With rEFIt I ran “start partitioning tool” and it asked me if I wanted to automatically fix my tables. That was exactly what I was after so I clicked “heck yes”, rebooted with the option key, and my Bootcamp partition was back on the boot selection screen! It would be no fun to stop there so Windows decided to have some problems that required a repair with the Windows installation disc.
Finally after a wasted night and morning I was able to boot into my old Windows partition! Some Macbook HD upgrade tutorials say to install a new Bootcamp installation and then restore your image or clone your old drive over it. Doing it that way would probably prevent the GPT tables problem that I got from cloning to a blank partition, but if you do it my way you don’t have to go through the Windows installation and you get a good excuse for being late to work. Thanks for reading and good luck with your dev[in]eloping!