Second Mac questions

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
What would happen if I were to take the SSD from my Late 2008 Aluminum 13" MacBook and swap it into an Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro?

I know, from experience, you can do this with Windows machines when the two have similar motherboards/hardware, as in it will boot and you can reinstall appropriate drivers and so on. However, it's an ugly hack and obviously the recommended course of action is to install Windows from original install source on the 2nd computer, then transfer your programs/files/settings somehow.

But what about the Macs? Perhaps, since they're all made by the same company and OS X is Unix-based, swapping drives might be okay if they keep all drivers and figure out components dynamically, rather than only having the model-specific drivers.

On a related topic, what happens if I choose the "transfer from another Mac" option at the end of a fresh Lion install? Does it work well even with Internet-syncing programs like Dropbox, Chrome with sync, etc.?

I've never done anything like this on Macs before, and I recently got my second ever Mac, so I'd love to hear some info on the topic of what's possible. Thanks!
 

lamboman

Gawd
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
598
Your best bet is to use Migration Assistant to do this, the end result will be akin to swapping drives, with none of the drawbacks.
 

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
Screw it, I just took the risk and tried it. Nothing bad happened so far, and everything seems to work fine.

I've swapped the SSD and HDD between my two MacBooks, and each one booted up nicely after the fact. They recognized the new hardware, while the software and drive contents obviously remained as expected.

The only side-effect of the swap that I could notice so far was that some of the System Settings got reset to defaults: for example both Time Machine and Bluetooth icons appeared in menu bar (I had hidden them) and trackpad's "tap to click" option got set off. Although the sensitivity was left as I had configured it. This only happened on the first boot, not the following ones.

I've even tried booting in verbose mode and I couldn't spot any glaring error messages.
 

swatbat

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 25, 2001
Messages
12,988
Generally as you found out you can swap mac drives between machines without issue. Was the same way back with the powerpc macs as well. I use to keep a firewire drive with a known good install of mac os on it to test systems with.
 

shoota

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
1,550
In my opinion this is one of the best attributes of Macs, you can just swap drives around without worrying about too much at all, as you just found out. No stupid product keys to worry about is great!!
 

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
No stupid product keys to worry about is great!!
Could not agree more.

This ability turned out to be super handy at this time, and makes me glad I'm not dealing with DRM limitations despite having legally purchased the software in question. Thanks Apple.
 

PureQuaternion

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
115
Transfer Assistant is usually fine; though I did have some trouble once where my Libraries got corrupted. This may have been a PPC vs. Intel issue, though, and a clean install and Transfer sans system stuff worked fine.

I usually take the opportunity to start over and think about what needs to stay on the new machine, and what's old garbage that needs to go. Unused programs, etc...
 

Thud

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
462
OS X is very tolerant to booting up the same drive in various hardware configurations. It's transparent and it just works. Target disk mode is a great illustration of this.

I've used target disk mode to install Snow Leopard on a 32-bit macbook with a faulty DVD drive, using a 64-bit Mac Mini with a working DVD drive and the two systems hooked together with a firewire cable. The 32-bit mac didn't flinch on its first boot, even though the OS was actually installed on a 64-bit system.

Just don't expect to boot Lion on an old 32-bit mac that way. :)
 
Top