Aug 23

Crucial SSD
I just upgraded  the boot drive on my Mac Mini to an SSD drive and it’s by far the biggest speed enhancement I’ve experienced on any computer! The speed increase is incredible – almost hard to believe – boot time went from 60 seconds to under 30 seconds, and applications launch instantly – no bouncing dock icon.

This is not for the beginner –  it’s quite technical – but here’s how to do it.

An SDD drive is the same shape and size as a traditional drive, making it easy to install. The difference is that it uses memory chips instead of a spinning hard disk to store information so it is much, much faster. If your computer is a bit slow this may be a better solution than upgrading your whole computer because often it’s not the processor speed that slows things down but the hard drive.

You could upgrade your entire hard drive but with a 480G SSD drive costing $1579.99, it’s not a cheap option!  So an alternative is to upgrade to a smaller boot drive (a 64G drive costs $119) to run just OSX and your applications, and leave your existing hard disk for all your user files. This means your System files and Applications are on the new SSD drive, but your user data (iphoto, itunes etc) stay on your old Hard Disk. This gives much faster boot times and app launching.

I have a 64GB SSD drive, it has all my apps and OSX on it, and it’s only half full! (See the graph below – the yellow is OSX Lion)

My hard disk on the other hand has over 500GB used.

SSD Boot Drive using a different drive for my user folder – less than half the 64G SSD is used!


Here’s how to set up an SSD drive to run your OSX and Applications off, and keep using your existing hard drive for your user files.

1. Work out how big a boot drive you need.

Everything except your user data will go on the boot drive. To work out how much space you need, do this:

(a) Find your total disk usage.

Click on your hard drive and press Apple-I, check how much space is used. For me it’s 587 Gig:

(b) Find your user folder usage.

Select your user folder (the onew with a house as an icon – this is where all your documents, music, movies, photos etc are stores) and press Apple-I, it may take a while to calculate it.) If you have more than one user, you’ll need to do it for each folder and add them up. I only have one user and for me it was 550GB:

Subtract (b) from (a) to give you the amount needed for your boot drive.

587GB – 550GB = 37GB.  I need at least 37GB for all my apps and system software. A 40GB drive looks like it would just to it – but don’t forget your system writes some very big files (upwards of 10GB) for memory swap files so this will fill up fast, plus with an SSD space more room means better operation, so I went for a 64GB drive.  I ordered a 64GB M4 SSD from Crucial in the USA  for US$119 (That was 2011, they now only cost $84). Here is a link to Crucial’s SSD page. (I get a commission from this link).


2. Connect the Hard Drive to your mac.

For a mac pro it simply connects into the spare optical bay slot – no adapters needed, a 30 second operation – see how here.
Difficulty: easy – 30 seconds.

I just sat the SSD drive in but there are some great and cheap adapters out there eg Angelbird SSD Adapter


For a new aluminium mac mini it can replace one of the internal drives.

Difficulty: moderate – 1/2 hr.

When I replaced the internal SSD drive in my mac mini I needed to pull out the fan and motherboard to get the new SSD drive in. You can get the old hard disk out without pulling out the motherboard but the SSD drives are actually ever so slightly thicker and more uniform in shape so the motherboard needs to come out to manoeuvre the SSD drive in place.


For a macbook or macbook pro you’ll need replace the internal optical drive with your old Hard Drive (OWC who also sell SSD drives provide a kit to do this here) then to put the SSD drive where your old Hard Drive was. The other more expensive option is to order a large SSD drive and replace your old hard drive with it.
Difficulty: hard – 1-2 hours.


iMac: Forget it! Your simplest option is to put the SDD drive in an enclosure and leave it plugged in all the time.


3. Format the SSD Drive using disk utility.

After your SDD drive is plugged in you’ll need to power on your computer and use Disk Utility to format it – Mac OS Extended (Journaled):


4. Copy everything except your user directory onto the new boot drive.

Now you need to copy your system folder and applications onto your SSD drive. You can’t do this by hand – there are hidden files that need to be copied, so use Carbon Copy Cloner. Using Carbon Copy Cloner, select your boot drive as the target Disk and then select Incremental backup:

Now select your main hard drive as the source disk, but then deselect your main user directory so that you don’t copy across all your user data (it won’t fit!)

Click Clone and your boot disk will be created on the SSD disk.


5. Reboot from the new SSD boot drive.

Under System Preferences click Startup Drive select the SSD Drive, then restart! (wow – notice how fast it is!)

Since it is now looking for your user data on the new drive, it won’t find anything and so your desktop and dock will be the default ones and all your files will be missing. Don’t panic – in the next step we will get your old files back.


6. Select your old User folder.

Go to System Preferences, then Accounts, (in Lion this is now called ‘Users and Groups’) then ‘Click the lock to make changes’ and control-click the main user account and click Advanced Options.

In the advanced options tab choose your old user directory, which is back on your original hard drive.

Your computer will tell you that you need to restart, and when you restart you will be running off your new boot drive,with your user directory on your old hard disk.

So how fast is it? Here’s a demo of how quickly applications launch from my new SSD drive…


7. Enable TRIM.

Download this TRIM Enabler app and  run it. This will enable OSX built in  TRIM support which keeps your SSD drive lean and clean.

Crucial M4 say you do not need TRIM support (read this article for more information) but I turned it on anyway no problems.

124 Responses to “How to speed up your mac with a Solid State SSD Drive”

  1. Alx says:

    Hi, very interesting article.
    Appart from muy 13″ MBP I do have an old iBook G4 with its original 30gb hdd.
    Being a very old Power PC based model, do you think it is possible to replace the disk by a solid state one and will it improve big time its perfomance?

    • admin says:

      It may not benefit as much from the SSD as there may be a bottleneck somewhere else in the machine. I’d go for it if it was a G4 Powerbook but I’m not sure about a g4 ibook – they are not a great machine. If you do just try a little 32G Solid State Drive.

  2. kim scott says:

    Whether clicking on my desktop Mac Hard Drive icon or with Finder search, I can not find Apple-I, nor the house icon.

    I was able to do the calculations with an app I had downloaded, and by going to Mac Hard Drive in Finder and clicking on Users. For more than a year I have been running OS X 10.5.8 on a 24″ imac 9,1 with 4 GB RAM (upgradeable to 8 GB) and 640 GB hard drive. Would the instructions be different than for a Mac pro?

    This post is the best explanation of why and how to upgrade with a SSD I have seen!

    Currently I use a GB or two of page outs each day or two.
    Would this be better than adding more RAM? Or do I need both?

    • admin says:

      It’s hard to upgrade an iMac as you can’t open it so the SSD will need to be external. Yes in that case I’d probably upgrade RAM before I put in an SSD.

      • Nandor690 says:

        It is really not that hard to upgrade an iMac. I just upgraded my mid 2007 iMac to 2.80GHz core 2 extreme and an OCZ vertex 120GB HDD without any trouble at all.

  3. mbosn says:

    I was wondering why you would want your old user director on the old hdd? if I got a ssd around the same size as my old one would it matter? Should I just migrate everything?

    • admin says:

      If you can afford it – yes migrate everything – it will be a lot faster. The only reason not to is that SSD is way more expensive. (And, in the long term, less reliable, so make sure it’s backed up!)

  4. Jamie says:


    i was just wondering, once you have copied over all the required system files to your SSD, can you then delete those same files of your HDD, if so how would you go about doing that seeing as some of those files are hidden?


    • Jamie says:

      Also, following on from the previous question i have Windows and Linux virtual machines running on parallels that i require for uni work.

      The parallels folder is located in Documents, which is in my home folder.
      Will i need to copy this over to the SSD aswell, and if so where abouts should i put it on the SSD?


    • admin says:

      Yes you can delete them but I kept them – they are only small and it’s good to have a backup.
      If you drag a folder to the trash all the hidden files in it go to the trash too.

      • Jamie says:

        sorry also what do i do with the virtual machines can i leave them on the HDD or do they need to be moved to the SSD to benefit?


  5. wayne says:

    Well they’d run faster off the SSD but it depends if you have enough room for them on there!

  6. headmeister says:

    Thanks for the tips – I followed your guide to the letter on my mid 2010 Mac Pro and all fine other then the apps don’t seem to open up any quicker from the dock. Is this because they are linked to the old ‘versions’? Should I be starting applications from the SSD boot and not the existing dock?

  7. Rojak says:

    Great site. Thank you! I’ve followed your instructions but, it seems my MBP-15″ (mid 2010) shuts off during the reboot using the SSD drive. Any suggestions?


  8. Bryan says:

    Followed these directions and it works great up until the part about Selecting old user folder. I suspect that these are instructions for a version of OS X other than Lion. I’m assuming “accounts”is now “users & groups” and from here after “unlocking” the instructions don’t seem to work… Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • admin says:

      I’ve just checked and yes ‘accounts’ is now called ‘Groups and Users’ in Lion but the rest works fine.
      After you ‘unlock’ the padlock should look like it is unlocked, then when you control-clock do you see the ‘advanced options’ appear?

  9. Wade says:

    Just wanted to point out that a lot of these linking errors could be avoided if you do this:

    -copy hdd to external drive using time machine
    -delete contents of hdd
    -boot machine with lion recovery
    -use restore from time machine and copy only applications and system to sdd
    - use restore from time machine and copy user folder to hdd

    ps I haven’t tried this with lion recovery yet, but I did it with a snow leopard disk. You may need to wait to delete the contents of the hdd until the sdd is formatted and has the system and applications folder on it.

  10. james braselton says:

    hi there my macbook air had ssd standard not optional had 2.13 ghz duo core cpu 4 gb ram and a 256 gb ssd i am noticing lots of window compuers also having ssd stqndard too

  11. Justin says:

    Hello. Thank you for the information. The upgrade went swimmingly sans one issue. I didn’t see until too late but I pulled the IR/LED light cable out of the board while sliding it out an inch. I was able to plug the connectors back into the piece that snaps into the logic board but now the LED light doesn’t light up. I’m also not sure if the IR no longer works as I do not have an apple remote.

    Could you help me fix this problem> There is a post/picture in this thread I started in another forum.

  12. Namon says:

    The instructions were great. Worked exactly as it should have! I wonder if I delete the content of my HDD with the exception of the applications folder and the user folder, is it possible to still use some of the applications (while missing the other system related folders)
    I have several programs that are used infrequently and would like them there if I ever need them… like my blanky from pre-school….

  13. Nandor690 says:

    “iMac: Forget it”????? You can replace the harddrive in an iMac in about 1/2 hour.
    Just to inform people reading this.


  14. EmptyG says:

    Thanks for the tips! It all went mostly fine for me too, but when I reboot, pretty much all of my apps won’t start (lots of “don’t have access” issues). iPhoto can’t create a library, browsers won’t open, etc. Did I miss a step?

  15. Eric says:

    I have the SSD installed, the HDD cloned (minus my user directory), and rebooted using the SSD. However, when I go into my user account’s advanced options and attempt to choose my home directory (on the HDD) my user folder is there, but it is not the “Home” directory and does not contain the documents or files of my “home folder.” What am I missing. BTW, I am running Lion on a 2010 13 inch MBP.

  16. Erick S says:

    hello interesting info, can I just copy all my apps, music, movies, pictures, etc to an hdd, and just do a fresh start. and do you think its better to just do folders in the second hdd, or should I partition the drive. right now i have a 1 tb drive in my MBP it was getting slow and all, because of all the cache and junk a computer in general gets filled. so I decided to just partition my drive, 250 for docs, 50 for music, 50 for movies, and 50 for apps. I did it this way, so if one partition gets slow i can copy it to an external disk, format the partition and then copy it back. whenever i get an sad, should i use this process, is it smart?

  17. BigPhilWalks says:

    I followed this process and it worked 100%. I am very happy with the outcome. My MBP boots much quicker as do the apps. All data is still coming from my HD. The OWC data doubler kit was a breeze to install too. All up, an excellent result.
    Thanks for the excellent instructions.

    • Craig says:

      I recently replace my stock 500gb 5400rpm drive in my MBP(mid2010) i7 2.66Ghz/8GB Ram. I purchased the Intel 520 120GB SSD SATA 6/GB and installed with with no trouble at all. Instead of transferring all the stuff from my old drive, I actually decided to just install everything fresh, and copied all the personal stuff off my TC. Now I had planned on buying the OWC Data Doubler kit and just putting the 500GB drive into that in place of the optics drive, most instructions all say to put the SSD Drive in place of the optics drive. Does it matter which is where????
      Now since this plan was hatched I’ve come into a bit of money issue’s and can no longer at the moment afford the data doubler even though it’s only like $70 thats a bit hard at the moment to come up with. Now since I bought the drive using a gift card and it cost $200, I was thinking about returning the 120gb SSD and buying the Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive 750GB w/8gb SSD. It’s still an upgrade in speed and storage since my orig. drive was 5400rpm 500gb and the hybrid is 750gb 7200rpm w/32mb Cache + 8GB SSD.
      Anyone here try out one of these hybrid drives??? I could just try to stick it out with the 120 for now until I’m able to come up with the $$ for the DataDoubler?
      Thanks for your time and replies.

  18. Falcon One says:

    This is an outstanding guide. The only thing that did not work as posted for me was selecting the location of my home directory after the restoration. The original boot drive did not show up in the drop down menu so I had to manually type the correct full path. Other than that it worked great. I now have a 120GB SSD drive connected to my eSATA modded iMac 2010. It’s much faster to boot and my VMs are snappier as well. Thanks for the help.

  19. Omar B. says:

    Just finished installing a 120GB SSD into my mid-2009 15″ MacBook Pro by following the instructions here… No problems!!! Thanks a million for the setup!!! OWC Data Doubler Kit was definitely the way to go!!!!

  20. Jon says:

    Hi thanks for your post! I have also installed 64gb ssd. I did a clean install of Lion but I migrated my apps from old HDD to my ssd. I have 2.96 gb of audio, 371.2 mb of movies, 504.7mb of photos, 6.28gb of apps, 0kb of backups and 33.29gb of Other. I was shocked when I saw ‘Other’ was taking alot of space and I was expecting something like your screenshot around 13gb of ‘Other’ . would you know what could be taking up soo much space, I have run ccleaner but made not much difference . Please help! thanks

  21. Sam says:

    Can you do this WITHOUT Carbon Copy Cloner and just through Disk Utility?

    • harryafc says:

      carbon copy cloner is free tho? click the link in this article and you can download a free copy of it! its small swell so will take no time to download and install!

  22. Antonio says:

    I bought a ssd 520 Intel, but did not succeed in having full speed expected, about 250Mb/sec only half of this, I don’t understand. Matter of fact few times it reaches it but not always not stable. If you have some idea please send.

  23. Sam says:

    Regarding the Mac Pro 2006-2008 SSD installation….
    Is it necessary to use the optical drive method instead of the ‘much easier’ Icy Dock method? I read there is no noticeable speed difference between the two.

    Thoughts on this?

    • Wayne says:

      Icy dock is fine, maybe a little easier too. But it will take up one of your regular Hard Drive spaces, whereas plugging it into the spare optical connector leaves all 4 hard drive bays free if you need them. Also having it down in the regular HDD slot may be faster as it’s not doubled up with the optical drive on the same SATA bus?

  24. rossco says:

    Thanks, most SSD upgrade guides only show you the physical steps of swapping the drives, and miss out these essential steps to configure the OS and Applications. Many thanks, just what I needed!

  25. Wayne says:

    UPDATE: Crucial M4 bug. Well 9 months after installing my Crucial M4 every hour or so my mac mini freezes. I look in activity monitor and there is a process called syslogd taking up all my CPU. Turns out that after 5184 hours of use the Crucial M4 causes problems. There’s a firmware update with good instructions that fixed the problem here:

    I had to unplug my thunderbolt Pegasus drive to install the firmware upgrade.

  26. Bill Sandifer says:

    My Macbook 1,1 had slowed way down, so I installed a 128gb SSD only to find it runs even slower. After a couple of days, the speed increased but the machine still is inconsistent. Some days it runs reasonably well. Others it slows to a crawl. The SSD checks out fine in XBench. I figure I must have some component unstable or failing. Where should I look? Thanks.

    • Wayne says:

      Does it have enough RAM?

    • nastycut says:

      probably something unrelated to HDD or electronics. Activity Monitor is your friend. Look for overactive processes (print drivers etc), broken Java, corrupt fonts etc.

      SSD will not make your computer faster, It just speeds up disk read&write. If your machine is sluggish on browsing etc, it has nothing to do with SSD or loose components.

  27. Rowan says:

    I’ve just done this and despite being a brand new mac user it seems to have worked well, my system now boots in a few seconds (but there is no data on it yet ;-) )

    i do have a question, when copying the system to the new SSD i don’t think i deleted the old files from the HD as there is still 10GB on there, can i delete this? or is it wise to keep it as a back up, if i can delete it how do i do it? i can’t find the c drive!! (i know to many years on a PC!)


  28. Steve says:

    For some people, you might want to format the SSD with Lion Recovery Mode. It will take more steps as you’ll have to install Lion, but it might be worth it, even if you backup.

  29. Benny says:

    Instructions worked great. However I had two issues. First I couldn’t get the reference to the new users folder to work. It took me awhile but I realized the issue was that I had File Vault on. I turned off File Vault and started from scratch and it worked perfectly. Also, be very careful if you’re installing a OWC data doubler, I didn’t reconnect a cable all the way and my WiFi didn’t work.

    I’d also recommend moving your applications folder as part of step 4. Apps don’t take much space and they’re lightening fast on a SSD. If you don’t move them here, this provides good instruction: Just make sure you watch the symbolic link command, they meant “ln” not “ls”

  30. Luis says:

    Great upgrade guide Wayne!! I’m about to do it in a few days, waiting for my supplies to arrive.

    I think a have everything clear in the software issues, but some doubts on hardware (I bought a crucial M4 SSD and optibay to replace the optical drive) so, should I locate the SSD (with the OS) in the current HDD bay and the HDD in the optibay, or just leave the HDD where it is right now and the SSD in the optibay. I ask because I read some things about sensors (HDD bay has motion sensor and hibernation sensor in case battery gets empty, while optibay does not). What is your reccomendation?

    And the last thing, how I could erase the OS files from the HDD (except user’s) in a good and clean way? Just by hand?

    Thank you very much for your usefull help.

    • harryafc says:

      hey luis!

      i was about to post EXACTLY what u have here! i too am about to install my optibay and OWC EXTREME 6G 120GB SSD, and was wondering about what way round to fit it! i figured that the best way to do it would be to leave the HDD where it is… because thats where its designed to be next to all the sensors and fan, right? SSD’s are generally less maintenance, power, heat, etc so i think it would be best to put that in the optical drive slot!…. anyway thats my assumption if someone wants to pull me up on that please let me know!

      this is an amazing article but like luis i think its missing the final step which is how to cleanly get all the system files off the HDD after they have been copied over to the SSD to free up some storage on my HDD (one of the big reasons I’m doing this upgrade!)!

      thanks for all your help Wayne!!

      • Luis says:

        hi harryafc!

        It’s awesome we have had the exact same questions. I also assume that’s the way it should go, but it also has a bad point on it and is the hibernation…as we are going to place the OS on the SSD, the hibernation sensor should be able to work on it when the mac runs out of battery, and saves all your work and screen exactly as you leave it before it turns off. However I also supose that is one of the issues we will have to take care of. If anyone pull us up on this, I will do it like you also.

        Hope someone could help with this and with the clean erase of the “previous” OS.

        Thanks again.

  31. Jim says:

    Mail keeps opening wrong attachments.
    Since my SSD installation when I open attachments for numbers it almost always opens an old file – not the file that is actually in the email. Its strange to say the least and created some real problems for me on file updates that I get daily. A
    Any idea what can cause this?

    I have mail set to download to the download folder on the old drive. I chose a special folder so that I can check the files.

  32. Jamie d says:

    Hi, everything worked a treat. I did run into an issue with the programmes starting like it was their first time and iPhoto and other programmes not working due to not finding a folder. I realized that when I linked to my user folder, after I changed the name of the Mac HD which caused the issue, so I went back and selected the folder again and now everything is perfecto…

    Thank you

  33. Thanks for the ‘how-to’. Just finished and it was so easy.

    My mac has never been as fast as it is with this new SDD. Unreal!

  34. Bluhand says:

    Thanks Wayne. I followed your instructiins and it seems to be working a treat! I was a bit worried cos i using the current version of Mountain Lion and Carbon Copy wouldn’t guarantee the current free copy of their software would work.Only issues ive had so far are with Dropbox. It had to add the new SSD as a new computer and relink. This is taking a while . Also 1pAsssword needed some work. Tell me is till dont quite get how all the user data is still on the OriginalDrive and Aps and Operating System only is on SSD. And how they talk to eachother. For the record, ive got a MBP 2011 13inch. the SSD i installed is 120GB the current space i use on my Spinning drive is 185GB. Only approx. 43GB used on my new SSD drive.

  35. Liz says:

    How do u download music in the SSD drive for mac book air ? Can u still insert a cd and download or not? Please answer thanks

  36. Christine says:

    I am new to all this SSD installing stuff, but have extensively read up… Anyway, I’m just stuck on transferring data to my new SSD.
    Instead of transferring all the stuff from my old HD drive, I read on the Other World Computing website that a better option is to just install everything fresh, and copy all the personal stuff off… but so far I have installed OS X (Snow Leopard) onto my new Mercury Electra 120 GB SSD, and after the install it was supposed to restart and go into a screen for setup to import my applications and user data but it did not go into that screen. Now I am back at my regular home screen. How do I transfer that stuff manually so i can continue the setup process?
    I really appreciate it. Here is the directions i’m following, at Step 6 after installing:

    Thank you :)

  37. cd says:

    I think it’s worth mentioning that Carbon Copy Cloner is not a free application. Disc Utility can clone a drive pretty easily too, and it’s a free app already installed on your Mac:

  38. andy p says:

    just installed this on my macmini 2009 and its works a treat.
    the firmware is 000f
    should i update?

    great article


  39. Mark says:

    Thanks for this post. It was quite helpful, but I wanted to add in my cautions that I ran into after doing this on my MacPro. If you use dropbox, you have to take into account the size of that folder too for your SSD total size needs. Luckily, I am not close to my 110 GB allotment in dropbox, but since I bought a 120 GB SSD, this means I won’t be able to use all of my dropbox space until I trade up to a larger SSD and repeat this whole process. Dropbox only works if the dropbox folder is sitting in the user folder of the boot drive. If you boot into your SSD after pointing to your original user folder on the old hard drive, you will get a dropbox error telling you that it can no longer find your dropbox folder (since it thinks you should be booting from the old hard drive).

    After following the directions above, I booted back into my old hard drive and then went to the dropbox app. chose preferences->advanced->Dropbox location to change the location to my new SSD. Another issue for me is that it appears that symlinks sitting in my DB folder no longer work once this move is made. I have a sinking feeling more problems are ahead since I could not log into my DB account online after all of this, so we shall see if this gets sorted out.

  40. G says:

    HI Wayne. Thanks for this very informative article.

    I am going to get the latest 2012-release Mac Mini very shortly, I and think it would be a good idea to slot in a SSD into this, perhaps around 120GB in size.

    This may be a silly question, but I take it that there is room within the 2012 Mac Mini to accommodate both the existing hard drive (now 500GB or 1TB in size), and a new SSD?

    Also, if I am buying an internal SSD for a new 2012 Mac Mini, are there any particular specs and SSD case sizes that I need to get so that it is compatible, and physically fits in? (I don’t want to get a SSD that does not fit in the Mini, or does not work well with it).

    I have seen some SSDs with read/write data transfer rates of an incredible 500 MB/s, which should make a Mac Mini go like a rocket.

    Thanks for you advice on this.

  41. G says:

    HI Wayne. Thanks for this very informative article.

    I am going to get the latest 2012-release Mac Mini very shortly, I and think it would be a good idea to slot in a SSD into this machine, perhaps around 120GB in size.

    This may be a silly question, but I take it that there is room within the 2012 Mac Mini to accommodate both the existing hard drive (now 500GB or 1TB in size), and a new SSD?

    Also, if I am buying an internal SSD for a new 2012 Mac Mini, are there any particular specs and case sizes that I need to get so that it is compatible, and physically fits in? I read somewhere that the SSD needs to be no thicker than 9 mm for a Mac Mini. (I don’t want to get a SSD that does not fit in the Mini, or does not work well with it).

    I have seen some SSDs with read/write data transfer rates of an incredible 500 MB/s, which should make a Mac Mini go like a rocket.

    Thanks for you advice on this.

  42. Evan says:


    Thanks so much for putting together this tutorial and info, it’s great! I’ve been doing a bunch of research on upgrading my late-2008 unibody MB Pro to the split SSD/HD-in-the-optical-bay option you describe, and have pretty much decided on the SSD drive (was probably going to go with the Crucial M4 128 GB SSD, as my system files take up 61 GB- not really sure why it’s so large, will investigate that). I recently stumbled across a tutorial on creating your own Fusion drive (, and was wondering what your thoughts were on it? Advantages/disadvantages, etc.? It wasn’t clear from the article whether creating a Fusion drive would enable/preserve the separation of os files/applications and user data that your approach does, which is important. The only advantage seemed to be its logical grouping as one drive (which could also be a disadvantage, as if one of the drives fails, then both do), as opposed to your approach, in which they’re viewed as two separate drives and require two separate backups (I think, see below)?

    As far as backing up under your approach goes, if I have a single external backup drive that’s large enough to fit all the files on my SSD/HD combo, I would partition my backup volume accordingly and do one backup for each drive? I’ve been using Carbon Copy Cloner.


    • Wayne says:

      If you are just going to use one hard disk as your main drive then I would go the fusion drive – then you can just treat it as one unit and back it up via time machine. I’m using a Pegasus 4 drive array for my main drive so its no use pairing that with a ssd drive in fusion or I lose the safety of the raid. I back up my boot ssd drive and my main array drive using time machine, plus I back them up using SuperDuper for an offsite backup.

      • Evan says:

        I just realized I omitted part of my post- I meant to say I’d pretty much decided to go with your split SSD/HD approach. I was trying to get your opinion on your approach vs making a single Fusion drive out of the two, as described in the other tutorial.


  43. James says:

    You are my hero.

    Followed your steps including using CCC with my Mac Pro (2006). It worked like a charm and seems almost as fast as my retina macbook pro.

    Thanks for a great post.

  44. Eyal says:

    First, thank you for this tutorial. I have a mid 2011 27″ iMac and was getting terrible performance out of Lightroom. I bought the Lacie 120gb thunderbolt SSD and followed the steps to transfer the system to it. I kept the home folder on the internal HDD.

    Only question I have – is it safe to delete the Applications directory from the HDD? The apps are now duplicated (residing on the SSD where they launch from) and have left duplicates in the ‘open’ menu when right clicking a file.

    If that is safe to do, is it safe/worthwhile to delete the other system directories on the HDD and just leave the User directory?

    Thanks again

  45. kris says:

    Hi, I just went through all the steps up to restart after installing on the SSD. But I when locating my old directory I have a problem. I cannot find the old HDD. What do I do?

    • kris says:

      Problem solved, I had an encrypted HDD and so it did not show up until I unlocked it. Next challenge though is typing in the correct path for the new home directory on the old HDD while booting from SSD. I got me locked out” as I could not log on to my account after restarting as the directory ended up incorrect.
      I have tried a couple of alternatives, but no luck yet :-( Any pointers?

  46. Kelvin says:

    Hi I’m new to Apple. I have a question. Lets say if i purchase a macbook pro 2012 13 inch, is it possible to configure it my self to a so-called hybrid drive? ie.with the original HDD and a SSD for caching purposes? will there be a slot for the SSD?

  47. Joe C. says:

    Hello, I followed your directions and everything went perfectly.!! I’m running a macbook pro with 10.8, i-5, 8gb ram, and Intel SSD 128gb with a 500gb for storing data. I couldn’t be happier unless I had an i-7 that is lol.. I have a problem (my own fault) not this site. I starting deleting all the old application files on my HDD so I wouldn’t have duplicates. After deleting them I noticed I couldn’t open some apps, :( after rebooting my system I can not log into my account. It says there is an error. I of course have all my data backed up on a external so I could just wipe both drives and start fresh. But maybe there is another option.Thanks in advance guys..!

  48. Perry Joseph says:

    Before applying this procedure, I am trying to learn more and using an external drive as an experiment. And I am unable to locate ” Incremental backup of selected items ‘ under Cloning options under paragraph 4. Help appreciated. Thnks

  49. Chris says:

    Very helpful, thanks. Would be good to add a section on how to create a recovery partition on the SSD drive during setup.

  50. [...] Another alternative is to get a faster hard drive or use a Solid State Drive (SSD), but they don’t come cheap. One way is to get the SSD to run only your operating system and other applications, while leaving the other data on your old hard disk. Here is a good site on how to set up a SSD drive. [...]

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