You are here

MAC hard drive update

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

MAC hard drive update

Postby DanielBeach » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:33 pm

Hi All,

I've been hanging around these forums for 20 years, with the odd post. It seems this week there's been a couple from me -- wonder why...?

My iMac is 6 years old, and has been struggling a lot. I've checked for viruses, malware, etc., and have narrowed it down, I THINK, to the hard drive being unable to cope with the latest version of MacOS. I've reinstalled High Sierra, as it copes "okay" with this, and Logic Pro X is stable enough under it. If I wind back another couple of MacOS versions, the computer becomes quite fast again. (8GB RAM by the way)

I'm going to get an SSD drive. But two quick questions for those with experience:

1. I assume that I can run a mac from an external drive, and effectively just "ignore" the internal one?

2. If I installed the latest MacOS and ran it from the external, I assume I'd be able to still access data on the internal drive? And, I wonder, would it be possible to run programs already installed on the internal drive, or would this effectively be a "new install" and runtime programs from the old drive rendered mute, so to speak?

Many thanks!

Daniel
DanielBeach
Regular
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:00 am

Re: MAC hard drive update

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:37 pm

Yes it should work, and you should be able to reinstall the apps on the new drive. You may even be able to clone the old drive onto the new.

But, my 2012 MBP is running High Sierra without problems.

And, the slowing down is probably not the internal HDD if older OSX versions run faster than HS (though an SSD will definitely speed things up).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12261
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: MAC hard drive update

Postby DanielBeach » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:41 pm

Thanks for the reply.
If it's not the hard drive, I wonder what it is...? Everything else seems OK...

I wondered/have heard rumours that the latest versions of MacOS are designed with SSD drives in mind, and so older traditional hard drives may struggle?

Daniel
DanielBeach
Regular
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:00 am

Re: MAC hard drive update

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:58 pm

AFAIK the OS runs in RAM so a slow hard drive should not affect it's performance much once loaded. But boot times will be much faster with an SSD. It's worth considering upgrading the internal drive with an SSD if you can do so.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12261
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: MAC hard drive update

Postby desmond » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:05 pm

DanielBeach wrote:1. I assume that I can run a mac from an external drive, and effectively just "ignore" the internal one?

Yes, you basically tell the computer "boot from this drive over here" and that will be your system drive from then on.

DanielBeach wrote:2. If I installed the latest MacOS and ran it from the external, I assume I'd be able to still access data on the internal drive?

Yes, your machine will see two drives mounted and you'll be able to access files on any mounted drive in the usual way.

DanielBeach wrote:And, I wonder, would it be possible to run programs already installed on the internal drive, or would this effectively be a "new install" and runtime programs from the old drive rendered mute, so to speak?

No, you run apps off your system drive. You'd either mirror your old system drive to the new drive, or perform a new installation of OSX on the new drive, and re-install your software onto the new drive.

You can copy content off your old drive to the new drive, but in the case of programs which often need supplemental files all over the place, if you don't know what you're doing you can end up with a bunch of apps on the new system that don't work properly, so it's not recommended.

Also, remember that any software which has hard drive installs based on "fingerprinting" your system, eg iLok, to "de-authorise" software *before* moving it, and re-auth to the new system drive when it's up and running.
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9601
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: MAC hard drive update

Postby LimitedHeadroom » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:23 pm

8GB of RAM is not very much, particularly for the newer OS versions. MacOS tends to be a bit of a ram hog so more ram almost always makes the computer run better. An SSD will help, but you are probably using the swap file heavily as you’re low on RAM. So an SSD will help with that (and they generally make things feel snappier) But I think RAM is your main issue. And ideally you don’t want to rely on the swap file for things that are designed to run in RAM, like the OS.

But I would not advise trying to get up to date on the OS on an old machine, High Sierra is probably the last I would go to in a 6 year old computer (still with double the RAM)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
LimitedHeadroom
Regular
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 12:00 am