You are here

Cloning to a smaller drive?

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

Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:58 pm

Here’s a bit of an odd one. My internal SSD is 500GB but I have a number of 250GB spares lying about. I was given an old MacBook Pro and I would like it to be running the same OS as the 500GB drive. So I want to put the 250GB inside it.
Doing a direct clone won’t work as there are too many files on the 500GB drive.
I could -
Make a clone of the current 500GB SSD and then delete files from this clone until I am under the 250GB limit. Then I would clone the clone to the 250GB SSD. Tedious but doable.
I could -
Find a copy of the latest Sierra installer and use that. I knew a computer shop that kept copies of every OS installer so I may get lucky. With luck Migration Assistant would copy over all my Mail addresses etc etc.
And it’s possible there is a very simple solution sitting right in front of my nose and I can’t see it. No luck searching the internet for a solution to this. There doesn’t appear to be cloning software that let’s you choose files not to copy.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3594
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: O Canada

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:58 pm

I'm guessing such s/w doesn't exist because a clone should be a bit for bit copy of the original drive so as soon as you start deleting files it's no longer a clone.

Sierra should be available on the web without too much difficulty, you can probably download it directly from Apple and make up a USB install drive (I've done this for Mavericks and High Sierra, sorry I don't have Sierra). It's not straightforward or without it's difficulties but it is doable.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13860
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby desmond » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:03 pm

I'd probably clone to a disk image on a larger drive with enough free space, then mount that disk image, remove the files I didn't want on it until it's the right size, then unmount it, and clone that disk to the physical drive.
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10548
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:28 pm

I'd probably clone to a disk image on a larger drive with enough free space, then mount that disk image, remove the files I didn't want on it until it's the right size, then unmount it, and clone that disk to the physical drive

Desmond, is as ever, absolutely right.

Sierra? Why not Mojave, which I am on now?
Trevor Johnson
Regular
Posts: 347
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:34 pm

Yup, That would, actually, be my preferred option too
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13860
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby Folderol » Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:08 pm

You would have to compact the drive first (if that's still possible in Windows). Although the total file size may be fine, they will be scattered all over the drive, so trying a clone (rather than bulk file copy) would likely miss a lot, or worse catch parts of files.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11625
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:00 am
Location: The Mudway Towns, UK
Yes. I am that Linux nut.
Onwards and... err... sideways!

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:44 pm

Good point, it would definitely need defragmenting first (but the clone software might do that but, again, it would no longer be a clone in the true sense of the word).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13860
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby desmond » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:09 pm

Just do "hdiutil compact /full_path_to_drive_image" in Terminal after you've cleared out the image - that should work...
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10548
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:48 pm

Great idea, Desmond. I did more digging around and found that Chronosync for Mac will clone a boot drive and it will be bootable, but there is also an option I didn’t know about that let’s you untick files on the To Clone list. I have unticked any file that doesn’t look like a system file. I see great promise for messing up the system so I’m being conservative.
I’m testing it right now. I’ll post my results.
Winter finally hit pretty good today so I’m keeping busy with inside projects.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3594
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: O Canada

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:02 am

SuperDuper is my #1 choice for cloning/backups for many years.

You can make your own exemption list of files to not include too.
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10548
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:11 am

I use Super Duper for cloning too. What the heck - :headbang:
That feature must have been right in front of my face so I couldn’t see it. I’ll go take another look. I could have saved myself a fair bit of research time. I guess I should also switch to tea for awhile too.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3594
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: O Canada

Re: Cloning to a smaller drive?

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:46 am

I use it quite a bit as I have a few temp folders I don’t want to include in my regular system backups, so that stuff is all a part of the backup scripts/settings.
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10548
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio