Last Updated: 21 Nov 2020


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Upgrading Your Mac's Internal Hard Drive, Including Boot Camp

This details how to upgrade your Mac's internal hard drive to a newer, larger drive. Instructions are also included for moving your Windows Boot Camp partition over to the new drive.

What you'll need:

  • A new drive, which must be the same size or larger than your old drive. The exact drive you pick depends on your machine (laptop vs. desktop, etc.) and your needs. Browse through MacRumors Forums if you need help.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner, which lets you 'clone' your old drive over to the new drive.
  • WinClone, to copy the Boot Camp partition.
  • An external USB enclosure if you're using a laptop, an iMac, a Mac mini, or any other machine that only supports one internal drive. You'll need to connect both the old and new drives simultaneously in order to perform the cloning operation. My favorite for doing drive surgery is the Thermaltake BlacX USB docking station, which lets you stick a bare drive in without screws.
  • The tools necessary for physically replacing the drive. This guide covers the software side; be sure to read the appropriate iFixit guide for your model to learn how to actually physically replace your old drive with the new one. And, of course, the standard disclaimer: this probably will void your warranty. Argue with Apple about that. ^_^

Cloning the Mac OS X Disk

The first step is to clone your MacOS disk to the new, larger disk.

  1. Back everything up. This goes without saying, but you should have all of your files backed up to a third disk, which you will put aside and not touch during this process. I use Time Machine for this backup.
  2. Plug the new disk into your Mac. If you have a Mac Pro, you'll likely be able to connect it to one of the internal bays. If not, you'll have to get a USB enclosure, put the disk in that, and connect it up.
  3. Open Disk Utility, and locate the new drive. Partition it with a single partition, using MacOS Extended (Journaled). NOTE: Even if you're also migrating a Boot Camp partition, you want to partition with a single MacOS partition now. Later, you'll use the Boot Camp tools to carve off part of this new partition for Windows, and then restore your existing Boot Camp partition using WinClone.
  4. Reboot your machine. Technically this probably isn't necessary, but I like to have an absolute minimum of other applications running when I'm cloning my disk. You should not use your machine during the cloning process.
  5. Open Carbon Copy Cloner, and perform a full disk clone (the 'Backup everything' option) from your old disk to your new disk. This will take several hours to copy all the data. I recommend you click 'Delete items that don't exist on the source' so you get an exact clone.
  6. If you also want to migrate your Windows Boot Camp partition, create an image of that partition once Carbon Copy Cloner has finished. Open WinClone, click on the 'Image' tab, select the Boot Camp partition, and hit 'Image…'. You should be sure to save the image on your new disk, because you're about to get rid of your old one. Again, make sure you start this step AFTER Carbon Copy Cloner is completely done; you should only have one cloning program running at once.
  7. Turn off your machine and swap the new disk for the old disk. Doing the physical swap usually isn't too hard, but the details depend on what Mac you have. Once again, iFixIt has some great guides.
  8. That's it! Once the disk is swapped and the old disk is removed, boot up onto your fresh disk!

Cloning the Boot Camp Partition

The following steps are optional, and only needed if you want to clone your Boot Camp partition as well.

  1. By now, you should have installed and booted from your new disk, and have an image of your Windows Boot Camp partition on your new hard drive, created with WinClone. Your old disk should no longer be connected to your machine. If not, go back through and follow the steps above.
  2. Partition your new disk using the Boot Camp Assistant. Make sure your new Boot Camp partition is at least as big as your old partition. When you're done partitioning, quit the program rather than starting Windows installation.
  3. Load up WinClone again, and click 'Restore' to restore the image to the drive. A word of warning: WinClone may not look like its doing anything for 15-30 mins, but it is. Eventually the restore progress bar will come up.
  4. Once this is done, you should be able to use the Startup Disk control panel to boot into either Windows or Mac OS X. Try it and make sure both work.
  5. If you're also using VMWare Fusion, your new Boot Camp partition won't load. Close VMWare, delete ~/Library/Application Support/VMWare Fusion/Virtual Machines/Boot Camp and reopen VMWare. You'll be able to load your Boot Camp partition after a short prep.

That's it! Feel free to add suggestions to the comments, and enjoy your new drive.


Erik Estrada, Feb 25, 2011 12:07 PM

That is a cool information about the “Cloning the Boot Camp Partition” and there are cloning software avaliable in the market like you already mention CCC, Superduper and a new one Stellar Drive Clone which can help in cloning a drive easily…

sk8anton, Jul 12, 2011 04:39 PM

i have limited knowledge on this, do i go to windows to clone the bootcamp partition using winclone, or do that in mac?


Miguel Cerda, Aug 11, 2011 04:01 PM

You should be sure to save the image on your new disk,why would you save it to your new disk? this is the disk where you are going to clone the original OS, how is this done?

dordal, Oct 5, 2011 08:14 AM


Correct, you want to save it to your new disk. You don't load that image until after you've booted into OS X with the new drive. By that time, your old drive is gone, so you don't want to save the image there.

Make sense?


Arron Lorenz, Aug 7, 2012 04:02 AM

I just put the old disk into the firewire enclosure.

Josh Purple, Aug 14, 2011 01:09 AM

Thank You! I sincerely appreciate the time and help on this. I'm at #4 on the “Cloning the Boot Camp Partition.” I can select Windows or Mac OS X to start-up from. But, when I choose the Windows Boot Camp, I get a DOS window error, “no bootable device, please insert CD and press any key to continue.”

I used a download of Windows Vista 64bit (so I don't have a CD). Is there a way to get to the BIOS, and select the Hard Drive (partition) for Boot Camp to use to boot from? I am using an Apple keyboard, but no key commands (F1, F2, etc. ) have any result at the DOS window error. Or should I use the Boot Camp Assistant to somehow select the Boot Camp Hard Drive / Image I'd like Boot Camp to boot from? I do see a 'BOOT CAMP' hard drive image on the desktop of my Power Mac. Thank you again, I sincerely appreciate it!

Tom, Oct 5, 2011 03:04 AM

Great article and it might have worked, except WinClone does not work with Lion. I have already upgraded so I am toast on this one. Anyone know of a program or utility that will handle BOTH the PC and MAC OS in one operation?

dordal, Oct 5, 2011 08:15 AM


Bummer. WinClone has been on the way out for a bit, but I don't know any other options. If you come across anything please be sure to post.


Tom, Oct 8, 2011 07:15 PM

I was able to solve the problem by using a Snow Leopard computer to perform all the WinClone operations. I placed the Macbook Pro with the New Hard drive in Target Disk Mode, and using the Firewire port was able to access the new drive from my other computer running WinClone on Snow Leopard. I then restored the image of my original Boot Camp partition to the new drive in Target Disk Mode and it worked perfectly.

yyr, Oct 24, 2011 06:23 AM

This process, including the Boot Camp portion, worked perfectly on my 2010 Mac Mini running Snow Leopard and Windows XP. Thanks so much for detailing it.

saber, Nov 13, 2011 01:06 PM

Still i havent found any info on how to clone the entire hdd of my macbook pro with lion that includes the recovery drive and the boot camped windows drive. Anyone out there who has an idea?

Kassim Jamal, Nov 23, 2011 03:59 PM

whey you say winclone doesn't work with Lion , do you been it won't let you create a bootcamp image in the first place or it won't let you restore ? please clarify

Jonathan Hu , Dec 18, 2011 09:10 AM

Win clone will not let you create an image Of boot camp because it doesnt have the right hard drive format on windows 7. So errors when creating image.

Tim Buck, Jan 7, 2012 11:11 PM

Winclone has been updated as of Dec. 5, 2011 to work with Lion - the update was done by someone other than the original author. The updated version (2.3.3) can be downloaded at

Ray Ninow, Feb 7, 2012 08:27 AM

Thanks for the information on this site. I am running Snow Leopard with Win 7 on Bootcamp. Upgraded the Boocamp partition using Winclone 2.3.3 - the previous version would not work.
Backed up the Macintosh partition using Time Capsule. Removed the old drive and put it into an external SATA - USB enclosure.
Fitted the new disk.
Boot up using the OSX install CD.
Used Utilities to Erase the new hard drive.
Then partitioned the drive as one partition 'Macintosh HD'.
Used Utilities to 'Restore from Time Machine'.
Once restore was complete, rebooted into Snow Leopard from the hard drive.
In Snow Leopard, used Bootcamp Assistant to split the new hard drive from one partition into a smaller Macintosh HD and a bootcamp partition,(bigger than the old bootcamp partition).
Run Winclone 2.3.3 to capture and 'Image' of the old Bootcamp partition (from the USB - SATA connection) - save the image onto the new Macintosh HD partition.
Then run Winclone 2.3.3 to restore the Bootcamp partition from the Image in Macintosh HD and into the new Bootcamp.
That's it! - All done.
The back up and restores take some time. - expect a couple of hours.
It seems that Winclone can only copy the image onto a 'Macintosh' partition and then from that aprtition onto another Bootcamp

Jamie Morris, Mar 10, 2012 12:06 AM

I just wanted to add that clonezilla can clone multiple partitions and do a block-level copy of an entire hard drive. I have used the live usb and cd on a pc successfully, but have not been able to boot from it on a mac. It should, in theory, be possible though. Clonezilla is (essentially) a linux distro, and for those of you who don't know osx does not like to boot from external drives containing an operating system other than osx. This method worked for me with ubuntu and linux mint, although I haven't tried it with clonezilla.

doug campbell, Mar 19, 2012 03:35 PM

Just tried this but can't create a new partition for Bootcamp. I can slide the divider no problem bit when i quit it doesn't make a difference. Bootcamp clone is sitting on the desktop but can't partition the drive for windows.

rick gabrielli, May 25, 2012 01:19 PM

Excellent article. Thank You.

test31.211.196.196, Jan 20, 2015 11:12 AM

Thank you for a great article.

I ran into some trouble setting up the partitions since the boot camp assistant is asking for the windows 7 DVD and therefore not letting me go any further. Any suggestions on how to get around that? I dont have the Windows 7 DVD here I only have my clone from the old disk..


dordal, Jan 20, 2015 08:13 PM


AFAIK, you need a windows CD. Hopefully that's not too hard to find though… either borrow from a friend or download from the Interwebs. You might be able to burn a CD from a trial download, too. If you try that route, let me know if it works.


test31.211.196.196, Jan 21, 2015 09:44 AM

Hello David!

Thank you for your quick reply!

Actually I managed to do it by partitioning the SSD using Disk Utility creating a FAT partition. Then simply drag the cloned hard drive image to the new partition using WinClone!

It all works perfectly now!


test65.49.2.180, Jan 27, 2015 03:42 AM

Exactly! The best way for upgrading hard drive is clone, either clone disk or clone partition. Actually, a third party software is much easier than OS built-in disk manager. If it is Windows system, there's a program which can be a great replacement for disk management for disk clone: For Mac system, it seems that Acronis can help.

test204.152.200.229, Jan 30, 2015 03:50 AM

Though cloning Mac drive by using third party software like Stellar Drive Clone is useful apart from creating via built-in Mac apps like Time Machine, Disk Utility. Because bootable clone can't be created and recovery HD partition can't be copied as desired.

test65.200.178.74, Feb 23, 2015 03:56 PM

I had a bit of trouble getting the Bootcamp partition set up, though that was partially due to my configuration. I have a late model 2008 MBP and the optical drive bay has my old platter drive in it. In order to make all of this work I had to put the optical drive back inside the MBP (it won't boot from a usb optical drive), find my Windows 7 CD, run Bootcamp Assistant, create the partition, and go through the Windows 7 install process. Anything short of that resulted in a partition that wouldn't show up as a viable boot target (using Option on startup). I also downloaded the bootcamp software for Windows to a thumbdrive and installed in the fresh Windows 7 install. That may well have been unnecessary. Once that was complete, I was able to restore the WinClone image of the original Bootcamp partition and things were fine.

Then, to get the Bootcamp partition to appear in the Startup Disk list (I think that is correct, typing this from the office) I had to go into the Tuxera NTFS control panel and set the volume to not use Tuxera (granted, that is not critical since one can always hold Option on boot).

Thanks for the walk through, WinClone wasn't free, but I'm happy to pay for software that makes my life easier, and I have now doubled my SSD drive space without all of the configuration that would otherwise be necessary.

test115.112.96.153, Aug 26, 2015 04:16 AM

Stellar Drive Clone V3.0 is another application that clones NTFS (Boot Camp) partition of your Mac to ExFAT partition. Both Macintosh HD and Boot Camp partition can be cloned using this tool. However, after clone you cannot boot from Windows partition. Check here for more details -

test107.15.78.48, Sep 17, 2015 07:18 PM

This info has been a great help but I have run into a problem. I successfully made a clone copy to the new hard disk using Copy Cloner. However, I have not succeeded in make a WinClone image. It refuses to let me do it, saying I don't have permission to put this on the new hard disk. Have been unable to figure out how to get the “permission”. WinClone just gives me an error message.

How do I get around this problem. I have the Standard edition of WinClone.

test50.27.222.212, Oct 16, 2015 03:35 AM

I had to change the permissions of the new drive to “read/write” before using WinClone.

test74.73.146.114, Feb 6, 2016 07:18 AM

So I've run into an issue with getting BCA to make a partition on the newly cloned boot drive. I've followed all the steps twice now (erased and cloned the intended replacement drive twice), and all BCA will say is “The disk is your OS X startup disk and appears to have been partitioned by another utility.” I'm completely stuck at this point.

test67.188.1.164, Jun 17, 2016 04:47 AM

Let's make it clear. The operation is to clone the existing harddrive to a new [bigger] one and not about migrating the disk.

There is a much difference between “upgrading” your hard drive and “migrating” your BootCamp Windows partition to a new MacBook Pro. The latter one is much more involved [painful].

I have done both and I can relate the differences.

The procedures outline in this article in general is sound but because Winclone is involved or needed and there is couple cautions have to take.

I. pay for Winclone get the latest version and supports if [unfortunately] needed and I think that is fair. Each individual case operation may be slightly different. For example, my hard drive had 3 partitions, one for Mac, one for BootCamp and one can be access and modified by either Mac or Windows system.

II. Do a chkdsk/b on your BootCamp partition before using Winclone. That is: Boot up in Windows, open a CMD windows with Adminstrator, enter chkdsk/b. Close the window and re-boot the machine. Machine will enter DOS mode and do chkdsk. When everything done shut down the machine. Boot the machine in Mac OS, run Winclone, I like to store the BootCamp image on a Third hard drive. There is a slight chance that the backup image not restorable (been there). Doing a chkdsk with repair option make sure Wionclone does not produce a bad image, I had complained about that to Winclone because I am using Winclone for backups and had a few bad Winclone images.

Why not store the image in the new drive as suggested in this article? That is only good for real Mac users who partition their drives with 80% Mac and 20% Windows. But for Windows users, 80% Windows partition 20% Mac partition, how could you create a large image on the drive and still leave enough room for creating a large new BootCamp partition?

Thanks to the original Author of this article.

test24.181.99.162, Dec 17, 2016 02:09 AM

I just installed a new SSD in a mid 2012 MB Pro from Crucial. I used their suggestion to clone with the utility built in OS10 Sierra.
I was also running Windows 10 in VMWare fusion due to two programs unavailable for Mac.
Everything cloned via USB cabe and all Windows files and programs followed along.
I did not have to purchase any software whatsoever or have to reload any programs or files.
Crucial SSD's come with a link for Windows software, but tech support sent a link for Mac instructions.
Simple for 65 YO grandad

test79.180.119.23, Apr 19, 2017 09:52 PM

Hi , i have a good post that explain how to do that with clonezilla free open source tool.

that worked for me and many others you may try it .

IT 24 Seven |By Roman Garber

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