The joys of data migration

As I mentioned early last week, I ordered a new hard drive from Newegg, and it arrived with their usual speed, and then I was faced with a bit of dread.

See, I did upgrade the hard drive in my Mini a couple of years ago, and I upgraded the hard drive in this Macbook Pro when I bought it, but I did completely new OS installations in both cases.  I’d never done a drive upgrade on a system where I wanted to keep everything intact, and I’ve never tried migrating a Boot Camp partition.

I was, therefore, rather surprised when it didn’t really cause me very much grief at all.  Turns out that I only needed two pieces of software to get my new drive installed and running.

First, I downloaded an application called Winclone, which claimed that it was able to back up and restore Boot Camp partitions.  It’s been discontinued by its maker for some reason, so it probably won’t be useful once OSX 10.7 comes out, but for now it’s highly regarded.

Second, I downloaded SuperDuper, which is an app designed to make bootable copies of hard drives.  It does rather more than that, to be honest; it’s designed as a full backup application, but the free version of it was enough to clone a drive and that’s all I needed it for.

At that point, all I had to do was run Winclone to copy off my 80GB Boot Camp partition to another external drive, put my new drive into a basic firewire-to-SATA case, run SuperDuper to clone my existing boot partition to the new drive, swap the new drive into the Macbook, reboot and restore the Boot Camp partition with Winclone.

It wasn’t 100% smooth, but only because I didn’t know that the Boot Camp partition has to be the last partition on the drive; I tried putting it on a middle partition and got missing hal.dll errors when I tried booting Windows.

Overall it was pretty uneventful until Time Machine tried to run.

Time Machine decided that every file on my machine had changed and needed to be backed up.  My Time Capsule had something like 9 GB of space free.

In theory, TM should be able to go out to the Time Capsule and delete old backups to make room for the new stuff, but in practice it crashed very very hard.

There’s also no way to easily delete Time Machine backups, as far as I can tell, so the only way I was able to unstick Time Machine was to actually format the Time Capsule through Airport Utility.

Starting with a blank slate, TM was able to run and did a complete backup with little drama and no further crashing, but it was a bit vexing to have to go with such a brute force solution.

Anyway, the end result is that I’m up and running without too much of my weekend lost and just a little bit of frustration directed at Cupertino.


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