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HDD drive only boots OS X as a USB drive, not as internal disc

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Richard Whitehead
HDD drive only boots OS X as a USB drive, not as internal disc
on Mar 1, 2016 at 5:25:19 pm

Hi everyone,

My Yosemite MacBook Pro was stolen last December, and Apple built me a new one, courtesy of my insurance company. It is a 13-inch 8 Gb with a 1 Tb HDD.

As the thieves did not take my Time Capsule I could get my system back to the time of the theft. The machine was delivered with El Capitain loaded, and I did not want to disturb it, so I bought a 1 Tb 7200 rpm drive off MacUpgrades, and used that, connected via USB, to reload my system via Time Machine.

This worked well, and I could then boot the Yosemite reloaded system or the El Capitaine system, selected by the Options key.

The only problem left is that if I take the HDD out of it's cassette, and put it into the MacBook drive bay, I can't boot up. A flashing '?' appears on the screen, and nothing else happens. If I just remove the El Capitaine HDD the system boots up fine off the USB HDD.

Any ideas anyone ?

Thanks for taking the time to help,
Richard


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John Rofrano
Re: HDD drive only boots OS X as a USB drive, not as internal disc
on Mar 5, 2016 at 4:10:31 am

I'm not sure why the system wouldn't boot with just the external drive in the internal bay. I've done this several times when cloning a Mac to new hardware.

Do you really want to have two drives? One solution is to boot with the El Capitan drive in. Then open the Migration Assistant, plug in the USB drive with your Yosemite files, and migrate your account and all of it's applications and data to the El Capitan drive. That will give you El Capitan with all your current apps and data.

I usually do this when setting up the new Mac. In fact, you should have set up your new Mac from the Time Machine backup in the first place. You would have ended up with El Capitan and all of your apps and data. Restoring a new Mac with a Time Machine backup does not load the old OS X. It uses the new OS X with your old apps and data, which is what most people want to happen.

If you want to give this a second chance, back up any data you may have on the new Mac. Boot it with CMD+R to bring up recover mode. Then re-install El Capitan and use either restore from Time Machine or restore from other Hard Drive (since you now have both) and you will end up with El Capitan with your existing apps and data. At this point, it may be easier to just use the Migration Assistant on your existing El Capitan drive.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Richard Whitehead
Re: HDD drive only boots OS X as a USB drive, not as internal disc
on Mar 10, 2016 at 4:26:22 pm

Hi John,

Thank you for your reply, and it achieved success.

The reason for the convoluted path that I took was to have minimum changes (avoiding Yosemite to El Capitan), and to get a working system on to the 7200 rpm disc, rather than the 5400 rpm disc that Apple supplied. I had not realised that OS X would put El Capitan on to the Yosemite restored disc, instead of the original OS, and I suspect that was the cause of the no-boot problem.

I erased both 1Tb discs, and downloaded El Capitan from the net, on to the 7200 rpm disc. Then I did a Migration from the Time capsule on to the new disc. All now works just fine. I did a Carbon copy of the new system to my (now spare) 5400 rpm disc, so I feel happy to continue with confidence.

I think that I've still got some of the Windows mindset, where one makes very small moves in the OS, cuz a
lot of the utilities don't work...

Cheers!

Richard


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John Rofrano
Re: HDD drive only boots OS X as a USB drive, not as internal disc
on Mar 11, 2016 at 1:45:56 pm

I'm glad that all worked out for you. I've experimented with several ways of restoring old systems to new ones and it's not always obvious what the outcome will be. I was glad to see that Time Machine backups are smarter than your normal Carbon Copy backups in that they only backup the data you care about and can be restore to a new OS without affecting the new OS version. Very smart (sometimes smarter than us) ;-)

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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