Easy OS change on a old MacBook

(John Burt) #1

When I installed El Capitan on my old MacBook Pro the links to Apple broke. There was no way to upgrade by a normal route. The last time I cloned my Mac Air, I used the clone to put that OS (Sierra) on the Pro. The transfer was slow, but it was sure easier than any other install I have done.

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(Adam Engst) #2

Perhaps the old MacBook Pro isn’t signed in with your Apple ID?

In general, cloning one Mac and restoring onto another is a bad idea with the latest operating systems. Apple explicitly recommends against imaging with High Sierra and later.

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(John Burt) #3

Good to know. (The High Sierra article was over my head BTW - too technical. “Monolithic System Imaging” indeed. I wouldn’t have known that was clone related without the context of your email.)

Another reason to not upgrade. Sorry, but that’s the way it is in the real world for those of us who use computers but not Apple’s way. We just have to accept the security risks.

I tried High Sierra on the Air and didn’t like it. Too many low level glitches with non-Apple software and my network. I reverted via clone last year. High Sierra works fine on the computer in the living room where all it does is play recordings or stream.

As for the Pro, it would Not Let me sign in no matter how many password changes and special codes from Apple I tried. I eventually gave up and disconnected the Pro from Apple as many ways as I could figure out. The only thing it prevented me from doing was getting my iCloud email which was bottom of the priorities list anyway. When I had time, I did the clone thing, the only option I knew. Now the Pro works smoother than it ever has. I started using it without making any changes.

After all the tries on the Pro, I had to reconnect all the other machines to Apple of course.

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(Adam Engst) #4

Sounds like it might be worth finding a local Apple consultant to take a look at your systems, since this isn’t standard behavior.

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(John Burt) #5

Tech help from a “kid” with limited life experience. That’s like asking for help from someone under 40 in a big box hardware store. Been there, done that, waste of time, no thanks.

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(Adam Engst) #6

I can’t guarantee any given consultant can solve any particular problem, but I know many who are extremely technically capable. And lots of them have been working on the Mac for decades and have seen and solved a vast number of problems.

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(Simon) #7

Is that really what they are saying? My understanding is you can still clone just fine. The important thing is to check updates after doing so and running installer on them until a specific system has received all the firmware updates it needs.

I always considered the fact that we can clone and move one install to another Mac and just go from there to be one of the major advantages of Macs. Obviously, you can’t run newer hardware on an older OS, but apart from that restriction, you essentially have one base system to rule them all. Very elegant.

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(Jerome King) #8

Until recently I had 2 residences and slightly different iMacs in the two.
I would create a clone in residence F and take it to residence D. Then. use Super Duper to reverse clone from the external (travel ) drive onto iMac D.
(And then later in the year do the same process in reverse)

I always had long times spent cleaning up problems

At one Genius Bar session I was advised to NOT do that because the drivers for the internals of the two different iMacs weren’t the same. They strongly recommended using a Time Machine travel drive approach.
Still some issues but not as bad

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(Adam Engst) #9

Apple isn’t saying that it definitely won’t work, they’re saying not to do it because you could end up in a problematic situation. Since firmware is only installed by the macOS Installer now, you don’t want to restore clones between models (and if you’re restoring a current version of macOS, there’s no way to get the installer to run). In that article, I wrote:

Without the macOS Installer being able to download necessary firmware updates during installation, any given Mac could end up in an unsupported and potentially unstable state.

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(Simon) #10

Interesting. But I suppose you could always just boot into recovery mode, install a fresh macOS on top of whatever was cloned over and get the installer to install any firmware that might be missing.

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(Adam Engst) #11

Conceivably, yes, although that’s not really any easier than just installing macOS from scratch and letting Setup Assistant bring everything back from the cloned drive.

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(StuartJ) #12

Not exactly. Apple, without notice, removed the payload from the Apple servers that the recovery mechanism built into Macs relied on. I had my TimeMachine drive disk drive crash first. Then I installed HardDisk Manager from Paragon and my system went to hell. I already had had DriveGenius from ProSoft Engineering; it turned out that the two KEXTs fought uncontrollably and I never got control of my system again. This was a 2007 iMac and El Capitan. I believed I had a Virus - and after a long time and a lot of effort decided to use the recovery “partition” to rebuild my system. Apple Support finally informed me that they had taken the recovery system out of service but not why and that I would have to bring my system into a store or repair depo to have it fixed - at my expense! I pitched a fit. I’ll write more if anyone is interested.

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(Curtis Wilcox) #13

If a Mac already has a recovery partition, Apple can’t take it out of service. If you mean Internet Recovery, that never worked on 2007 iMacs.

Internet Recovery was introduced with OS X Lion in 2011, it worked on new Mac models and many models from 2010 and 2011 with a firmware update. I booted a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro using Internet Recovery just a couple of weeks ago; I ended up not using it but I think it would have installed the OS X version that was current when it was released, OS X Mountain Lion.

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