Trying to install a new operating system
MacBook Pro 17" mid 2010
I am installing a new SSD in my Mac. How do I install a new operating system on the drive?
Before you make the jump here make sure your SSD is able to work in your system. You need a drive that can run at SATA II (3.0 Gb/s). Review the drives spec sheet to make sure the SATA speed is listed if not you'll need to get a different SSD drive.
Do make sure the size of the drive you get is large enough. Review how much stuff you currently have on your drive that you are carrying over to the new drive. You want to have 1/3 of free space on top of your stuff for a smaller drive 256 GB or less and 1/4 for anything 512 GB or larger.
The easiest way to install the OS onto your new drive is to first leverage your old HD if it's still working. To do this you'll need to get a SATA to USB adapter like this: Startech 2.5" SATA to USB adapter that will allow you to have both drives connected at the same time to your system. Then down load from the App Store the OS installer if you don't already have a copy on your system. Make sure you've setup the drive with GUID partition mapping using Disk Utility first. The rest is easy! Just follow the directions. At the end it will ask you if you want to migrate your stuff over to the new drive here you can selectively copy over your user account and apps as well as what other files you want on your new drive.
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You will need to download the installer for the OS from the App Store and then install it onto the drive. Obviously this will mean you need a working Mac before you put the new SSD in. Here is a link to a good tutorial on how to install Yosemite, it should work the same with El Cap. Pick whichever option they list that you are most comfortable with.
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