Common Reasons that Demand Cloning the Startup Drive on Mac

Updated October 6, 2023

Drive cloning is a process that involves replicating the contents of a hard drive or any of its volumes, in order to have a backup copy of the data it contains. Well, the process is not as simple as it sounds from the term ‘data replication’, but it requires you to be attentive as long as the process is going on. Cloning process not only is limited to volumes containing data, but it is also applicable on the startup disk (i.e. boot volume), in order to have another boot volume on the same or a secondary hard drive.

Talking about the reasons that why somebody would clone the startup volume of his Mac system spotlights a number of different aspects. In fact, people may have different needs or you can say issues, due to which they decide to take such a huge but wise decision. Mentioned below are a few general reasons that demand clone Mac startup drive:

Cloning Mac Startup


  • In order to enlarge your personal collection of movies, photos, and other like stuff, you need a larger drive.
  • You want to create a bootable backup of your Mac system and therefore, you need to include the boot volume as well.
  • To create a portable copy of your Mac, cloning the boot volume is a wise decision.
  • Having multiple boot volumes on the internal hard drive keeps your Mac data accessible, even if the original boot volume is no loner working.

Well, no matter what the reason that demands cloning the Mac startup drive is, the following criteria must be satisfied with no failure:

  1. In order to clone Mac drive, including the boot volume, make sure the destination drive uses the same Partition Map Scheme as the primary drive:
  • To boot an Intel-based Mac, the drive must be using GUID Partition Table as the Partition Map Scheme.
  • To boot a PowerPC-based Mac, the drive must be using Apple Partition Mac as the Partition Map Scheme.
  • Both primary and secondary (i.e. destination) drives must be formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  1. The Destination drive must be formatted with the same file system as the primary drive is:
  1. The number of partitions on the destination drive must be equal to that on the primary drive with no failure.
  2. A reliable Mac cloning tool (compatible with the Mac OS X version you are using) is required.

Once the required criteria is satisfied, you can begin Mac startup drive cloning, even with the Disk Utility as the default cloning tool in Mac OS X.

To begin, boot your Mac Mavericks, Mountain Lion, or Lion from Recovery HD. For this, restart the Mac and hold down the ‘Command + R’ keys, and release them the moment you see the gray Apple logo. In the Mac OS X Utilities window, launch Disk Utility.

Important: To clone the boot volume of your Mac system earlier than Lion (10.7), you must have the bootable or startup disk.

Once Disk Utility is launched, proceed with the steps mentioned below:

  1. In the left pane of Disk Utility, select the volume Macintosh HD.
  2. Go to the Restore tab in the right pane.
  3. Now, drag the volume Macintosh HD from the left pane to the right and drop it in the Source field, in case it is not already displayed there.
  4. Likewise, drag the destination drive from the left pane to the right pane, and then drop it in the Destination field.
  5. Make sure the selected drives (both) are correct ones, and the click the Restore button.

Based upon the number of installed apps, the process takes a while to finish. Once drive cloning is finished successfully, restart the Mac normally. To boot from the clone drive, hold down the ALT Key when Mac is booting, and select the clone drive as the primary boot volume.

Vishal is sharing his knowledge on Mac OS X boot clone so that user can understand the need of creating backups. To know more Visit

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