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Upgrade MacBookPro internal hard drive - best way to install osx

I have a macbook pro mid 2009 w/8gigs of ram.  Works great but the hard drive has only 20 gigs of free space out of 160 and starting to run slow.  (I already ran disk utilities).

I have a new hard drive I want to replace it with.    The question is how to get osx on there.  I don't want to use mavericks.  My original os disk is 10.5 and I also have the disk for snow leopard.  To get to 10.8, I have to use the app store.

Should I start from scratch and insert the new drive, let it format and start with snow leopard or using disk utility, create an image of my current drive.  Then when I replace the drive, use the image?  I can't use time machine because my external drive is FAT and time machine will want to remove everything that is on that drive.  I do have a 2nd mac but I don't have enough disk space to partition  for a time machine drive.

I am thinking the best thing is to start with snow leopard.
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Scott Fell,  EE MVE
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Scott Fell,  EE MVE
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byundtCommented:
I think that it is better to install a fresh copy of system software on your new hard drive if you have the hour or two required to download & install. I would also suggest starting with the final version of system software instead of using the original OS disk and then going through an upgrade.

When I changed hard drives on my early 2008 MacBook Pro, I connected the new hard drive (SDD) in a "toaster" through external USB, created a Mac partition using Disk Utility, and then installed the system software on it. When the system booted with the new drive, I then let it import the apps, settings and data from my original hard drive (which was still in the internal bay of the computer).

After completing that task, I put the new drive in the computer and the old drive in the "toaster", and kept it that way for a few weeks to make sure I had everything I needed.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thanks
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloperAuthor Commented:
I ended up taking the short cut.  I bought this connector for $25 bucks note book drive upgrade kit, cloned my drive.  Made the connect to the new hard drive via usb, used Disk Utility to format then clone.  Took off the back cover http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2009+Hard+Drive+Replacement/1337 and replaced.   Works great.  

I started to back everything up and it was going ver slow because my external hard drive is connected via usb2 and formatted FAT.  The majority of the files I really need the most are on dropbox and drive.  I just didn't want to spend the time backing up everything at once.  

This should give me another year or two+ before I have to break down and buy another.
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byundtCommented:
I'm glad to hear the Apricorn drive adapter worked for you.

I bought their metal enclosure for hard drives and connected it to the USB port on a Netgear WiFi router. I found that only certain external hard drives were supported by Netgear--and Apricorn wasn't one of them.
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