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Swapping MacBook Air SSDs. Not sure how to access Disk Utility with new drive in Mac

I purchased a larger SSD from Other World Computing for my mid-2012 MacBook Air (OS X v10.10 Yosemite). I've successfully burned an image of my old drive to an external drive, but I'm now stuck.

If I install the new SSD into the Mac, Recovery Mode, Image 1, and the Disk Utility, Image 2, won't be available because they aren't installed on the on the new SSD; it's a blank drive.
I could boot to the external drive which contains a fully functional of OS X from my old SSD, and, once booted, access Disk Utility. I don't think, however, this will work since booting into an operating system which I'm about to image won't work.
Does Recovery Mode, possibly, live on a separate partition of the drive? Or not on the drive at all?
There are hundreds of links out there that recommend using Disk Utility for this process. There must be a work-around.

Image 1Image 2
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jdana
Asked:
jdana
1 Solution
 
strungCommented:
Try this. First, make sure the computer will boot from the external.

Then install the new SSD in the Mac. If you have not already done so, boot from the external and format the new internal as Mac Extended Format (Journalled).

Then go to the App store and download a fresh system and install it on the internal. During the install, it should ask you to reboot from the internal and will ask you if you have anything you want to copy from another disk. Tell it you want to copy from the external and check all the boxes (i.e. applications, data, settings etc.)

This then should copy everything over from the external.

If by any chance the new installation does not ask you to migrate, but instead asks you to set up a user, make sure you don't use the same username as on the external. Just make up a temporary user. Then reboot into the new user on the internal and use Migration Assistant (found in the Utilities folder) to copy over from the external. It will copy that into a separate user with the original username and you can later delete the temporary user.

This all presupposes that you are content with your new SSD having Yosemite on it, because you may have a hard time downloading an older operating system.

If you want to keep your existing operating system, use the following procedure instead:

This time install a new operating system on the internal as before, but make a temporary user and don't migrate anything. The only purpose in doing this is that it will create a recovery partition on the internal.

Once that is one, reboot into the internal recovery partition by holding down Command-R, use disk utility to erase the main partition on the internal, then use Restore from Disk Utility to copy back the external to the internal.
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jdanaAuthor Commented:
Thanks!
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