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I am about to upgrade the hard disk of my MacBook. (From 60GB to 320GB, which I know is below the limit of 500GB).

I was both able to install an OS X on the new drive and also to transfer the old hard disks partition to the new one with a sysresccd (linux live disk) and dd (dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda, so entire disk). So it's not a problem of hardware, limitations or restrictions.

So, after having transferred the 60 GB-disk to the new one, every partition manager would show me that there is about 260GB left on the disk, but none would allow me to resize the partition.

The Disk Utility on the OS X installation cd allowes to resize, but also erases the data. I tried to copy (dd) the old partition into the new, bigger one (dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=/dev/sda2), but then the system would refuse to boot.

What I have not yet tried is creating manually a partition, then copying all the contents (with hfsplus-support on the linux live disk), because I suppose this partition would not boot either.

Is there a way to either resize the partition after having copied the entire disk, or to render the manually resized partition bootable ?

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What happens if you boot it in verbose mode (hold down Cmd-V as it starts to boot up). If it isn't even an option when you hold down option at bootup, blessing the volume may fix it. – Clinton Blackmore Jul 2 '09 at 5:48
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Just cleanly partition the new disk to any size you like and copy the data over with Carbon Copy Cloner. It will be bootable and have the size you want.

You can do that on a running system, and don't need any live cd's or anything, just an usb or firewire interface for the new/second harddisk.

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this was, in fact, the easiest solution. – lImbus Jul 16 '09 at 9:16

I think there is a GUI way of doing this with Disk Utility but I can't remember off the top of my head. Anyway you should be able to resize a hfs+ volume nondestructively from the command line. The article is kind of old but the syntax haven't changed so it should still be the same. Standard warning like you should have a backup and don't try to resize the current boot drive but boot off CD or backup drive applies. You may also want to do sync and reboot right after resize as I don't know how much to trust finder to pickup the change right away.

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Interestingly enough, information online suggests that you can use the Boot Camp installer to return your Mac to a non-Boot Camp machine which will grow your HFS+ partitions.

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The Boot Camp Installer gives me only the possibility to shrink the partition (to less than 60GB) to make some room for a Windows partition. – lImbus Jul 1 '09 at 20:32
Are you able to install Boot Camp into the free space or create a windows partition using a LiveCD. Maybe you need to trick Boot Camp into thinking you already have a Windows partition you need to remove? – Kevin Kuphal Jul 1 '09 at 20:39

I'll second the idea of just partitioning the drive as you want and copying the data. See How to Create a Bootable Backup of Mac OS X for various methods to do so.

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