How to Boot from an External SSD
How to Boot Your Same System from an External SSD
Before you get started, be sure to make an external backup of your current Macintosh HD.
Step 1 - Plug your new External SSD into one of your free USB 3.0 ports.
Step 2 - Download free cloning software onto your iMac.
Step 3 - Copy your Macintosh HD (internal hard drive) to your new External SSD. Be sure to select "Backup - all files" as that will ensure that you create a bootable clone. This may take a few hours to complete so be prepared not to use your iMac during this time.
Step 4 - Reboot your iMac like you normally would but when you see the Apple icon, hold down the Alt key until it provides you an option to boot from your SSD. Select your new SSD and if everything looks good but just faster, pat yourself on the back.
Set Your New External SSD to Be Your Default
If you are loving your new-old iMac, then you can also set it to boot from this drive as a default. Simply go to System Preferences - Startup Disk and select your new SSD to be the system to start your computer.
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