There is an Apple utility program called Apple restore or asr located in /usr/sbin. Connect your external USB hard drive and format it using Disk Utility. Open the Terminal in Applications -> Utilities. Type the following command line into the Terminal to copy your hard drive over your external drive.
sudo asr -source /Volumes/OSX BOOT VOLUME NAME/ -target /Volumes/TARGET VOLUME NAME/
Replace “OSX BOOT VOLUME NAME” and “TARGET VOLUME NAME” with actual volume names. asr will take quite some time to copy the contents of hard drive to external hard drive.
When asr completes the execution, it will print a message:
asr: did not copy blessed information to target, which may have missing or out-of-date blessed folder information.
Then, bless your target drive with this:
sudo bless -folder /Volumes/TARGET VOLUME NAME/System/Library/CoreServices
Now, the hard drive is bootable. Restart your Mac and hold down “option” key. A screen will appear allowing to choose which volume to boot from.