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Migration Assistant v Time Machine

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Soundhound, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    #1
    I'm having some system problems on my macbook pro so I'm going to do an erase and clean install of Mountain Lion, and will want to be able to keep all my info and apps etc.

    It seems like the two different ways to do this are

    - Time Machine - make sure Time Machine is up to date, wipe the drive, install OSX and then do a restore with Time Machine.

    - Migration Assistant.

    How would this work with Migration Assistant? Do I use it to make a clone to another drive, and then use that clone to restore to my laptop drive?

    Also, anyone have a preference for one approach or the other?

    thanks!
     
  2. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #2
    You can use the Time Machine backup as the source of the data for the Migration Assistant.

    The problem is what you are describing is not really a clean install. A true clean install means you install the OS on a blank drive then manually reinstall all apps and manually enter all your settings. Importing apps and settings from a Time Machine restore or Migration Assistant just imports back any problem apps or settings you had to begin with.
     
  3. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #3
    Is there actually any difference between this method and the other booting from install DVD and restore everything directly from Time Machine?
    Forgive me, but after all these forums i read, i am really not sure if there is actually any difference or any advantage of one method vs the other.
     
  4. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #4
    If you are having problems you hope to solve by a reinstall, the Migration Assistant (MA) method is more likely to be helpful. If you fresh install then use MA to import, it just imports your personal data and settings... not the actual OS files as they were put there by the new install. Where if you just do a restore every OS file is put right back where is was, so you have accomplished nothing. If you have a corrupted OS file it gets put right back.
     
  5. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #5
    Thanks for replying.
    So you mean i can do a clean install of 10.6.2 (i think that is on the install dvd) and then use the MA to import Applications, Settings and Files?
    What about updates to current 10.6.8?
    I guess stuff like iPhoto and iTunes files and libraries are also imported through MA?
     
  6. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #6
    Yes... MA will import all of that. You will have to reapply 10.6.8 though.
     
  7. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #7
    So, wouldn't it be exactly the same with restore from Time Machine? If i import everything from TM (Applications, Library, Settings, Users) using MA what would be the difference. I mean, wouldn't i also have imported all possible garbage in my OS?
    Thanks again
     
  8. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #8
    No. A "restore" from Time Machine will replace everything on the drive, including the actual files and folders that makeup the OS, with the file and folders on the Time Machine backup. So, for example, if there is a corrupt OS file in the main /System folder, that will be put right back on the HDD by the Time Machine restore.

    Whereas, a fresh install followed by a Migration Assist import, does not bring back ANY of the OS files at all. If there was a corrupt file in the /System folder, MA does not bring it back. All MA brings in is settings, apps, and your personal data (photos/docs/etc).
     
  9. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #9
    What about "Library"? Or you include it when you say "Settings" ?
     
  10. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #10
    MA will bring in files from the /Users/Username/Library folder as there are many .plist files in there that contain app settings etc. But the main /Library folder files will not come over other than some systemwide preferences like firewall settings and that sort of thing.
     
  11. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #11
    Thanks, but..

    Thank you for your immediate reply.
    But, i made a new user account in my existing system and when i tried to import stuff using MA, it could not "See" my external USB disk that i use for Time Machine!! Any suggestions?
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    #12
    Pretty sure (its been a while) that when you import via a time machine backup you can select to restore documents only rather than documents and applications.


    Its been a while though...
     
  13. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #13
    If you start Disk Utility under the new login can you see the Time Machine disk?

    That is correct.
     
  14. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #14
    Yes, and it also appears on Desktop. But MA only finds my Macintosh startup disk.
     
  15. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #15
    I don't understand. You need to login to the new account then launch Migration Assistant from /Applications/Utilities then tell it to import files from the Time Machine disk. If you can see that disk on the desktop, Migration Assist should be able to select it. I don't believe Migration Assist would even show you the very boot disk it is running from as an option. Are you sure you are not mistaking the Time Machine disk as the boot disk in the Migration Assist screen?
     
  16. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #16
    I do it exactly as you say. I don't think i confuse them, since my startup disk is called "Macintosh" and Time Machine "Backups". Macintosh is appeared and lets me import stuff from other users. No date selection or anything. Could it be the usb connected disk? I mean could it only work with internal partition or disk?
     
  17. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #17
    You are right..

    Dear Weaselboy, i am afraid you are correct!
    MA actually displays my Time Machine disk, but with Macintosh name as it is backuped. I noticed the icon and a made a test with a new file to be certain.
    I 've just never had used MA before and i thought that would give me the selection of date to import. It seems that it brings everything from the latest backup. Thanks again for your patience, Alex.
     
  18. macrumors demi-god

    Weaselboy

    #18
    Oh good. Glad it worked out. :D
     
  19. macrumors member

    gigas65

    #19
    Time Machine DOES NOT recognize old backups!!

    After the hd replacement, fresh 10.6.3 install, import with Migration Assistant, update to 10.6.8, Time Machine does not "see" old backups! It wants to start from scratch, instead of the "changed stuff addition" method. Any help?
     

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