A philosophical question about Migration Assistant

Discussion in 'macOS' started by smirk, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #1
    Hi all,

    I just bought a 2011 iMac Core i7 and am in the process of setting it up, copying data over from my 2006 iMac, etc. and had a question for the Mac community at large.

    When I first turned on the new iMac, Safari launched almost as fast as I could click. It was incredible! The icon hadn't even bounced 1/2 way up and Safari was open. Web pages simply snapped onto the screen! Anyway, I played around for awhile and then ran migration assistant and had it copy all my data, apps, and user accounts over.

    Now, Safari takes a bounce or two to launch and web pages don't load as quickly as before. iMovie takes 30 seconds or so to load in my clips, which is just a little faster than it was on the old, slow iMac. Migration Assistant also didn't bring over my customized sshd_config file, and I'm wondering what other stuff in /etc or elsewhere wasn't brought over. It also said some applications were deleted because they wouldn't run on the new system (and it created an "incompatible applications" folder but it's empty), but my old Mac was Intel and on the same OS level so that doesn't really make sense.

    Basically, Migration Assistant seems to have done a very good job at bringing over my settings and data, although it did miss some files and did give some cryptic errors.

    The OCD part of my brain wants to reinstall the OS and manually move all my data over to get a fresh, clean system. I know at that point that all apps will be freshly installed, there will be no old leftover /Library/Application Data files on the system and no five year old .plist files containing references to obsolete settings. The practical part of my brain wants to avoid all that work and trust that the new iMac is working just fine. It is very possible that Safari now launches more slowly and appears more sluggish because it is now full of bookmarks, browsing history, and some plugins -- and those all take time to load in when launching. Maybe iMovie is slow to load simply because we have a whole lot of videos stored in iPhoto.

    So my philosophical question is this: What would you do, as a fairly advanced Mac user, when faced with the task of moving your data and settings over to a new computer? Installing from scratch *is* an opportunity to clean out old apps and their data, and it would just "feel" better knowing that everything is clean and free of kruft. But maybe that's just an emotional point of view with no basis in reality. It would be kind of a bummer to spend all weekend reinstalling, manually moving everything over (including the little things that you forget how to do, like ssh private keys and the cached login screen user icons) -- only to find that everything is exactly how it was before when Migration Assistant did all the work.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I'm probably too much of a perfectionist with this stuff and could use some opinions.
     
  2. smirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #2
    Maybe I rambled too much and wrote a book with that post. Let's try the condensed version: For those of you who are technical enough to manually move your data and settings to a new computer, do you prefer to take the time and effort to do that, or do you just use Migration Assistant? And do you have any concern that Migration Assistant could propagate old .plist files that contain obsolete or corrupt settings, and that this could cause undesirable side effects on your new machine?

    Thanks!
     
  3. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502

    SideStepSociety

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    I personally set up a new machine as a new machine. I've tried Migration Assistant just to see how well it worked, and ultimately decided against using it ever again.

    Since setting up your computer as new and picking and choosing what you wish to restore to it is up to you, it also gives you a chance to weed out the garbage you don't use/need/want any longer. As well as like you said, prevents the possibility of any corrupt plists carrying their way over.

    My vote is for not using Migration Assistant. The little bit of extra time it takes to do it manually usually pays off.
     
  4. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #4
    Migration assistant is great for some people, but I'm not really a fan (and I've not even used it, I just don't like the idea). Safari will take longer to launch once you've got bookmarks and such things in it, that explains the discrepancy there.
     
  5. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #5
    I always use Migration Assistant. I can't imagine not doing so, the time and effort isn't worth the feeling of a "clean" new system. I've never really understood those who say not to use it, as if spending hours getting something set up is somehow more satisfying than just getting started quickly.

    jW
     
  6. smirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #6
    Alright, thanks for your thoughts, guys. I'm still not sure what I'll do, but I appreciate the various opinions.
     

Share This Page