Best way to transfer a home folder?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by macstatic, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. macstatic, Apr 5, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018

    macstatic macrumors 65816

    macstatic

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    #1
    What's the best way to transfer one or several home folders between two Macs (OSX 10.9.5)?

    Someone is probably going to suggest the Migration assistant, which I tried for the first time today, but here's the problem....
    On the new Mac (a 2012 Mac mini) there are two drives: a 250GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive. There's no room for the Home folders on the SSD, so what I've done after installing OSX 10.9.5 on the new Mac from scratch is create the users (with the same names as before, on the old Mac) the normal way (meaning they'll be on the SSD).
    Then, I've copied them over to the (newly initialized) internal hard drive and finally used the Users & groups system preference to relocate to the new locations (right clicking on each user to get at the Advanced options).

    Now, the problem is (in my experience, unless I've missed something) that Migration assistant only transfers stuff over from the old Mac to the SSD, regardless of having changed the Home folder paths to the hard drive, which means I don't have room for everything on the SSD, so I've opted to leave out some large folders (documents, Movies, Music etc.) so at least all the "specialized" files belonging in the Library folder would at least be migrated properly.
    The idea was to copy those folders over at the end, manually (drag & drop) from the old computer to the new computer's hard drive (I booted the old computer into "Target mode" which makes the old computer show up as an external hard drive on the new computer).

    Alas I'm getting into all sorts of permission problems, refusing me to copy and so on. I'm at loss on if I should log in as the user I'm currently going to copy the folders for, or if I should log in as someone completely different, or if I need to do a Finder "Get info" on that folder, ensure that the owner is the same name as its home folder, having read/write rights and "Apply to enclosing items" or something completely different. There must be a simple way to transfer everything from one Mac to another, even with the home folders relocated.

    UPDATE:
    After all of the above mess I decided to manually (Finder drag & drop) copy the individual user folders (Documents, Movies, Pictures etc.) from the old Mac to the new Mac's home folder (currently not in use of course as that would just cause problems, but for the time being just a normal folder).
    After a lot of messing around with permissions (Finder "Get info") I've succeeded in copying over all the folders (Documents, Movies, Desktop etc.); using the Finder's "Get info" for both source and destination folders I've been able to compare the content (amount of files and size) and I believe everything's copied correctly.

    That is... everything except the "Library" folder!
    I've tried changing all sorts of permissions, but even if things seem OK (the copying process is started and runs for a while), all of a sudden I'm told that some files can't be copied because I don't have permission. So back to square one: change the permissions to something new and give it another go (obviously I want to transfer 100% of what's inside the user's "Library" folder).

    I know I probably shouldn't do this with the original folder (the old Mac which I'm copying from), but I'm not aware of any other solution.
    Currently I've changed the "Library" folder's permissions so that all the users (the one I've logged in with while doing this, the actual owner of the folder and everyone else can read/write, changed the owner to the user I've logged in with, and selected "apply to enclosed items" which I expected to do just that -affect every folder/file/sub-folder with the same permissions.

    I will be changing the permissions back afterwards of course, but what am I doing wrong since I can't be able to copy the Library folder over without running into problems?
     
  2. prisstratton macrumors 6502a

    prisstratton

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    #2
    Maybe this is a little bit too late for you given all of the work you have done so far. But, I would have used RSYNC to do this. You could have issued one command and it literally would have copied the whole /Users directory structure from “source” to “destination” meanwhile preserving permissions.

    It sounds as if you did something that I have done myself on a previous occasion. I had tried to use Migration Assistant, but it missed all sorts of files, so I started over again by copying over a folder at a time and then comparing both source and destination…….very tedious, but I was VERY sure of my data after doing that.

    To use rsync the syntax of the command would be:

    sudo rsync -avz /Users /Volumes/NameOfYourMountedDestinationDrive

    If you wanted to test the functionality of this command first (and personally I would) I would plug in an external drive and run a test on that drive with maybe one user as opposed to all at once.

    To run a test the syntax would be similar, you would just need to change source and destination, for example this would copy the directory structure for a user named “macstatic”.

    sudo rsync -avz /Users/macstatic /Volumes/NameOfYourMountedExternalDrive

    The options I have set with this command do the following:

    -a means archive and it literally duplicates everything (permissions, groups, time stamp, all dirs and sub-dirs etc.)
    -v means verbose so that you can see that something is actually happening
    -z means to use compression while copying

    I am not a terminal expert by any stretch of the imagination, but i know how to get things done. Maybe I am missing something here (I do not think so), but this command works for me on my server setup.

    I hope it helps.
     
  3. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    macstatic

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    #3
    After a lot of struggle I'm finally done transferring everything. It was quite frustrating and time consuming, so your above suggestion is very welcome for the next time I need to do this.
    So Rsync will copy everything regardless permissions, when the "sudo" command is used?

    A related question to this is about permissions.
    Now that I've copied everything over I've ensured that the home folder has the same ownership name as the rightful owner, made it into "read/write" and "apply to enclosed items". Would that make things correct?
    From what I've been told, using Disk utility only fixes the permissions on the boot drive.
     
  4. prisstratton macrumors 6502a

    prisstratton

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    #4
    That is my understanding from everything I was able to find on the web. I did run a test of the command to copy my user folders to an external drive and it worked fine. But, I have not ran it in a multi-user situation. Maybe I will create a couple of users and test this.

    I am sorry, I have never had any issues with permissions and as such I have not spent anytime learning about them, I have a basic understanding is all. Maybe someone with more knowledge on your specific question can answer that.
     
  5. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    macstatic

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    #5
    Strangely, other "repair/cleanup" apps such as Onyx in addition to Disk utility all only repair permissions on the boot drive, so they can't help me. I'm sure I can't be the only person who's relocated the user folders to another drive than the boot drive.

    Are there any apps out there which fixes/resets permissions for any drive?
     

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