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thedarkhalf

macrumors member
Original poster
May 15, 2008
84
306
I have a client with an old 2011 iMac that does not boot up fully. (has a graphics issue, 3 large green lines on the screen. The computer starts to boot up then just reboots) He is buying a new iMac and I'm trying to figure out how to transfer the data. I can get his old iMac into Target Disk Mode. So my question is.. What cable can I use to transfer the data? Will a USB-C to USB-A cable work?

Thanks
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
11,122
8,804
That cable will work, as will Ethernet, WiFi, or a Thunderbolt cable. Some of those options might require adapters.
 

thedarkhalf

macrumors member
Original poster
May 15, 2008
84
306
That cable will work, as will Ethernet, WiFi, or a Thunderbolt cable. Some of those options might require adapters.

The computer doesn't boot up so Wifi is out. Will Ethernet work via Target Disk Mode? Or only the C to A cable?
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,372
6,858
I have a client with an old 2011 iMac that does not boot up fully. (has a graphics issue, 3 large green lines on the screen. The computer starts to boot up then just reboots) He is buying a new iMac and I'm trying to figure out how to transfer the data. I can get his old iMac into Target Disk Mode. So my question is.. What cable can I use to transfer the data? Will a USB-C to USB-A cable work?

Thanks
The 2011 iMac will not use USB for Target Disk Mode- you can only use either Firewire or Thunderbolt. To use Thunderbolt, you'll need a Thunderbolt cable and probably a Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapter. If you use Firewire, you'll need a Firewire 800 cable, a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter, and a Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapter.
Ethernet will also not work for Target Disk Mode.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,108
12,262
If the 2011 has thunderbolt, a thunderbolt2 to thunderbolt3 adapter -and- a thunderbolt3 connecting cable should do it.

The tbolt3 adapter is $50 from Apple.
It might be possible to find a slightly-used one cheaper on ebay.
For a one-time use, that's what I'd do.

Tbolt3 cables aren't cheap, either, about $25 or so.

Hmmm....
IF there's an Apple Store anywhere nearby, they MIGHT be willing to perform this connection/transfer free of charge for a new iMac owner. Of course, you'd have to "carry both iMacs in" to the place, and back out again.

Another thought:
You said that YOU can get it into target disk mode?
How, exactly?
If you can get access to the drive from another Mac, why couldn't you do the following:
1. Get an external drive large enough to hold the contents of the (non working) Mac's internal drive
2. Get CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper (both are FREE to download and use for 30 days, my solution costs you nothing)
3. Use either CCC or SD to clone the contents of the old iMac's internal drive to an external USB drive.
4. Now, take that external drive to the new iMac.
5. Boot for the first time and run setup assistant, and when setup assistant asks WHERE you wish to migrate from, "point it" towards the cloned backup.
6. Bring over the client's relevant data that way.

Instead of spending $75-100 for an adapter and cable that the user may be used only once, have him spend it on a decent USB3 external drive, do the "cloning process" above, and then show him how to KEEP USING the old drive to back up his new iMac. This will be money "much better spent" for the future...
 
Last edited:

Ruggy

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2017
958
612
Why not just crack open the old iMac and pull the HD? Then you can recover data as you see fit.

Not that hard to get the HD out...especially if the machine does not need to be reassembled. You need about 10-15 min, any old suctuon cup and a torx or two. Easy peasy.

I was going to suggest exactly the same thing!
The screen is held on by magnets. You can even scrunch up some duct tape, stick it in the middle near the top and pull the screen off. I've done it several times. Really not a difficult job.
Yes, 10-15 mins to get to the HD. There's a video on ifixit if you want to check
Then, mount it in an external drive box and you're away.
 
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