clean install vs migration/TM restore

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by nyc2pdx, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. nyc2pdx macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    Just about to get my new iMac and considering doing a clean install. I have not done a clean install since my first mac back in I figure there is probably a lot of schmutz on my mac.

    Suggestions for doing this efficiently? Would you use some of migration assistant, but not all? I am most concerned bringing over mail (as contacts should sync with iCloud). Any other issues with doing a clean install from people who have done it before with a new mac?

    I imagine apps cannot be transferred over (Unless I use migration assistant) and I will need to re-download?
  2. gsahli macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2007
    Do you mean a new-to-you Mac with someone else's stuff on it? (I'm unsure what/why you'd do this)
    Migration assistant can move apps
  3. nyc2pdx thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    No, I have a 2012 iMac and I am taking delivery of a 2017 iMac today. I like the idea of a fresh install, as I have not done a fresh install since my first mac in 2009, and it would give me the opportunity to clear out the cobwebs.

    I've already cleaned up my apps and deleted unused or old apps. Cleaned up mail, stuff like that. Should I just restore from TM and not worry about it, or do a clean install and do an old fashioned drag and drop?
  4. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    I suggest taking the clean install route. I usually do a clean install on a new machine and manually transfer user data over.
  5. treekram, Jun 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017

    treekram macrumors 65832

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    It's not uncommon for Apple to have a different version of the OS for new computers, which has drivers, etc. for the new hardware (I'm presuming you're getting the iMac that was just announced). There has not been an update of Sierra since the new hardware has come out. At some point the new drivers are incorporated into the OS available from the App Store. You should call Apple to find out if it's OK to do a Time Machine restore from your old iMac and whatever OS version/update you have to your new iMac if that's what you decide to do. (TimeMachine may not even do a restore of OS stuff in this instance - I don't know.)

    You may ask why doesn't Apple just put the software for the new computers into the OS update before the new computers are released. Because that would disclose information on the new hardware that Apple doesn't want known before the official announcement.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I don't know how far you've progressed as I write this, but I'll offer my thoughts.

    I've done "manual migrations" as you're suggesting above, but be aware that doing one is more complicated than using Setup Assistant (which runs at the close of the initial setup process) or Migration Assistant (which can run any time).

    First and foremost, if you create entirely NEW accounts on the NEW Mac and then try copying over stuff from the old one, you're probably going to run head first into permissions problems. This can be easily worked around, but you have to be aware of what to do.

    I've never used Time Machine, so I have no idea how one would copy folders/files from a TM backup to a new account.

    Instead, I have always used cloned backups created with CarbonCopyCloner. These can be mounted in the finder and browsed through like any external finder-mountable drive.

    You should do this first:
    1. Mount the backup drive, let it appear on the desktop
    2. Click ONE time on the icon to select it, then type command-i (eye) to bring up the get info box
    3. Go to sharing and permissions and click the lock icon and enter your password (the one for the administrative account on your new Mac)
    4. Put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" and close get info

    Now you can copy ANYTHING from the backup drive into the new account, and the copied items will assume ownership of the new account.

    VERY IMPORTANT that you are also aware of this:
    You CANNOT copy the top level of sub-folders from one old account to another.
    By that, I mean you can't copy the folders named "Documents", "Music", "Pictures", "Movies", etc. I believe these are symbolic links and won't copy.
    HOWEVER -- you CAN copy items that are INSIDE these folders.
    By that, I mean that you can open your Pictures folder, select items inside, and copy THEM into, say, the Pictures folder of your new account.

    Also be aware that you can copy some stuff (perhaps not all) from the home/Library folder into the new Library folder as well.
    There are many "nested folders" inside, so it's probably best to have a clipboard and paper on it to keep a record of "what's copied" as you move along.

    For a good manual migration, better set aside 3-4 hours or maybe more. It's going to take a while.

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