Data xfer from old to new machine; best practices

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sperdynamite, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. sperdynamite macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2011
    I will be getting a new Mac soon and I'd like to know a few things about setting it up. First, should I just use the migration assistant to straight up copy my current machine to the next? Are there any possible performance issues that could arise from basically cloning a late 2009 iMac to a new Mac Pro?

    Or is it better to start fresh, and just re-install apps, xfer over data files and re-link them? For example, this would be a sizable Lightroom Library. I have Adobe Creative Cloud so getting started there would be as simple as downloading the apps to my new machine.

    2nd question: I have an OWC FW800 raid 5 storing my photos, videos. I plan to move to a Thunderbolt or USB3 OWC raid 1 with the new machine. I have about 2.5tb of data on my FW raid. What's the best way to move THAT over considering the new machine will have no FW port? Airdrop?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Are there any possible performance issues that could arise from basically cloning a late 2009 iMac to a new Mac Pro?"

    Some applications may need updating.
    Depends on the applications that you're using.

    "What's the best way to move THAT over considering the new machine will have no FW port?"

    Buy Apple's thunderbolt-to-firewire adapter?
    Cost is about $30.
  3. sperdynamite thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2011
    My question essential stemmed from the old theory that it's a good idea to do a clean install every few years or so to keep things running like they did on day one, a practice I don't do with my mac. Any idea whether there is much value in that idea? Migration assistant is certainly the easiest route for me, but if there is basically no point then I won't bother.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Migration assistant DOES NOT "migrate" the old copy of the OS.
    That is left untouched on the new Mac.

    But it DOES bring over:
    - applications
    - accounts
    - settings
    - other data.
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I did a fresh install and just manually copied over my files. The only real pain, I think, was having to reconfigure all my settings (email, login information, etc.). I didn't think it was much of a problem myself.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If your existing machine is operating okay, then the odds are Migration Assistant will work just fine and a "clean install" will be a complete waste of time. There are big believers in the "clean install" as a cure for everything her, but I am not among them.

    The only time you may have issues using Migration Assistant is if you are running a utility or app that is not compatible with the newer OS version. But even then it is relatively easy to figure that out and fix it.
  7. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    You're buying a new Mac. It will already have a "clean" install. Migration Assistant will work fine. You can connect the two Macs with an Ethernet cable as well as the Thunderbolt/Firewire cable.
  8. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    I wouldn't clone the drive. You may be missing drivers for the Mac Pro because Apple has a past history of providing specific installers for specific models and with App Thinning in the iDevice App Store they could be doing the same thing in the Mac App Store which only supplies the needed resources for the device.

    I did a transfer using a Time Machine backup, had no problems except it took a pretty long time. If you'd rather just have a quick and dirty way of doing it without restoring your settings just copy the folders you need to an external drive and then move them off to the Mac Pro.

    As for the Raid transfer, you can use airdrop, but it will be slow. I found a firewire 400 to 800 adapter and a firewire 800 to Thunderbolt cable on Amazon that allowed me to hook up my audio interface (Firewire 400) directly to my 2013 iMac. Costs about $50 and a lot cheaper than buying a whole new storage array. Since you already have the storage array, you'll probably have a better time sharing the drive from your 2009 iMac and then copying the data from the share over the to the other drive from your Mac Pro.

    I haven't studied Airplay much but I am assuming it uses Bluetooth 3.0 (based on the 2009 iMac) which will give you transfer speeds of about 3 Mbps whereas if you have a low end Wireless G router you'll get speeds of 54 Mbps, 150-450 Mbps with a Wireless N router, and 450-1Gbps with a Wireless AC router. Assuming Airplay uses Bluetooth for transfers it should only be used if you are transferring single files.
  9. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Generally, I've had fine experience with Setup Assistant. The new computer looks like the old one, but performs like a new one.

    However, every so often you'll be carrying forward some old, incompatible startup apps/items (the kind of stuff that can cause beachballs when your desktop starts up). This will be more apparent if your 2009 is on Snow Leopard than if you'd already updated it to something more recent and have already isolated those old/outdated items.

    I'd go ahead with Setup Assistant and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. I've become a fan of Etrecheck for tracking down things like obsolete startups and kexts.

    As far as methodology - just avoid Wi-Fi - it's much slower than the hard-wired methods. A firewire to Thunderbolt cable would be fastest (and would help with that OWC drive as well), but you could also use direct ethernet to ethernet (assuming it's a desktop Mac rather than a laptop).

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