Fresh Install - Copying Files from Time Machine?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by eddjedi, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    I have just bought a new Mac, and as I haven't done a clean install for several years I want to do a clean install of High Sierra (especially as it has a new file system.) I don't want to do either a full Time Machine Restore or to import my old programs and files, I want a 100% fresh install.

    I have around 300GB of personal files in my Documents folder. Is it safe for me to browse to the "Latest" folder on my Time Machine drive and simply drag-and-drop those files on to my new Mac? I'm worried that Time Machine back ups have weird permissions or something. I could copy the files to an external HD first and then copy over, but that will take hours and seeing as they're already all there in Time Machine, it seems like a quicker option providing there are no side effects.

    Note - I realise the 'new' install will not carry on from my existing Time Machine back ups.
  2. labyrinth153 macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2017
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you use the migration assistant you can pick and choose what you recover from the time machine backup.
  3. Ritsuka macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2006
  4. eddjedi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    Does Target Disk Mode still exist? If so how would I connect a USB 3.0 MBA to a USB-C MBP?
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    First, I'd recommend that -- for now -- you stick with Low Sierra (which is probably on the new Mac). Too may problems with High Sierra at the moment.

    As Clint Eastwood said in one of the Dirty Harry movies... "do ya feel lucky, punk?"

    Having said that, my recommendation is that you do this:

    1. Unpack the new Mac, but DO NOT TURN IT ON YET.

    2. Connect your TM backup drive to the old Mac, and run the backup one last time, so it's absolutely "current".

    3. Connect the TM backup to the NEW Mac.

    4. Now press the power on button on the NEW Mac.

    5. Begin the setup routine. At the appropriate moment, the setup assistant will ask if you wish to migrate data from an older Mac or drive.

    6. "Aim" setup assistant at the TM backup drive.

    7. Now you'll be offered a set of choices as to WHAT is to be migrated. You can leave applications UNCHECKED if you wish. But you probably want to bring over your old account and data (this should include the existing documents folder).

    8. You'll end up with your old account, old password, and all your old files. Be aware that some of the preferences and settings files may reference old apps that "are no longer there". Easy matter to delete them individually.

    THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DO THIS, but I would not recommend you try it with a TM backup.

    IF you create a new user account on the new Mac, and then try to copy over files from your OLD user account, you're probably going to run into permissions problems. There are "ways around this", too.
  6. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Yes, you'd need a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, and a Thunderbolt cable.
  7. eddjedi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    @Fishrrman - Thanks for the lengthy reply, but that is exactly what I don't want to do. I have already migrated my account and files from a 2009 iMac to a 2013 Macbook Air, it has collected a lot of crap over the years such as Sound Flower preferences I have not been able to get rid of and at least four different versions of Adobe Creative Suite, so I am keen to do a fresh install with new user account etc this time. I can't think of anything tied to this account I need that I won't get back from logging in with iCloud on the new account.

    You raise the point of file permissions though which is what I was worried about. So it might be best to move all of my files out of my account folder to the root of the HD first?

    Thanks, is it not possible to use USB-C to USB-A? I already have one of those cables.
  8. dsemf macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2014
    In a terminal session, run this command:
    dscl . -read /Users/<yourshortname>
    You will get a very long report. The end has the useful information:
    NFSHomeDirectory: /Users/xxx
    Password: ********
    PrimaryGroupID: 20
     John Doe
    RecordName: xxx
    RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Users
    UniqueID: 502
    The UniqueID is the key to directory and file level security. If you create your users in the same sequence with the same names, they should end up with the previous UniqueID.

    When I do a fresh install, I only copy my data from the backup.

    All applications are installed from new downloads.

    The content of ~/Library is NOT copied except for rare cases where application data is actually stored in ~/Library. This also means that all preference settings, licenses keys, etc. are lost.

  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    OK, if what I posted above is not what you want to do, you could try this instead:

    You'll need an external drive and CarbonCopyCloner.
    External drive should be HFS+ with journaling enabled.

    IF -EVERYTHING- is in the Documents folder, proceed as follows.

    Launch CCC
    Use your internal drive as the source.
    Use the external as the target
    You don't need to clone everything, so...
    ...In the lower left of CCC's window, there is a popup menu. The title is "clone".
    Choose "Selected files".
    UNCHECK everything EXCEPT the "Users" folder (which will contain your home folder and your documents folder).
    Then... let CCC do its thing, copying the Users folder to the external drive.

    WHY CCC is the best choice to do this:
    Over the years, you might have ended up with a "corrupted" file (or files) in your documents folder.
    IF you try to use the finder to copy this folder to another drive, it may encounter the corrupted file(s), then abort the copy. You may not even know which file is causing the trouble.
    CCC won't do this. Instead, it will just "take note of" the bad file, and keep right on going. When done, CCC will present you with a list of any problem files it encountered, and you'll have the entire 300gb folder copied over.

    Next thing to do:
    Connect the backup drive to the NEW Mac.
    Let the icon mount on the desktop.
    Click ONE TIME on it to select it.
    Type "command-i" (eye) to bring up the get info box
    Down in the lower right, there's a lock icon. Click it and enter your administrative password (the one you're using with your NEW account on the NEW Mac).
    Next, in sharing and permissions, put a check into the box "ignore ownership on this volume".
    Close get info.
    Now you can copy ANYTHING from the backup to the new Mac, and the copied files will come "under the ownership" of your new account.

    Now you can copy stuff where you need to.

    One other thing....
    I don't think it's advisable to keep 300gb of "stuff" in one folder.
    You should "break it up" into smaller pieces.
    Doing so will probably make it easier to find stuff when you need to.
  10. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Doesn't look like it, based on http// that cable would only work for a 12" Retina MacBook, which doesn't support Thunderbolt 3.
  11. eddjedi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    Thanks for all the help. I can confirm that USB-C to USB 3.0 (A) does indeed work :) I put the new Macbook Pro in target disk mode, and connected it to my old MBA via its USB port. Worked fine, transferred over 300GB of files in less than an hour.

    I moved all of the files out of my user folder to the root of the HD first to try and avoid permission issues, seems to have worked.

    Yes don't worry I haven't literally got 300GB of random files in a single folder, they are all neatly organised in to folders for work, software, media etc.
  12. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    I too wish to do a fresh install now I have upgraded to HS.

    Now my macbook has 2 physical drives.
    one 240GB SSD main drive and one 250GB second drive.
    The second drive has my home folder on it.

    If I wipe the drive SSD and reinstall and use migration wizard, will it put back to the home folder on other drive?
    Will it keep my license keys etc for my apps?
    Will it bring over settings/favourites/saved passwords/etc of browsers?

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11 October 11, 2017