How to migrate without integrating things into new computer

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sun surfer, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. sun surfer macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    OK, here's the deal - I just got a new mac mini, and I need to move all my stuff from my old Macbook Pro over to it. I do want to just move it all, but the thing is, I don't want the computer to spread everything all over the new mini into where it "should" all go. Instead, I'd rather it migrate all the stuff and leave it in a separate folder or something, because I have a lot of stuff on my old Macbook and I want to eventually go through and erase a bunch so I don't want all that stuff spreading out and disappearing/hiding into the mini, but I also want to go ahead and get everything on my mini so I can use as needed as well.

    I tried the Migration Assistant but didn't go through with it because it looks like it will transport everything over and spread it out too much. I don't have an external hard drive or even a cord that will connect to both (except maybe the ethernet?). So any ideas on how I can easily accomplish this? Thanks!
  2. blasto2236 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    I can understand your concerns, but there's only so far things can "spread out" on the file system on a Mac. All pics will go to Pictures, videos to Videos, Music to music, and everything else to Documents. It seems like this would be MORE ideal for you, rather than sorting through a jumbled folder of various file types to decide what to clear, you can sort through 4 folders. I brought over 250GB worth of media and documents over from my Windows PC when I got an iMac. I never had any problems trimming the fat (and honestly, most of it got trashed anyway, best to start fresh and re-download essentials IMO)

    As for connecting the two, definitely go with ethernet. It didn't take long at all to do that with my Windows PC and migration assistant.

    What I would also recommend is buying an external HD and doing regular Time Machine backups. It'll make things 10x easier for you when you do this next time.
  3. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    Yeah I know I need an external hard drive. Actually I already have one that still has something else on it that I haven't got around to cleaning off yet so I couldn't use it.

    Well, I just went ahead with migrate because I didn't want to wait around (and I did use ethernet which was way faster). Luckily, I had already made one user on the new mini, and I chose to migrate my user from the Macbook as well. What that did was create one user where most things went to and another that was still fresh (i.e. I could still see what the dock "originally" looks like in the fresh user, etc.).

    Of course the files and applications are in the finder regardless of user. I wish I'd remembered to note all the original applications included because I really want to trim the fat with all my applications, but I've found a way I think. If I sort them by date at the moment before I do any more updating or anything, all the ones transferred with migrate show up around the same time "date modified" while the stuff that came with the mini has an earlier time, so I can now note which is which before I move on.

    One thing though - I don't agree with you about all the migrated stuff being easy to find. I did it anyway, but for instance, on my migrated user, it has my old screen saver which is a folder I made of various screen savers that automatically switch every so often. I remember having to really work to figure out where to put that folder so that I could choose it as a screensaver option (I even called the Applecare number for any tech support needed, and they couldn't even figure out what to do...big help lol). Anyway somehow I finally figured it out but it's hidden somewhere and now I've forgotten where and so it'll probably stay on my new computer forever too now even if I change screensavers out (which I will since this new computer has new screensavers I want to try).

    But I'm not just worried about that one thing. I'm sure one of you could tell me where it's at, or I could eventually figure it out again if I really wanted to. But the thing is that there are lots of various and random things like that all over my computer, some of which I've surely forgotten about, all now migrated over and hiding in my new computer too. Many of them might not take up much space (though some might), but it's just annoying to know they're all on my new computer now hiding out.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Here's what I'd suggest. This is a _manual_ process, no automation involved.

    1. Create a new folder on your OLD Mac. Give it any name you wish.

    2. Now, MANUALLY go through ALL the material you are considering for transfer to the NEW computer. The stuff you want to keep, put into the "transfer folder" you created above.

    3. Once you have completed this process on the old Mac, just copy the transfer folder over to the new Mac.

    4. Now, you will have to again sort through the contents of the transfer folder, and manually copy each item into the place you want it on the new Mac….

    Again, a manual process, but it will work.

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