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How would you setup new iMac.

trjwv

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2010
201
0
kentucky...Go Cats
I am upgrading my late 2014 iMac with the 2019 iMac and need to know the best way to get all my files/programs over to my new unit. I have a time machine but was thinking about manually setting up all the programs and pulling over my files manually. Some say just use a time machine backup or migration but this would get all the clutter ie... unnecessary files also. How have many of you guys accomplished this for their new 2019 iMac's?
Thanks
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
94
12
I would set it up from scratch.

I tried using Migration Assistant but that screwed up the Open Directory and even the Apple engineers could not save it short of a factory reset. I ended up returning the Mac.

Save yourself the hassle.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,451
7,256
First off, I wouldn't use Time Machine.
Instead, I'd use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a cloned backup of your old Mac "exactly as it was at the moment you transfer over" (no "previous versions" like TM saves).

Now, you can connect the cloned backup (which is for all intents and purposes an EXACT COPY of the internal drive), mount it in the finder, and manually "move things over" as you wish.

IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT
Most users think that if they create an account on the new Mac with the same name and password as they used on the old one, that they can just "copy things from old to new" and use them that way.

NOT SO!
The new Mac will still think the files "are from a different user" and you'll get permissions errors and complaints.

The way to get around this:
a. Mount the backup in the finder, don't open it yet
b. Click ONE TIME on the drive's icon to select it, then open "get info"
c. At the bottom of get info click the lock and enter your password (the password you're using on the NEW Mac)
d. In "sharing and permissions", put a check into "ignore ownership on this volume"
e. Close "get info".
You can now copy items from the backup to the new Mac, and anything copied will "come under the ownership" of the NEW account you created on it.
 
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bpeeps

macrumors 68040
May 6, 2011
3,274
3,225
Setting up a new computer and manually reinstalling everything is part of the fun imo. You don't want to install all the junk you've had for five years on your new computer.
 
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whosthis

macrumors member
Aug 21, 2008
89
22
I have restored from the old Mac in the past (and it went absolutely painless), but with my current iMac I just started from scratch.

So many updates, terminal hacks, obscure drivers on the old machine... and who knows what kind of unused garbage from long forgotten apps will be transferred (caches, library folder etc.).

So it's also a good opportunity to do some cleaning up.

Given the speed boost I currently experience, I just don't think it comes from the improved hardware alone - but I will only know for sure when I setup the old machine freshly to sell it.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,900
513
The Sillie Con Valley
I would set it up from scratch.
That works only if all of your installers are compatible with Mojave. Not a safe bet with older apps.

Migration Assistant from Time Machine or another Mac is the correct way to do this.

You do not need cloneware for this unless the process isn't slow enough for you already.

The only downside with Time Machine is that it is slower than a direct transfer if the old Mac runs from an SSD. The upside of Time Machine is that you don't have to go through the normal verification process. Fisherman describes it as the 7th layer of hell but it takes less than a minute.
 
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whosthis

macrumors member
Aug 21, 2008
89
22
That works only if all of your installers are compatible with Mojave. Not a safe bet with older apps.
Well, that would be exactly the positive thing about going from scratch. After all, what's the point in installing / copying incompatible software. It also makes sure that you are running the latest versions. Depending on what you installed this might be trivial (i.e. everything from the AppStore); if you have installed from across the web and maybe some homebrew installations etc., you won't be fixing things later.

Time machine makes things very easy for "average Joe", and I've used it more than once happily. But it is not always the best option in regards to the new system.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,900
513
The Sillie Con Valley
Well, that would be exactly the positive thing about going from scratch. After all, what's the point in installing / copying incompatible software. It also makes sure that you are running the latest versions. Depending on what you installed this might be trivial (i.e. everything from the AppStore); if you have installed from across the web and maybe some homebrew installations etc., you won't be fixing things later.

Time machine makes things very easy for "average Joe", and I've used it more than once happily. But it is not always the best option in regards to the new system.
Wow—you assume a lot. What if the OP doesn't want to update everything right now just to make the new iMac run?

For example: Office 2008 and 2011 still run in Mojave. Neither will install.
 
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whosthis

macrumors member
Aug 21, 2008
89
22
Well I guess I assume just the same amount as you do, just from another perspective. ;-)

As I said - usually restoring from Time Machine or directly from the other Mac is fine.

It *may* be a good time to do a cleanup. And even if it is not a Windows Machine, things *do* get messy. And whichever automatic tool you use to transfer, it just cannot decide what files will be useful in the future and which are long dead and useless because the only using application is already deleted. Also, many programs just leave their litter around from version to version ("just to be on the safe side"). Or regular data backup snapshots, that the programmer has forgotten to put into meaningful rotation. From OS to OS, some file locations have changed, and it is not uncommon to find config files in several places if you search for them. That's really bad when you try to figure out what's going on your system.

But the Restore has not much choice - just copy it over to be safe. At best it's just taking up space.

But here's the catch: On a brand new machine, it is relatively *easy* to start clean. Cleaning out a running system to the same level is almost impossible.

The OP asked about "the best way" to upgrade a 5-year-old machine. That's what my assumptions and recommendations are based on.
 
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28Gauge

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2011
661
393
DFW
I used Migration Assistant from my 2011 iMac to my 2019 iMac without any issues.
 
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Seamaster

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2003
1,083
126
How often do you buy a new Mac?

I think it's always worth the one-off hassle of setting up as new and transferring stuff manually.

Nothing beats that pop-fresh-out-of-the-box-new-Mac experience.
 
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