Import your "old" MacBook to your new MacBook? Advantages? Disadvantages?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gregorywrites, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. gregorywrites macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #1
    When you buy a new MacBook Air or Pro, it's convenient (to say the least) to simply import your previous MacBook to the new MacBook, either from the old (outgoing) computer, or from a backup disk. One nice thing about this, of course, is that you transfer any programs you have purchased to your new computer. (For instance, I purchased "TouchDraw" from the Apple store.)

    Are there any disadvantages to this? Is it better to start completely fresh, and re-create all your Safari bookmarks and your printer/scanner settings and all your other preferences?

    ..
     
  2. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    Canada is my city
    #2
    While it isn't as significant on Mac as on Windows for example, restoring from a backup means that everything, even the large amount of config files and trash data will be transferred. Personally, I would only select the option to transfer my personal files (I would do so anyway) and re-download all apps myself.
     
  3. Clix Pix, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016

    Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #3
    I have always started out fresh with a new computer -- this habit started way back in my long-ago Windows days and I find it is advantageous in a number of ways. First of all, I'm not then importing something which might be corrupted or old programs which I'm no longer using, and secondly, this gives me the opportunity to review what is in the old machine and to determine what to leave out when the time comes to set up a new one. I use an external drive to copy all of my documents, pictures, music, movies, etc. I don't worry about software that I've purchased and downloaded from the Mac App store because I can easily download and install it again in the new machine. I have just a few programs that I'd purchased and downloaded from other sources, and in one case although the program I was using in the old machine still worked, there was no longer an option to purchase and download it again, so I simply found a different program and went with that one instead. In a couple of other cases I realized I was no longer even using those apps so didn't bother about getting them again when I set up the new machine.

    As for bookmarks, contacts, etc., that is all easily handled by iCloud, and once I began setting up the new machine and activated iCloud in it, my Safari bookmarks and my contact list and such all appeared in the new computer just as they were in the older one. The printer is an HP Envy (wireless) and it took just a couple of minutes to get it up and running in the new computer, too, when I got to the "printers" section in System Preferences. I go through System Preferences and systematically tweak the preferences to my liking, and do the same with Safari preferences, Finder preferences, etc., etc.

    Yes, it takes a little more time to do things this way, but for me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and when I'm all through setting up the new machine I have a fresh new computer ready to roll......
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    I always use Migration Assistant and never once have done a fresh install in over ten years of using Macs. If your current machine is working okay, they is little to be gained by going to all the trouble of doing a clean install.

    Even if you have not properly deleted some old apps, they just sit there taking a little disk space not hurting anything. If you like you can migrate, then run the app Etrecheck. It will create a report showing all apps and third party processes running on your system. You can scan that list for anything you know you no longer want, then delete it.

    The problem with the clean install, is often novice users read about this and attempt it not fully understanding what they are doing, and they lose apps and data.
     
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #5
    To clarify something here: I do NOT do a fresh install of the OS itself. My new rMBP is using the OS (El Capitan) that she came with. First thing I did out of the box was to run Software Update, of course, as there had just been an update a few days prior to my setting up the machine. My process involves first doing the basics of setting up a new machine: activating iCloud, running Software Update, making sure everything seems to be working as would be expected, and then I set up my email accounts and tweak preferences in System Preferences and other places as mentioned. Only after I've spent some time with the new machine do I then get around to copying the folders and files from my external HD to the new machine. This also includes iTunes, by the way, and I install iTunes in the new machine's music folder so that it is set up just like in the older machine, with playlists, etc. This all takes some time but in the end I feel it is worth it.

    I agree that for someone just coming to a Mac for the first time it probably is not the best idea, nor is it even necessary, to do an actual complete "clean install" of the OS, which indeed could have the potential to be hazardous. Presumably someone who already has a previous MB or MBP isn't going to be in the "novice" category. Simply copying folders and files from an older Mac to an external drive to the new Mac carries far fewer risks.
     

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