Interesting Migration Assistant Anomaly

c1phr

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 8, 2011
352
4
I just picked up a new rMBP on Thursday and I thought I would report on an interesting issue that cropped up as a result of (I believe) using Migration Assistant to move my files and settings over from my old 2010 MBP.

I connected the machines directly together via Firewire, and I initiated the Migration after the initial setup of the new machine. I opted to transfer everything.

My new Mac works great, and everything seems to be in place where I left it on the old Mac (even custom EQ settings from iTunes carried over). The issues began when I went to backup my new machine to my old Time Machine backups. I know this is typically possible; the new Mac can inherit the backups of an older Mac, and that's exactly what I planned on doing. I figured this wouldn't be a problem since Migration Assistant practically perfectly cloned the data from the old drive, but Time Machine kept failing.

In delving into the system.log, I decided to investigate the files that TM was failing on (Error: -36), as I had read that permissions could cause major issues like the one that I was having. The file paths didn't appear to make any sense, though, as failed files were living in paths like: /Applications/Utilities/Applications/Adobe/... which makes no sense, as my Adobe applications are stored in /Applications, and I shouldn't have had another Applications folder inside of /Utilities.

It appears that Migration Assistant created a couple of loops in my file system, and I had found the first one in the Utilities folder. Inside, there was an entire copy of the Applications folder, along with its own Utilities folder, and this nested Utilities folder had a symlink to the nested applications folder. I checked with my old machine, and this loop didn't exist there.

So I deleted it and went on my way and attempted to restart the backup, and it failed again. This time, there was another loop in /Library/Frameworks, with a second copy of /Frameworks inside of the first, with a symlink in the nested copy.

I was unable to find anything with some searches of anyone else having had this issue. I was about to give up and start my TM backups fresh rather than trying to inherit the old backups, but I've decided that I should probably keep letting it try to backup and fail so that I can clean out any other loops that may have been created. I'll post back here with my findings, but I'm curious if anyone else has seen a similar issue. If nothing else, this can exist for anyone else that may run into problems in the future.
 

c1phr

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 8, 2011
352
4
Just a quick update: it looks like those were the only two folders affected that Time Machine caught, as the backup finished without issue this time.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,313
10,050
California
Just a quick update: it looks like those were the only two folders affected that Time Machine caught, as the backup finished without issue this time.
Interesting... I have never seen or read about Migration Assistant causing something like that. Can you open your TM backup in the star field interface and scroll back to a time before the migration and see if those folders are there?

Had you been messing around with symlinks before the move at all?
 

c1phr

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 8, 2011
352
4
Interesting... I have never seen or read about Migration Assistant causing something like that. Can you open your TM backup in the star field interface and scroll back to a time before the migration and see if those folders are there?

Had you been messing around with symlinks before the move at all?
It looks like the Frameworks one was there from the beginning of my time machine's life. I wasn't able to look for this one on the old machine, as I had already wiped it and passed it on by the time I discovered it.

The Utilities one was there only since about 10 days ago, and there is no backup history between that date where it appears and October 28th. My drive was plugged in and other backups were made during that time, but that folder doesn't have any activity. The symlink also doesn't exist on the October backup and prior.

I do use symlinks for a few things, but I never would have made any in those places. I won't try to say that I'm perfect, but I don't think I would have made a mistake anyway, since the symlinks I use are typically related to my Dropbox folder.
 
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