Issues with G5 iMac and Migration to new Intel MBP - Help, please!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Clix Pix, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    A friend's G5 iMac (rev B, the one right before the first ones with the iSight Camera) is showing signs of imminent death -- lots of beach balls, sporadic unexpected shutting down. She bought a new MBP on Friday and on Friday evening we tried to use Migration Assistant to transfer her settings, files and folders over to the new MBP. The iMac shut down in the middle of the process. She tried again today and the same thing happened.

    I had suggested right from the very beginning that she use an external drive to copy her iTunes folder and her iPhotos folder and anything else she wants and then she would be able to transfer everything right into the new MBP. The advantages I can see here are that then she's not transferring any nasties from the PPC machine and is just transferring only her folders. A concern I have, though, is that the iMac might shut down in the middle of copying the folders, with the possibility that this could corrupt the files and corrupt the external disk.

    She wants to try running Migration Assistant one more time tomorrow or to try transferring the stuff from the iMac to an external drive. My questions:

    (1) Are my concerns about corruption and potential loss of folders/files and corruption of the actual external HD valid?

    (2) How do we go about transferring her iPhoto '08 and iTunes folders from the iMac to the external drive and then from the external drive to the MBP?
    I don't use iPhoto myself and while i do use iTunes I have to admit I'm not all that savvy with it and have a pretty small iTunes library compared to most people, including my friend.

    (3) Is it possible to transfer everything by using Target Disk Mode? Hooking both machines to each other and instead of using Migration Assistant simply transferring the folders that way instead of using an external drive? My understanding of Target Disk Mode (which I've never used) is that it makes the one machine like an external drive mounted on the other machine.

    (4) My friend does have Time Machine on the iMac and has been using it for the last several months so she does have a backup available that way. I have not used Time Machine and am not quite familiar with it and what it will/won't do, so I'm not sure if we can simply use that somehow on the new machine.

    The fact that we're dealing with a G5 PPC and an intel Penryn makes it a little more complicated than if it were two intel machines. The fact that the iMac is definitely moribund and abruptly shuts off without warning right in the middle of doing things adds to the complications. Both machines are running Leopard. Both have iLife '08. I'm a little leery of putting the backup from a PPC machine into a brand-new intel machine.

    (5) Should we say forget it and take both machines to the local Apple store and let them deal with it? She called them today and they told her that it would cost $150 and that they wouldn't be able to do it for her because she's not a ProCare member but that they could "walk us through it." Um....the day she bought the MBP they told us that the Apple store offers the free service of doing the migration and setup from old machine to new machine.... So now they're saying $150???

    Definitely I would appreciate some guidance and assistance as to the best way to approach this problem. Both my friend and I are afraid that the iMac will take its last breath and shut down forever before she can rescue her valuable files and get them into the new machine.
  2. mcavjame macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    phased to this universe
    - absolutely.

    - First - it sounds like the machine is overheating. Be sure the vents are clean and clear and ensure dust is removed from the interior of the machines. This should at least help the unit run longer.
    - second - copy the iphoto folder (if possible) from the imac to the external drive.
    When you attach the drive to the new macbook, start iPhoto, but hold down the option key while starting. This will force a prompt that will allow you to select the source folder for iPhoto.
    Same process for iTunes.

    - correct ... and connect using firewire
    - the difference is all the settings and library entries. If you are attempting to transfer software this way, many applications have hooks that need to go into the library.

    = perhaps remind them of that fact (nicely of course). You could simply say you changed your mind and would like their help.
  3. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Thank you! Yes, I suspect that heating issues are part of the problem because of the particular desktop/workstation my friend uses. The machine is in an area where it is partly enclosed, surrounded on three sides and also with a shelf overhead. My own G5 iMac (I have one of the same model, same vintage) has had no problems with heating, and I think part of this is due to the fact that it's always been sitting on an open desktop or workstation without any sort of enclosure.

    I really think that our best bet is to take both machines to the Apple store tomorrow and let them handle the situation, as they have the skills, knowledge and equipment that I just don't have. It would certainly be more convenient if we could just do it ourselves at my friend's house rather than lugging everything to the mall but in this situation there are so many "iffy" variables.
  4. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2003
    Here's some info you might be able to use (I happen to have the same iMac G5, I believe - 1.8GHz, 20 inch?) as well as a new macbook.

    These iMacs have had a problem with the logic board. If you open up the machine, you'll see the capacitors (cylinders connected to the circuit board) have bulging tops. My machine started behaving flakey - would shut down whenever you put it to sleep, would crash during startup. Then it started shutting down randomly and catastrophically. Eventually it wouldn't even turn on. At first I thought it was dust, and cleaning out the inside seemed to help, at least temporarily. But ultimately it was dead.

    Took it to the apple store. They took the back off, looked at the logic board, said that shouldn't happen, and replaced it. After more than three years. For free. Keep in mind I do not have applecare and it is out of warranty.

    I believe migration assistance is free at the apple store, but perhaps things have changed. The safest solution (as far as preventing data loss) would be to buy/borrow an enclosure for the iMac's hard drive, then connect the drive to the USB or firewire on the Macbook, and transfer the files that way. This would also allow you to recycle the hard drive as an external drive, if indeed the iMac is dead.

    Using the iMac in target disk mode might be worth a try, although it would probably still suffer from the electrical issues that might again cause a shutdown during transfer.

    When you do take your machines to the store keep in mind there may be a wait, so you might want to schedule your visit. I made the mistake of lugging the imac in (those things are heavy after a while!) only to find out they couldn't help me then - had to leave it there and come back. (It was more than worth it though when they were willing to replace the logic board for free.)

    Good luck!

  5. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    there were a number of extended programs for fixing the g5 imacs. Can't hurt to make an appointment and take it in (you can make the appointment online). Alternately, they are really simple to open up. Take the drive out and throw it into an external firewire case. You eliminate all the buggaboos with the imac and you can still import everything via firewire to the new puter. If doesn't sound like the drive is bad, only the computer.
  6. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Thank you both! Yes, my friend did make an appointment for today when she spoke to the Apple store yesterday, so that we would have that option open to us at a time when I could go with her. I'll be driving to her house in a little while (she lives about an hour away), and in case we do decide to try again ourselves I'm taking one of my spare (empty) external HDs as well as a dolly to wheel the iMac on if we do opt to take it in to the Apple store.

    I agree that using Target Disk Mode is probably a bit risky because of the possibility/probability of the iMac shutting down midway through the process. The idea of taking the HD out of the iMac and putting it into an external casing and then doing the transferring has the most appeal but we don't have an external HD case; I don't know if there is a MicroCenter near her now that CompUSA has gone belly-up. Would Best Buy carry those?

    Probably if we take the machines to the Apple store this is how they would handle the situation, taking the internal HD out of the iMac and using an external case for it....

    Thanks for the good suggestions and information, all!

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