Lion clean install, best way to migrate user data?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by QuantumLo0p, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    I was thinking it would be a good idea to do a clean install of Lion but I am wondering what the best way to migrate user data would be. I am talking about pop mail settings and emails, address book, docs, iPhoto and iTunes libraries.

    Is there an opportunity, during the Lion install, to migrate the user data? How well does it work?
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Do yourself a favor and try a regular install first. It will probably save you time and hassle.

    If you prefer to wipe all your stuff, and you are confident you have a good backup, then use Migration Ass't to bring your old stuff back. Do this as soon as possible for best results; and make sure you don't create a user on your new install with the same name as the one you're migrating over. Do the migration of that user instead; it will save you permission problems.

  3. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I did a clean install and then manually pulled back my data from a Time Machine backup. Also, I have MobileMe so I didn't have to worry about mail accounts and stuff.
  4. Dazzlew macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    Also did a clean re-install.
    Manually reinstalled apps that i used and didn't bother with the ones i haven't been using.
    Restored my pictures and iTunes from Time Machine.
    Setup my eMail accounts but as i only have Gmail that was piece of cake!;)
  5. Gemütlichkeit macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2010
    migration assistant worked better than expected.

    i've used windows data migration tools and they've all been sketchy. this one however did everything perfectly
  6. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I had considered and really wanted to use Migration Assistant but there were two things that kept me from it:

    1) Migration Assistant didn't want to move back my user data unless I also restored my old user account. I don't know enough about OS X to know if pulling that old user account back would also restore some kruft.

    2) I did want some of my Applications back but not all. There isn't fine control in Migration Assistant for this. Also of note is that in pulling my Applications back from Time Machine I found that this didn't always work so some were reinstalled. I thought that unlike Windows, Mac applications lived solely in the folders where they are stored. I guess that's not always true.
  7. QuantumLo0p thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Can anyone point me in the right direction to find out what choices I have when migrating? Such as pop email (accounts and messages), iPhoto library, iTunes, etc-?

    I guess I am wondering how detailed I can get when I migrate.
  8. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Cape Breton Island
    Applications that are "installed" by dragging and dropping into the applications folder from a .dmg or the like are self contained like you thought.

    Applications that run an installer often are not self contained.
  9. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    NOTE: This explanation assumes that you're comfortable with the term "User folder" (and understand, for example, that your User folder has a library folder that's different from the System's library folder... though you should probably avoid copying over either of those in this case)

    You can probably safely copy over the Pictures folder and the Music folder from your user folder.
    Documents folder should be fine too.
    You could really move over all the folders in your user folder EXCEPT for your user's Library folder and not run into any issues.

    Not sure about your mail (off the top of my head)... you'd probably have to pull that out of your user's Library. All my email accounts are IMAP, not POP, so all messages are also stored on the server, so I'll just let them all redownload over night or something.

    I'm doing the same thing as you in a couple of weeks.

    EDIT: Also, I'd recommend only installing applications as they become necessary... one at a time. Don't copy all of them over right away. I'm going to bring over some of the huge ones that are self-contained and then, as I need them, redownload the others. That way I can more easily isolate a problem application than if I put everything on the new system at once.

    And for Address Book and iCal, there are "Export" options in the menus for those applications, so you can export their databases and then later reimport them in the new system.
  10. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I installed Lion using "Install OS X" and all my data and apps, including Rosetta apps stayed in place. On my son's machine, I used a usb stick I burned from InstallESD.dmg and went part of the way through but backed out when I wasn't sure if it would upgrade or wipe and install. I wasn't presented with those choices so (for safety's sake) I assumed the install would have been a wipe. I went back and ran install os x on his machine instead of using my usb stick. At some point, I really should test my usb stick, possibly by letting it install on a drive I don't care about. Then I'll know whether it would have wiped or upgraded.

    I found migration from a TM backup went well when the TM backup was on a firewire drive. I don't trust TM over the network. If I decide to use TM as my migration path, I always start a brand new TM backup to a local USB or firewire disk and let it finish. This can sometimes take many hours. Once the TM backup is finished I switch off TM and then I do the OS install and choose to migrate from the TM backup I just made.

    Another option that worked is crashplan(because TM failed). I have restored from a crashplan backup of a user's documents folder. I normally don't do the entire home folder but you could do it if you don't mind the longer "seed time" it takes to send the whole thing up to crashplan the first time.
  11. revenent macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2008
    I did a clean install. However before i did so, i did a time machine backup, as well as a copy of the entire home folder excluding the applications.

    After the clean install, it is only a matter of copying back the stuff that you really need like iTunes folder which contains all the apps music videos podcasts and so on, documents, vmware images if you have any, pictures, aperture vaults and so on. Then manually reinstall all required applications. :eek:
  12. flyguy79 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2009
    I also want to do a clean install of Lion OS X on my MBP, but I got a couple of questions how to do so.

    1. Do I need to wipe the HD clean before I do a clean install from the USB stick?

    2. What's the best way to backup iTunes (incl. iPhone)?
    I've got TimeMachine, but other than iTunes I want to install all apps (Email, browsers,...) new.
    Is there a way to 'restore' just iTunes and all related files from TimeMachine on a clean install or is it easier to just copy all itunes/iphone realted files and settings externally and then copy them back over (over a new installation of iTunes)?

    Thanks for the help

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