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Manual Migration Questions

SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
Is there any easy way to export System Preference settings? I’ve seen suggestions of writing a script, which is above my skill level. I’ve also seen suggestions of copying the entire Preference folders, which is not clean enough for my needs. I'm thinking now the best thing to do is just take screenshots of certain panels.

Is there any way to export Keychain Access settings? I’ve read suggestions of simply copying the two Keychain folders, but then I’ve also read somewhere that won’t work - you can’t move them to a different machine and have them still work. I don’t know if that applies to reinstalling them on the same machine after a clean install.

I used Migration Assistant to set up my M1 Mini and I ended up with a bunch of wasted memory, so I’m going to do a Clean install and add my documents, reinstall apps, and add settings manually.

I’m preparing a folder that contains everything ahead of time, and I’ll store that on an external drive before wiping the mini. It should make things pretty quick, and would be good to keep for future emergencies.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,182
7,608
"I’ve also seen suggestions of copying the entire Preference folders, which is not clean enough for my needs. I'm thinking now the best thing to do is just take screenshots of certain panels."

You don't have to copy the "entire folder".
You could select individual preference files (".plist") and copy them.
One at a time if you're that particular, or copy several, see how they work, then repeat.

Can't help with the keychain settings, I almost never bother with them.

Something important about copying files from a backup drive:
You must take steps to prevent permissions conflicts.
Do this:
a. Mount the backup drive icon on the desktop
b. Click on the icon ONE TIME to select it.
c. Bring up "get info" for the drive (command-i)
d. At the bottom of get info, click the lock and enter your password (the one you're using on the NEW Mac)
e. Put a check into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions)
f. Close get info.

Now... whatever you copy from the backup will "acquire the ownership" of your NEW account on the NEW Mac.

I suggest you keep HANDWRITTEN NOTES when doing a manual migration. It's easy to "get lost".

A cloned backup created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper is THE BEST kind of drive to use to make such a file transfer...
 
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SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
You don't have to copy the "entire folder".
You could select individual preference files (".plist") and copy them.
One at a time if you're that particular, or copy several, see how they work, then repeat.
Yeah, might as well give that a shot. It's worth an attempt, but would probably be pretty confusing. The preference names are not always clear.

Can't help with the keychain settings, I almost never bother with them.
Keychain has always been kind of mysterious to me. I understand the basic concept, but I feel like there's something I'm missing about it. I think I will start off clean without it and see how it goes, maybe rebuild it instead. My concern is there is some password I may have forgotten.

Something important about copying files from a backup drive:
You must take steps to prevent permissions conflicts.
Do this:
a. Mount the backup drive icon on the desktop
b. Click on the icon ONE TIME to select it.
c. Bring up "get info" for the drive (command-i)
d. At the bottom of get info, click the lock and enter your password (the one you're using on the NEW Mac)
e. Put a check into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions)
f. Close get info.

Now... whatever you copy from the backup will "acquire the ownership" of your NEW account on the NEW Mac.
I'm glad you brought this up. I have a 2TB external HD with one 1TB volume for Time Machine backups and one 1TB volume for storage. The storage volume is already set to ignore ownership. The actual drive, the other 1TB volume used for backups, shows "You can only read". There is no lock or anything. Disk Utility shows it as not bootable. Did I screw something up formatting that drive?

Screen Shot 2021-02-22 at 11.28.03 AM.png

I suggest you keep HANDWRITTEN NOTES when doing a manual migration. It's easy to "get lost".
I've got a TextEdit file going. It would definitely be easy to get lost. I'm trying to imagine what I might be forgetting. I almost forgot to export my Contacts.
 
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SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
Another question I have come across: In System Preferences > Network, "export configuration" is grayed-out for my Ethernet connection. Is that normal?
 
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SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
@SpeQ - I have copied my Keychain passwords before using the instructions below - are these the ones that you have tried?

No the instructions I saw were for just copying the entire Keychain folders. The instructions you linked to require selecting individual items, which I suppose is a possibility.

These are the instructions I was referring to. I'm a bit skeptical about them.
 
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SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
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njvm

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2018
65
11
@SpeQ - well you are right - under Big Sur I can't seem to do anything but I am sure that I moved the passwords under Mojave!
 
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njvm

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2018
65
11
Why don't you just copy the items to iCloud and then they will download to your new computer?

1614031709998.png
 
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SpeQ

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
64
11
Why don't you just copy the items to iCloud and then they will download to your new computer?
I don't normally use iCloud, but it might be useful for this purpose.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,182
7,608
OP:

DON'T OVER-THINK THINGS.


Just get the basics done, and don't worry about the details of "every little setting" insofar as moving from an old Mac to a new one.

Get the important stuff moved (your account, apps, and data).
Move a few preference files if need be.

But worry about "ethernet settings"?
You must be kiddin' me.
Just plug in the ethernet cable and use it.

I've done this many many times, from a Macintosh SE with a 9" display "on upwards".

Again, get the basics moved and most other things will go fine.
 
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