Merging 2 Macs Together

Discussion in 'iMac' started by macbeliever, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. macbeliever, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

    macbeliever macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Let me start this post by saying that without Macrumors I would've been and may still be a little lost since moving completely from Windows to Mac over 5 years ago. Maybe you think I'm kissing butt because of what I'm typing below but I'm not. I'm a true Apple fanboy now and tell EVERYONE who ever asks me how to do something to start here. I'm 35 years old and couldn't do much more than e-mail 7 years ago. 2 real years on a PC and the last 5+ on a Mac has made me more money in my business and I love working on these machines and learning how to do things that I never though I could do on my own.

    With that being said here's my issue...

    I want to merge 2 Macs into 1.

    My main machine for every day use is a 27" iMac with Lion. It's the only one I synch my iPhone with, have all my passwords saved in, all paid apps/programs installed.

    My secondary machine is a White Unibody MacBook. When I bought it I primarily used it at home and on the go.

    What I want to do is clean out and sell my iMac as I am not using it and can still get a pretty penny for it.

    My main concerns are;
    1. Merging Mail from the iMac to the MacBook. Both have been used recently so there are important e-mails on both (a couple thousand on each)
    2. Moving my iTunes library over.
    3. Being able to synch my iPhone without losing anything to my MacBook instead of my iMac
    4. IMac has a 1TB HD (only 250 gigs used) moving all needed files to MacBook (only 500 gig hard drive) I know that there is 75 % overlap in files because initially I dropped them into the MacBook for iMac when I purchased it.

    I have current Time Machine back ups of both. I'm not worried about losing the data, but merging it seamlessly to keep my workflow smooth.

    I'm really worried about merging both Mail files as I've been through the pain of having to look through archive files imported to Mail from Entourage and Outlook and I never remember where to look. Obviously you shouldn't use e-mail as a pseudo file server but I'm flawed like that:)

    I'm not worried about paying someone a couple hundred bucks to do this work but I just don't trust others to get things done right. I love Apple but had 40-50 hours invested at the Apple Store years back when there was a synching issue between my MBP, iPhone, and Mobile Me. If Geniuses can't future stuff out always, who can you count on?

    Here's a slim rundown of each machines specs;
    27" iMac
    8gb ram
    1 TB HD
    Lion OS
    1TB external with Time Machine back ups

    Unibody MacBook
    8gb ram
    500 GB HD
    Lion OS
    500 GB external with Time Machine back ups

    All thoughts, directions, and warnings are more than welcome.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Aarrgh. Rather a pain, no?

    There is one way to get stuff over, although it's rather an imperfect marriage...or rather cohabitation as opposed to marriage.

    That's to use Migration Ass't. When you already have a user with the same name it's going to ask for a new named user and then it can transfer stuff over. Obviously you'd customize it, but you could set yourself up with an "iMacUser" account for example, and then have all the stuff you need accessible on just one computer. I found this was the easiest way for me to just get some stuff onto my laptop when I was pressed for time. Then, over time, I just moved or copied what I needed to the laptop user account, and essentially used the old user account as a kind of backup. Eventually I just deleted it. Sure, I had some dupes, but I had the space.

    The biggest hassle was the email accounts. Entourage is especially nasty because, as I recall, it keeps everything in one file. It's unclear to me what you've already done with Mail, but this would be a good time to get your house in order. If you're using IMAP then it's simple, because stuff should be stored on the server. For local stuff you can use "Import Mailboxes..."

    For iTunes, it kinda depends on how you're organized. You can use more than one iTunes Library, but not at once. You can import playlists, and also use "Add to Library...." You may have to remove duplicates; use "Display Exact Duplicates" and then sort by date added and you should be able to just select the dupes and delete.

    You can sync your phone to any Mac registered with iTunes. The trick is whether you're syncing stuff on the iMac that isn't present on the MacBook.
    So I'd get the content sorted on the computers before using the Macbook to sync the phone.

    For other stuff try checking out folder syncing software. Or just move over stuff and then use software to find duplicates, like DupeGuru.

    I'm not sure how your backups are structured, but another way would be to use the place where you stored the iMac TM backup as an external for the Macbook. Copy over all your data stuff, which should take a fraction of the space the backup took and again you can move over stuff as needed, and it would be similar to the workflow you're already using.

  3. macbeliever thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Thanks Rob.

    I'm long away from Entourage on both machines so it would be as easy as importing mailboxes as they're all local.

    I appreciate your lengthy response.
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I would bite the bullet and move to an IMAP account now. Then move all your folders into the account and you will always have all your mail no matter which computer you are using, now, or in the future.

    Personally, I would never consider an email system that is not either IMAP or MS Exchange. POP3, local mailboxes, etc are very obsolete.


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