Migrating MacBook Pro to new iMac

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Craig in SoCal, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Craig in SoCal macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2011
    Great forum. I have a new iMac coming and will most likely want Apple's Migration Assistant to move everything. However, I want to move many but not all of my applications from my five-year old MacBook Pro on Snow Leopard to the new machine on Lion.

    Like most of us, we install myriad apps over the years, many of which are never used and simply occupy disk space. However, properly removing them such that all the associated files are removed is a drag unless you have an Uninstaller particularly for that application.

    Does anyone have a good methodology for doing this other than letting Migration Assistant do everything? I'm willing to do it manually, too, but that's really painstaking if you don't have installation .dmg files or CDs for everything. I want my new machine to have as clean an install as possible.

    And what about inheriting "problem files." Anyone have a recommended "cleansing" process to run on the existing internal/external volumes before porting over to a virgin machine?

    Thanks for any input. And happy 2012. We can all use a better year, methinks.
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I tend to be a bit of a minimalist when it comes to spending my time tinkering with my Mac. I like the ability to use firewire or a recent TM backup to "migrate" to a new Mac. Another convenience is to use Carbon Copy Cloner to migrate as it doesn't bring over temp files and "cruft".

    If you are having specific problems and believe you would benefit from a "scratch" install, by all means go ahead. But if your Mac is running well there is no reason to avoid using migration assistant.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    You can either clean them up before transferring them, or transfer them and clean them up afterward. In most cases, app removal software doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this. If you just want to delete the app, drag the .app file to the trash. No other software needed. If you want to completely remove all associated files/folders, no removal apps will do the job.

    The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:

    You really don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space. It will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software.
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Use the setup assistant that runs the first time you fire up the new Mac; it's the easiest and most reliable IMHO, and I've migrated from Macs that were excessively modified and tweaked and otherwise pushed to the breaking point. The assistant is way smart.

    But the advice to manually chuck things from the old machine when you can't find uninstallers or install logs ( I hate that) is good, but to eliminate problems and as a learning exercise. I use a combo of looking at Activity Monitor, Console, and opening Finder windows and sorting by mod date. Usually if something isn't running, and doesn't eat up tons of disk space, it doesn't matter if it's the digital equivalent of a dust bunny under your bed. No harm no foul unless you've got OCD.

  5. Craig in SoCal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2011
    On Carbon Copy Cloner vs. Migration Assistant

    Thanks for that. But would one use Carbon Copy Cloner instead of Migration Assistant as relates to Application and System files? What about considerations when going from the source drive (under Snow Leopard) to the target machine (under Lion)? Are there considerations there that Migration Assistant would better handle?


    Thank you r0k, GGJStudios and robgengreau for your responses. I really appreciate then.

    I'm not OCD enough to worry about "digital dust bunnies," particularly since my new machine's drive is nearly twenty times larger than the one it replaces. I'm really more concerned about moving over (inheriting) any problems associated with corrupt files, hidden malware, etc., and of course incompatibilities between system files running under Snow Leopard vs. Lion.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Either would work, but of course, you're not going to restore system files from an older OS on top of a newer OS. Also, some apps may not work with Lion and will need to be replaced with a newer app version or a different app altogether, if there is no Lion-compatible version available.
    Corrupt files won't impact your new installation. If they didn't work in the old one, they won't work in the new one, but your system will run just fine. Unless you installed it yourself, you don't have malware on your Mac. Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released 10 years ago. You cannot infect your Mac simply by visiting a website, unzipping a file, opening an email attachment or joining a network. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which cannot infect your Mac unless you actively install them, and they can be easily avoided with some basic education, common sense and care in what software you install. Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
  7. Craig in SoCal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2011
    Thank you! I think I'll proceed with cleaning out apps I don't need and then just using Migration Assistant. The majority of my user files exist external to my old Mac simply because it's paltry 128GB SSD is too small to hold my iTunes library, Lightroom files, and my photo collection in general. So the installation should in general be pretty clean.

    And the only Lion non-conforming app I use regularly is Quicken 2007 — for which Intuit has promised a fix sometime this Spring. They evidently (finally) listened to its Mac user base. Still amazes me that they haven't given that product a complete overhaul since 2007 (Essentials doesn't count, IMO).
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    My iTunes library won't fit on my internal drive, either, so I split mine between internal and external. That way, I have my favorite music with me when I travel, and still have my entire library available when I'm on my wireless network. If you're interested in trying that, here's how:

    How to split a single iTunes library over two media locations
  9. Craig in SoCal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2011
    Interesting. My challenge is a bit of a hybrid from that. My old machine is now a laptop running Snow Leopard (because of the Quicken problem), while the new machine is a Lion-wielding iMac. The iMac's 2TB drive is large enough for *everything* I now have, so the laptop will be relegated primarily to mobile use. This means that I have two separate instances of iTunes, though I'll sync music and other media with iPod/Pad/Phone only through the iMac.

    That said, I don't think the split will be applicable. (?) Barring a network volume server for media, the music I put on (iTunes) on my laptop will be managed separately from the music I put on (iTunes) on my iMac.
  10. stevz macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2012
    I have an iMac that is migrated from a MacBook i still use. The problem is now that i try and use iCloud these computers show up as one. I'm not sure what to do to differentiate them so that iCloud sees them as two seperate machines? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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