Migrating to a New iMac with a Users Folder on a Different Partition

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ozmosis82, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. ozmosis82 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Edmonton, AB
    Hi all,

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster here. I have a question about an impending migration that I'm going to have to do.

    I'm looking at getting a new iMac, and I want to transfer my data over to it. The problem is that I originally partitioned my current iMac's internal hard disk and moved my Users folder to the secondary partition.

    So currently:

    Partition 1: Snow Leopard (and assorted system files), 54.9 GB Max Capacity
    Partition 2: Ozmosis (Users folder and all my data--photos, music, etc.) 445.41 GB Max Capacity

    If I want to use the Migration Assistant on my new iMac, do I have to get rid of my secondary partition and move my Users folder back to the sole Snow Leopard partition?

    Obviously you can see my problem, being that my Snow Leopard partition only has 55 GB of storage, and I have well over that in my Users folder.

    What about Time Machine? Will Time Machine know to back-up my Users folder even though it's on a completely different partition? If it's smart enough to back both partitions up (which I don't think it'll do), will it restore it on my new iMac with only one partition?
  2. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Your set up may actually make migration easier. If you plan to keep your new iMac partitioned similarly, just clone the old /Users drive to the partition on the new machine. It's best not to clone a System drive because the new computer may have different drivers required. I may have misunderstood your situation, but hopefully that helps.

    Time Machine backs up every drive you have attached that you haven't removed through its preference settings. I'm not sure how Migration Assistant works in that situation, but perhaps you can specify that you only want to migrate the /Users drive.
  3. ozmosis82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Edmonton, AB
    Unfortunately, I'm looking to go back to a single-partition system.

    I've been thinking on it since I posted originally, and I suppose what I could do is:

    1. Copy my iTunes folder and iPhoto Library over to an external drive temporarily (since that's what's using the majority of hard disk space)
    2. Shrink the Ozmosis partition.
    3. Enlarge the Snow Leopard partition.
    4. Move my Users folder back to the Snow Leopard partition.
    5. Copy my iTunes folder and iPhoto Library back to the Users folder, now located on the Snow Leopard partition.
    6. Delete the Ozmosis partition.

    Theoretically, that should work, right?
  4. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Again, I may be misunderstanding your situation, but I think it's simpler than that. You currently have two partitions: OS X and Home (or whatever its name is). If you have it divided that cleanly, this isn't too hard. I think you can just copy over all the contents in your Home folder to that of the new machine. The OS X drive should have your Applications folder and their associated preferences. If you're okay resetting prefs for your apps, you can just drag /Applications over as well. If you have some applications that were installed with Installer, you may want to reinstall those manually.

    But, yes, the solution you posted will certainly work as well. If I remember correctly, Migration Assistant won't retain system files such as application or OS X preferences so both ideas will result in the same setup on your new machine.

    I just realized you'll need a firewire cable to do my idea since it requires Target Disk Mode. You could do it over your network (definitely, definitely ethernet!) but it'll be slower. Alternatively, you could copy files over to an external, but then you might as well follow your solution. I think either will work efficiently, just a matter of preference. Good luck and post back with any other questions :)
  5. ozmosis82, Nov 29, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010

    ozmosis82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Edmonton, AB
    Yeah, it was more involved than using the Migration Assistant, but it gave me more control over what I wanted to do and how I wanted everything set up to just copy stuff over manually. It really didn't take too long, and I ended up just consolidating (organizing) my iTunes library, copying the iTunes folder to an external (as well as my iPhoto library), and then everything else (not much) either also went on the external, or into my Dropbox.

    Worked perfectly. Thanks for the advice, though!
  6. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    No problem, your procedure will certainly help others looking to do something similar. Glad you got it all set up :)

Share This Page