Migrating to external drive

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by ColdCase, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. ColdCase, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Short story is we had an air stolen and want to use a spare MBP as a replacement and migrate from the Air's TimeMachine backup (on a time capsule). The MBP has a smaller drive than the Air, however, so the large itunes and iphoto libraries are not going to fit.

    We don't want to chance corrupting the timemachine backup file, so is there a relatively safe way to tell migration assistant to store the libraries on and external drive instead of the internal.

    I searched and didn't see anything, but its not and easy search.

    I suppose we could pick and choose what to migrate (the iTunes library for example) move it off to an external drive and then use migration assistant to migrate the photos and the other files.

    I also read conflicting reports about opening the backup bundle and moving files directly... some say no issue, some say don't do it...

    Thanks, just thought I'd try here by chance there is something simple we overlooked.
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    You can't use Migration to store the libraries on an external drive, but you can in the Migration Assistant choose to migrate basically everything except that data. Then, use the Time Machine interface to restore the iPhoto and iTunes libraries to an external location.

    iPhoto will handle this with no problem - just double-click on the library in the new location & it'll be fine.

    iTunes will be a little trickier. If there is enough space to put your iTunes library on the internal (even if it's nearly full at that point), go ahead and migrate it - then follow the steps in https://support.apple.com/kb/ht1449 to move the media off to the external.

    If there isn't room to do that, then it can get a little tricky. Some references in the iTunes library files include full path to media, so dropping the media into a different location doesn't work well. There are some step-by-step guides on various websites to discuss the best method but the basic idea is to create a new, empty iTunes library on the MacBook Pro, that is located on the external drive, which will create an iTunes folder on that disk. Then quit iTunes - delete that folder - bring in your iTunes folder from backup to that same location - start iTunes - and consolidate the library.

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