Migration Assist error volume contains os x install media

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by joelaw, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. joelaw macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2016
    Upper Marlboro, MD
    After cleaning disk and installing a fresh copy of El Capitan I cannot use Migration Assistant to get my old data back onto my new install. I get an error "volume contains os x install media".

    I have looked everywhere before posting and cannot find but two people having the same problems but no answers or fixes.

    My older OSx cannot upgrade to El Capitan because something else is installed preventing it from upgrading. Apple support for 3 hours could not fix, so I decided to just install new copy but I loose EVERYTHING.

    Anybody here have a solution?

    Joe L.
  2. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2014
    Ok, a dumb question on my part: do you have a backup of the old data, or trying to pull data from the other Mac (maybe misreading that)? Otherwise, sounds like nothing to recover, since said cleaned the disk (reading that as erased/reformat). Sounds like trying to select the install media as the source drive for Migration Assistant, so yes, will get that error message.
  3. joelaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2016
    Upper Marlboro, MD
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2016 ---
    I have two time machine backups connected to computer. When I erased and installed El Capitan on the drive and during the process it ask if I want to migrate from Time Machine and I say yes but there is an error message that there is a OSx install media on time machine and it cannot migrate.

    I go ahead and install and run Migration Assistant and again it states that there is install media and it will not complete.

    My understanding of the process is to make a time machine backup before re-installing OSX and then migrate the old data and setting to the new build but that is where I get the error "volume contains os x install media". I don't understand why this is happening and how to fix it. I should be able to rebuild and migrate from old RIGHT? If not, then I don't know how to get all my applications, data and setting to new rebuild except to start over and that is going to be a real pain.....
  4. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2014
    Odd, that's for sure.

    Only thing that springs to mind is something akin to where one cannot re-download the installer for OS X from the App Store when there's an installer already residing on the disk: maybe Migration Assistant is doing some basic check for that file, and "thinks" it's an installer media.

    Maybe can create a dummy admin account via setup assistant. Sign into dummy account, go into TimeMachine and track down the installer(s) and delete the backups. Then do a:

    rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    Reboot the machine, that should re-run the setup assistant, and get you back to Migration Assistant. One big issue with this might be that permissions on files might get messed up in that the dummy account will most likely get a user-id number of 501, and the account(s) on your TimeMachine, there most likely will be an account that has 501 assigned to it, making a mess of things and trying to access your old data.

    Here's a link to some steps on how to deal with the situation of Migration Assistant and fouled up permissions/uids (references older OSes, but appears still relevant):


Share This Page