Migration assistance or manual copy?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by konadave, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. konadave macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2013
    Have owned a Mac Mini 2011 for a little over 1.5 years. First Mac, and have loved it since day one. This weekend I experienced my first real problem.

    I have a failing hard drive. System began locking up frequently and the only recourse was to hold down power to shut it off then turn it back on. I got an external drive, booted to recovery partition, and reinstalled mountain lion on it. Can boot back into OS X from it just fine.

    S.M.A.R.T. Status : 	Failing
    Raw Read Error Rate : 	000000000000
    Spinup Time : 	000000000851
    Start/Stop Count : 	00000000084F
    Reallocated Sector Count : 	0000000007FF
    Seek Error Rate : 	000000000000
    Seek Time Performance : 	000000000000
    Power-On Hours : 	0000000023B0
    Spinup Retries : 	000000000000
    Power Cycles : 	00000000066F
    Power Off Retract Count : 	00000000000A
    Load/Unload Cycles : 	0000001164C3
    HDD Temperature : 	002E00140023
    Reallocation Event Count : 	0000000000F3
    Current Pending Sector Count : 	000000000000
    Off-Line Scan Uncorrectable Sector Count : 	000000000000
    CRC Error Count : 	000000000000
    Disk Shift : 	000000000062
    Loaded Hours : 	000000001515
    Load Retry count : 	000000000000
    Load Friction : 	000000000000
    Load in Time : 	000000000152
    Write Head : 	000000000000
    FFS Trigger Count : 	000000000000
    Given the old disk smart status, is using migration assistant to copy over applications and user a risky prospect? I seem to be able to access files on the old disk without issue. Have had console open and haven't seen any i/o errors or anything like that.

    My user account is backed up daily to a local server, so I could copy it manually from there to the new disk. Is there anything the migration assistant does besides copying files?

    I've a few issues with the Mac App store. Currently, none of my applications are installed. If I Option click the Purchases tab, I am not given an option to reinstall my apps. The Updates tab shows the same exact updates it showed me a couple of days ago, that I hadn't updated yet. I may be wrong but I suspect that there might be other updates for the ML installed today versus my install before I had to reinstall. App Store does not seem to be in sync with my current install situation.

    Any help you might be able to offer is greatly appreciated.


  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    If your disk is failing, you need to replace it with another unit.

    There's no point reinstalling everything. A large number of writes across the whole disk are likely to finish it off.

    Get a new disk, install the OS and use Migration Assistant to restore everything from your Time Machine backup.
  3. konadave thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2013
    As I said, the drive was replaced with an external. Mountain Lion was reinstalled to it using the Recovery HD partition of the old drive.

    I should have been more clear regarding my backup. The main/only user account is backed up daily to an SMB share via rsync. I do have one TM backup, which was not mentioned, of 10.7.5 right before upgrading to 10.8.3.

    Anyway, since the old drive is still accessible read-only and the smart status wasn't showing any read errors, I decided to go ahead and do the Migration Assistant from the old drive to the new one. Everything copies fine but it said the user couldn't be migrated. The files were there so I just added a new user with the same name and told it to use the existing directory. Everything seems to be fine now.

    I'm still not sure about the current system vs what the App Store thinks. It's still showing the same two updates need to be applied.

    The version of ML that was installed via Recovery HD, how current would that be? One of the updates is a system update and I don't know if I should allow it if there are intermediate updates that might be missing. Can somebody please advise on this?

  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    My advice.
    This presumes that you have everything you need copied over from the old, internal drive.

    I suggest you launch Disk Utility, and then re-initialize the internal drive.

    Does it re-initialize without problems?

    If you get that far, I suggest you next run DU's "repair" button on it.

    Does DU report the drive is ok? Or not?

    If DU reports ok after one pass, I suggest you run six more "passes".

    Does DU report each successive pass as being ok?

    If that's the case, it leads me to believe that your problems with the internal drive were software-based (i.e., perhaps directory corruption, or corrupted or missing files with OS X), and that the drive may still be functional, "hardware-wise".

    If you get this far, you might consider using CarbonCopyCloner to "re-clone" the contents of your external (boot) drive back over to the internal.

    Even if you no longer trust the internal to be your "primary" drive, it can still serve as a "bootable backup", or a "scratch storage" drive (i.e., a drive on which to store things you may want to keep around but would not be afraid to lose if the drive failed)
  5. konadave thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2013
    See attached screenshot. Disk Utility does not give any options to repair the disk.

    The disk has a smart status of failing. I suspect it's either the reallocated sector count, I don't know what is typical, or the 1.14 million load/unload cycle count. I don't know what the stock Toshiba is rated for, but he new WD Black drive I got to replace it is rated for 600K cycles.

    I plan to use DU to clone the external to the new drive and then use the external for either time machine backups or have regular clones made of the new drive.

    My only concern at the moment is how up to date the 10.8.4 install from the Recovery HD is in relation to what the App Store software update thinks. I am reluctant to run the update due to not knowing if there are "missing" updates that need to be installed first.

    Attached Files:

    • du.png
      File size:
      107.2 KB
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If you did what I think you did, I don't think things are fine. If you make a user account then after that use Migration Assistant (MA) to pull in that same user account, you end up with a bunch of duplicate folders and a big mess ordinarily.

    Ignoring the OS itself, is all your personal, user data on the 10.7.5 backup disk you have?

    If it is, I would use that as the source for a import.

    To do that you need to get rid of the current user account on the machine. Make a new admin account called "temp" or whatever. Login to that account and delete your real account. Now while still in the temp account, run MA and import everything. That will pull in your real user account.

    Now logout of the temp account and into your real account. After you have verified everything is okay, go ahead and delete the temp account.

    Recovery always downloads and installed the lastest version from Apple's servers. So if you did a recovery reinstall today you would get 10.8.4.
  7. konadave thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2013
    The migration was done with a temp admin account with the source being the failing drive. I knew in advance that the user account shouldn't already exist, but I forgot to delete first. MA recognized the conflict and gave me the options a)import the account under a new name, b)move the existing account to /Users/Deleted Users, then migrate it in, or c)ignore the user. I chose option b. The user account was moved, the user account on the failing disk was migrated in along with applications and other files. I did not migrate settings as I already went around a set things up.

    At the end of the migration it gave me a message saying that the user could not be migrated. I figured this was because I had failed to delete the account before starting the migration. I deleted the user account and ran MA again, this time just bringing in the user account. Again got the message that the user could not be migrated. That's when I went ahead and added a user with that name and told it to use the existing folder when it told me it already existed. I have not had any issues since logging in with that account. Everything seems to be as it was.

    I went from 10.7.5 to 10.8.3, and updated to 10.8.4 as soon as it was available. What I do not know is if the updates that I applied since updating to 10.8.4 were included in the 10.8.4 that was installed by Recovery HD, and if not, what would happen if I install the latest updates without those already being present.
  8. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes. If you reinstalled from recovery after 10.8.4 came out you got the update included.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2

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