Migration Assistant vs Copying Files?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by splitpea, May 31, 2010.

  1. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    It's time to migrate everything to my new MBP, but my PowerMac (G5 running 10.4.11) hasn't been especially stable lately. Between that and the platform change, I'm hesitant to do a direct migration. I'd like to make a fresh start and have as stable a system as possible.

    To that end, a few questions:

    1) Is there any reason besides labor-intensiveness to use Migration Assistant instead of freshly installing software, copying over files, and reconfiguring everything?

    2) Does Migration Assistant preserve file permissions? Is there any way to preserve permissions when doing a direct copy?

    3) Does Migration Assistant migrate files that are not within the /Users directory?

    4) I'm very concerned about email -- Mail.app has been extremely crashy lately (especially when previewing messages with attachments), but I need to migrate my email archives -- is there any way to get a stable fresh start for email without losing the archives?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    I would reinstall apps and copy the files you need, it's good way to clean up as well.

    To migrate your emails, just find your email address from /user/Library/Mail/email_address/inbox.mbox (+ other .mbox files) and then just open Mail in new machine and select import mailboxes -> files in mbox format -> select the mbox file(s)
     
  3. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Nope.

    Yes and no. Well, you don't preserve permissions (since the user on your new computer is different from the user on your old computer) but those permissions should be reset to your new user when copying over.

    I haven't actually ever used MA, but considering it copies applications and settings (which aren't in your users directory) I'd say it's a safe bet that it does.

    Depends. If the email archives are what's causing the instability (unlikely) then your new copy will be unstable as well. But I doubt that's the issue, so you simply just need to copy them over and you should be fine.
     
  4. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Spiffy. Thanks.

    Is that going to take a LONG time with tens of thousands of emails?

    OK... will it preserve which files have r/w/x permissions? I do enough work with UNIX tools (and Apache) that it's important not to remove or grant write and execute permissions on certain files and directories. I assume there's no simple way to also migrate groups and group ownership?

    Hmmm.... I'm concerned about a specific directory that contains my website files, but it's inside a directory (/opt/local, so not inside /Applications or /System) full of other MacPorts stuff that was compiled for PPC and won't run on x86.

    Thanks. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    If you don't have many accounts, no as all your incoming mail in in inbox.mbox folder and sent emails are in sentmessages.mbox file (every account has its own file)
     
  6. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Ack. I've got 5 active and 3 send-only accounts, plus around 50-100 folders worth of archived mail, some nested. Almost none of the mail is still in the inbox.

    Do I need to set up the accounts in Mail.app first and then migrate the mail into each one?
     
  7. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #7
    To use your old email account settings, you don't even need to import the old account.

    Just copy the following:

    1. Users / YOU / Library /Mail

    2. Users / YOU / Library / Preferences / com.apple.mail.plist


    Here is a more detailed approach.
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mail/2.0/en/ml807.html

    That should be worth reading.
     
  9. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

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    #9
    Migration assistant *should* respect permissions.

    Migration Assistant will look for items that are owned by the users being migrated. So for example, it will bring over files and folders that your user account owns that are sitting in /

    If you don't own the folder /opt/local/ or the files within, Migration Assistant will not bring those over.
     
  10. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    And if I'm concerned that a corrupted plist is responsible for the instability... I'm screwed and can't migrate rules and such?
     
  11. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #11
    That I don't know, as I don't use Mail.
     
  12. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

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    #12
    The cause of your system wide instability is unlikely to be caused by a plist. You can easily rule out an application and its various support files and settings with a simple test.

    When Mail.app is not running does my problem still exist? If yes, then Mail.app is not the problem. If no, then Mail.app could be the problem.

    However, mail rules are stored in a separate plist, ~/Library/Mail/MessageRules.plist (in Mail 4.0, this may be different in your version).

    Chances are, the problems with your machine are not software related but hardware related due to its age. However, to be sure you will have to figure out the cause of the instability on your PowerMac and determine if their are files that should not be migrated.
     
  13. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

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    #13
    Mail

    If you have an imap account you can put you mail on a server folder and bring them back to the old machine which is good if you have a small mailbox.

    Alternatively do a search on here and on the Apple discussion forums for instructions of how to manually move mail manually which isn't too difficult. In essence you need to move the mail.plist file and the mail boxes before setting up the accounts.

    Also try VacuumMail before you do any transfer.

    HTH
     
  14. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Yes, I'm aware that a Mail.app plist isn't going to cause system-wide instability. Two separate issues: Mail sometimes crashing when previewing emails with attachments; occasional kernel panics or system lockups when waking from sleep.

    Yeah, I've run every hardware test I can get my hands on, and the hardware doesn't appear to be at fault in the kernel panics. I'm actually suspicious of an external Firewire hard drive more than anything, but can't live without it until the migration.

    This (plus the platform switch) is why I'd prefer not to migrate apps or preferences, and just reinstall from scratch.

    Thanks, I'll look that up.
     

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