Moving to a new iMac - Migration Assistant vs manual migration

Discussion in 'iMac' started by andyramone, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. andyramone macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2014
    #1
    Hi Folks, first time post here.

    So I'm getting my new imac this week to replace my old Early 2008 that's served me incredibly well for the last 6 years. I can't wait to get the new one though!

    My question though is this, I want the transition to be as smooth as possible, and I understand Migration Assistant will allow me to basically carry everything over to the new one to the point that it will essentially all be the same. This appeals to me a lot. However, my concern is I may end up bringing a lot of old 'crud' with it and the idea of a clean start appeals to me greatly.

    So what would you recommend? Is there any risk in bringing over 6 years worth of user data to my new mac? Will I be bringing over a load of stuff that will clog up my new machine? My main worry about doing a manual move is that I will lose a lot of preferences and data for things like Logic Pro and After Effects which I use a lot. I'll keeping hold of my old mac until I give it to my brother next year, so I suppose it will be easy enough to locate anything I may have missed.

    Would love to hear your experiences using Migration Assistant across 2 machines that are years apart.
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #2
    I have used MA over and over from machine to machine as long as it has existed and never had a problem. If you machine is running fine now, chances are it will run fine after moving things to the new one with MA.

    The only issue you might have is if you have utilities or things running that are old and not compatible with Yosemite. But those are fairly easily identified if you do have trouble.

    The big key to using MA is to use it during the initial system setup when prompted. Do not make an account then afterwards try to run MA as that will cause problems.
     
  3. andyramone thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2014
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I'm already running Yosemite on my 2008 mac so there's no problems there with my current applications running on it. Everything seems to work fine.

    I think I'll go with MA. I'll be sure to do some house cleaning on my old mac before I migrate though.

    Another question - is there anything MA misses that I need to migrate manually anyway? I'm thinking of things like the library etc...
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #4
    Nope... it will bring everything over.

    If you get stuck on anything just post up and I'll try and help you out.
     
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #5
    Yes; always start with a migration. If say lightning strikes and it screws up, THEN is the time to consider other methods. Migration Ass't has been getting better and better over the years, so unless you know more than the Apple engineers who designed it, give it a shot.

    There is nothing in your user data that will "clog" up the machine. Occasionally things like prefs have to be reset, serial numbers reentered, etc. It's a very different machine so that's expected. It's way easier to figure out those problems once everything is migrated. I had some ancient software just fire up on my new Mac; I would have bet the store it wouldn't have worked.
     
  6. andyramone thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2014
    #6
    Just an update, I got my new iMac today (21.5" 2.7Ghz, 16GB RAM, 1TB Fusion) and did the migration assistant. It took just under 2 hours, and everything worked like a charm. I'm now up and running with my new mac and couldn't be happier. I'm actually rendering an animation from AE that took me 2 hours on my old machine at the moment to test the speed, and it's currently half way through after 2 mins, and I'm able to browse the internet and type this whilst it's rendering!!! That 16GB upgrade was a goooood idea!

    Thanks for the help guys.
     
  7. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #7
    I have always done migrations manually but I was thinking for the next one, early '15, to use MA to transfer over my settings, etc., to set up the Mac and then fresh install the software, mainly Adobe CC and apps from the App store. Before reading this I would have set up my accounts first. Are you suggesting just to attach the two Macs via cable and turn on the new Mac and start with MA at that stage? Any reason not use MA to transfer over settings, etc?
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    Yes exactly. That is the preferred way to do it. If you do it after you can have permissions issues with the account.

    I have never had any trouble just moving everything over like this.
     
  9. Pardus macrumors member

    Pardus

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #10
    manual only

    I always do a manual install, infact I do a complete fresh install every year and manually move everything over.

    I did a test a few years ago and speed and responsiveness was night and day with a manual fresh install.

    If I was more of a casual user or not doing a lot on it I wouldn't bother, on my wife or son's would just use MA as a manual process is a time commitment. However for me, I get so much bloat in my libraries and systems that a fresh install with only the minimum of what I need is a clear winner.

    To do this, I get everything on old mac, current and up to date. run disk utility. on new mac, create a user account with the exact same user name, short name and password. all drives, named the same, identical.

    then I go through and copy over the easy stuff like pictures, documents etc.. . after each main folder is copied I colour tag it on the old machine so that I know it is done.

    mail has gotten a little trickier lately, I go in and create my mail accounts first, then bring my mail over. if I recall on the last attempt, had to fiddle with it to get my old mail recognized as it seemed like it wasn't showing up at first. prob can google that.

    then I go through and copy items in my library that will be required and any important preferences or custom app settings from application support.

    I wouldn't recommend this if you aren't very mac savvy as there can be lots of little hicups but if you want to try, it will be faster for sure. just make sure you copy files, not move them so original exists if you screw up.

    also after that, I create a disk image of my old system drive and libraries and copy that over to new mac and if I ever need something that I forgot, can mount the disk image and grab what I need.
     
  10. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #11
    Pardus,

    If I fresh install all apps, have have docs, etc., in a large Dropbox folder, what "crud" would I be at risk of transferring over if I just use MA to transfer my settings, email, etc.? Except for the non-iCloud email accounts most of that information is in iCloud already. It seems to me that moving apps over put you at most risk of transferring items that you shouldn't.

    - David
     
  11. Pardus macrumors member

    Pardus

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    Vancouver, BC
    #12
    well i am no expert on the IT side of macs but with my experience, I usually have installed and uninstalled a bunch of apps which have left a bunch of orphaned files in the libraries. most apps don't have a proper uninstall and there will be a bunch of apps i only installed for a single purpose that I don't really use or are old. Even after updating to new versions, a lot of apps will leave old files still on your computer. For instance going from Adobe CS5 to CS6 I still had all the files separately for each version and could run them simultaneously.

    Maybe it also has to do with defrag or disk positioning. I know macs are supposed to do that through maintenance in the background.

    All I can say is when I do it, it is so much better. maybe its all in my head but perception is reality :)
     
  12. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #13
    Pardus,

    I think that you make my point: if you fresh install the apps there shouldn't be a problem with MA transferring everything else. With the App Store and Adobe, fresh app installs are easy.

    - David
     
  13. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    Northeast
    #14
    I would do a fresh install of OSX, then install programs/apps, then bring over data. Anything else is, well, insane.
     
  14. onefish2 macrumors member

    onefish2

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    Location:
    Nanuet, NY
    #15
    OP... You did the right thing. Use Migration Assistant and don't look back.

    I have been using a Mac for over 13 years now. My first Mac was an iMac that I bought in 2001. That ran OS 9 and OS 10 dual boot. I have never had to do a clean install after a year. I have always done in place upgrades time after time after time.

    This is not Windows. Those Windows rules and mentality do not apply here.

    I just got a 5k iMac. I used Migration Assistant to move my home directory and apps over from an 8+ year old Mac Pro that originally started out running 10.5. I upgraded that OS to 10.6 and then to 10.7. So I migrated from 10.7.x to 10.10.

    So in that 8 year time span I never reinstalled the OS and went from 10.5 to 10.7 which was the last OS that old hardware would support.

    A month later and all is well. I love this new 5k iMac. Imagine going from a 2006 Mac Pro to this. Its like night and day.

    Now I have other Macs that I use for work so Mavericks and Yosemite are not new too me. Well Yosemite is a bit new and honestly I do not like the look of the new OS at all.
     
  15. Drewski macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2011
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    #16
    What problems?

    I just created a new account on a new SSD, and wanted to test it first. Everything seems to be running well so I MA'd the apps, and started testing them as well - so far so good. Next step should be to migrate the data, but MA doesn't seem to allow too much selectivity there so I may need to go manual.
     
  16. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #17
    I am interested to learn how effectively MA transferred the apps. Do you know the size the apps before and after the transfer?
     
  17. Drewski macrumors regular

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    #18
    I can't comment yet on how effective the transfer was. I have only used a couple apps for far, but iMovie is almost a different app, it runs so fast now. It may take a while to test all of the apps.

    I can see the details about the app folders on the OEM HD and the new Tbolt SSD however.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #19
    Thanks. I was interested in seeing if MA moved everything over, and it appears to.
     
  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #20
    When you create a new account on a new Mac that account is assigned user ID 501. Right click on your account in Users & Groups and select advanced and you can see your user ID.

    The second account you make will be 502 and so on.

    Now if you make an account 501 and the account you use MA to import is also 501, you are going to have permissions problems.

    There is a work around where if you know the old account is 501, you can make a second account on the new install that would be 502 and from inside that account delete the 501 account. Now 501 is free for MA to import to and things will be okay.

    You can read about it here.
     
  20. Drewski macrumors regular

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    #21
    Thanks, that was a good read. I checked and both my old and new OS had user account 501. But I wonder, maybe something has changed since that article was published. The last OS they referred to is Lion, and it wasn't really clear within which OS these problems occurred.

    Since I still have my original HD, as well as original Time Machine, and CCC, and Backblaze, I figured I might be backed up enough to experiment a bit. :) I mean, if the Mavericks OS I installed on the SSD had issues, I could just reformat and reinstall according to the aforementioned advice. But since I was in the middle of my new installation, I figured I would just continue and see what issues cropped up. And the answer to that was... well, none really. I MA'd my apps (not as part of the original install), although I was not happy about the lack of selectivity, i.e., it was all apps or nothing. I MA'd them all, but after I already installed the OS. I haven't tested all of the apps, but I have tried most of them and so far, so good.

    I then copied the mail folder from the library, as well as the plist file for it, and it seems fine too. I have since been copying the data files manually, and they too all work well.

    So at the risk of sounding contrary, I found a piecemeal migration to be just fine, user ID # be damned. I think next time I might reinstall individual apps more selectively for a cleaner "fresh start." I'm sure I brought over some stuff I don't need, app-wise, which will inevitably leave their detritus when I get around to deleting the app.
     
  21. Steveatesh macrumors regular

    Steveatesh

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    Oct 29, 2014
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    North east England
    #22
    MA didn't work for me, no doubt due to user error.
    My first Mac, set it up from the box to the point of migrating over from my Windows 8.1 Pro PC it simply wouldn't see or recognize the PC. I believe I followed the instruction with both computers but nothing worked.

    At the point I was wondering whether I had done the right thing by moving to Mac,and resorted to manual copy of my files and stuff I needed.

    All good since then, but I still don't know why it didn't work despite following the instructions to the letter.
     
  22. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #23
    The issue still exists because of the way the system uses that UID#. Like you said, you may have gotten away with it because you did not really do a full, automated migration.
     
  23. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    #24
    There is only one way to do this. Fresh install then reinstall apps and bring over data manually.

    The only way to let your new computer be all it can be.
     
  24. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #25
    Or not. There is certainly more than "one way" to do this. A variety, ranging from manually to clones. Even two automated methods, Setup and Migration Assistants.

    And I don't buy the assertion that your Mac will be faster if you manually copy everything, even discounting for the hours spent doing that. I suspect many people who see speed ups do so because their machine had problems that were eliminated when they erased it. My car might go faster if I took out the engine and put in a new one, but then again maybe I only had to put a loose spark plug wire back on again.

    Unless you have reason to do so (and I grant many users simply don't know enough about their Macs to diagnose these problems), using Setup or Migration will give you a Mac that is just as fast as it would be if you manually install. I've had to it every possible way, and there is no difference.
     

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