Need to know best approach for migrating

blueslothking

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 14, 2017
3
7
I currently have a 2011 mini with everything stored internally on a 1tb fusion drive.

When I get my new mini in the mail, I plan on using the 128gb internal drive for system/apps and I have an external 1tb ssd for the user folder.

What's the best way to migrate the data from the one drive to the two? I've used Apple's migration assistant before, but I'm not sure if if will work since I'm splitting up the location of the user drive.

Will I have to manually reinstall everything and then move my user data over separately? Or is there an easier way?

Any help appreciated.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,526
"When I get my new mini in the mail, I plan on using the 128gb internal drive for system/apps and I have an external 1tb ssd for the user folder."

NO.
Don't do it this way.

Your home folder should be on the boot drive, with the OS and apps. Keeping it elsewhere is an "invitation for trouble".

But... your "large libraries" (such as the Photos library and the iTunes music folder) should be on the external drive.

This isn't difficult to do.
Do you have an external hard drive around right now?

How I'd do it:
a. Take new Mini out of box, set it up, but don't turn it on yet.
b. Use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper (both are FREE to download and use for 30 days, doing it this way costs you nothing) to clone the contents of your OLD (1tb fusion) drive to the external drive. You now have an exact, finder-mountable copy of your old Mac at the last moment you used it.
c. Connect the external cloned backup to the NEW Mini
d. Press the power on button for the first time.
e. Begin setup. At the appropriate moment, setup assistant will ask if you with to migrate from another computer or drive. YES, you want to do this.
f. "Aim" setup assistant at the external drive -- it will take a minute or two to "digest everything" on it and present you with a list of options.
g. Now one must BE CAREFUL about the choices. I would choose to migrate apps and settings. I believe SA offers you "checkmarks" about what to bring over from the users' folders. I would choose to "leave most stuff behind" essentially UNCHECKING almost everything IN the user folder (but still bring over the account folder itself). One thing I would bring over is mail. But I'd definitely leave behind movies, music and pics (for the moment).
h. I believe you also have the option to bring over "data" -- whether you do this or not depends on HOW MUCH data you have and whether it will fit or not. It's up to you.

What this will do is to migrate over a "bare bones" user folder.
Now, you can decide what to do with "the rest" of the contents of your old user folder.

I would set it up on an external drive, and use apps like Photos and iTunes to "reference" the libraries thereon. Just hold down the option key when you launch Photos or iTunes, and you'll see how easy this is.

One thing you'll need to do on the external drive (to prevent permissions problems):
- Click on the drive icon one time in the finder, then type command-i (eye) to bring up the get info box
- At bottom of get info, click the lock, enter your password, and then put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (in sharing and permissions).

Personal experience:
I've maintained separate boot and data volumes for the last 25 years on my Macs.
Doing so is far FAR easier than many folks realize.
Things actually work out BETTER that way.
 

weaztek

macrumors member
Aug 28, 2009
79
17
"When I get my new mini in the mail, I plan on using the 128gb internal drive for system/apps and I have an external 1tb ssd for the user folder."

NO.
Don't do it this way.

Your home folder should be on the boot drive, with the OS and apps. Keeping it elsewhere is an "invitation for trouble"
After reading your post I got a second opinion. Went to the Apple Store and basically asked "home folder on startup disk or on an external?" They agreed the startup disk was the best practice.

Per Apple Store instructions I copy and pasted folders of my documents, photos, movie contents onto my ext. HDD. Then migrated Apps, Settings, and Other Files from an ext. HDD using Migration Assistant from a Time Machine backup. As you suggested my startup drive contains the Home folder and my ext. HDD contains my files. iTunes library is on the ext. and the app. points to it.

Incidentally, my SDD is ~69GB full with the Apps, Settings, and Other Files. Not bad at all!
 

strawbale

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2011
335
166
French Pyrenees
"When I get my new mini in the mail, I plan on using the 128gb internal drive for system/apps and I have an external 1tb ssd for the user folder."

NO.
Don't do it this way.

Your home folder should be on the boot drive, with the OS and apps. Keeping it elsewhere is an "invitation for trouble".

But... your "large libraries" (such as the Photos library and the iTunes music folder) should be on the external drive.

This isn't difficult to do.
Do you have an external hard drive around right now?

How I'd do it:
a. Take new Mini out of box, set it up, but don't turn it on yet.
b. Use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper (both are FREE to download and use for 30 days, doing it this way costs you nothing) to clone the contents of your OLD (1tb fusion) drive to the external drive. You now have an exact, finder-mountable copy of your old Mac at the last moment you used it.
c. Connect the external cloned backup to the NEW Mini
d. Press the power on button for the first time.
e. Begin setup. At the appropriate moment, setup assistant will ask if you with to migrate from another computer or drive. YES, you want to do this.
f. "Aim" setup assistant at the external drive -- it will take a minute or two to "digest everything" on it and present you with a list of options.
g. Now one must BE CAREFUL about the choices. I would choose to migrate apps and settings. I believe SA offers you "checkmarks" about what to bring over from the users' folders. I would choose to "leave most stuff behind" essentially UNCHECKING almost everything IN the user folder (but still bring over the account folder itself). One thing I would bring over is mail. But I'd definitely leave behind movies, music and pics (for the moment).
h. I believe you also have the option to bring over "data" -- whether you do this or not depends on HOW MUCH data you have and whether it will fit or not. It's up to you.

What this will do is to migrate over a "bare bones" user folder.
Now, you can decide what to do with "the rest" of the contents of your old user folder.

I would set it up on an external drive, and use apps like Photos and iTunes to "reference" the libraries thereon. Just hold down the option key when you launch Photos or iTunes, and you'll see how easy this is.

One thing you'll need to do on the external drive (to prevent permissions problems):
- Click on the drive icon one time in the finder, then type command-i (eye) to bring up the get info box
- At bottom of get info, click the lock, enter your password, and then put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (in sharing and permissions).

Personal experience:
I've maintained separate boot and data volumes for the last 25 years on my Macs.
Doing so is far FAR easier than many folks realize.
Things actually work out BETTER that way.
What is your reason for advising to keep/bring mail over to the internal OS disk?
 
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inmnbob

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2014
218
80
Chicago and Twin Cities
I was really impressed with how fast it was to us an Ethernet connection between my old iMac and my new Mac Mini and the migration tool. The discussion about starting fresh vs. using a backup is something I have been questioning too. I have so many Logic Pro plug-in and apps that would be a pain to start fresh but the thought of potentially bringing anything from the old computer that was bad to the new computer is a decision factor
 
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Jorbanead

macrumors regular
Aug 31, 2018
116
120
I was really impressed with how fast it was to us an Ethernet connection between my old iMac and my new Mac Mini and the migration tool. The discussion about starting fresh vs. using a backup is something I have been questioning too. I have so many Logic Pro plug-in and apps that would be a pain to start fresh but the thought of potentially bringing anything from the old computer that was bad to the new computer is a decision factor
Wow! I had no idea you could do this. Thanks for sharing :)
 

Originalbitman

macrumors member
Apr 15, 2012
53
25
I wanted to migrate from my mid 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra to my new 2018 i7 512 8. I had cleaned up the hard drive on the 2010 but there was still a lot of old stuff in the Library folders. I hadn’t done a clean install since maybe 2003.

I tried migrating twice. Once from a CCC clone and once from a Time Machine backup. I never got past a nearly complete but stalled restart. Had to boot into recovery mode and re-install Mojave.

In the end I did a clean install of Mojave and started fresh with creating new Users and re-syncing a lot of stuff from iCloud and re-installing apps from the App Store. It initially freaked me out thinking the task would be daunting. But with iCloud, the App Store and being able to import my old Keychain file it all went along nicely. My system is lean and mean. The Mini runs beautifully without a hitch. I wish I would have skipped trying to migrate altogether.

Tip - Make some notes of your system set-up first. Especially how your email accounts are configured... all that IMAP or POP stuff and servers and all.
 
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weaztek

macrumors member
Aug 28, 2009
79
17
What is your reason for advising to keep/bring mail over to the internal OS disk?
I'm not the OP but it makes total sense and I brought mail over to my startup disk also. I have archived mail since 2005 and it only takes 9.5 GB of space. If your external goes down you can at least have functional email. It's also much faster to search and use on the SSD.

Incidentally I run Thunderbird for my mail client and love it!
 
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tedson

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
223
160
I know I'm in the minority here but I take this time to preform a manual migration. I do this to delete or archive stuff I don't use anymore. I think of it as a little "spring cleaning". This gets rid of the crud from programs I installed then deleted. I tend to keep a pretty minimal user folder but that's just me.
 

strawbale

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2011
335
166
French Pyrenees
I'm not the OP but it makes total sense and I brought mail over to my startup disk also. I have archived mail since 2005 and it only takes 9.5 GB of space. If your external goes down you can at least have functional email. It's also much faster to search and use on the SSD.

Incidentally I run Thunderbird for my mail client and love it!
I've got 20GB mail and it's 'only really' backup of Gmail account(s), so speed's not an issue (anymore).
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,526
The last time I did a "major migration", it was from a 2004 PowerMac g4 to a 2012 Mini.
I set them up both "side-by-side" on the table (I had a spare display, keyboard, mouse).

With this setup, I didn't need to move everything all at once.
One can move things over "a little at a time" to see how the newly-moved stuff "is digested" into the new setup.

After a day or two (or three), everything on the new Mini was "where it should be", and it was time to take down the old g4 and lug it up to the attic (where it still is).
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,194
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Your home folder should be on the boot drive, with the OS and apps. Keeping it elsewhere is an "invitation for trouble".
I agree and would never put the home folder anywhere but the startup drive. But it works fine if you boot from the external ssd, I boot my 2012 quad mini from a 1tb Samsung t3 SSD and it has worked fine for the past two years. That machine is dedicated to video editing so it gets a good workout. Not that big a speed difference for me on a 2012 Mini, but it would be very significant on the 2018 with that fast internal SSD.

There may be some issues with using an external boot drive with the t2 chip in the new mini though, no experience with that