New Macbook - Clean Install (SA) or Migration Assistant (MA)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Picapau21, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Picapau21 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #1
    Hi Guys,

    This question has probably been asked a few times before and after reading various threads and posts I am still unsure.

    Currently awaiting delivery of a m7 512gb SG Macbook.

    Upgrading from a 2010 15inch Macbook pro 512gb SSD 8gb. So performance should be slightly better is not the same.

    I have not had to do a clean install in 6 years but have cloned and changed the SSD a number of times. Computer runs fine with no real slow downs. El Capitan made it feel brand new again.

    My question is: In setting up the new macbook should I:
    1. Just use MA to migrate almost everything over?
    2. SA to set up as a new computer and then use migration assistant?
    3. SA to set up as a new computer and then manually install apps, settings and bring over files?

    I'm leaning towards 3 but only because i feel a new install will be faster but I have no evidence for this.

    The most important thing for me to have working properly is OS X mail - It needs to be identical on both computers.

    Anybody have experience which they could share? Any objective rather than subjective evidence of which method is best?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #2
    IMHO I doubt you'll ever see any conclusive objective evidence due to the wide variability of initial states. Best you'll get are anecdotal stories.

    When I got my 2015 rMB I simply did a clean setup. Installed the apps I needed and I synced over my files. Whether or not it'd have made a difference will remain unknown. What I do know is that I'll never find myself wondering if I should have done it differently if I were to encounter some oddity or something on the rMB.
     
  3. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #3
    Thats a very good point. With a clean install I would never be thinking.."what if" but with MA i will always think what if I had done a clean install.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    +1

    In my opinion it boils down to how much hassle a clean install is. If you have lots of important apps etc you need, then it might be better to just use MA as it would take way more time to install and configure everything separately. If not, then I would go the clean install route as it's also a great chance to get rid of unnecessary apps and files that accumulate over time.
     
  5. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 26, 2015
    #5
    Thanks. I've built up a fair collection of apps over the past 6 years. Even with regular removal of unnecessary apps i still think i have way more than i actually use regularly. I'm going to see if I can set some time aside to reinstall and re-configure my most used apps and then only install the others as and when I need them.
     
  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #6
    Yes, I didn't specifically mention this above but used the same process. It's a great way to "clean the closets" so to speak, only installing what you actually use.

    With that said, I also have been diligent in storing my software keys and other critical info into 1Password, so I retain that info for future use and don't need to go back to the app to find it. (moot for App Store apps of course)
     
  7. applesith macrumors 68030

    applesith

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #7
    I picked up a rMB over a month ago and did a clean install. I was coming from an Early 2011 15" MBP with an upgraded 1TB SSD. I had a little less than 500GB used on that machine.

    I went with the clean install because I know I accumulated a lot of crap over the past 5 years. I'd say I added maybe 12-15 apps/programs to my rMB that I know I'll be using at some point and want to have them ready. I moved all my vital stuff to my external drive and then copied over to the rMB which was super fast between the rMB's SSD and USB 3 from the external.

    My 2 biggest concerns about not migrating were iTunes library and collection of fonts. Luckily simply replacing the default iTunes folder on the rMB with the one from my MBP addressed my iTunes concern. I've slowly re-downloaded fonts as I need them but don't do as much graphic design as I used to so I haven't looked into away to export/import all fonts. Plus doing a migration would have required me to temporarily delete files from the MBP to get it to fit. I still have my MBP so I can always get stuff from there I need later on.

    Another factor that encouraged me to start fresh was that my iPhone 6 had been restored from my 5, which was restored from my 4 before that. After a year my 6 got slow and battery went to crap. I picked up a 6S+ a few months back and started fresh and it's been amazing! I had that in mind when getting the rMB.

    Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your new rMB! It's a truly wonderful machine!
     
  8. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #8
    Thanks guys. Time to clean out the closet!!!

    I'll take the SSD out of the macbook and stick it in a caddy to move the files over. Also have a time machine backup which I could use.
     
  9. MXSkier62 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #9
    It's been like 6 years since I've done this, so please forgive this question. But when you use time machine to backup everything, will I be able to access those files easily on the external HD? Like just find those file folders like they're on my current computer? Or will there be something special?
     
  10. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #10
    I keep a iCloud note with:
    1. all of my settings changes (terminal commands, obscure, tweaks ect.)
    2. 3rd party apps names.
    + a Safari folder with links to random details related to the above two.

    My procedure on all of my MacBooks is to setup a clean install. Immediately, I implement the above points, let it index, restart and do a Time Machine backup. Basically the machine is clean, but fully customized to me, so that first backup is a great point to go back to anytime I feel like something is having a problem.

    I also maintain & backup on my Time Capsule all of my files/pictures weekly.

    My music is synced on iTunes Match + my Time Capsule.
     
  11. happyslayer macrumors 6502a

    happyslayer

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    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    #11
    My 2015 MacBook, I did a clean install. But with this new 2016 MacBook that just arrived two hours ago, I am doing Migration Assistant as I type this (on my iPad). We will see how it goes. The funny part is that I do my Time machine backups on an external drive and it first told me to plug it in first. Can't be done with the single port. Hopefully that won't be a problem...
     
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #12
    In case you weren't aware, there are a number of adapters and hubs that'll let you use an external drive and continue to power the computer if you think an operation will exceed the battery life. (or you might be aware and just snarky... ;) )

    Here's one for $15, so it's not like it's prohibitively expensive to this: http://www.amazon.com/Jellas-Charging-Full-Speed-Converter-Supports/dp/B017INH14Y
     
  13. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 26, 2015
    #13
    You can go into a time machine backup and copy files if you mount it manually.

    Otherwise just copy what you need into a separate folder on an external drive and transfer that way.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2016 ---
    Do you have a separate folder for files/picture backups or do you just let time machine do its thing? I have regular backups as the Time Machine is on my network so usually backups automatically when I get home from work.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2016 ---
    I looked at some of these adapters as well but decided to go with the official apple one as i the grand scheme of things £40 is not the end of the world. I always find that 3rd party stuff tends to fail often particularly when an apple is attached at the other end!!! A usb/hdmi/powered hub is one of those critical things that just can't fail.
     
  14. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #14
    I only use Time Machine once at the beginning to back up my clean install with my customizations so I have a good base to restore too without all the clutter of restoring apps and files.

    I prefer to manually backup files so I can organize them into sub-folders on the Time Capsule in a way I'll remember. I have folders for movies, docs, pictures, music, books and software, all a seconds click away wirelessly. It works great, it's exactly what a little "home server" should be like.

    I also use iCloud Drive constantly for document storage and transfer while working on current projects. Never had any issues that people complain about with iCloud not being reliable.
     
  15. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #15
    Interesting way to set it up. I use to do that way back in the windows days and it worked very well. I used to make an immediate clone/image of my setup after a clean install and used it to re-install periodically.

    On the mac I've previously used carbon copy cloner to create hourly backups of my documents onto google drive. Used box-crypter on top for a second layer on encryption. All worked very well but I stopped when I bought the time capsule.
     
  16. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #16
    Yep Time Capsule is fantastic piece of equipment. Makes file management and backup a breeze. I thought of making it available over the internet, but I didn't want to have to worry about heavy encryption, plus I don't really ever need to access stuff remotely. That's why I download to the MB before I head out.
     
  17. happyslayer macrumors 6502a

    happyslayer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    #17
    I was being a little snarky since I I've had the rMB for over a year and know it's limitations. It took a little over an hour to restore my system from TM and then I had to re-activate/register a couple apps (Office 365 & Parallels) but it's all running smoothe. Benchmarks and such show an improvement though I don't know if I'm feeling much difference from the 2015 1.2 compared to the new 2016 m7. But it is a very nice machine!

    The battery time is definitely noticeable. Way better so far.

    And I don't really feel like spending the $80.00 or so to get an adapter/hub that allows lugging in a USB device and power. I really don't ever need it except for things like this and it wasn't needed since it took an hour and this gets 8-10 hours battery.
     
  18. helloitsme macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #18
    I do a clean install whenever I get a new computer. It's an opportunity to dump all the cruft that's gathered on my hard drive that I never use or won't ever use in the future. This saves a huge amount of space since users can gather a huge amount of junk over several years.

    I do recommend keeping a system image of your old computer on an external drive; just incase you never need to reference something that you didn't copy over or thought that you wouldn't need.
     
  19. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 26, 2015
    #19
    Yup..I was just going to take the whole SSD out and stick it in an external caddy. My MBP is old enough to still allow me to do that :)
     
  20. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #20
    Just a thought. How are you covering yourself against loss due to fire/theft/flood/etc?

    Although I use TimeMachine backups to my NAS, I also use CrashPlan for offsite backups. It runs in the background and creates versioned backups akin to TimeMachine. With custom key encryption I'm not concerned about someone else getting into the data; I'm simply not interesting enough to be worth the effort to crack it.

    The other reason for the NAS is that I use Synology's private cloud software to keep certain folders synced between my rMB and my mini.
     
  21. only1agam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    #21
    Hey guys. I have a late 08 black macbook running 10.6.8. Do you have any advice on how to move over photos from that laptop to a new 16 macbook? It's accumulated tons of photos with many duplicates as well. It's running Iphoto 2011, so I don't want to just plant those images into a new macbook. (I'm afraid of bringing over any old iphoto corruption onto the new computer.) If you guys have any advice, bring it!
     
  22. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #22
    Valid point. I've had that in the back of my mind as well. Just never felt quite safe with leaving my data on the cloud even with two layers of encryption. Always felt a bit uneasy. Not really sure if I have a solution.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 29, 2016 ---
    I'm not really an iPhoto expert so might be best if some one else also gives an answer but could you not just copy all your photos out of the iPhoto library into a standard folder and then copy that over to your new computer. Afterwards run iPhoto on the new computer an import all those pictures.
     
  23. deeddawg, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016

    deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #23
    Yeah, I get that sentiment. That's why I wouldn't have chosen a service that just locked my data behind a username/password combination. With the addition of a custom key 448bit encryption where only I possess the key (it's not stored on Crashplan's site) I should be sufficiently secure for my purposes.

    Like I said, I'm too boring to be worth much effort to get into my data. I'm not a public figure, all my photos are G-rated, and none of my documents or files would cause embarrassment or result in criminal charges. My financial and tax info is already out there at the various institutions, as is my medical information.

    The system where you do encrypted backups to two external drives and keep one offsite at your office or something is probably your only real solution that eliminates the most risk of a breach. I figured out pretty quickly it's a great idea, but I'm not so good at keeping up with it on a regular enough basis to be worthwhile. A man's gotta know his limits, right? I need an offsite backup mechanism that I don't have to think about except the occasional validation/test-restore.
     
  24. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 26, 2015
    #24
    I'm shockingly bad at manual backups as well!
     
  25. Picapau21 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    #25
    Update: I did a clean install and there wasn't much too it.
    • Moved docs, pictures, downloads etc onto an external disk and copied them over.
    • All my mail accounts came across automatically as I believe they are saved in the keychain
    • Only the smart mailboxes needed manual export which was easy enough.
    • I then went though my applications list and reinstalled my most used one from both the app store and elsewhere (surprisingly large list considering i thought i didn't use many apps!)
    • Macbook is basically running as intended.

    I have two outstanding items which are being a bit more of a pain:
    • I need to transfer over my virtual box windows VM's. Copying the VM over and running it does not work. I need to go into the VB forums to have a look at the method for transfer.
    • iMessages have not synced over and so i can not see any of my older messages. I have no archive folder on my MBP where as on the MB i have an archive folder into where all the chats go
    Can anybody help with the last two outstanding issues particularly the iMessage issue?

    Thanks
     

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