OK to swap home folders across machines?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Let's Sekuhara!, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Let's Sekuhara!, Dec 21, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

    Let's Sekuhara! macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Jun 30, 2008
    Hi, I was wondering if there is anything wrong with taking a home folder that was configured on an iMac and copying it over to a MacBook Pro or two. It would be for imaging purposes - to have the same configuration of apps and settings. I realize there may be some differences in plist files and things of that sort relating to Energy Saver settings. The iMac will not have a Fusion Drive but I don't think that would make a difference in this case anyway. The Mac OS X version will be the same on all machines.

    Can you guys think of anything about this plan that could pose a problem?
    Would using Migration Assistant be better than drag-dropping? If so would there be a significant difference in transfer speed?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ Can you guys think of anything about this plan that could pose a problem? ]]

    You CAN'T just copy the entire "Home" folder from one Mac to another.
    It won't work.

    You can't copy the sub-folders of the home folder, either.
    By "sub-folders", I mean the folders named "Pictures", "Movies", "Music", etc.
    These are not "ordinary folders" -- I believe they are actually what's called "symbolic links" and they can't be "simply copied" via the finder.

    You CAN copy the CONTENTS of the above-named folders.
    That is to say, you could select one, several, or all of the files in the "Pictures" folder on one Mac, and then copy them to the other Mac.

    I believe there are apps out there that are designed to "synchronize" two Macs, but I've never used them and don't know anything about them.
  3. Let's Sekuhara!, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014

    Let's Sekuhara! thread starter macrumors 6502

    Let's Sekuhara!

    Jun 30, 2008
    Thanks for the reply Fishrrman. Are you sure about the sub-folders of home folders being symlinks? I've never heard that before and it implies that there are some other "real" folders somewhere that correspond to each of those folders. If that is true I have to ask: where are those "real" folders located?

    While I appreciate the suggestion, syncing in this case would allow the user of one machine to alter and screw up the settings for other users on the other machines. So I am looking for a one-way copying solution.

    Update: I'm still researching home folder copying and from this article it looks as if I can copy the folder over. One thing I thought of that could be an issue though is iCloud / Apple ID credentials as they relate to syncing. In other words duplicate contacts or other syncing problems could come up I imagine. This is just my speculation, and may be avoidable if I find out what preference files are in charge of all that and omit them. But I think avoiding using iCloud is the easiest solution since I won't need it for the way these Macs will be used.

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