Selling 2 macs and buying a new do I transfer programs from both??

Discussion in 'macOS' started by i make movies, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. i make movies macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    Hey there,

    Title says it all.

    I have a 27" iMac (oct 2009) and 17" MBP (apr 2010) with 10.6.8. I'm selling both and getting a refurb 17" MBP (feb 2011).

    I've backed up both with time machine.

    When the new one arrives, I'd like to consolidate both systems into one. Can I do this with time machine? For the MBP, I've reinstalled OSX using time machine to keep my programs...but i haven't tried combining back-ups from 2 separate machines. Is it a problem if the new MBP comes with Lion, which I don't have?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    First of all, don't rely on Time Machine as your only backup. I suggest crashplan. You can use crashplan to back up to a usb drive, then selectively restore to another computer. With Time Machine, if anything goes wrong with your backup, you might have a very difficult time finding your data.

    By default, crashplan does NOT back up apps. You will need to add your applications folder to crashplan's backup. Also simply adding the applications folder might not be enough. You might also need /users/ yourhomefolder/ Library/ Application Support added to your crashplan backup so you can bring back application data that is stored there. Crashplan is available in two free and one paid flavor. For free you can back up to a friend's machine or to a local usb or network drive. Paid users can back up to crashplan's servers. There isn't supposed to be a limit but I've heard they "throttle" data over 200 GB. For this reason we back up our documents to crashplan and our media and movies to NAS drives.

    Another option is to use migration assistant to bring data over from one of the machines and manually transfer data from the other machine.

    When I went from Windows to OS X, I used a network drive. I had my windows home folder copied up to the network drive nightly. When I got my Mac, I simply turned off my windows box for the last time and copied everything from the NAS drive to the Documents folder on my new Mac. It was easy because I had everything sitting there on the NAS drive ready to be copied to my Mac and it was fast because I wasn't bringing applications.

    Perhaps there are some steps you can take ahead of time to organize things and make it a lot easier. Pick one machine to be the master address book, ical, email, etc. Make sure your user folder is mirrored on both machines, then you can pick either one to migrate. Lastly, consider simply migrating from one "main" machine (which has all your calendar and address book data as well as your merged user folder), then reinstall the apps that were on the second machine but not the "main" machine.

    It is possible to browse both Time Machine backups and manually copy stuff out to the new machine but you have to make sure the TM backups are not corrupted in some way. I have migrated almost a dozen macs over the years. I've used CCC (carbon copy cloner) several times, I've used Time Machine (once), and I've used migration assistant several times. I liked TM the least. For instance, on two separate occasions, I attempted to restore from a TM backup only to find it corrupted. It was completely worthless. That's what I get for trying to TM backup over 802.11 (slower than n). In one case, I had another TM backup that worked fine but in the second case I had to rely on an off site (paid) crashplan backup to recover. Even on the occasion where it did work, my email got corrupted and simply crashed until I went into application support and deleted almost 10 gig of useless mail data. I had to set up from scratch and let it re-download everything. Bottom line: Time Machine can be convenient but it should never be your only backup and even when it seems to work it might not fully work.
  3. M. Klean macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    Thanks for the info on Time Machine being unreliable, r0k!

    Is there any other way to consolidate user accounts, though? I am in a similar situation as to i make movies. I have an iMac and a MacBook, and would like to consolidate the two Macs to one MacBook Pro. However, I'd like to bring over keychain information as well as preferences, files, and applications. Is manually dragging files over the only way to do this? Is there any way to make it easier through the command line?


    --M. Klean
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Back when you could get MobileMe, you could sync keychains across multiple Macs. Without MobileMe, I can't think of a way to do that. There might be a password safe that can import directly from keychain. One that comes to mind that might do this is 1password, but it's not free. BTW, I own both 1password and SplashID but I use SplashID because I've been able to bring along my data even from as far back as my PalmOS days. There are only a handful of keychain items I want to bring in to my password safe and I simply type them in to SplashID if I want them both places.

    Be careful about manually dragging files if you are trying to "merge" information from two macs onto one. This can end badly.

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