Suggestions for migrating to smaller boot

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tehgeo, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. tehgeo, Mar 29, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018

    tehgeo macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2012
    Looking for some informed opinions here on moving to a machine with a smaller boot volume. (Yup: SSD.)

    Usually (going back to somewhere around System7 days?? Ah... 60MB drives that cost more than a current new iMac... the good old days.) just clone/copy the drive across, and am done. Might have had to update an OS or the like, but pretty straight forward.

    But now that changes with a smaller drive... almost criminally small for my main machine, compared to what I'm used to. Probably why I've not embraced SSD for this particular machine. (Fine for laptops, etc, but not my primary workstation.) But switching machines to one that doesn't have room for a traditional drive (or multiple drives, for that matter).

    So, I'll probably use Migration Assistant (I've used it a lot for clients, just not on my own stuff.) for all BUT the Users directory, just to not have to deal with the Apps and other etc stuff. But a little unsure on best way to migrate the Users.

    Here's the plan so far:

    1. Both new and old machine to the same OS+updates
    2. Migrate all of the Apps and other stuff. Ignore primary user.
    3. Setup (or maybe just Migrate) a secondary Admin on the new machine. (I only use this for troubleshooting or as a backup if primary account has issues.) Directory is small enough to live on SSD and, thus can be used without dependence on external drive in case of problem.
    4. ????
    5. ????
    6. Redirect primary user's Home Directory to directory on external HDD (actually a Thunderbolt RAID, but whatever).
    7. Profit
    So the area I'm looking or input is 4 & 5: 4) Setup existing user and 5) clone/copy/transfer/whatever existing User home that's too big for SSD to external HDD. Basically transferring or setting up the existing primary user/admin so that all of the necessary info is on the SSD but the bulk of the home is not.

    I have about 4 or 5 different ideas of how to approach this, but looking for people that have done this for suggestions on what to do. Or... maybe more importantly... suggestions of what NOT to do if you've tried something and discovered unexpected pitfalls.

    If it matters, both machines will be Sierra. I have all of the hardware/cables/whatever (and then some) so that's not a concern.

    Thanks in advance for helpful suggestions!

    EDIT: Oh, yeah... have CCC/SuperDuper!/etc and have used them a lot. So could just use one of those and exclude the user directory, but then still have don't have answers on 4 & 5. So, don't get caught up on the Migration Assistant mention (yes, I know it has problems and I also know my way around them... I guess I'm just being lazy as the new machine already has a clean OS install on it, and I thought I'd give MA a shot on my 30-ish year old System Folder).

    EDIT 2: Sorry, keep forgetting stuff. Yes I can trim down the existing user home to fit. Already the Music lives on a local server. But, A) I'd rather not splinter the Home more, and B) other things like iDevice backups (~/Library) and Mail keep pushing the size up so I'd rather have the whole directory off of the boot.
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    The largest in music and videos to an external is the easiest way!
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Specifically...what models are you talking about?
  4. Fishrrman, Apr 5, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Tell us the size of your internal drive on the Mac you have NOW.
    Tell us the size of the internal drive on the Mac you want to buy.

    How I'd do it:
    Since you have CCC...

    Create an up-to-date cloned backup of your Mac as it is now.
    Set this backup aside in a safe place, and mark is as the "backup with everything".

    Now, knowing the size of the drive on the NEW Mac, you need to start deleting stuff on the CURRENT Mac until you've reduced the amount of stuff on the drive to about 75% of the capacity of the NEW drive.

    So... if the new Mac drive will have a capacity of 512gb, you want to cut down the amount of stuff on the current drive to, say, 400 gb or so. Or even less.

    Now you have the old Mac setup with "the essential stuff" that is going to get migrated to the new one when it arrives.

    I would then do a CCC clone of this to a SECOND external hard drive, and mark it appropriately (as the "reduced size" backup).

    Then, when the NEW Mac arrives:
    1. Connect the "reduced size backup" drive you made above (with 400gb of stuff)
    2. Power up the new Mac for the very first time and begin setup
    3. When setup assistant asks if you wish to migrate, do so
    4. "Aim" setup assistant at the connected drive.
    5. Select what you wish to migrate (should probably be everything). Then let setup assistant do its thing (this will take a while).

    When done, the new Mac will be ready to use with your "essential stuff" on it.
    You can then use the older, "First backup" to "access the excess", when needed.

Share This Page