Swapping MBA with sister

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by evanskl, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. evanskl macrumors newbie

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    Apr 7, 2011
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    Georgia
    #1
    Hi, I know search....I'm am! But you guys are so good I thought I'd get the real answer by asking!

    My sister and I are going to swap our MBA.....mine is is 11" mid 2011 and hers is a 13" mid 2012.

    What is the easiest way to swap everything (data, software) between the two of them? I'm fairly comfortable with working on the MBA if I have good instructions.

    Can anyone help?
     
  2. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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    #2
    Hi,

    I would use one or two external hard drives, and Carbon Copy Cloner to clone.
    (CCC 3.5 has a 30 days free trial, and clones also the Recovery partition).

    Say I have 2 external hard drives, E1 and E2 :

    - clone MBA 11" to E1
    - clone MBA 13" to E2

    - connect E1 to MBA 13", boot up from E1, use Disk Utility to erase the internal drive, clone E1 to the internal.
    - restart from the internal and check that all is fine.

    - connect E2 to MBA 11", boot up from E2, use Disk Utility to erase the internal drive, clone E2 to the internal.
    - restart from the internal and check that all is fine.

    You might also do with one external only, partitioned in two partitions E1 and E2.
    I personally would prefer using two external drives.
     
  3. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 20, 2010
    #3
    Are you running the same version of OSX? Do you have thunderbolt to ethernet adapters? The fastest and easiest way is to use migration assistant with the thunderbolt to ethernet adapters, it will be very fast and painless and it will migrate your software, settings and data.
     
  4. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #4
    What he said... CCC is fantastic at precisely this kind of thing!
    if you don't have 2 externals you can buy them really cheap like <50 for 500gig and you end up with a spare external each... they do come in handy :)

    once can never have enough spare drives ;)

    ----------

    yes, but it will do a shoddy job, and things will not work as well as they would if it was a clone.... in either case though don't forget to repair permission after you are done... (best boot into recovery for that)...

    Good luck :)
     
  5. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    #5
    Seems like two camps on this one. I'm voting for Time Machine and Migration Assistant since I actually did it myself and it worked great.

    The hardware is a little different between the two machines. I think you're better off with not an "exact" copy of the disk but rather integrating your data/setting into the newly swapped machines.

    Also, you don't need two external drives for this. Good luck!
     
  6. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #6
    Why even bother with that? You can use a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable to do it. Even faster than Ethernet.
     
  7. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 20, 2010
    #7
    I didn't know that was supported, is it?
     
  8. evanskl thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Thanks all for the help!

    Can some one tell me more about the thunderbolt cable and migration assistant method? I'm very good at following directions!

    K
     
  9. evanskl thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Georgia
    #9
    I'm going to bump this....

    I finally have both machines in front of me, and would truly like to hear everyone's final thoughts on the best process.
     
  10. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #10
    How big are the drives on the MBAs and how big of an external drive do you have?

    Personally, I would create two sparse disk images on the external drive, one for the contents of each MBA's internal drive.

    Then I would use SuperDuper! to copy the contents of each MBA's drive to the respective disk image.

    Then I would use Migration Assistant on each MBA to grab the appropriate data from the sparse images on the external drive.

    This is a straightforward process if you understand the concepts and software involved. If you don't, feel free to ask and I can clear up what I can. Maybe other people have simpler suggestions though. To me, this would be the most straightforward thing to do though. Plus, you end up with exact copies of each drive on your external drive, so in case anything goes wrong, you can easily get things back to the way they were.
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    I got a private message to provide some more details about my suggested method but I can't seem to send private messages for some reason so I will post here.

    1) Plug your external drive into one of the MBAs
    2) Run the Disk Utility application
    3) Go to File, then New Blank Disk Image
    4) Set the location for the new image to the external drive
    5) Set the name of the image to something like "MBA 13 inch"
    6) Set the size to something over 120 GB. Maybe 130 GB. It doesn't really matter.
    7) Set the Image Format to s-p-a-r-s-e disk image. (Sorry for the dashes... this forum software doesn't seem to like this word.)
    8) You're done, click on Create

    This will create a new, blank disk image (virtual disk) on your external drive where you can copy the contents of your MBA's internal drive.

    9) Mount the new disk image by going to your external drive in the Finder, then double-clicking on the .dmg file. The disk image will appear on your desktop as if it were a real disk.
    10) Download an application called SuperDuper! and copy the contents of your MBA's internal drive to the disk image.

    Now you have backed up one of your MBAs to a disk image on your external disk. This is good.

    11) Do this whole process for the other MBA too.

    Now you can use the Migration Assistant on each MBA to import the data from the other MBA.

    12) Attach the external drive to a MBA. Mount (double click) the disk image with the data you want to import, i.e., the image of the other MBA.
    13) Run Migration Assistant and point it to that disk image.
    14) Repeat the process on the other MBA.

    The only part about this that I'm not sure about is if Migration Assistant deletes the old data on the computer before migrating the new data. If it doesn't delete the old data, then you might run into disk space issues, and you probably don't want the old data anyway. Let us know if this is what happens and we can tell you how to delete the old data (i.e., a user account) from a MBA.
     
  12. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    Oct 9, 2012
    #12

    Data on the source Mac is not removed AFAIK.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    In that case the best thing to do (to my knowledge) would be go to System Preferences, Users & Groups, create a new dummy account with administrator privileges, delete all the other accounts on the computer (and their data) and then run Migration Assistant from the dummy account.
     
  14. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    Oct 9, 2012
    #14
    motrek,

    Last week I set up an out of the box Mac using a Time Machine backup and setup assistant. The original computer remained the same. My understanding is that migration assistant works the same as setup assistant. I have not tried using migration assistant.
     
  15. evanskl thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Any thoughts on Bruno09's post (#2)? Booting from the external drive and using Disk Utility to erase the internal drive.
     
  16. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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  17. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #17
    You mean erasing the drive and copying the contents of the other drive? You could do that but I wouldn't. There are operating system files on each drive that are specific to that particular computer's hardware. So you don't want to have those on the other computer obviously. I mean, it might work, but I'd avoid it.

    If you want, you could erase the drive, reinstall the OS, and then use Migration Assistant afterwards to copy your stuff back onto it.
     
  18. SusanK macrumors 68000

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  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #19
    What Bruno suggested is the easiest method and will work perfectly assuming the OS X version is the same on both.

    You would have problems if for example the 2011 still had Lion and you tried to move that over to the 2012 since it came with Mountain Lion and Lion would not have the drivers to run the 2012.

    But if you have updated the 2011 to at least the OS version the 2012 came with, you will be good to go.

    That is only true during small time windows when new Macs come out before the general OS version has been updated. For example I believe the was a special build of Mavericks that came with one of the Retina MacBooks. But as soon as the next OS X update happened after that, that special build was replaced by the general release version that would work on all supported Macs.

    It won't be an issue for the OP as long as he has updated the 2011 to at least the version that came with the 2012.
     
  20. evanskl thread starter macrumors newbie

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  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #21
    That's perfect. Just do the clones like Bruno explained and you will be good to go.
     
  22. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #22
    You're confusing the pre-installed version of the OS with the post-installed bits on an actual computer.

    You're right that the same software is used to install the OS to any machine.

    But during (and after) the installation process there's no telling what the OS might do to "customize" itself for a particular machine.

    About two years ago I did a drive copy to get my stuff from an older MacBook to a newer one. It worked... ish. A lot of stuff worked but there were a bunch of smaller things that didn't seem to quite work right. Lots of complaints about drives not being found, I think because the hardware identifiers for the drives were different. That sort of thing.

    Much better to use Migration Assistant to get your stuff from one Mac to another.
     
  23. Brian Y macrumors 68040

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    Oct 21, 2012
    #23
    It's really not. Migration assistant is buggy, misses certain things, and *can* cause issues. 90% of the time it works ok, but you could quite easily fall into the 10%. By cloning you will end up with the machine EXACTLY as it was, with all caches in tact, and without any permissions issues which can be a horrible side effect of MA. If you have a complicated setup (custom symlinks within your user folder, for example) forget about MA.

    OS X doesn't "customise" itself to a particular machine. With the exception of special builds (10.7 that shipped with the first rMBP, etc), OS X includes all of the drivers/extensions needed to support every machine that is supported, and loads the drivers on boot. The only customisation it really does is setting the computer name (sharing preferences) to "<username>'s <machine type>".

    The quickest way IMO would be to grab one external drive. Clone Machine A to the external disk. Clone Machine B to Machine A, then clone the external disk to Machine B.
     
  24. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #24
    Not really sure how you can be so sure about this unless you work for Apple or its one of their official policies that's listed somewhere?

    I just know that I was having enough trouble with my cloned MBA drive on a different machine that after a few days of random error messages I gave up, reinstalled the OS, and used Migration Assistant.

    I understand that M.A. doesn't grab 100% of a computer's data but I can re-do the parts that it misses pretty quickly.
     
  25. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #25
    Nope... not confused at all. The same thing (with the exception of printer drivers that get downloaded) is installed on each machine and you can easily swap drives without issue if both machines are on the same OS version.

    The drivers are all there. If you swap drives from a machine with GPU XX to a machine with GPU YY the OS will now see GPU YY and load the correct drivers, for example.
     

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