Transferring only data files from one Mac to another?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by stanw, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. stanw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    I'm going to buy a new iMac and transfer all of my files from my MacPro to it.

    I have lots of folders throughout my main drive on my MacPro with lots of files. I do not want to transfer any applications or system files. I want to make sure my new Mac is nice and clean without any left over junk. What is the best way to transfer just my files? When backing up with Time Machine, I excluded the Applications folder. Is it backing up the System folder and Library and other files related to the OS on the MacPro?

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    When you first start the new machine at the end of the setup process it will run Migration Assistant. Just connect an ethernet cable directly between the two machines and let Migration Assistant move over what you want.

    You will get a screen like below where you can just uncheck whatever you do not want to move over.


    I would go back to your Time Machine backup and change it back to default to backup the system files etc in case you ever need it to restore a full system. A Time Machine backup can also be used with Migration Assistant.
  3. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Migration Assistant will not copy over old system files in the place of new ones, so you don't need to worry about that.

    TM will backup system files unless you've excluded system files. If you exclude the /Library folder, I think it asks you if you want to exclude all system files.
    However, it's worthwhile having a backup of your system as:
    a) you can restore your entire disk from a TM backup
    b) it's handy if you accidentally delete something
    c) as the files tend to be read only, they don't take up much TM disk space.

    How do you plan to copy over your apps? Bear in mind that apps may have support files in /Library/Application Support.

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