Upgrading Macbook Pro, can I restore from Time Machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LiamJ88, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. LiamJ88 macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    My Old 2008 MacBook Pro is getting old and sluggish. It takes a bit of time to boot up (nothing dramatic) and the battery doesn't last long. But I noticed the last time I turned it on, it struggled to display the Apple Store Updates page correctly.

    But I'm doing more work on the road than ever before, so I think I'm going to upgrade at the end of the month when they hopefully announce a new machine.

    But my question is, can I back up my old MacbookPro and restore it to the new machine? I think its possible, but is it recommended?

    Is it better to start a fresh, and get rid of the junk computers seem to clog themselves up with? My only work is I have some software on there like Final Cut Pro 7 etc. which is impossible to get hold of now but I still get a lot of use out of it.

    Whats recommended? Can you do a partial backup, of say software and settings, but leave all documents and temp files where they are? And then I could just move over what I wanted.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    I did a very similar upgrade in 2012, went from a 2008 MBP to a late 2011
    It was the last model that could run on 10.6.8, so due to all the "Lion" issues
    at the time, I downgraded the new one to 10.6.8.

    So it was a fresh software install and I imported a selection of things, which
    you can also do, during the install process.
    Perhaps selecting "everything" is asking for trouble - software that will no longer
    work and many files that are not required.

    You can import your main system settings, Music / photo / documents folders etc.

    Put the old system HDD in a small USB box and move over the stuff you need
    bit by bit if you want to be ultra safe.

    I have done the "import everything from another disk" during install once and it was
    a total fail .... took hrs too !!

    It also depends what system software the 2008 is on as to how successful the imports
    will be ? ( SL 10.6.8 to ML 10.8.5 should be possible )

  3. rick3000 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    West Coast
    In my experience, restoring from TM can lead to a number of unusual issues that can only be solved by a clean install. You are much better off reinstalling applications, dragging and dropping files, and using the TM backup sparingly, if at all. It's worth the extra few hours to do it right. Like you said you don't want all of the junk on the new computer.
  4. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    Plug the new mac in, point it at time machine or the old mac during setup assistant, and let it work. It's designed to do this. I've upgraded several macs this way with no problems. It'll even tell you if your old programs are incompatible. Too many people are hung up on "clean installs" because of their Windows past life.
  5. Bigmacduck macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2009
    +1 !
  6. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2006
    Agreed, this is the way to do it.

    Just to clarify for the OP's benefit, this is not the same as doing a straight "restore from Time Machine" booted from the Recovery Partition.

    Using SetupAssistant (which is what is running the first time you boot up a brand new mac, after the Welcome jingle) you will be given the opportunity to import from a Time Machine backup before you create a user account or anything. SA will then import all your data and settings and user accounts into the new install on the new machine. You are not importing the old OS from the old machine.

    You can do this again at any point in the future (or if you missed the chance at first boot) by erase and install, and letting SA import. This is much better than using Migration Assistant later. Not as "clean" as an erase/install with no importing, but it is massively less work and has a clean OS.

    Just a small tip in case you have Aperture libraries in your TM backup. TM does not backup the previews because they can be rebuilt. So when you fire up Aperture in the new machine it will rebuild the previews, which can take a long time, but in my case it saved about 30Gb by not rebuilding previews for deleted files. Don't know if iPhoto would be the same.
  7. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Ditto this. I used the Time Machine backup of my mid-2009 to set up my late-2013. None of the issues I had with the 09 seem to have migrated to the 2013, so I don't think you need to worry.

    You should be aware though that there may not be a new machine later this month. From what I understand, February 2013 was unusual. We may not see a new MacBook Pro until June or even next October. But in all honesty, the current machines are perfectly capable. I've had no issues with my 13" since they fixed the trackpad freezing issue.
  8. LiamJ88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks for putting my mind at ease guys. I'll look into getting myself a new Macbook Pro!

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