What's the difference between the Home Folder and User Account??? And Library?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Mac Skeleton, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Mac Skeleton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #1
    I want to do a completely fresh install on my new 17" MacBook Pro.

    So I was thinking that I should NOT use Migration Assistant or Time Machine and that instead I will drag and drop everything over from a cloned copy of my old MBP 15".

    What difference would it make it wether I dragged my docs, pics, music, etc from my Macintosh HD to new Mac OR if I just copied the whole Home Folder??

    And what would happen if I did NOT copy over Libraries??

    And what does transferring user account do?

    I'm quite confused on how to do a fresh start on my New Mac while still transferring over all the files that I need. Any help would be great.
     
  2. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    Depending on how you look at it, your home folder is your user account. For example:

    Macintosh HD>Users>(Username) is the same as clicking on the Finder on the dock.

    As for moving files. If you're wanting to do the "cleanest" install, you want to only move your documents and any music, photos or videos and leave the library folder. If you're doing a clean install because something is not working, there's a good chance that it's something in your library folder because that's where it keeps preference files of your applications.

    Migration Assistant will transfer your applications and allow you to pick parts of your user folder.
     
  3. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #3
    You are going to have permission issues (with your home folder) if you try a straight copy.

    If you want to be as clean as possible and not use Migration Assistant. Do this:

    1. Backup
    2. Reinstall
    3. Create a new user account
    4. Mount the Backup
    5. Copy individual files from your old home folder to their respective locations in the new one

    Avoid Preferences, your user Library folder does contain important items. For example, the address book is there. Ultimately, it will take some work to do it piecemeal.

    If you are fine with moving your entire home folder, try this:

    1. Backup
    2. Reinstall
    3. Create a temporary user account (temp)
    4. While logged in as the temp user, copy the entire home folder to /Users
    5. Create a new account with a shortname that matches the short name on the home folder
    6. Mac OS (10.5 or newer) should detect the home folder and give you the option to use it.
    7. Select "Yes, OK" or whatever affirmative option it gives. It will take care of all the permissions for you.

    iLog.Genius, nice avatar :D
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    This is almost never required. Only after some kind of disk failure. I bet in the past you had a Windows based computer. People who have used Windows always want to do "Windows things" to their macs, like re-install the OS or defrag the disk or whatever.

    An "account" is an entry in a system database that has your information and password. Part of the information is a pointer to your "home directory" which in my case is /Users/chris

    You cam actually have an account with no home folder. Not usfull for normal users but Mac OS X has many such accounts These are all listed in the /etc/passwd file and you can see their home folder is set to "/var/empty"
     
  5. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #5
    You are getting well outside the scope of the question and the OPs level.

    Also, a reinstall is at times required, although rarely.
     
  6. Mac Skeleton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #6
    Thanks for the replies!!!

    That definitely gives me a better perspective.

    So I suppose I will not use migration assistant. Instead, I will drag & drop all the folders from my old MBP (documents, pictures, music, etc) into the respective NEW MAC folders and NOT copy over the library. But will that create issues in the permissions of the apps?

    Also, will I have to worry about files that are less obvious such as iPhone and iPad backups in my iTunes Devices? Or is that all in the Music folder?

    Same with iPhoto. I have albums etc created in the iPhoto on my old MBP so will it just transfer the pictures only or the Albums and their titles and places etc?

    @ChrisA: No, though I do own both, PC and Mac. I have been using macs for over 5 years now. Unfortunately though, even the Mac OS X has flaws and is susceptible to corruption and though I don't have major issues on my old MBP, i DO have some that I would just rather not have on a brand new Mac.

    Thanks very much.
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Although ChristA answered a question that was not asked, he is absolutely correct. Reinstalling the OS is an extraordinary measure for extraordinary circumstances. A lot of people on this forum ask about reinstalling the OS. In virtually none of these cases is it required. If you replace your hard drive, then yes, you need to reinstall your OS. The other circumstances in which it is required are equally rare. In the vast majority of cases of people wanting to reinstall, they are much more likely to screw things up than they are to improve them.
     
  8. GamerDad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #8
    As a new Mac owner / user, I am interested in the OP question, but in the answer backing up seems to be important, and then dragging / dropping individual files is also important. I guess Time Machine does not allow one to retrieve individual files?

    If so, do you all advocate just regular backup using copy / paste, or is there a good program that lets you backup the disk, but lets you then pick an choose individual files out of it? Sorry for not being completely on topic.
     
  9. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    We don't know the reason why the OP wants to reinstall.

    Even if it is not required, some want to do it. Who are you or ChrisA to say he should not? I said it was rare to be in a situation where one would need to reinstall, but that does not mean you cannot if you don't fall into one of the cases.

    I know you want to make sure people know this is not Windows, but a reinstall sometimes is not a bad idea.
     

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