How to use Setup Assistant to migrate to a new MacPosted on May 15th, 2012 No comments
I told you in a recent rant on this blog that I bought myself a new MacBook Pro.
It truly is a glorious computer; perhaps the best laptop on the planet. It’s blazing fast, ultra quiet, and it’s built like a Sherman tank, but is as sexy as a Ferrari. With Unix under the hood, Apache, PHP and MySQL preinstalled, it’s a web developer’s dream machine.
I always look forward to setting up a new computer for the first time, but instead of starting from scratch as is my normal approach, this time, I decided to use Apple’s built-in Migration Assistant.
How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac is the name of KB article HT4413 at Apple.com. If you’ve already created your account on your Mac for the first time, but want to migrate a profile (your user account, applications and files) from a different machine or Time Machine backup, using Migration Assistant is the way to go.
But if you already created your login on your new Mac, read carefully:
Important info not obvious on Apple’s KB article
Using Migration Assistant, your old files will be copied to a new, alternate, secondary profile on your new Mac. In other words, if you logged in as ghoffman on your old Mac, and you already created a fresh, new profile ghoffman on your new Mac, you can’t use Migration assistant to get old ghoffman copied into new ghoffman. You can use Migration Assistant to restore ghoffman (old) to ghoffman2 or ghoffmanNEW or any other alternate named profile, just not the one you probably want.
If you have not yet created your user account on your new computer, or if you are willing to format your Mac and restore it to factory default settings, there is a little-known startup configuration mode when you first boot Mac OS X. It’s called Setup Assistant.
The first time you start up a new Mac, on one of the very first screens, even before entering your name for creating your account, you have the option of using Setup Assistant, which may be better named First-run Migration Assistant.
Using Setup Assistant at first-run is by far the fastest way to get going on a new Mac. I was extremely impressed at how simple and complete it was. Just like Migration Assistant, you have a several options as far as the source and transfer method, including using your other computer (as a disk in target mode) or from a Time Machine backup. I chose to use my Time Machine backup over FireWire 800. Other transfer options include USB, Ethernet and Wi-fi.
I was able to restore my Mac OS X Snow Leopard account on a 250GB MacBook Pro 17″ (Aug 2008) onto a new i7 processor 750GB MacBook Pro 17″ running Lion, in about 2 hours. Over 200 GB of data were restored, including my login username and password, all my keychain files, every document, every application – even Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, iTunes, iPhoto – everything! Even my ~/Sites folder for web development, with all my local MySQL databases, were perfectly restored.
I’ve really got to hand it to you, Apple. Not only is this laptop amazing hardware, but your software is extremely good, too.
Now I just need a new iPhone. And an iPad.
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