Waiting for Migration Assistant
October 17, 2008 5:28 PM   Subscribe

I started migration assistant before I knew how long it would take. Am I screwed?

So we finally got the new MacBook Pros in Honolulu, and I took my lunch break to get one. (Yes, after this question, I decided to wait and go new.) Got back to my desk, connected the MBP to my old MacBook via FireWire 400-to-800 cable, and started Migration Assistant.

Except it says it will take 6 hours, and I need to unplug in three, and there ain't no cancel button.

Yes, I know, I should've waited 'til I got home. (Could you? Don't answer that.) Yes, I know, I should've just selected my apps (which is what I most wanted migrated, I could get my giant documents and other folders later). But the button was pushed and now I'm wondering:

1. If I unplug the MacBook and MBP and run on battery, will the Migration Assistant continue? Or is it something that will only function on AC power?

2. If for whatever reason the Migration Assistant dies, does it recover gracefully?

3. How accurate is the time estimate? It actually went up from six hours to six hours and 40 minutes (making me panic even more), then seems to now be dropping faster than realtime. Though I've also read elsewhere that last one percent actually takes a big chunk of time.

I'm confident in Migration Assistant after reading positive comments here. But all the tutorial videos I've found conveniently skip the long wait part of this process!
posted by pzarquon to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
This page says
"It's possible to quit the Migration Assistant entirely if you really want to halt the transfer."

I think that means you just have to start over. I'm pretty sure I did this once. Remember, it's copying things from your old computer, not writing anything to it or deleting anything, so no harm should come to your data. (Keyword: "should.")
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:41 PM on October 17, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, Fuzzy Skinner. I hope that means, basically, that a failed or quit migration isn't a problem. And I'll have the answer to the "can this continue on battery power" question in a few minutes!
posted by pzarquon at 6:30 PM on October 17, 2008

If it all goes horribly wrong with the migration, you can always just reinstall the System software from the recovery discs -- you've not put anything else on there yet, anyway (if the migration fails), so it'll just take a little more time before you've got the machine of your dreams up and running...
posted by littleme at 6:53 PM on October 17, 2008

Response by poster: Very true, littleme. My preference would almost always be starting from a clean install and installing all apps from the original CDs or the web. But I'd read a number of "it's so easy it's like I never changed computers" testimonials here and elsewhere... and I also have two apps whose install CDs have been coastered by my kids. So, Migration Assistant seemed the way to go.

Here's an update. I unplugged both laptops, and Migration Assistant kept running. (The screen on the MacBook, previously showing only a giant FireWire icon, suddenly got a giant battery indicator.) So, I put a T-shirt between them, nested them gently, and walked to my car and drove home. Migration Assistant ran the whole way.

Then, getting out of my car, the FireWire cable snagged on my seat, and unplugged. Boop! Error dialog, device removal, bad! Oh no! When I cleared the error, the Migration Assistant went back to the original start/continue screen. I thought I'd just wasted four hours of file copying.

I got to my desk, plugged everything in, sighed, and clicked continue again. Lo and behold, a dialog box appeared: "Migration Assistant appears to have been interrupted. Would you like to resume?" You bet your sweet bippy! Looks like it picked up most of the way through its progress before the FireWire cable popped out. Gained 20 minutes on the time estimate, tops.

So, whew! All that worry for nothing! Or, so I hope. I guess I'll find out in three hours.
posted by pzarquon at 7:49 PM on October 17, 2008

Migration Assistant does now resume from interruption, which is a new feature with these new laptops. This was done because the MacBook no longer has Firewire 400 and therefore can't go into Target Disk Mode, and thus there's a greater need for more features for Migration Assistant. Let us know how you like the new MBP. Mine's on order :)
posted by gen at 10:33 PM on October 17, 2008

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