How do I clone my MacBook onto my Mac Mini?
May 24, 2011 2:44 PM   Subscribe

How do I replicate my MacBook onto my Mac Mini? (I have a time capsule backup for the MacBook)

I am looking for whichever method is the easiest. I have an aluminum (not pro) MacBook and the newer Aluminum Mac Mini. I also have a time capsule which has up-to-date backups of the MacBook.

I'm looking for whatever way is the easiest/quickest. Thanks!
posted by ejfox to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Just plug the time machine into the Mini. I did that when I switched from a Macbook to an iMac. It was super simple.
posted by sugarfish at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2011

Easy - Migration Assistant (included with OSX) can "transfer important information, such as user accounts, applications, network and computer settings, and files, from one Mac computer to another via a FireWire cable or over a wired or wireless network."
posted by m@f at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2011

The fastest and easiest will be to use migration assistant, but to do it by directly connecting the two computers with an ethernet cable, or Firewire, if you have an appropriate cable, which I don't think that style of Macbook does. That gets you away from all the bottlenecks of USB, slow routers, etc. Migration Assistant walks you through how to do this- it is super-easy.
posted by rockindata at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2011

Migration Assistant can now read Time Capsule volumes, I think. So it's even easier now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:48 PM on May 24, 2011

Time Machine is ostensibly the easiest way of going about this sort of thing, but it has caused me problems in the past. A solution that's just a tiny hare more involved is cloning your drive with Carbon Copy Cloner to the Mac Mini (which you can probably boot into 'Target Disc Mode' by plugging a firewire cable into the MacBook and Mac Mini).

I've spent more time than I would like to admit bouncing drives back and forth on Mac boxen lately. Feel free to hit me with a MeMail if you decide to go this route and would like a hand.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 4:16 PM on May 24, 2011

Be careful doing what solipsophistocracy suggests. The rule of thumb with cloning disks between Macs is to only clone from newer Macs to older Macs. This is why, when deploying images to many machines at once, you find yourself the newest, shiniest Mac you've got to set up a master image. The version of OSX that is on the older Macbook may not contain all the specific drivers to work happily with the newer machine, but the OS loaded on the newer Mac will work with that Mac and any Mac previous to it.
posted by rockindata at 4:40 PM on May 24, 2011

Do you really want the same disk image on the mini or do you just want user files? Do you want applications? The extra time thinking about this and copying over only the pieces you really need will pay dividends in performance and time saved in having less detritus to shift through when you have to find something obscure. Plus, it's a second chance to get right past unfortunate configuration decisions. My practice is to clone only after a fresh install to use as a baseline if I need to reinstall.
posted by technocrat at 11:32 AM on June 18, 2011

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