OSX Startup Disc old computer transfers
May 26, 2011 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Can i use the OSX startup disc option to 'move stuff from old computer' more than once? I want to put old imac and old laptop all on my new laptop.

I have already used the 'sync old computer' option for transferring all my stuff from my old laptop to my new laptop. Can I use that same option somehow to put all my imac stuff onto new laptop just as seamlessly? It would not be as convenient to transfer the files manually.
posted by JJkiss to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Short answer: No, the process overwrites all sorts of things. You will lose (some) stuff from the first time you ran it.
posted by Mwongozi at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2011

Not really, much of what you import the second time will overwrite the first import such as the settings and such or same named apps (diff versions).
You don't need to use the CD, you can just launch Data Migration tool from the finder. You could partition the drive and clone/import from each computer to a different bootable partition. These partitions would be identical to the respective machines and be bootable as such.
posted by Studiogeek at 12:58 PM on May 26, 2011

Yes! You can run Migration Assistant as many times as you need, and migrate data from as many other (older) Macs as you'd like. Migration Assistant is a program that lives in Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities. ("Startup Disc" is a different thing)

You can choose with pretty good granularity what you'd like to migrate. See this KBase article for detailed information on the process.

There are a few specific settings that will "overwrite" what's currently set up on your mac. Things like the computer's "name", your network and time zone settings, and some other basic system-wide settings. If you do not want these settings overwritten, simply uncheck them in Migration Assistant.

Applications will not overwrite one another in a 'dumb' way, which is to say, the Applications folder you're migrating will not wholly overwrite what you've got. They will effectively 'merge'. Even different versions of the same program can coexist if they're not the same name in the same folder (i.e. if you have Office 2008 and migrate Applications from a computer running Office 2004, you end up with both, since they're each in their own differently-named folder in the Applications folder). If there's a name "collision" (like, say, iPhoto exists on both Macs), the newer version of the software automatically "wins". Migration assistant will not overwrite a new program with an older version of the same program. That would cause ridiculous problems; no bundled software would launch on your new machine if it had all been replaced by older versions from your old machine.

Now, the caveat is, it won't 'merge' your User accounts. There's no automatic way to mash all your files and user settings together from two different Macs. What will happen is, when you migrated your User account from computer A, it created that user on your new Mac. If you then also migrate your User account from computer B, you create a second user account on your new Mac. You don't end up with one big account that has all the iTunes music, pictures, documents, etc from both.

This is great if someone was using Old Mac A and someone else was using Old Mac B and now you're both sharing the New Mac, because it keeps your respective personal stuff separate (while allowing you to share Applications). It's less great if your goal is to consolidate everything from A and B into one account on the new one. That's something you'd have to do the long way, by copying the files you want from the other old Mac to wherever you want them on the new Mac, manually. Here's a KBase article on just using Target Disk Mode (which you probably did already as one step in the Setup Assistant) to copy files. From there it's a drag-and-drop thing.

(You're unlikely to find success cloning your old Mac to a partition on your new Mac, as you can't boot your new computer with an Operating System version that pre-dates its release.)

Hope that helps, cheers!
posted by churl at 12:00 AM on May 27, 2011

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