View Full Version : Migration assistant or time machine or install from scratch?

18th April 2010, 11:03 AM
My daughter has a Mac mini and I have an iMac - both running latest snow leopard both with time machine backups.

We have decided to swap machines.

It would probably take me a day to manually install software and transfer files back and forth to set the machines up.

Is there a simple way to use the time machine backups to achieve the same thing? I'm guessing this wouldn't work and would likely stuff things ups because of different drivers etc between the two machines.

Or is migration assistant likely to work in this situation given this is a machine swap (ie. both ways) rather than a simple upgrade to a newer machine.

I'm hesitant about automated solutions as my past experience tend to indicate I will spend more time fixing up problems than it would have taken me to do it manually in the first place. Admittedly that experience is years ago and didn't involve Macs.

I'd appreciate any advice.



18th April 2010, 01:48 PM
When Apple's OSX Installer puts OSX on a machine, it adds drivers [kexts in unix parlence] for every machine, so you could, in theory, use Carbon Copy Cloner to do a complete drive backup to an external hard drive and then copy it to the other machine, and everything would just work.

As you both have Time Machine backups, the whole process is actually quite easy, and straight-forward:

- If you have Boot Camp and Windows installed, and you wish to keep the configuration as-is, download WinClone (http://twocanoes.com/winclone/) and use it to back up your Boot Camp partition to a single file on the OSX side.
- Force a Time Machine update on each machine to your individual Time Machine drives.
- Dig out your OSX Installer discs (either the ones that came with the machines, or your 10.6 retail / upgrade disc), and boot the Mac from it.
- From the Utilities menu, launch Disk Utility, select the internal hard drive, and erase it. Quit back to the OSX Installer.
- Install OSX, and use this opportunity to Customise your installation to only add Language Translations, Extra Fonts, and Printer Drivers that you kow you will actually need and use (you can save over 1 GB of space by trimming out stuff that will never be required).
- Towards the end of the installation process, you will be presented with Migration Assistant. Plug in the Time Machine backup drive form the other machine, power it up, and then choose the 'Import from Time Machine' option.
- Select everything you wish transferred, and let it suck it all down.
- Once complete, restart, and you are left with an install with all accounts, docs, applications and settings exactly as they were on the other machine. Do not run Software Update yet.
- If you had a Winclone backup, you now need to run Boot Camp assistant to create the EFI and Boot Camp partitions, then use WinClone to restore the image. Restart when done.
- Run Software Update multiple times to ensure that your OSX is fully up to date.

Repeat for the other machine, and you are done.

18th April 2010, 02:55 PM
Thanks heaps Brains!