How To: Migration Assistant with the new late 2008 portables

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by elbert, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. elbert

    elbert Active Member

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    Upgrading your portable Mac? Normally, as with al things Apple, this is a simple task, but user migration via Migration Assistant is one very difficult task these days, thanks to the absence of FireWire 400 in the Late 2008 portable Macs.

    With FireWire, placing the source Mac into Target Disk Mode, Migration Assistant would typically take less than an hour. Without Target Disk Mode, it's anywhere from twice that time to quadruple.

    Migration Assistant automatically launches during the first time a brand new Mac is started (Do You Already Own a Mac?), but it can also be launched from the Applications/Utilities folder from a Mac that has been initially setup with a user account.

    Here is a list of different ways to use Migration Assistant.

    If migrating to a late-2008 MacBook Pro:
    Use Migration Assistant with a FireWire cable. This is the simplest and fastest solution. If migrating from models with FireWire 400 to the new MacBook Pros, which have a FW800 port, a simple 6-to-9 pin FireWire cable is all that's needed. If migrating FW800 to FW800, then buy make sure you to have a 9-to-9 pin FW cable. Migration Assistant will instruct you on how to get the source computer into Target Disk Mode and all you need to do is follow the onscreen instructions.

    if Migrating to a late 2008 MacBook (which doesn't have a FW port)
    1. Migration Assistant via USB. This one is a bit tricky, because Target Disk Mode is not possible over USB. Meaning, you cannot connect two computers via a USB cable. To achieve this, an External USB HD Enclosure is needed, along with some basic screwdrivers
    - remove the Hard Drive from the older Mac (instructions can be found at http://www.ifixit.com/)
    - temporarily place that HD into a USB enclosure
    - connect to the new Mac via USB cable
    - run Migration Assistant, either through the one offered at first boot up, or by launching it (in a temporary Admin account) from the Application/Utilities folder.
    - if in the firt boot option 'Do You Already Own a Mac?', select 'from another volume on this Mac'.
    - if via Applications/Utilities folder, choose the "From a Time Machine backup or other disk" option (in this case, it's an 'other disk')
    - select your old drive from the list and the items you wish to transfer as these are all options
    - follow the on screen instructions
    - wait
    - when done, place the drive back into the old Mac.

    if migrating from the previous model MBP to the unibody MacBook (no FireWire connection), it's easier to remove the new drive from the unibody, place that drive in an enclosure, and then boot into that external drive by holding the option key at startup. Migration Assistant can be launched from there.

    *with the methods listed below, it's best to NOT wait for the migration to complete. Leave the house, go to a Starbucks, or do it before you sleep.

    2. via Ethernet cable. This is a simple setup, but will take typically a few hours to complete. This setup will take probably 2-3x the time it takes to migrate compared to a USB method.
    - connect an Ethernet cable to both Macs
    - on both Macs, launch Migration Assistant
    - on the source Mac, select "To another Mac"
    - on the new Mac, select "to another Mac"
    - follow the onscreen instructions and wait

    3. Restore from a Time Machine backup. If you've been using Time Machine to backup your data regularly, this is your opportunity to put that backup into good use. Just make sure to manually initiate a backup from the old Mac before proceeding. There are two sources of Time Machine backups:
    a. in a USB Drive (external) - this is the fastest of the three methods
    b. in a TimeCapsule, in which you can connect two ways:
    - via Wi-Fi, which is the slowest way to go!
    - via Ehthernet cable, which is faster than Wi-Fi, but not as fast as USB

    If you're like me and you exclude the System, Library and Applications folders from your Time Machine backups, Migration Assistant upon startup of a new Mac will not detect the backup volume. You'll need to proceed to create a temporary Admin account and launch Migration Assistant from the Applications/Utilities folder.

    4. via a Wireless Network - This is the slowest of any method. If you choose this method, I suggest you leave it running and go to Subic for the weekend. Maybe when you get back, it'll be complete.

    So, in conclusion, the easiest way to user migrate is to ask an Authorized Service Provider to do it for you. This may not be the best way, because you are not in control, and the privacy of your data is compromised (Edison Chen anyone?). The best way, IMO, is to extract your old HD and place it in an enclosure for a USB-connected Migration Assistant.
     
    #1 elbert, Dec 23, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  2. migboy

    migboy Member

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    great post elbert!
    i used an ethernet cable to migrate from my old ibook to the new unibody macbook. it took around 3 hours to complete the process.
    sapura had to do a fresh osx install (data back up and reinstall as well) though because there was a glitch in the migration process that caused the date and time settings to malfunction.
     
  3. 180er

    180er New Member

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    I use ethernet for mine and it took the whole night to complete it. Had I read your USB post earlier, it would've been done faster. :)
     
  4. Hero33

    Hero33 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    borrowed my friend's firewire cable a few weeks ago for my MBP and found out it won't work. Ended up using an enclosure to copy everything.

    Same banana and I got to use my mbp as if I never changed laptops!
     
  5. trigo

    trigo Well-Known Member

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    when using an ethernet, you connect them using a straight utp cable or cross utp?
     
  6. trigo

    trigo Well-Known Member

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    thanks again sir elbert for this
     
  7. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
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    I wonder which is faster:

    - Migrate via Ethernet
    - Migrate via Time Machine from scratch to backup the old Mac then Time Machine to restore into the new one?

    Leo
     
  8. elbert

    elbert Active Member

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    hindi na uso ang cross cable! hehe.

    Actually, either should work. In the days of the G4 PowerBooks, Macs had the ability to discern straight from cross cables, and adjust itself accordingly.
     
  9. elbert

    elbert Active Member

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    Lately, I've been helping a lot of users migrate their user data. I'm starting to appreciate the way Apple designed the new unibody portables. All I have to do is remove the hard drive from the new Mac, place it in a USB enclosure (I have one that cost only P500 and doesn't have any screws), boot the old Mac via USB (by holding the option key when starting up and choosing the external as the boot-up volume), and perform the migration there. Typical migration time is between 30 to 45 minutes only. Inserting and removing the HD from the unibody takes less than a minute.
     
  10. 180er

    180er New Member

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    Now, what about if I have the old HD with everything in it (Tiger OS) and it is already in a USB enclosure. When I get my new MBA, what do you suggest I do to migrate the old HD to the new MBA?
     
  11. DON2003

    DON2003 Well-Known Member

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    can you migrate only the parts you want? like itune, mail and apps only? and leave all the trash of the old HD behind?
     
  12. surgfish

    surgfish Active Member

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    I recently bought a 27"iMac. I want to transfer my iphoto and itunes content from my first gen macbook to my new iMac. I bought a belkin Firewire 400 to 400 cable since a Firewire 800-400 isnt available. Then I also bought a moshi firewire 400-800 adapter. Now migration assistant still cant detect the Target drive which is my macbook.
    What do u think is wrong? could it be faulty cable?
     
  13. armel

    armel Active Member

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    Another option you can do is to use Migration Assistant to restore data from Time Machine. That is, if you have the data in your Macbook in your TM. :)
     
  14. PatrickGaerlan

    PatrickGaerlan Super Moderator
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    You put your MacBook in Target Disk Mode right (by holding down the "T" key during restart)?
     
  15. Mad Mac

    Mad Mac Active Member

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    Alternatively, you can activate Home Sharing in iTunes and copy over content in your new iTunes. If you won't be using the first Mac, deauthorize the Mac in its iTunes. You can only share up to 5 Macs. Only drawback with this is it cannot transfer playlists. Well, at the moment I have not been able to.
     

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