How to Migrate Mac Data to another Hard Drive

Upgrading Mac hard drive is a great way to optimize the system performance. Not only does it improve the storage capacity, but the internal processes also boosts up to a considerable extent simply by upgrading the drive with higher storage specifications. Mac migration includes moving all the files, user accounts, settings, and apps to another Mac hard drive.

Migration Assistant copies all files to the new Mac drive so that users do not have to execute the migration manually. This is an in-built utility which is stored in ‘Utilities’ folder within the ‘Applications’ folder. Other than Mac drive, it is also possible to migrate data from Windows platform to OS X using Mac Migration utility.

However, there are some pre-requisites that needs to be fulfilled in order to get started with Migration Assistant.

Pre-Requisites for Mac Migration

  • Make sure all available (latest) updates for Mac software apps are installed on both machines
  • All latest updates are installed for third party software programs installed on machine
  • Old Mac must have a Computer name. To check this, click on Apple menu> System Preferences> Sharing> Computer Name
  • For moving files from Mac Notebook, always make sure that it is connected to the A.C. power

Connect Computers to Each Other

It is required to connect computers using one of the following medium:

  • Connect both machines to same local Ethernet or Wi-Fi network
  • Connect both machines directly through FireWire, Thunderbolt, or Ethernet Cable
  • Connect new Mac to Time Capsule or external drive that contains Time Machine backup of the Old Mac

Mac Migration through Migration Assistant

On an old Mac machine

  • It is required to start up the old Mac Machine using ‘Target Disk Mode’, if:
  • If Computers are connected through FireWire cable
  • If computers are connected through Thunderbolt cable and old Mac machine is running over OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8) or any of the earlier versions
  • Start up the old Mac normally in all other cases

On the new Mac machine

  • Open Migration Assistant by clicking Finder >> Applications >> Utilities. Next select ‘Applications’ folder and then click on ‘Utilities’. Click ‘Continue’
  • When it prompts for how you want to transfer your information, select an appropriate option i.e. ‘From a Mac, Time Machine backup or other Startup disk’. Then, click ‘Continue’

On an old Mac machine

  • Open Migration Assistant and click on ‘Continue’
  • When asked ‘How you want to transfer your information, select ‘Transfer to another Mac’
  • Click ‘Continue’

On a new Mac machine

  • When it asks to ‘Select a Mac, Time Machine backup or other startup disk to transfer its information to this Mac’
  • Click ‘Continue’. Security code might appear

On an old Mac machine

Note: Skip these steps, if the systems are started in Target Disk Mode or are migrating from a Time Machine backup

  • If a security code appears, make sure that it matches the code that appears on the new Mac machine
  • Click ‘Continue’

On the new Mac machine

  • If you are migrating from ‘Time Machine backup’, you might be asked to enter a password for the backup or Time Capsule
  • Next, see the list of backups arranged by date and time. Select the backup that is required and then click ‘Continue’
  • Select ‘Information to Transfer’ then click ‘Continue to start the transfer.’ If bulk data exists on Mac machine, migration might take hours to accomplish.

Note: If the information is transferred from Mac machine in OS X Server environment, it is required to select all enlisted items for Migration Assistant.

Things to Know

  • For transferring accounts with same name as that of a new Mac account, you will be asked to rename either the old Mac Account or replace it with the new Mac Account name.
  • If the account is renamed, the old Mac account will appear as a separate user on new Mac machine. The old account will appear with separate login and home folder.
  • If the account name is replaced, the old Mac account will overwrite the new Mac account including all incorporated components in the home folder.
  • Once the Migration is accomplished successfully, log in to the new Mac account to which data is migrated to check the files.

Mac Clone Backup – Be on a Safer Side

Clone Backup is the replication of Mac’s start up volume on external hard drive. In case of data loss or any similar issues, data can be restored immediately using the clone copy. Now you can understand why it is important to clone Mac hard drives. Backup utilities are far more reliable and faster than the conventional methods. Make sure that the external drive that is used for clone operation is large enough to backup Mac’s entire data. It is also referred to as a bootable backup of Mac drive. Mac’s built-in Disk Utility can be utilized to create clone backup images of the drive.

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