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  1. #1

    eliehass's Avatar
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    To clone or not to clone?
    Hi, I just traded in my MBP for a shiny new iMac. I was just wondering if I should clone my MBP hard drive over to the iMac or keep my iMac's fresh OS X installation?

    I am tempted to start over fresh with OS X and ditch the years of cruft that may have built up on my laptop, but I'm wondering if I may have some trouble with the licenses of some applications.

    Does anyone here have any tips or experience with this issue?
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  2. #2


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2010
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    I would rather use the Migration Assistant feature or Target Disk Mode to manually copy over specific files rather than cloning the entire old drive. Since your iMac is new then if there are any problems you can easily do a fresh install of the OS because you won't be afraid of losing any newly created data on your iMac. You would just be formatting over old data that will still be on your MBP.

    If you do decide to just start fresh then the only problems I've had with applications licenses is that you need to de-authorize on your old computer and reauthorize them on your new one. You have to check each application's help section to see what process they require. Although most applications I've used don't need this procedure and many of them will allow their software to be installed on at least 2 computers from the same owner.

  3. #3

    roflitskyle's Avatar
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    Dec 23, 2010
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    My sister used Target Disk Mode and she said it went great. I would recommend that too.

  4. #4

    eliehass's Avatar
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    Jul 03, 2007
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    Thanks for the info! I think I'll follow your advice and put my MBP into Target Disk Mode and use Migration Assistant. :-)
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  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Just to clear things up Target Disk Mode and Migration Assistant are kind of two different methods. Target Disk Mode will turn one of your Macs into basically an external hard drive and you will have to manually transfer files over to the other Mac. This is great when you want only very specific files or complete control over what files are transferred.

    Migration Assistant is more of an automated way of transferring over your files and was made for what you are asking. You can exclude some types of files but you don't have complete control over it. It's more for when you want to transfer over most of your data like when you buy a new computer which is what you are doing.

  6. #6

    eliehass's Avatar
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    Can't I put my laptop into Target Disk Mode to turn it into a hard drive, and while it's in that state, run Migration Assistant on the iMac and pull the files off of my MBP like that? Because connecting them through a wireless network or something like that would lead to very slow file transfers...
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  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Read this to learn more about how to use Migration Assistant Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6: How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac

    You can use either Firewire or through a network (wired or wireless). I recommend Firewire. If you use Migration Assistant it will automatically detect your other Mac. You just have to follow the steps. There is no need to do Target Disk Mode first.

  8. #8

    eliehass's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 03, 2007
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    iMac Core i5(3.6 GHz) 8 GB RAM, MBP C2Duo(2.4 GHz) 4 GB RAM, MB C2Duo(2.4 GHz) 2 GB RAM
    Ahh, I see, thanks for the info! I guess I'll just connect them with a firewire cable and use migration assistant. Worst cast scenario I keep nightly clones of my hard drive so I can use that or Target Disk Mode if I'm unhappy with the result from Migration Assistant.

    In truth, I would prefer to just manually drag files over through Target Disk Mode, but I'm afraid that some applications that were installed with installers instead of just dragged into the applications folder may not work.
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  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliehass View Post
    In truth, I would prefer to just manually drag files over through Target Disk Mode, but I'm afraid that some applications that were installed with installers instead of just dragged into the applications folder may not work.
    You are correct with applications that require actual installation. You can't just drag them over. If Migration Assistant doesn't work for those applications then you will have to manually reinstall them.

  10. #10

    eliehass's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 03, 2007
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    iMac Core i5(3.6 GHz) 8 GB RAM, MBP C2Duo(2.4 GHz) 4 GB RAM, MB C2Duo(2.4 GHz) 2 GB RAM
    Got my new iMac today. I transferred my files using Migration Assistant and everything seems to have worked well. It seems like I did have to put my MBP into Target Disk Mode in order to use Migration Assistant though...
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