Setting up new Mac

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Hi, I just ordered a new (refurb) MacBook to replace my dying 2008 MacBook. The old one has 250 GB hard drive and is completely full. I opted for flash storage in the new one, so I only have 256 GB of space. I plan to make better use of external and cloud storage! I won't need everything to transfer over, and I wondered how to go about doing that, selecting some files but not others - will it be self explanatory when I get the new one started? Also there are some things like programs I no longer have the disks for that I would like to transfer, and I have heard there are apps that allow you to transfer those. I know a standard setup will not transfer the programs themselves. Advice please and thank you!!
 
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chas_m

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You don't have to worry about it. Simply hook up the two machines together by USB cord and let Migration Assistant handle everything. It will not bring over your system or your Apple default applications, or any third-party apps that don't run under Yosemite, so that's likely to be a savings of a few GB right there. You can also tell it not to bring over certain classes of data, like extra users or any of the applications (it's not very specific, however).

As for your "programs I don't have the disks for," they'll transfer just fine -- but depending on their authorization schemes, they may not run. You'll need to contact the companies you bought them from to get them working again.

So what you'll end up with is a very full (but not quite as full) new MacBook, from where you can then move stuff like the iPhoto or video libraries onto an external drive to free up way more space. A good rule of thumb is to leave a couple dozen GBs around at all times for free space, in your case that would be 25GB or so (more is generally better), so tend to that ASAP after the migration has completed.

It's important to do the migration the first time you boot up the new MacBook, right when it prompts you to during the initial setup process. Trying to do it later is a big headache. In the meantime, do a spring cleaning on the old one, pare down as much as you can, and maybe move some space hogs (like the photo library) onto a USB thumb drive or something where you can add those back in later as needed.
 
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As chasm says, do the Migration when asked and don't bypass it. It will also leave behind at least 4-8GB of surplus stuff like all the Language stuff Apple insists being installed, as well as surplus Printers and all your surplus cache files.

After it's all done, you may want to check and delete all the surplus stuff you don't need that gets installed, and help save some of that precious and expensive SSD space. ;)
 

chscag

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I don't know about the surplus printers, but you need to be especially careful about languages. MS Office 2008 and 2011 just to name a few apps, will not run or update properly if those "extra" languages are not included. Many of us have found out about that the hard way.

Also, the last two times I migrated data from an older Mac to a new one using the automatic Migration Assistant, and upon starting the new Mac the first time, everything was transferred even those apps that would not run. The incompatible apps and fonts were placed in a separate folder and labelled accordingly.
 
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Good point and caution about removing surplus languages, and some utilities are quite ruthless if not almost dangerous, but I've just used Monolingual and his guide is quite clear about not touching most MS Office and several various Adobe installs.

And I must admit that many of the Migration Assistant migrations I have done for myself and others is not exactly consistent as to what gets migrated. Sometimes almost everything, and other times, only what's needed, and sometimes, maybe non-useable stuff shoved into some new folders even if it won't work.

But usually, at least the later versions, seem to be a bit more discerning as to what gets migrated. ;)
 

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