Move your data from a Windows PC to a Mac

Use Windows Migration Assistant to transfer your music, pictures, documents, and other data from a Windows PC to your Mac.

Windows Migration Assistant transfers your contacts, calendars, email accounts, and more from a PC and puts these files in the appropriate places on your Mac.

Before you begin

Use these steps to make sure your migration goes smoothly.

  • Make sure Windows is up to date. Migration Assistant works with Windows XP and later.
  • Make sure you know the name and password of an administrator account on your PC.
  • Connect your Mac and PC to the same network, such as your home Wi-Fi network. You can also connect an Ethernet cable between the Ethernet port on your Mac and your PC to create a direct network connection.

Use the check disk (chkdsk) utility on your PC to make sure there aren't any issues with your Windows drive.

  1. Choose Start > Run.
  2. Type cmd in the Run window and press Enter.
  3. Type chkdsk in the command window and press Enter.
  4. If the check disk utility reports that it found problems, type chkdsk drive: /F  (where "drive" is the letter that represents your Windows startup disk, like "d:") and press Enter. Press the Y key at the prompt, then restart your PC. Repeat this process until the check disk utility reports no issues. 

If you're unable to clear a reported disk issue, you might need to have your PC serviced before migrating your data to your Mac.

Move your data from a PC to your Mac

Use these steps to migrate data from a PC to your Mac.

  1. On your PC, download the Windows Migration Assistant and install it
  2. Quit other open applications in Windows.
  3. Open Windows Migration Assistant on your PC.
  4. Click Continue in the Migration Assistant window to start the process.
  5. Start up your Mac. Setup Assistant automatically opens the first time you set up your Mac. If you've already set up your Mac, open Migration Assistant from the Utilities folder on your Mac.
  6. On your Mac, follow the onscreen prompts until you get to the migration pane of the assistant. Select the option to transfer information "From a Windows PC".
  7. When prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
  8. Click Continue to close any other apps that are open.
  9. Select your PC from the list of available computers in the migration window on your Mac, then wait for the PC to show the passcode displayed on the Mac. 
  10. Click Continue on your PC and your Mac after you see the same passcode displayed on both computers.
  11. Your Mac scans the drives on your PC to build a list of information to migrate. When the scan is complete, select the information you want to migrate to your Mac and click Continue.

You can watch the progress and estimated time remaining on both the Windows PC and your Mac.

Migration Assistant tells you when migration is complete. After migration is done, you can close Migration Assistant on your PC and log in to your new user account on your Mac. The first time you log in to a user account that's migrated from a PC, you're prompted to set a password. You can use the same password you used on your PC, or create a new password. 

What gets transferred?

As part of migration, you can select which files to move to your Mac:

  • Email, contacts, and calendar information. Migration Assistant moves your email messages, mail account settings, contacts, and appointments, depending on which version of Windows you're using and what kinds of accounts you have. 

  • Outlook Express
    • Migration Assistant supports the following data from Outlook Express in Windows XP:
    • People are moved to Contacts
    • IMAP settings and messages are moved to Mail
    • POP settings and messages are moved to Mail*
  • Outlook. Migration Assistant supports the following data from 32-bit versions of Outlook in Windows XP and later. 
    • People are moved to Contacts*
    • Appointments are moved to Calendar
    • IMAP and Exchange settings and messages are moved to Mail
    • POP settings and messages are moved to Mail*
  • Windows Live Mail
    • Migration Assistant supports the following data from Windows Live Mail in Windows Vista and later:
    • IMAP settings and messages are moved to Mail
    • POP settings and messages are moved to Mail*
  • Windows Mail
    • Migration Assistant supports the following data from Windows Mail in Windows Vista and later:** 
    • IMAP settings and messages are moved to Mail
    • POP settings and messages are moved to Mail*
    • People are moved to Contacts
  • Bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Safari for Windows, and Firefox are transferred to Safari.

  • iTunes content. Your iTunes Music, Movies, and other iTunes library files are transferred to iTunes on your Mac.

  • Pictures. Photos and other images are copied to your home folder. These files can be added to Photos. After migrating, you can open Photos and let it search your Mac for photos to import.

  • System settings. Your language and location settings, web browser homepage, and desktop picture (other than standard Windows desktop pictures) are transferred to System Preferences settings in OS X.

  • Other files. You can also choose whether or not to move the following files as part of migration:
    • Files from the top-level folder of the currently logged-in PC user's home directory
    • Non-system files located in the Windows or Program Files folders
    • Top-level folders located on the user's Windows system disk
    • Top-level folders located on other local disks attached to your Windows PC

* Only the Mail or Contacts data belonging to the logged-in Windows user account is transferred. To transfer data from other user accounts, use the Migration Assistant again while logged in to your other Windows account. A new user account is created on your Mac each time you perform a migration.

** Migration assistant doesn't transfer data from Mail app for Windows 8, but does transfer data from other versions of Windows Mail used with Windows 8 and later.

If migration doesn't work

If the steps above don't work as expected, check these things.

  • Quit other PC apps. Use these steps to make sure no other applications are open on your PC while you're trying to migrate your data:
    1. Press Alt-Tab to choose an open application.
    2. Press Alt-F4 to quit the selected application.
  • Check your network connection. If your PC doesn't appear in the Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant window on your Mac, make sure they're both connected to the same network. You can create an isolated network by connecting a single Ethernet cable between your Mac and PC. If Migration Assistant on your Mac still doesn't list your PC, try disabling any Firewall software on your PC that might block network ports needed for Windows Migration Assistant to work. You can re-enable your firewall software after you're done migrating.

  • Disable anti-virus software. If Migration Assistant won't open on your PC, temporarily disable any anti-virus software on your PC and try opening Migration Assistant again. You can re-enable your anti-virus software after migration is finished.

If you're unable to use Migration Assistant to transfer your files from your PC to your Mac, you can also manually copy your important data to your Mac using an external drive or file sharing.

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