Migration Assistant tips and tricks

All Mac computers running Mac OS X v10.4.11 Tiger, Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, or Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard can perform a system migration over the network. This gives you more choices and flexibility in migrating your applications and data.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Network migration

For network migration, a direct, computer to computer migration via an Ethernet cable is the fastest option. For the best experience, be sure to attach your source and target computers to the wired network before you start the migration.

To perform a wired (or wireless) network migration, please ensure that the computer you want to migrate data from has the "DVD or CD Sharing Setup" software installed. The installer can be found on the Mac OS X Install DVD of the restore media that came with the computer, or you can download it. The DVD or CD Sharing Setup software can be installed on Macs running either Mac OS X v10.4.11, v10.5.5, or later.

Wireless migration

If you don't have an Ethernet cable or a wired network, wireless migration can be used. For wireless migration, be sure to use the best wireless connection available. Before you begin, use the Signal Strength meter in the upper right corner of your screen to find the location with the strongest signal to your source computer. You may also want to eliminate potential sources of interference. Migration can take place over a 802.11g network, but for the best experience, use a faster 802.11n network.

Starting your migration

When you start up your computer and select From another Mac on the "Do You Already Own a Mac?" screen, you will be asked to choose a migration method in subsequent screens. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up different migration methods.

  • To use network migration, you'll need to install the DVD or CD Sharing Setup software found on the Mac OS X Install DVD, onto the source computer to enable the connection. Be sure to also install the Migration and DVD/CD Sharing Update.
  • Always ensure that the computer you are migrating from is updated with the latest releases of Apple Software. Determine if your computer is up-to-date by going to the Apple menu and selecting Software Update. Apply all the latest updates, including the Migration and DVD/CD Sharing Update, before you start your migration.
  • If you choose not to migrate your applications and data right away, you can always migrate later using the Migration Assistant, located in Applications/Utilities.
  • Avoid letting your source computer go to sleep while you are attempting to migrate.
    To prevent your source computer from going to sleep during the migration.
    1. Go to System Preferences on the source computer.
    2. Click Energy Saver then select Custom in Optimization.
    3. Adjust the slider for "Put the computer asleep when it is inactive for..." to Never.

Controlling what is migrated

With Migration Assistant you control the data that is migrated from another Macintosh computer. By clicking the triangle next to a user's name, you can select which User Accounts to migrate and choose which folders to migrate. You can also choose whether to migrate Applications, Network and Computer settings, or Volumes. Migrating only what you need can reduce the time it takes to complete your migration.

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