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Monday, August 6, 2007

Importing Stuff from Another Mac

If you're upgrading from an older Mac running Mac OS X to your new laptop, here's great news: Apple includes Migration Assistant, a utility application that can help you copy (whoops, migrate) all sorts of data from your old Mac to your new machine. The list of stuff that gets copied includes the following:

  • User accounts: If you set up multiple user accounts (so that more than one person can share the computer), the utility ports them all to your new Mac.
  • Network settings: This is a real treat for those with manual network settings provided by an ISP or a network administrator! Migration Assistant can re-create the entire network environment of your old Mac on your new laptop.
  • System Preference settings: If you're a fan of tweaking and customizing Mac OS X to fit you like a glove, you can rejoice. Migration Assistant copies all the changes that you've made in System Preferences on your old Mac!
  • Documents: The files in your Documents folders are copied to your new Mac.
  • Applications: Migration Assistant tries its best to copy the third-party applications that you've installed in your Applications folder on the older Mac. However, you might have to reinstall some applications. Some developers create applications that spread out all sorts of files across your hard drive, and Assistant just can't keep track of those nomadic files. And some other applications make the trek just fine, but you might have to reenter their serial numbers.

Setup launches Migration Assistant automatically if you indicate that you need to transfer stuff during the setup process, but you can always launch Migration Assistant manually at any time. You'll find it in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder; just double-click the Migration Assistant icon.

To use Migration Assistant to copy your system from your older Mac, you need a FireWire cable to connect the computers. If you don't already have one of these cables, you can pick one up at your local electronics store or computer store. (This cable will probably come in handy in the future as well.)

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