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Advice please: Exchanging Macs

Desktop to MacBook/MacBook to Desktop

     
8:38 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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For reasons too boring to explain, two people in our office are exchanging Macs. (I am one of the people. I'm getting the MacBook Pro.) Both machines have the same software (for the most part) and the OS is up-to-date. I've had them clean up their files and update everything. And, of course, backup on Time Machine.

The thing to do, from searching on the web, seems to be to go to disk utility and erase, then reinstall the OS disk, update everything and then restore from Time Machine via disk utility (restore).

Sound right?

8:43 pm on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You might only need to do it on one of them, during the re-installation of the second one, boot the first one in target disk mode, hook them up with a firewire cable and let the second machine get settings etc off of the first machine (now acting like an expensive external disk to the first machine).
9:02 pm on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. But, with the external drives as back ups for the restore, I could do both machines at the same time.

(Disk utility will be in the OS right...? Yeah, right. OK. I am nervous about this. If I lose all my passwords on the newspapers...what a pain!)

10:29 pm on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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All is well. No problems. Everyone is happy. Did not use disk utility, of course. Just put in the OS disk and went through the options and when it asked. Told it to erase and it did. Then I said "restore from Time Machine." Time machine worked almost perfectly. (Had to reinstall Opera, of all things.) Of course, the software update took time. Including re-wiring and moving the machines, took about 5 hours.
5:18 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Note: Had to reset the Screensaver settings.
11:01 am on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Note: Had to reset the Screensaver settings.

I generally wouldn't advise using Time Machine in a situation like this where you are doing a planned migration - it does an adequate job but it does exclude some files [shiftedbits.org] which can cause some odd problems when you use it to do a system restore.

Better to use some drive cloning software like Carbon Copy Cloner [google.co.uk] or Super Duper, which will clone absolutely everything (just remember to name the new drive the same as the old one).

Time Machine, as I see it, is an excellent and powerful piece of backup software when it comes to recovering individual files or folders, and does an adequate job at recovery if you suffer a drive failure. However there are better options in situations where you have a chance to plan, such as migrating to a new machine or upgrading your system drive.

8:03 pm on Aug 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So, far so good. But, I think ytswy is correct.