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I will be moving to a new Mac soon and I have tons to apps installed, customizations done and loads of data.

I found Carbon copy cloner do to this job? but before I start, can some one tell me how this actually works and what all data is moved?

And then how can I install the cloned copy to my new mac?

Is there any other way to do this migration?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Use the Migration Assistant:

You can use Migration Assistant to transfer important information, such as user accounts, applications, network and computer settings, and files, from one Mac computer to another via a FireWire cable or over a wired or wireless network.

It'll transfer probably everything you need onto the new Mac.

Copying the hard drive 1:1 probably won't do, as you could experience bad behavior. You are likely to run into trouble debugging that if something doesn't work.

Note: Carbon Copy Cloner is very useful for creating a bootable image of a machine onto an external hard drive. You can also use Time Machine for that backup, but it does not make a bootable copy.

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I've used Migration Assistant for system upgrades, new Macs, new hard drives, and its always copied everything I've needed. Of course, I always keep the old system drive around just in case.

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I've migrated a few times around.. For this sort of thing, there's a dimension of OSX that really outshines Windows.

I've found that I can perfectly boot any intel mac off of any other intel mac's hard drive. I haven't yet found exceptions. I had my macbook in for servicing for a while and put the hard drive in a USB enclosure and booted my mac pro off that drive, everything worked insanely well. You have many options, but you DO NOT need special other applications. The OSX install disc has everything you could need, and really, if your old hard drive is good enough, then you don't need software at all.

Drop in old drive

You could just move your old mac's hard drive in to the new machine. Though, that probably isn't what you really want.

"Restore" your old drive to the new

Just do this:

  1. Put your old mac drive in a USB enclosure and boot your new machine off the OSX install disc..

  2. Use the "Disk Utility" from within the installer to "restore" your old drive on to a new/fresh partition on the new drive. The restore will copy over everything and fit it accordingly. Everything will be exactly as it was, on your new drive.

  3. Disconnect the USB/old drive, run on the new one for a bit and verify everything is perfect

Different OSX Versions

Now, if you're in to different versions of OSX and whatnot, you could copy everything from /Applications to the new machine and copy your entire user's home directory too /Users/[username] - I believe that'll catch basically everything. I think some stuff could also be somewhere in /Library/Application Support/ - but really, I'd just do the restore option I suggested before.

This is an area where I really adore OSX.

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I have had good luck with Super Duper, when I am staying consistent with OS Versions. I boot the new laptop into target disk, and run SuperDuper on the old laptop, using the new laptop as the target. It creates an exact copy of the old hard drive onto the new drive. Once the SuperDuper is finished, boot up the new laptop, and log in.

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