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I spend lots of time customizing my OS X. That includes lots of VIM customizations, folders, changing the keyboard layout, playing with system variables and so on. I probably do not even remember how to reconfigure everything.

When I decide to switch to another machine/notebook, is there a way to clone the whole system into the HD of that machine?

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The stuff you describe is probably in your home folder in dot files (Because OS X is unix), so if you back up your home folder and copy it across then yes. (A dot file is one starting with a dot, in command line type ls -a ~) – richard Sep 29 '12 at 21:33
@richard Only the Unix-y things would be stored there. Any Mac-specific things would likely be stored in other locations, such as ~/Library/Preferences. Also, system-wide customizations would be stored elsewhere. – Spiff Sep 29 '12 at 21:38
~/Library/Preferences is in your home directory (~). System level stuff SHOULD be in /etc (but check that OS X does it properly) I would recommend, if you have a lot of machines to install a system configuration management tool. – richard Sep 29 '12 at 21:48

Another way is to buy an external USB hard drive (or an apple time capsule) and set up time machine for it. This way you will have regular backups. And with a backup like this you can easily set up a new identical machine or import all settings from the time machine via Migration Assistant (Applications->Utilities)

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Yes, you can clone a hard drive using the built-in Disk Utility tool or other third party tools. But the cloned hard drive will only be able to boot the new machine if the new machine is capable of booting from that OS. So if you were running Lion on your current machine and never went to Mountain Lion, and then you bought a new machine that comes with Mountain Lion pre-installed, your cloned Lion image wouldn't work on the new machine, since the new machine requires Mountain Lion.

Often a better solution than full hard drive cloning is to use Migration Assistant. Apple provides Migration Assistant functionality built into the first-time boot assistant of OS X (so one of the first few screens you see when you boot a new Mac or do a clean reinstall of OS X), and it's also available as a standalone app at /Applications/Utilities/Migration

Migration Assistant walks you through getting all your system settings, files, and apps migrated from an old machine to a new machine, or from a time machine backup to a new machine, or whatever. It saves you from having to do a full clone, and it allows you to migrate from a machine running an older OS to one running a newer OS.

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