I recently got a new MacBook, and want to use Migration Assistant to move my profile. However, I have FileVault turned on. When I tried to do this over an ethernet cable, the Migration Assistant told me that it can't be used with FileVault profiles. Unfortunately, even though I have administrative rights on my computer, I can't turn off FileVault. I think this is due to my MacBook being managed by my company. Is there a way to do this? Can I use firewire? Can I store it using Time Machine, and then restore from that?

2 Answers 2


If you use Time Machine, and make a full backup, yes you could restore from a Time Machine backup...

I'm trying to transfer a FileVault-protected account with Setup Assistant, but it says "File Vault users cannot be transferred to Macs with existing users".

FileVault protects home directories by storing them in an encrypted disk image file. This image file can be migrated from an older Mac to a newer one as long as the newer computer has not yet been migrated to (and has no existing user accounts).

To migrate the account's home directory and account settings at a later time, start up your older Mac and turn off the account's FileVault protection. Then use Setup Assistant to transfer the desired account or data. You can protect the account with FileVault again on your new computer. --- http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1554?viewlocale=en_US

Otherwise, you need to copy the DMG over to the new system... But I understand that there can be permissions issues... See http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20070419011539567 for methology and possible fixes...

  • unfortunately that only applies to earlier versions of the OS.
    – gnavi
    Commented Oct 26, 2009 at 18:36
  • Unfortunately, which part of my post is related to an earlier OS. The permissions issue? The ability to migrate when using File Vault? If I am giving bad information, I'd like to know what to correct.. Commented Oct 26, 2009 at 18:39
  • Your link doesn't apply to my OS version (10.5.8). In this version, you simply can not migrate File Vault accounts. It says "File Vault users can not be transferred." I tried to do this directly and also via Time Machine backup. Neither worked.
    – gnavi
    Commented Oct 26, 2009 at 18:48

Here's how I finally managed to get it to work:

On my old computer, I recursively copied my /Users/ivan folder to another folder, keeping permissions and file times (my user name was ivan):

sudo cp -R -p /Users/ivan /BACKUP/

Then I copied this to an external drive.

On my new computer, I created a new administrative user, called local. I logged in to local, and deleted the ivan user. I saved the profile and moved it to another folder.

Next, I copied the ivan folder from the external drive onto a temporary directory on the new computer. I then moved it in to the /Users directory.

I then created a new user ivan with administrative rights. It asked me if I wanted to keep the home folder, and I said YES.

Then I created another user on the old machine called temp with administrator rights. I logged in to that account on the old machine.

Then I used Migration Assistant on the two machines using the temporary accounts (local and temp). This copied my applications, global settings and non-user folder data.

I then logged in to the local account on the new computer. All was good. I logged out, and logged in to ivan.

Almost everything worked perfectly. I had to reset my network settings. I also had to re-set up my printers. For my VM, Fusion asked me if I "copied" or "moved". I used "copied" and it worked.

THE DOWNSIDE: * I then had to manually turn on File Vault. This took some time as my machine encrypted all my files.

  • My machine was no longer managed. Once my files are encrypted, I had to bring it back to my corporate IT department to get it back on to managed magic.

Benjamin Schollnick's link doesn't apply to my OS version (10.5.8). In this version, you simply can not migrate File Vault accounts. I tried to do this directly and also via Time Machine backup. Neither worked.

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