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... On the Windows side, you have to buy tool like PC LapLink's PCMover if you need to move Win 7 users to Win 10. (I see what you did there Microsoft!)
Ed,

When you use a tool like PCMover on Windows, the end result is far from perfect. Every time I have to do a Windows migration, I pray for something like Migration Assistant on Windows.

While, yes, I’d like a little more granularity, I can use Migration Assistant, and the new system just works. No questions about if a required piece didn’t get transferred, or if it was, did it overwrite a newer version required for another application.

Sometimes simple is the best UX.

Cheers,
Jon
 


Migration Assistant was wretched when I set up my 2018 iMac Pro this January. I had previously had good experiences with using it to transition to new computers over many years. This time, however, Migration Assistant stopped in the middle of writing my files to the new iMac Pro, necessitating two restarts. Even then, most of my documents were not transferred, nor were many of my preferences for applications. I had to do all of that manually.

I attributed some of my problems with Migration Assistant to the fact that I was moving information from a Sierra machine to High Sierra on the iMac Pro. Who knows if that was really the case.
 


I've run into the "Great Wall of Microsoft" twice, once re-installing Office 2011, another time installing Win 7 to VMWare Fusion. It was my memory that the Office 2011 license allowed it to be installed as many times as needed, but not on multiple computers. We had purchased several 1-license, 2-computer packages - which may be why the re-install tripped Microsoft's block.

When I finally reached Microsoft licensing police, I believe in India, and I'm pretty sure with a number provided in a MacInTouch post, my helpmate in Bangalore (?) tried to persuade me to allow him to log into our Mac remotely because resetting Office was so complicated.

In one way, he was correct. I couldn't simply get the existing install to work with the license key, even though it was reset on on Microsoft's authentication server - that likely because of files hiding in Mac libraries my friend overseas could have cleaned out with, uh, administrator access, you betcha'. I wiped the Office 2011 install, most likely using my fave, AppDelete, then re-installed from the optical disc. That worked.

We had purchased several "full" Windows 7 licenses, the kind that, unlike cheaper OEM licenses restricted to one computer forever, allow the license to be used on a new / different machine, though only one license active at a time. It activated with no problem the first time installed in VMWare. Then VMWare updated, which the Microsoft automated license cops apparently considered a "second install." My recollection is that I was able to get that fixed through the Microsoft 800 "license" number telephone tree.

Subsequently, I used every option I could find to keep VMWare, and the Windows 7 install within, from any connection to the Internet. The purpose of the install was to run Corel Draw and export graphics files to Mac Illustrator, and I really didn't want to deal with Windows updates, VMWare updates, Corel updates.

Static worked, and the VMWare / Win 7/ Corel "machine" is lurking quietly inside the Mac, and has been for five years without needing any attention or upgrades.

As I type, I'm wondering if the same approach would allow Windows 10 to be run and block its so-persistent telemetry?
 


... When you use a tool like PCMover on Windows, the end result is far from perfect. ...
I used PCMover on three Windows 7 to 10 migrations, and it worked perfectly. Perhaps I had no complications because the users had relatively simple data (Outlook, web browsing, and PDF and Excel documents).
 


Microsoft Office 2011/2016 Perpetual Licence requires reactivation/serial number if the CPU changes. It's usually okay with a hard drive/storage change/upgrade or a Time Machine recovery on the same computer.
My experience with Microsoft Office 2011 is that after upgrading from a spinning drive to SSD the license would no longer work. Different drive, same computer. I discussed this back in article #21298.

This was supposed to be a 3-license pack. The first license quit working after a week -- no idea why. The second worked for a few years until the drive change. The third never worked. Eventually Microsoft support gave me another license. It's still working...
 



I find it interesting that I've had no problems with Office 2011 after doing hard drive replacements (two of them, spinny to SSD, then spinny to new SSD on PCIe card to achieve 6Gbps SATA in my cheesegrater). It's always just accepted that it was where it was supposed to be. Luck?

When I last moved laptops, from a 2011 to a 2015 (purchased this year), I lost Adobe CS software, because I forgot to deactivate, and Adobe said I'd used both my licenses and to p*ss off, since I'm not paying monthly fees. Fortunately, there are many workarounds for this. Microsoft, after a _l_o_n_g_ time, kindly provided me with a new absurdly long serial number to enter, which worked (well, the first one didn't, though I entered it correctly, and the rep got me a new one).

I found it sad that Microsoft was responsive and friendly, and Adobe was downright arrogant, even at the support rep level. Again, nothing else went wrong. I had to re-enter a couple of serial numbers, but that was the extent of it — no need to call or write to support centers.

The Office 365 activation center is what every activation center should be, in terms of the interface and ease of deactivating and reactivating. I did that when I updated from Win10 32-bit to 64-bit, and it was a matter of moments. However... with Office 365, I had to approve via LittleSnitch something like ten different Microsoft domains. They apparently can't decide whether to use microsoft.com, live.com, or any of eight other domains. It’s absurd... like banks that pretend to be highly secure, and then send you emails saying “click here” which lead you to generically named sites with domain-level certificates...

My goodwill towards Microsoft kind of ends there, because (a) every new version wipes out all my old preferences, and (b) every new version is worse than the one just before it. Slower, clunkier, and with more controls hidden. The Mac version of Word 365 isn't so bad, because the old menus are there, but I suspect those will disappear. In the Windows version, it's a hunting game to find things, because the overall menus are gone and you just have the contextual gadget panes (or pains).
 


Yesterday I installed a SanDisk 480GB SSD I got during Amazon Prime Day into a 2011 Mac Mini to replace an OWC 120GB SSD. I just needed more space.

I first connected the SanDisk SSD via USB and installed a fresh version of High Sierra. I tried to use Migration Assistant, but I never could get it to offer either the OWC or an external Time Machine disk as a source (waited about 10 minutes). Strangely enough, it immediately offered my iMac and the iMac's Time Machine drive over WiFi. I ended up creating a test user ,thinking I could use Migration Assistant later.

I rebooted the Mini from the SanDisk and tried Migration Assistant from the Utilities folder. Still no access to attached drives.

I shut down and booted the Mini into Target Disk mode. I then used the SanDisk to boot my 2013 MacBook Air and connected a FireWire cable from the Mini. Doing this, I immediately saw the OWC SSD and the Time Machine drive from the Mini. I migrated from the OWC without issue.

What's weird is I used this procedure 4 years ago when I added the OWC SSD and migrated from the original hard drive. Not sure why it's different this time.

P.S. I used an old benchmarking test (Xbench) to test the drive speed. The SanDisk is ~40% slower than the OWC at this point, though there are lots of possible variables like Xbench (from 2006) is just not reliable in High Sierra, or Spotlight is taking up processor time. I'll try again later. I don't notice any particular performance issue in terms of launching apps, etc. I ran the OWC in an external box connected to the MacBook Air via USB3, and its Xbench performance was extremely close to what it had been when it was inside the Mini.
 


In 2005 I bought a G4 Mac Mini at CompUSA, and the resident Apple employee suggested I add the Intego Security Suite. I bought it and later added a multi-year, multi-user license. At the second renewal, Intego substantially raised prices. I didn't renew and un-installed Intego from all Macs.

Three or four new Macs later, I noticed issues with slow processing and "Internet throughput." Cause: zombie pieces of the Intego Suite that had persisted through an unbroken chain of "Migration Assistant" setups. The zombies were trying to phone home. Maybe even were phoning home? Found and squashed them. Perhaps they were hibernating for years? No idea what changed that caused them to draw my attention.

It is possible that AppDelete, with its "find orphans" feature, would do the job on zombie application stubs. Definitely worth a try before "migrating" and possibly after....
Funny you should mention CompUSA. I was one of those “resident Apple employees” at a San Diego-based store, 1998-2000, then they (CompUSA) closed the doors. My first and only “sales” endeavor, I was more of the "Mac guy" at CompUSA.

With the Mojave beta, I have done several migrations from a Carbon Copy Cloner backup of my files, and it was seamless every time. I have to go through the usual dance with Apple ID, iCloud & CopyLess2; however, it even boots into the last user account I had set up, even though I had set up a generic admin account from the "clean" install. Until recently, I was always inclined to restore from a Carbon Copy Cloner backup.

In short, Migration Assistant performs well in Mojave. I’m pleasantly surprised, with 2+ decades of Macs and having only implemented it a handful of times. We (a Mac consulting firm) tried it with some of the older OS’s, with mixed results, crashes, freezes, corrupt files, so it was Retrospect to the rescue. Now I use Carbon Copy Cloner. I have more confidence in utilizing Migration Assistant than I used to vs. just restoring from a cloned drive. Both methods work extremely well; it’s almost a tossup between the two, at least in my experience.

I do remember AppDelete, it's been my go-to for many years.
 


Subsequently, I used every option I could find to keep VMWare, and the Windows 7 install within, from any connection to the Internet.
If you want to keep a VMware VM from connecting to the Internet, simply go to the VM's Settings -> Network Adapter and uncheck the box for "Connect Network Adapter" (must be done when the VM is powered off). The VM will now have no network connection, and the connectivity cannot be re-enabled from within the VM guest environment itself, so no surprises.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
P.S. I used an old benchmarking test (Xbench) to test the drive speed. The SanDisk is ~40% slower than the OWC at this point, though there are lots of possible variables...
Some OWC drives use a controller that does data compression, and that could grossly distort benchmark results, depending on the particular benchmark. A real-world test, such as converting video or running a compile, could be more meaningful.
 


I bought a new iMac today (using the MacInTouch Amazon link :)
It says High Sierra is the OS, but I assume that it will be an early version. So, any reason not to copy the latest combo update onto a thumb drive and install it on the new machine before I migrate from the old one?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I bought a new iMac today (using the MacInTouch Amazon link :)
It says High Sierra is the OS, but I assume that it will be an early version. So, any reason not to copy the latest combo update onto a thumb drive and install it on the new machine before I migrate from the old one?
That sounds sensible to me (though I haven't gone through that exact procedure myself).
 


That sounds sensible to me (though I haven't gone through that exact procedure myself).
I bought a new iMac today (using the MacInTouch Amazon link :)
It says High Sierra is the OS, but I assume that it will be an early version. So, any reason not to copy the latest combo update onto a thumb drive and install it on the new machine before I migrate from the old one?
My standard procedure for a new machine (or a new OS install on a blank volume) is to create a new administrative user and do all Apple updates before running Migration Assistant.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My standard procedure for a new machine (or a new OS install on a blank volume) is to create a new administrative user and do all Apple updates before running Migration Assistant.
In the past, people on MacInTouch have recommended running the migration assistant during the first startup, not later, saying that it worked better during that first boot process after installing a new OS vs. being run as an app later.

I don't actually have any details, unfortunately, but it's something to consider - the idea that the migration processes differ between first boot and later boot/app run.
 


In the past, people on MacInTouch have recommended running the migration assistant during the first startup, not later, saying that it worked better during that first boot process after installing a new OS vs. being run as an app later.

I don't actually have any details, unfortunately, but it's something to consider - the idea that the migration processes differ between first boot and later boot/app run.
That's interesting. Thanks to all.
 


In the past, people on MacInTouch have recommended running the migration assistant during the first startup, not later, saying that it worked better during that first boot process after installing a new OS vs. being run as an app later. I don't actually have any details, unfortunately, but it's something to consider - the idea that the migration processes differ between first boot and later boot/app run.
My understanding is that recommendation was to avoid confusion from overlapping account names and the resulting support costs. There is no technical difference in the migration process or results that depend on the start time for the migration.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My understanding is that recommendation was to avoid confusion from overlapping account names and the resulting support costs.
Ah, thanks for jogging my memory. That's indeed an issue. If you migrate during first boot, then the user accounts and UIDs will be identical to what was on the source Mac. If you do not, then it is all to easy to get:
  • duplicate user accounts - a mess that isn't necessarily easy to clean up
  • user accounts with identical names but different UIDs (affecting permissions)
  • various settings (system/security/cloud/network/etc.) may get changed
And, if you do anything significant whatsoever on the new system prior to migration, it can be a huge issue to synchronize changes (depending, of course, on exactly what was done).
 


Some OWC drives use a controller that does data compression, and that could grossly distort benchmark results, depending on the particular benchmark. A real-world test, such as converting video or running a compile, could be more meaningful.
The OWC compression is something I hadn't considered but is certainly possible. What's strange is one of the fastest aftermarket SSDs in the house (according to Xbench) is in my wife's 2007 24" iMac with a Crucial SSD on an older, slow SATA connector.

I tried to think of a way to test disk speed without involving the CPU too much, since the I'm comparing Macs with everything from a Core 2 Duo to an i5 to two different i7 configurations. I think converting a video would be too processor-dependent. I may try duplicating a large file on each machine. Or maybe it's all a waste of time.
 


I bought a new iMac today (using the MacInTouch Amazon link :)
It says High Sierra is the OS, but I assume that it will be an early version. So, any reason not to copy the latest combo update onto a thumb drive and install it on the new machine before I migrate from the old one?
If it were me, and the new iMac was capable of running the OS on my old machine, I would just put the new one in Target Disk Mode and clone the old one to it.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I tried to think of a way to test disk speed without involving the CPU too much, since the I'm comparing Macs with everything from a Core 2 Duo to an i5 to two different i7 configurations. I think converting a video would be too processor-dependent. I may try duplicating a large file on each machine. Or maybe it's all a waste of time.
Duplicating a file (or folder) in APFS could be insanely misleading, in terms of performance.

I'd suggest something like Blackmagic Disk Speed Test or AJA System Test for benchmarking (though you could also try the Unix command-line route).
 


If it were me, and the new iMac was capable of running the OS on my old machine, I would just put the new one in Target Disk Mode and clone the old one to it.
I have migrated once, and it was a no-brainer. So I think that running the combo, then migrating would be the simplest way to go.
 


Duplicating a file (or folder) in APFS could be insanely misleading, in terms of performance. I'd suggest something like Blackmagic Disk Speed Test or AJA System Test for benchmarking (though you could also try the Unix command-line route).
Yeah, the testing apps seem inconsistent in what they report. I was thinking about a non-app way of getting the info. You did point me to AJA System Test which seems to be more consistent than the others.
 


In the past, people on MacInTouch have recommended running the migration assistant during the first startup, not later, saying that it worked better during that first boot process after installing a new OS vs. being run as an app later. ...
I had zero issues using Migration Assistant to migrate 18 Macs after macOS was installed. My success may be because I only migrated users, not applications or settings.

Each iMac had its hard drive replaced with an SSD which was cloned from a master image of El Capitan. I then booted each Mac and ran updates to get any firmware updates. Finally I logged into my admin account and ran Migration Assistant to migrate users from the Snow Leopard hard drive.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I had zero issues using Migration Assistant to migrate 18 Macs after macOS was installed. My success may be because I only migrated users, not applications or settings. Each iMac had its hard drive replaced with an SSD which was cloned from a master image of El Capitan. I then booted each Mac and ran updates to get any firmware updates. Finally I logged into my admin account and ran Migration Assistant to migrate users from the Snow Leopard hard drive.
So, here's the question:

When you set up an admin account on booting the new computer/drive, was that same admin account also present on the master image you would later migrate to the new system?

In other words, did you end up duplicating all user accounts from each original system exactly, including admin accounts and UIDs, or were there changes in either of those?
 


So, here's the question:
When you set up an admin account on booting the new computer/drive, was that same admin account also present on the master image you would later migrate to the new system? In other words, did you end up duplicating all user accounts from each original system exactly, including admin accounts and UIDs, or were there changes in either of those?
I did not migrate the admin account, since I had set it up for the new software on the master image. I migrated all other accounts (they're all non-admin).

When making an image or installing macOS, I always set up my admin account first, and I always use the same long and short usernames. So, for both the old Snow Leopards and the new El Capitans, the admin account is UID 501.
 


That sounds sensible to me (though I haven't gone through that exact procedure myself).
I am hardly an expert in this, but I do know I don't do anything in upgrading or migration without doing clones first.

I have also done a brand new install and then moved over data files and had permission issues that caused me to use MacWorld's recommendations to fix them:

When 'Save As' says you don't have permission

[Please don't do this without first cloning your system. See more notes below. -Ric Ford]
 


So, here's the question:
When you set up an admin account on booting the new computer/drive, was that same admin account also present on the master image you would later migrate to the new system?
In other words, did you end up duplicating all user accounts from each original system exactly, including admin accounts and UIDs, or were there changes in either of those?
With my clients and any situation where needed, including personally, I install the Mac first with all available/required Apple software updates using an admin account called "setup" (and then clone this if required for multiple computers). I then use Migration Assistant to bring across everything from the old computer (all accounts, all data, all applications). I then delete the "setup" account and tidy up/remove any applications/utilities as required.

This way allows for switching on FileVault and encrypted the local storage before migrating any user data (which is very important for security now, as most Macs have SSD/flash storage).

The basic process was outlined step-by-step in this MacInTouch posting (from step 7 onwards) and in a little more detail over on MacStrategy (from step 10 onwards under Step By Step Instructions For Upgrading Your Disk (Migration method]).

Over many years, although I've had the odd problem with Migration Assistant borking during migration, failed storage/connections, etc, I've never had a single problem with user accounts or permissions if the migration was successful.
 


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