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sra Jan 10, 2013 09:40 PM
Problem migrating user from 10.5.8 to new iMac
Trying to migrate my wife's environment from her old G5 iMac running 10.5.8 to the new iMac I got her for Xmas has been a nightmare.

First of all, the recommended procedure involving Setup/Migration Assistant over an Ethernet cable didn't work (the two macs didn't recognize the connection). So I wound up trying to do it over a wireless connection, which they recognized but which was incredibly slow. And after that terminated, it turns out that the transfer stopped in the middle of her Documents directory, which means that her new account on the new machine has no Downloads, Library, Movies, Music, Photos … etc. directories. The absence of ~/Library is particularly evil.

So my question is, how do I fix this? The old G5 machine is still there, of course. And there's even a Time Machine backup on a TimeCapsule on our home network. All I really need to restore is her old user directory (other missing stuff I can just rebuild). What do you recommend? I presume it starts with the deletion of the seriously deficient user account that has been established for her on the new machine, but then what?

I should say that as someone who's been a UNIX-hacker since I worked at Bell Labs in the 1970s I'm perfectly comfortable with Terminal, but I also know that MacOS X is not identical with the UNIX I grew up with, so it probably won't work to just rlogin and run /bin/cp …

Thanks for your help,

Steve Anderson
P Jan 11, 2013 05:57 AM
Note that ~/Library is hidden by default in Mac OS X 10.7 and later. You can make it visible from the Terminal by

chflags nohidden ~/Library

(chflags comes from FreeBSD. It works like chmod, except for the little flags that the FreeBSD folks added. Apple helpfully added support for the HFS+ visibility flag somewhere along the way, so we don't have to dip into the developer tools to do it anymore).

Now that you can see ~/Library, can you see if the import has worked? If yes, you can just copy any other files in the Finder (set up a network, enable File sharing on the G5 and connect to it from the new iMac), but if you don't have the base user data, you need to rerun the import somehow.

Does the new iMac have Firewire? If so, the easiest thing is to just put the old iMac in target disk mode, connect up the Firewire cable to the new one and rerun the migration (after a nuke&pave). Migration over Firewire is also by far the fastest way to do it.
sra Jan 11, 2013 06:33 AM
No, ~/Library isn't there (I checked with ls –la in Terminal, from which nothing is hidden). The migration seems to have broken down in the middle of copying ~/Documents and nothing after that in sequence got transferred.

Alas, the new iMac does not have FireWire ports (something that seemed to come as a surprise to the generally clue-less guys I talked to in Apple tech support while trying to get the process started, who made a similar suggestion). I think there's some way to use the otherwise-useless Thunderbolt port that way, but I'm not sure.
P Jan 11, 2013 09:22 AM
Well, you can get a Thunderbolt-Firewire converter, I suppose, but if that's all you will use it for, it seems wasteful. Do you have an external USB HDD? If you make a Time Machine backup from the G5, you can use then move the HDD to the new iMac and tell Migration Assistant to use the Time Machine disk as the source.
ibook_steve Jan 11, 2013 04:44 PM
I'm curious about why ethernet didn't work with migration assistant. What error did you get? What did you try?

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