The Best Way For Some User Data Migration?

Buzna Tepla

I have MacBook Pro 13-inch, Early 2011, Processor 2.3 GHz Intel, 8 GB Memory. Running OS X 10.9.5. I have bought new SSD, installed partitioned/formated and installed 10.9.5 from scratch. So far, so good.

I would like to ask, what is, in your opinion, THE BEST method to migrate user and SOME of his/her data, some settings and profile? Background: It is my wife's computer, no critical stuff there, not production machine, not many 3rd party apps, but her profile was historically migrated few times, from 2006, and is full of "junk" and "relics". I have recent time machine backup and I have old bootable drive in usb enclosure.

I can do things like

A/ CCC or another block copy, but that would take everything, literally everything. I probably do not want that.
B/ There is some recovery from Time Machine, I never tried, is it any good? How selective can I be in what to recover? Any guidance?
C/ There is migration assistant, again, little to no experience with that one, how selectively can I select what moves and what stays? Your tips?
D/ Manual cp of selected folders or whatnot [which ones?] from old user directory? Terminal or finder? is there free 2 panel commander for 10.9.5 ?

What is good or the best approach and why? I definitely want to have
1/ her music [iTunes library]
2/ her photos in iPhoto [but not twice, now it looks like it is there 2x]
3/ her emails [and email setting/drafts]
4/ her documents / desktop items / downloads [manual copy?]
5/ her favorites in Safari? is it good idea? there will be like 1000+ of them...
6/ her passwords?
x/ can you suggest what am I missing?

I might be missing some, can you suggest, what do you usually migrate for a user? I am perfectly fine with reinstalling of handful of 3rd party applications by hand, again, say Skype, Handbrake, torrent client, VLC, that is about all she uses I can think of, on that macbook pro...

What I want to avoid? Migrating any flash, addons, unused programs, obsolete stuff, fragments of few previous migrations, from an old ppc macbook 10 years ago, all that fat, that was making her perfectly fine macbook so painfully slooooow.


Rosie Moderator
Staff member
It would be easy if you have a back up of the user files. If you have a back up of the entire ‘old’ drive, that is fine, as well.

Using Migration Assistant does the job seamlessly. Some apps may not transfer over and you will need to install a fresh copy. Some settings will not migrate over, but that is easy to reset as well. Migration Assistant is in the Applications>Utilities folder.

All you need to do is connect the back up drive to the new system, then start up Migration Assistant. It will ask for where the user files are and where you want it to go.

Buzna Tepla

I am more tempted to do it by hand, and handpick only what I mentioned in 1-7. Migration assistant can move some junk, can't it? It will be not selective enough. If I can select in Migration Assistant that I want only itunes, mail, iphoto data and settings, that would be ideal. Can I?