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Thread: Using the Migration Assistant

  1. #41
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    I don't know why Migration Assistant won't allow a take off a FW drive. I have run my Users Directory off a Firewire drive many a time.

    My only experience with MA is for customers and friends I have helped. Since I move my Users to a separate drive I never personally, or with the Corporation's computers, need to do an import using the assistant.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  2. #42
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    Then as long as you have an OS with it you can cherry pick the user with MA. Otherwise all you can do is pick the data, but not the OS settings and you'll have to manually import the rest of the support files.

  3. #43
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    With the User on a separate drive I consider the OS disposable. The only settings I risk are global, nothing else. All user settings and resources are stored on the User drive. There are a (very) few applications that won't allow themselves to be installed on any drive except /. Those I have to reinstall. They are only a few though.

    It is seldom I need to reinstall an OS. I keep a systematic backup so if anything breaks I can go back. But has happened a few times to me - lot more with Windows than Mac OS though.

    I can be back up and running with a fresh OS in little longer than it takes to install it.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  4. #44
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    As I said in an earlier post, I do pretty much the same thing. Keeping a clean install, with all of the applications on a spare drive I can reinstall by cloning it, but then if I want my old user I use MA to bring it back in.
    We all do similar things and I'm not saying that mine is better than anyone else's, but it works for me.
    At present, my MBP with its 1TB drive is getting cluttered and a bit cranky. I keep wondering how much longer it will be before I bite the bullet and wipe it and start again. Problem with 850gb of data it's going to be a long process: even cloning and reimporting is going to take more than a day to do.
    Maybe I should wait until I get something with Thunderbolt attached to it... so may be a year or so away yet then

  5. #45
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    With the User on a separate drive I consider the OS disposable.
    Never tried to do that. I wouldn't have thought it even possible to separate the users folder from its parent OS, but if that's what you do, then it must be possible.
    How does that relate to the OS though if you say it's disposable? Or are you simply cloning back an OS that matches the one you are deleting? Can't see that you can be doing anything else, given that you can't just invent a user or associate it without setting it up through Sys Prefs... or are you using some terminal wizardry to do it?

  6. #46
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    Thumbs up Try this...

    Lesson one. This is quick and simple even the setup.

  7. #47
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    My brother has been a software geek for Apple for years, before that he was a programmer for Amdahl. He showed me this when Mac OS 10.0.4 first came out. Where it originally came from is that you can store your user directory on a server and log in as you from any computer on the network. It is perfect for both data security and for performance.

    However, it is only useful on a computer with capability to easily mount more than one drive. With Macs that means MacPro these days - unless the optical drive is pulled and another drive is in its place. I did it with a Firewire drive on a MacBookPro for a couple years when I was mobile a lot. It was a major pain in the ass. With a single drive computer I leave well enough alone and only store the data I absolutely need on the computer and leave everything else on the MacPro.

    When I say that the OS is disposable, I mean I can pop in an installer disk, run it, download the latest Combo updater, run it. Then go through the Welcome screen and give myself a admin user. Then immediately on boot I go to System Preferences and relink to my real user directory on another drive. Restart and bingo.

    Alternatively, I can pull my User drive out of this computer, pop it into any other Mac, boot up and then immediately create my user in Accounts preferences and link it to the sneaker netted User drive and I am up and running with only global settings to go through and reset (monitor, sleep, network - stuff like that)

    There are loads of tricks, like creating a root user by booting to the installer CD and running password manager. Logged in as root I can change or fix almost anything - screw it up too! Lots of Terminal tricks as well. But where the User Directory is stored is 100% set by the Accounts Preferences in Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. And any User Directory can be directly modified as long as you are not booted to the same drive it is on, or logged in to that User - meaning you can delete other directories or modify them when not booted to them.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  8. #48
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    Feb 2012
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    Interesting info, thank you.
    I can certainly see uses for it, but not for the vast majority of users.
    It's not something that, as you said, works for iMac or laptop users unless they want to be chained to an external drive. What it does mean though is that there is no need to use MA to restore users to a new installation, so Damien's issue is a non-issue really as long as he points his directory to the new location, or, indeed, the old one.
    All good stuff. I'll try it later by just copying a user across from another mac and creating a new user pointing to that folder.
    For clarity though, do all of the users need to be located in the same place? Or can they be scattered around anywhere? In other words, could one user be maintained on a remote or external drive and connected only when needed, while the others remain on the host Mac?

  9. #49
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    There are loads of tricks, like creating a root user by booting to the installer CD and running password manager. Logged in as root I can change or fix almost anything - screw it up too!
    I normally enable it through the Directory Utility. The only reason I need to use it is when I need to get access to someone else's User when connected to my Mac - usually when recovering data - as it allows me to get around permissions issues without having to change the permissions on the original files.

  10. #50
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    rwm referred to "Lesson one". I have it printed and memorized it, and have been using it since Tiger was born.

    Like rick says, I learned that OS is disposable. But I go a bit further: when changing to next OS (not merely update), I erase the boot drive and zero out the entire volume (or disk). Then follow rick's recipe: install from scratch, go to Sys Preferences, relink to my stuff on Local, restart and I too can bingo. Can do two sets (boot/local) like that in one day.

    I did try upgrading to Snow Leopard the other way and had to use the MA. Feels the same, but I know the hard drive space wasn't "cleaned" before installation. Also use third disk (call it Store for big files and photoshop scratch, as well as just storing stuff); so, when working with CS5, three hard drives are doing work for me instead of one. But truly, I forgot about MA and Time Machine until I read this thread.

    But I have one luxury rick and macloon don't: my computers are used by me only, for my pleasure, and I don't have to service anyone else's. I wouldn't have the patience to make my living that way.
    marrand

  11. #51
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    I'd love to do things that way, but it wouldn't be practical. Having said that, most of my new drive installations are done from a pristine install of Lion or Snow Leopard by cloning and then using MA to bring in the user. Depending on how much data there is, I can complete an installation in as little as a couple of hours.
    Using multiple hard drives, I can cope with 3 different macs at a time. If I have a suite to deploy, then Deploy Studio provides the answer to that little issue and, depending on the network and the Mac doing the install, I can do as many as 8 at a time.

  12. #52
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    It works here at MacGurus because I only have to setup 2 or 3 computers for other employees a year. And kabitz with them if they have a problem. The whole purpose of the guide was really for the one man photo or video shop. It is definitely written single user weighted.

    It is nice stuff to know, even if you don't/can't use it most of the time. And it does provide a trick for sliding one of your clients into a new computer when MA doesn't get it done.

    I am running the same moved User Directory that was created that very first day when I bought a Quicksilver G4 with 10.0.4 installed on it. It has been cloned hundreds of times - this is one of the ways we test a storage or RAID solution, we run off it for a while for our User Directory.

    Another cool trick - create one of the other employees users accounts on my computer and log in as them on my computer, connected to their user directory on their computer. They have to be logged out for this to work. Also, any networked user can use any other computer using this method. Or I can work on their files if need be. Only thing to watch out for is that you cannot run a iwhatever app on a different operating system since the database is set up different. Mail, iPhoto, iTunes and so on need to be on the same OS.

    As the sys admin I set up every user with a different UID way back when. I still do that but I am not sure it matters. Used to be that if you did a list in Terminal it showed ownership by both name and UID. Since Leopard it stopped listing UID. By default any new OS will create its users starting with UID 501 and moving upward.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  13. #53
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    Nice chat going gents.

    Good stuff. Ricks way is great, except that Apple (and a few third option apps) don't really play that way. Not that we can't, just not designed to have users home broken out......unless it is sitting on a server. So doing the Ricks thing has pluses and minuses.

    I wish Apple would formally support it, cause then all Macs could easily support a secondary drive: a small SSD for booting. User directory on HD. Or any other setup you want.

    MA is great for upgrading a user account, moving a user account, restoring a user account, migrating everything.

    The Win MA is great too, as long as it sees the Win box. If it sees the Win OS.....sometime it just doesn't. Likely a Win or firewall problem.....but still a PITA.

    If you want to really be setup to push out updates fast....check this out. Bring your own NetBoot and Software update server with you. As a free, Linux VM that you can run on your laptop.

    Now if they only had a Netinstall option. Not gonna happen, as this was built for their Casper imaging suite, but still very cool. Hard to argue with free.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  14. #54
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    Good stuff. Ricks way is great, except that Apple (and a few third option apps) don't really play that way. Not that we can't, just not designed to have users home broken out......unless it is sitting on a server. So doing the Ricks thing has pluses and minuses.
    As it is, I use my MBP 90% of the time. The rest of my kit is an as and when I need it. My wife uses her MB, so there's nothing to be gained for me, either in business or personal use, to separating the home directory. Nice to know that it can be done, but for me and everyone else that I know that isn't running a server, there really is no use for it. Keeping them on a server is fine for schools, who do that as a matter of course, although the ones I occasionally support are all doing that on Windoze servers, and other businesses who require their employees to have the ability to desk hop, but otherwise there would only be pain in adopting such a method.
    I will try copying and pointing, however, just to see whether it will be helpful on the odd occasion I may need to use it.

  15. #55
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    Feb 2012
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    A hat tip to Ricks
    I had an interesting little job this week... pain in the butt really, but it had to be done.
    I was brought an eMac of all things, with a dying, almost dead, hard drive. I had a spare on the shelf that I could use.
    The biggest nuisance with the eMac, of course, is the location of the hard drive on the back of the logic board. Long story short, I installed the new drive, but the logic board failed on me. I guess that it didn't like being disturbed after 8 years. I got another one in at my expense, = $40 for a 1.25ghz, slipped in the hard drive and all was well.
    As the old drive was in a fragile state I couldn't use MA to get the old user, so, following Rick's advice, I copied over the User using CCC and, after 61 hours to get 34gb of data, I had a user folder that I could point a new user to using the same name. All very easy. So after all of our discussions, I was given a use for migrating a User folder after all. I've never used Super Duper, but the one thing that I really like about CCC is that it doesn't give up when it hits a problem, it simply tells you that it had difficulty with some corrupted files at the end of the transfer so we had a 99.999% success.
    Quite remarkable how these things play out sometimes.
    I dare say that I could have spent a lot more time creating a new user manually with the user data, but it would not have been as easy for me had I not had this thread to provide me with the information, so thanks Rick, much appreciated.

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