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Mac Applications forum

General discussion

Need programs moved to new Mac, who should I have do it?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / September 14, 2012 9:51 AM PDT

Need programs moved to new Mac, who should I have do it?

I would appreciate your suggestion. I'm a self-employed
advertiser/graphic artist. I am at the point where I have to upgrade
my Apple Mac G5. But...I'm also not sure of the best way to transfer
the few apps that I have on my Mac G5 that I "downloaded" over the
years; all other info I have backed up on CDs. Apple says it'll move
all the info for $100 or should I have someone else do it so that I
can be more careful and safe on what is kept? Can I count on Apple? Or
is this something I can even do myself? What is your opinion? Thank
you for your help.

- Submitted by: Tanya W.
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The best person to do this is yourself
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 14, 2012 10:22 AM PDT

When you first fire up your new Mac, you will be asked if there is any data that you wish to transfer from an old Mac, backup, clone, etc.
Answer yes, follow the instructions and all your data, applications, personal settings, network settings and account settings will be magically transferred to the new machine.

It will also transfer all those programs that will NOT run in your new Intel driven Mac.
That includes ALL the software that was written for the PPC processor that your old G5 is powered by.

Take a look in your Applications folder and find the actual app. Select it and Get Info from the menu bar. (right click the mouse will work too)
If the Kind field says anything about PPC then that application will not run on your new Mac. You will need to upgrade it if you want to keep using it.
Intel or Universal Binary is fine. They will work on your new machine.

The Migration assistant usually puts those PPC applications into a folder on the new machine but not in the applications folder.

Hope that helps


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Windows also has this feature.
by bigbear639 / September 23, 2012 1:46 PM PDT

I use it to transfer everything including desktop, Icons, Bookmarks and even Gadgets. In windows it will tll you before transfering which programs may not work. You can then either uuncheck them or go and transfer them anyway, some will work even if it said it will not. Your Settings will also transfer. A/V will have to be installed as it will not let it run on another Computer.

My Music, Video and Picture files all transfered. W-7 took about 45 min to over an hour if you use a USB cable vs WiFi. This may answer for Users other than MAC's who may not be aware of this.

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Migrating appllications to a new computer
by Gretel38 / September 29, 2012 2:16 PM PDT

How do you make the physical connection between the two computers? The first time I got a new machine, I had a technician do it, and he transfered the data with a flash drive. There must be a more elegant way than that. Will the Migration Assistant reload your applications with all your customized settings? It would be a real pain to have to reset all the little details by which we usually customize applications.

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There are a couple of ways to connect the two machines,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 30, 2012 12:25 AM PDT

1. Via an ethernet cable (straight through, not x-over)
2. Via Firewire Cable (May need an adapter if your new machine has 800 and your old machine has 400)

When Migration Assistant works as designed, as it almost always does, the at the end of the procedure your new Mac has everything in exactly the same place as your old one.

All your Settings, Preferences, Networks, Accounts, Applications (but not those that exist in your new OS version; iTunes,iPhoto,etc.).
All your Music, Pictures, Movies, Documents, all the stuff on your desktop, right down to your desktop picture.


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Use Migration Assistant
by Mark Klocksin / September 14, 2012 11:55 AM PDT

As another poster has said, Apple has a program called Migration Assistant. It's fantastic! Unlike it's Windows counterpart, Migration Assistant moves programs as well as data. It's intuitive, easy to use, and works with just a FireWire cable.

So absolutely you can do this yourself. I can't imagine why Apple says they will do it for $100.

But yes, there's a possibility some of the programs you move will not run on the latest Macs. Or they may need updates before they will work. Do your research before investing in the new computer.

Mark K.

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Migration Assistant was a Nightmare for me
by theanimaster / September 21, 2012 3:43 PM PDT

I tried migration assistant back in the days of 10.4-10.5 and then now from 10.5-10.7 (from an iMac G5 to my current i7 macbook pro) and all I've had were problems.

For me, the best solution is to keep all your files -- documents, music, photos etc. in one place (which would be in your home directory and nowhere else on the computer) and use Carbon Copy cloner to back this up to an external drive. Easier said than done for the average person. But this is precisely what I did before I wiped the computer clean to reinstall Mountain Lion from an absolutely-clean start.

Applications are best to have re-installed from their installer files. If you're savvy enough, you might know where these apps keep their settings data (for example, Pages' templates, MS Words templates, and saved games for your games...). If you don't know where these things are kept though... maybe ask an Apple genius (are they free)? Then again, if that's the case... the 'genius' can do it all for you.

There is an 'easy' option with Carbon Copy cloner... which really takes your entire computer and clones it. However, when transitioning to a new OS, I would imagine there might be plenty files copied over that well... just don't need to be.

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Migration Assistant
by onemoremile / September 14, 2012 12:31 PM PDT

Migration Assistant will do it all for you simply and seamlessly. If the new computer and the old one will be on the same network, you will be all set. If not, you will need an ethernet cable to connect the two.

If you do not want to migrate everything, you can do what I just did with a new Mac and install only the programs that will run on the new machine. You should be able to download just about any current program from each software company's web site. You will need to find your serial number for each software package. Try looking at the original packaging or on the download receipt. You may also find the number by clicking on Registration, which may be under the [Program Name] menu. If both machines are on one network, you should be able to log into the old Mac from the new one. Simply locate the files or folders that you want to move and drag them to the appropriate spot on the new machine. I would suggest opening two Finder windows, one focused on the old Mac and one on the new.

You will probably want to keep the old Mac around until you are sure that you have everything you need on the new machine.

Have fun!

Dave K.

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Migration assistant - challenges
by chryselwood / September 21, 2012 12:05 PM PDT
In reply to: Migration Assistant

I recently had the occasion to assist a friend in migrating from a mini-Mac to a new macbook. It was not a fun experience! The mini-mac is running 10.4.6 and the macbook was the current release. Migration Assistant via ethernet doesn't work between these two versions. Firewire isn't an option as the macbook didn't have a traditional firewire port and Apple doesn't supply a cable. I ended up doing the transfer via file sharing. All in all not a good experience something I hadn't expected from Apple!

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Do yourself a favor. Don't Bother.
by jrhmobile / September 14, 2012 7:01 PM PDT

You're taking a big step to upgrade your equipment from a Mac G5 to today's latest Mac hardware.It's a big jump in hardware capabilities that will open a world of opportunities for your work and your business. Congratulations.

But please, do yourself another favor and set aside all that old software. Trying to patch over old software that runs on your old G5 will likely introduce incompatibilities with Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, the latest version of the Mac operating system. Even for the software that isn't incompatible, running on old software that you picked up from others puts you in a situation you don't need to be in anymore.

It used to be that making this jump from old software provided with the help of friends could quickly cost more than the price for the new computer itself. Fortunately that isn't the case anymore. The latest graphics software for your business is available in North America on a subscription basis for a price of $30 a month. Adobe's entire Creative Suite is available through its Creative Cloud subscription service. The latest Apple office suite applications are also available for minimal expense. Roughly $400 for the first year is more than $100 to port over your old "downloaded" software, but trying to run that old "free" software is going to cost you a lot of time and aggravation. If it works with your new system at all.

Since you're working for yourself in the graphic design business, I don't have to tell you that the way we do business is rapidly changing. Your clients need more than just printed flyers to promote their businesses today. Adobe offers a full slate of applications for providing those services in print and online through Creative Cloud, as well as a large repository of self-paced online video courses to help you learn how to use all of it.

You're making an investment in your business future by getting a new Mac. Don't cripple yourself by trying to patch over all your old software and make do with whatever you get for an end result. Make a clean break and get the latest graphics software to give yourself the most opportunity in the challenging times ahead. At $30 a month, you'll quickly cover the cost by being able to do the work you currently provide your clients much faster, and being able to do new work for them that will get you more business.

I know that the jump to using the latest software seems scary at first, but I can assure you it will pay off. It will be worth the investment in saved time and effort to make a clean break and take full advantage of your new, state of the art hardware and graphic design software for your business.

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General Guidelines
by davidaharon / September 22, 2012 2:33 PM PDT

As a non-Apple user who has extensive upgrading experience in Ms-DOS and Windows upgrades, i offer the following:
The first thing, I recommend is to first Back Up the ENTIRE system.
2nd is to read the details of you new operating SYSTEM Carefully. See if it is backward compatible with existing programs you are presently using. As one who remembers the experence from the O/S 2 version 3 Warp Windows 95 wars, it was my first big worry was making sure this system allowed me to use such programs as WordPefect dBase and Quattro Pro and a few other programs I had at the time.
As readers of this particular Mac system upgrades have mentioned, you, will need the upgrades to the new Mac, and you should do that, but at the same time until you learn the new upgrades in software you should have at least the old programs you are presently using working to keep you going in your working field of expertise.
My advice is to load in the original software one program at a time and test it ... and then upgrade it.
You should have a general uninstall program in case that software does not work.
If your old Mac machine still works, you may consider keeping your favourite "old" apps on it along with the data you wish to keep there. Your new Mac could contain the upgrade or new software for you to learn and use. Upgrades are usually either fixes or a rearrangement of the previous edition to accommodate new features. For instance, let's say Word 4 for Mac runs on old Mac and new Mac but Word 5 has the new stunning feature of bringing in 7 graphic designs as templates only on new MAC and has been totally revamped the way Word 5 operates, then you better use the Word 4 only on old Mac and Word 5 on the new Mac.
The first concern is that you don't lose your working time in order to learn the way the new software works until you are ready. Barring any unforeseeable emergency, you could continue using your old Mac to make your graphics and copy it into your new Mac to improve it.
With hard drives in the 500 gigabyte range and upwards to 2 terabytes storage space should not be an issue these days, so if your old Mac hard drive is full and you can run an auxiliary hard drive again consider the possibility of using a bigger hard drive inside your old Mac [check with your Mac dealer].
All the above advice could be used in some way by both users of Windows O/S and Mac as a general solution to the common upgrade problems.

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Links to Migration Assistance
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / September 21, 2012 6:21 AM PDT
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You could do it yourself, but it probably won't matter.
by philb1701 / September 21, 2012 11:05 AM PDT

Ever since Apple introduced Lion (OS 10.7) and now with Mountain Lion (OS 10.8), the Mac operating system no longer will use Power PC-based programs. It is a virtual certainty that the programs running on your G5 are all PPC based. You can check this by clicking on the application icon once, then going to the File menu and selecting Get Info. In the General portion, you will see a listing for Kind. If it says Application with nothing next to it or a PPC, then it is old-style software and won't run. If it says Universal or Intel, then you might be able to use it on your new machine, but will probably still need to be updated to some degree.

Find the installer discs for the ones you can use and see if you can update from there, or just get the latest version from the software manufacturer.

So rather then go through the expense of having Apple do it with a One-To-One membership (which does have other advantages) or doing it yourself, just to find out the programs won't work, bite the bullet and upgrade your programs. Instead of doing all of them, take a look at what programs you actually use on a regular basis and concentrate on those first. The rest of them will present their needs when necessary.

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Not so
by cardplay / September 21, 2012 10:48 PM PDT

I have Mountain Lion running on the latest MacBook Pro (w/Retina) and have plenty of applications that I carried over from an earlier version MacBook. When I follow your little check procedure these applications say Application next to Kind, and they all work on the MacBook Pro/Mountain Lion

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Moving to a new mac, congrats!
by jonathanrowson / September 21, 2012 11:26 AM PDT

The past posters were right on with their recommendation of Migration Assistant! I would add one other voice to the discussion. If you have used Time Machine to back up your old machine, that would make it even easier to move all your info to you new mac. Keep in mind, as was stated by previous posters, that some of your apps WILL NOT (not may, but WILL NOT) run on your new machine because it's powered by a different processor that is physically different than your old mac. This means that many of your old apps will not run, but will need to be upgraded to run. Hopefully, many of them are available for easy upgrades. You can check sites like:


for more info about the older programs you have.

There used to be a way to connect two macs using a firewire cable and having the old mac startup in what was called "Target Disc" mode. In essence, this allowed you to see the entire hard drive of your old mac as an external drive on the desktop of your new mac and you could drag and drop or even open and run old programs and test them. This isn't as good a solution as Migration Assistant but would work if you only have a few documents or small files to move as it wouldn't work well with programs.

One other thing, as you're in graphics and graphic design and such, you may be able to use programs like GIMP (a freeware version of Photoshop) or Seashore as temporary solutions until you are ready to take the plunge to the professional versions

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Migrating to a new Mac
by BobHG / September 21, 2012 11:52 AM PDT

Download a copy of one of the Take Control books from which are written by Mac experts, back up your existing Hard Disk by making a bootable clone Hard Disk using Carbon Copy Cloner (just in case anything goes wrong) and then use Apple's Migration Assistant to transfer the contents of your current Hard Disk to your new machine. When you start your new machine, it will ask you if you wish to use Migration Assistant. If you have a 500Gb Hard Disk, it will take you about 4 hours to make a clone and another 4 hours to migrate to your new machine.

Once it's all done, you'll be more knowledgable about your Mac and you should be able to recover any future data loss by using the knowledge that you've acquired during the migration process. If you use your Mac for professional work, I'd recommend that you use a Time Machine daily and make a bootable clone monthly, so you'll need two external hard disks to accomplish this.

Good luck with your migration.

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You can do it with Migration Assistant - with caution.
by ibdrmac / September 21, 2012 1:34 PM PDT

You have issues to deal with:

First, most of your software is incompatible with the Intel processor.

Second, you have FireWire 400 on the G5 and FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt on the new Mac. You'll need to get a FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 cable to efficiently transfer all you stuff using the G5 in the target disk mode. Ethernet will take forever.

Third, a lot of the files you'll transfer will be superfluous to the new environment and can be deleted; not necessary, but takes up space. Experience and /or software is required.

Fourth, many of the preference files can be corrupt. Anomalies in operation in the new OS can be attributed to preference corruption. Deleting the preference files of the offending app will normally fix the problem.

You are making a large jump in OSs. Perhaps it would be better to get the previously mentioned cable and transfer just your files from the G5 in the target disk mode, copying them to the like spot in your new account directory. This keeps your new OS pure from the start.

If this seems too daunting, seek out an authorized Apple Service Provider, NOT an Apple Store or Genius. good luck

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Transfer the minimum amount from the old computer
by Steve 1 2 3 / September 21, 2012 7:25 PM PDT

Transfer documents, music, pictures and video. Those are safe. Do not copy any applications or utilities, because, as mentioned in other posts, they will be old at best and will cause trouble, and will not work at worst because they will not run on an Intel Mac. Install current versions from installation CDs or DVDs, or from disc images ending in ".dmg" downloaded from the author's site. At first, avoid installing more stuff than you need, to let things settle down.

But first, if you bought your new Mac a few months ago, it will have the Operating System called "Lion" - OS 10.7 The current one is "Mountain Lion" - OS 10.8 To save you the trouble of setting up Lion then, later, installing Mountain Lion and going through the work again, I suggest that you install Mountain Lion now. You can get it from the Apple Store for about $13. It is in the form of a download which is several GB in size and will take some time, so do it overnight if you have a daytime cap on downloads. However, the download consists of an installation utility which is saved to your applications folder. That utility is overwritten once Mountain Lion is installed - don't ask why!. Therefore, do not answer "yes" to "Install Mountain Lion" (or whatever the invitation is worded), but search in your applications folder for a recently saved file, (list them in the folder by date, I can't remember the name). Right click it and choose "Show Package Contents". Navigate your way to "Shared Support" and find "InstallESD.dmg". Copy it to another folder. Doing this allows you to re-install Mountain Lion later, if necessary, without downloading the installer again. Then run "InstallESD.dmg" and Mountain Lion will be installed over Lion.

When you first run the new Mac it will ask you to set up your User Account. You should to do that, manually rather than copying across from the old machine. When setting up your email accounts, do not use anything from the old computer. You should start afresh and set them up manually. This minimises copying corruption or stuff that upsets the new Mac or operating system.

All this is quite daunting. Go slowly and patiently. Step-by-step, run things, install something else, run things...

Please let us know how you get on.

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All valid points but I have to point out that
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 21, 2012 11:06 PM PDT

if you choose to recreate your Mail accounts, instead of transferring them from the old machine, you will end up with an empty mail box in all of them except the .Me and .Mac accounts.

Any accounts that you have that are POP accounts will be blank. All those emails will still be on the old machine, they are not usually stored on the mail server.

Just an FYI


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Export Mail's Messages
by Steve 1 2 3 / September 22, 2012 12:25 AM PDT

On the blank POP accounts, yes they will be blank, ready for the OP to enter afresh her account details and therefore avoiding any corruption that might have been tolerated by the G5 but not by the later OS.

I forgot that about mailboxes. However, it is possible to export a mailbox (Mail > Mailbox > Export) after selecting each mailbox in turn in your G5 (Sent, Inbox etc.). Save them to somewhere you can get to from your new computer, eg., a CD or DVD. Then, in your new computer, launch Mail and choose File > Import Mailboxes.

That should work, making the reasonable assumption that the file format of Mail has not changed since your G5 days.

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thank you...
by URairSpace / September 22, 2012 1:18 AM PDT

I have been too busy to make the NEW PURCHASE, yet. And, I'm glad I rec'd all this info from the readers! I greatly appreciate everyones knowledge and input - for the past several months I haven't been able to 'upgrade' my programs, not even minor 'standard upgrades' because my G5 is considered too old and it will NOT ALLOW the upgrades. I have to purchase the new MAC to upgrade the programs with-in the machine; it all goes hand-in-hand. There's never a 'good' time...Mac is the only system I've ever known. But it will be soon and it WILL BE A MAC!! Your knowledge will be helpful, I'm sure!! Thank you!!

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Good luck with the move and remember
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 22, 2012 9:12 AM PDT
In reply to: thank you...

that all these folk are just a quick post away if you have a problem


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Just a reminder. "Do not Migrate" (these apps)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 1, 2012 4:49 AM PDT

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