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Questions About Migration and Multiple User Accounts

526 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Sep 14, 2012 12:47 PM by Glenn Leblanc RSS
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Sep 9, 2012 8:40 PM

My 2009 Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo is running 10.7.4.  It feels sluggish and their other problems which are unsettling. I have a MacPro 8core Nehalem that I'm using for Avid Media Composer.  I did a "ground up" reinstall of selected apps onto a new 10.7.4 OS.  It has  increased the performance and reliability.  I want to do a similar re-install on my Macbook Pro.  Very time consuming and several questions have arisen.  This thread has nothing to do with migrating files or apps between the Macbook Pro and the MacPro.


One of the problems with my EXISTING OS is


I started out by installing Lion onto an external FW 800 BUILD device.   Its a Lacie portable bus-powered pocket  drive.  I did all upgrades to the OS.  Then I migrated from an OS that only contains Final Cut Pro, and no other documents or apps.  FCP launched fine with my S/N and then from that point I manually installed about 20 apps one by one.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)

    So what is your question?

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)

    OK, thanks. First of all forget about "stress on the logic board" from using an external FireWire device. That is its normal function. Using FireWire even continuously will not accelerate the demise of your MBP; I have ones much older than yours that continue to work no matter how much I abuse them.


    I would suggest you erase your external HD and install Lion or whatever OS you want on it. Then, you can do the same as you did with your Mac Pro - install whatever apps you require and evaluate its performance as you add them.


    You can use Migration Assistant but you only have the option of migrating entire folders. In other words you can migrate a user account with all its settings, your Applications folder, your music folder etc. You cannot choose individual apps to migrate. If you are concerned about unknown apps slowing things down then you won't want to use Migration Assistant.


    No matter what, your Core 2 Duo is not going to perform as well as your Mac Pro, but installing a brand new copy of OS X and rebuilding your system methodically in this manner will eliminate any uncertainty with achieving its optimal performance.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)

    But if I do create a second User Account via migration, aren't all those problems isolated within that specific separate account?


    Yes. One account can have no effect on another. They can all access the Applications folder, which you may elect to migrate separately. I recommend you don't do that unless you really want to copy all the old applications and it sounds as though you want to go about it methodically instead. 


    You can certainly migrate individual accounts, and yes that's a good way to isolate potential problems with one or another User account.


    User accounts can also have their own Applications that only those accounts may access. It is unusual to find that though. It's more likely the applications you are using have saved different settings (or preferences) for different users. The apps themselves should never be altered - Apple locked that down some time ago, but I cannot be certain all applications are as well behaved as they should be.


    On the subject of switching back and forth between OS versions and the accounts that use them, I have found it more valuable to install them on separate boot partitions, or better yet, completely separate drives. You have to reboot to switch OS versions vs. only having to switch among different accounts, but separate partitions eliminate a lot of uncertainty. In the event something gets thoroughly messed up, the entire volume can simply be erased and restored from a backup.


    Can a 'dirty' User Account effect the performance of a slick new one, even if its not logged in" - absolutely not. However, you should be aware that an Administrator can install any number of programs that cause the OS to be altered. Such alterations will affect all Users, which is the reason I prefer to boot from a completely separate volume when the integrity of the system is in question.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)

    But aren't there two separate Applications Folders?


    There certainly can be; it's up to the user. If he wants to create his own he certainly can, and I surmise that's what you have. In that case you can have two completely separate installations of third party programs as you described.


    That would confuse me, so I don't work that way. I install all my programs in /Applications so they are available to everyone, but if someone else wants to install his or her own programs within his or her own Home folder that's OK.


    You might want to be certain each User is launching the application that's in its own ~/Applications folder, and not the root /Applications folder. I don't know any simple way to ensure that's the case.

  • Glenn Leblanc Level 5 Level 5 (5,925 points)

    I see John has you covered.

    I suggest you follow his advice and not create Applications within the user account. Once you clone the new build back to the computer drive, test to make sure it's working properly. If you want to migrate the user back from the old build, it will have to be a different user name than the one you created on the new build. If it is, then just migrate the user and settings and do not choose to migrate applications.


    You will gain no advantage by having seperate copies of Applications. Each user will have access to the Application folder and each can create and have  it's own settings for the applications.

  • Glenn Leblanc Level 5 Level 5 (5,925 points)

    To migrate a user, that user name can't exist on the current system. If it does, you will have to delete it before migrating. So the one you create on the new build will have to be a different user name from the old one if you want them both on the same drive.


    If you reformatted the old drive, then you lost the startup partition. I'm not 100% sure on how to get it back after cloning, so I won't try to advise on it. If you have a TM backup, you should also have a startup partition on it. It can be accessed by holding down the option key at startup and selecting the drive. You can also create a flash startup recovery drive and use it when you need to access a recovery drive.


    For iPhoto, you could have copied the old application from the old drive to the new, but there is nothing wrong with buying the latest version either.

  • Glenn Leblanc Level 5 Level 5 (5,925 points)

    Some applications are downloaded and just copied to the application folder. I'm pretty sure iPhoto is one of them. You can verify that by how the new one was installed when you downloaded it. It should have told you to copy it to the application folder.

    Some applications do have an installer and you must use the installer to put it on the computer. So you would have to verify that when install your applications.


    Glad to see I've been of help on this and the other post.


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