4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2009 12:09 PM by MacMan 71
Kate H. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I am trying to migrate files and profiles from an iBook G3 (running 10.3) to a new MacBook (running 10.5, no Firewire 400 port).

Problems: the iBook doesn't have the correct Setup Assistant (the one that says it can do transfers), and I'm not even sure that would work with the new MacBook's Migration Assistant anyway.

Connecting via ethernet or wirelessly doesn't seem to work at all, since I don't have Migration Assistant on that older computer.

From what I'm seeing in Migration Assistant, connecting via Firewire and Target Disk mode, if I were to buy an 800 to 400, might not even work, since I haven't seen that option at all!

Does a solution exist, other than hand-moving every file through AFP? I imagine that to be somewhat of a permissions nightmare, since I'd love to keep all my bookmarks, keychains, preferences, etc just how they were on the old computer.

MacBook Aluminum / iBook G3, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (253,230 points)
    You cannot migrate between these two computers via FireWire if you have the unibody model because there is no FireWire port on it. Migration would need to be done via Ethernet or wireless if your iBook has a wireless card. You use the Migration Assistant on the MacBook, not the one on the iBook. See the following:

    MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)- Migration Tips and Tricks
    MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)- Migration Tips and Tricks

    Note that migrating from a PPC to an Intel Mac can be problematical:

    A Basic Guide for Migrating to Intel-Macs

    If you are migrating a PowerPC system (G3, G4, or G5) to an Intel-Mac be careful what you migrate. Keep in mind that some items that may get transferred will not work on Intel machines and may end up causing your computer's operating system to malfunction.

    Rosetta supports "software that runs on the PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 processor that are built for Mac OS X". This excludes the items that are not universal binaries or simply will not work in Rosetta:

    Classic Environment, and subsequently any Mac OS 9 or earlier applications
    Screensavers written for the PowerPC
    System Preference add-ons
    All Unsanity Haxies
    Browser and other plug-ins
    Contextual Menu Items
    Applications which specifically require the PowerPC G5
    Kernel extensions
    Java applications with JNI (PowerPC) libraries


    See also What Can Be Translated by Rosetta.

    In addition to the above you could also have problems with migrated cache files and/or cache files containing code that is incompatible.

    If you migrate a user folder that contains any of these items, you may find that your Intel-Mac is malfunctioning. It would be wise to take care when migrating your systems from a PowerPC platform to an Intel-Mac platform to assure that you do not migrate these incompatible items.

    If you have problems with applications not working, then completely uninstall said application and reinstall it from scratch. Take great care with Java applications and Java-based Peer-to-Peer applications. Many Java apps will not work on Intel-Macs as they are currently compiled. As of this time Limewire, Cabos, and Acquisition are available as universal binaries. Do not install browser plug-ins such as Flash or Shockwave from downloaded installers unless they are universal binaries. The version of OS X installed on your Intel-Mac comes with special compatible versions of Flash and Shockwave plug-ins for use with your browser.

    The same problem will exist for any hardware drivers such as mouse software unless the drivers have been compiled as universal binaries. For third-party mice the current choices are USB Overdrive or SteerMouse. Contact the developer or manufacturer of your third-party mouse software to find out when a universal binary version will be available.

    Also be careful with some backup utilities and third-party disk repair utilities. Disk Warrior 4.1, TechTool Pro 4.6.1, SuperDuper 2.5, and Drive Genius 2.0.2 work properly on Intel-Macs with Leopard. The same caution may apply to the many "maintenance" utilities that have not yet been converted to universal binaries. Leopard Cache Cleaner, Onyx, TinkerTool System, and Cocktail are now compatible with Leopard.

    Before migrating or installing software on your Intel-Mac check MacFixit's Rosetta Compatibility Index.

    Additional links that will be helpful to new Intel-Mac users:

    Intel In Macs
    Apple Guide to Universal Applications
    MacInTouch List of Compatible Universal Binaries
    MacInTouch List of Rosetta Compatible Applications
    MacUpdate List of Intel-Compatible Software
    Transferring data with Setup Assistant - Migration Assistant FAQ


    Because Migration Assistant isn't the ideal way to migrate from PowerPC to Intel Macs, using Target Disk Mode, copying the critical contents to CD and DVD, an external hard drive, or networking
    will work better when moving from PowerPC to Intel Macs. The initial section below discusses Target Disk Mode. It is then followed by a section which discusses networking with Macs that lack Firewire.


    If both computers support the use of Firewire then you can use the following instructions:

    1. Repair the hard drive and permissions using Disk Utility.

    2. Backup your data. This is vitally important in case you make a mistake or there's some other problem.

    3. Connect a Firewire cable between your old Mac and your new Intel Mac.

    4. Startup your old Mac in Target Disk Mode.

    5. Startup your new Mac for the first time, go through the setup and registration screens, but do NOT migrate data over. Get to your desktop on the new Mac without migrating any new data over.

    If you are not able to use a Firewire connection (for example you have a Late 2008 MacBook that only supports USB:)

    1. Set up a local home network: Creating a small Ethernet Network.

    2. If you have a MacBook Air or Late 2008 MacBook see the following:
    MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)- Migration Tips and Tricks;
    MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)- What to do if migration is unsuccessful;
    MacBook Air- Migration Tips and Tricks;
    MacBook Air- Remote Disc, Migration, or Remote Install Mac OS X and wireless 802.11n networks.


    Copy the following items from your old Mac to the new Mac:

    In your /Home/ folder: Documents, Movies, Music, Pictures, and Sites folders.

    In your /Home/Library/ folder:


    /Home/Library/Application Support/AddressBook (copy the whole folder)
    /Home/Library/Application Support/iCal (copy the whole folder)


    Also in /Home/Library/Application Support (copy whatever else you need including folders for any third-party applications)

    /Home/Library/Keychains (copy the whole folder)
    /Home/Library/Mail (copy the whole folder)
    /Home/Library/Preferences/ (copy the whole folder)
    /Home /Library/Calendars (copy the whole folder)
    /Home /Library/iTunes (copy the whole folder)
    /Home /Library/Safari (copy the whole folder)

    If you want cookies:

    /Home/Library/Cookies/Cookies.plist
    /Home/Library/Application Support/WebFoundation/HTTPCookies.plist

    For Entourage users:

    Entourage is in /Home/Documents/Microsoft User Data
    Also in /Home/Library/Preferences/Microsoft

    Credit goes to Macjack for this information.


    If you need to transfer data for other applications please ask the vendor or ask in the Discussions where specific applications store their data.

    5. Once you have transferred what you need restart the new Mac and test to make sure the contents are there for each of the applications.

    Written by Kappy with additional contributions from a brody.
    Revised 1/6/2009
  • Kate H. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'd seen this article other places, but it's not very helpful to my exact situation. The Migration Assistant plain doesn't work with very old 10.3 systems (even though it's up to date, the OS updates don't include an update to the Setup Assistant, as far as I can tell).

    I'm asking if someone else has discovered a workaround for this particular situation, or if hand-moving the files (which you do describe below) is the way to go...I started to do that, but I have so many permissions errors it's ridiculous, and I can't quite figure out how to apply the permissions changes to enclosed items on 10.3, which means I spend a lot of time switching each individual file's permissions before moving them.

    Any ideas?
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (253,230 points)
    If you set up your new computer's admin account with the same username and password as on the old computer, then moving your files from the old Home folder shouldn't have any permissions' problems.
  • MacMan 71 Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    I have the same problem... (ibook G4 running 10.3.9 to new Macbook 13") It looks like I have to upgrade the old computer to 10.4.11 to transfer all the things neatly. What a hassel this new system of transfering things is.

    P.S. to avoid permissions issues, try setting up the new mac with the same username and password as the old one.