Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: May 14, 2010 10:53 AM by R C-R
applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I had to do a clean install on my Macbook Air because my disk was badly fragmented - I had interrupted partitioning attempts by Boot Camp - it was taking too long so I shut down the computer while it was partitioning, with the result that my disk was badly fragmented and needed major repairs according to Disk Utility when I ran Verify Disk on it.

So I decided to do a clean install. I had Snow Leopard on my MBA. I think I had the latest update as I ran Software Update frequently.

The other reason why I wanted to do a clean install was my computer was taking forever to shut down and boot up and I was sick of it.

So I backed up my computer using Superduper, onto an external drive.

Before I did a clean install, I tried booting the MBA from this external drive and it worked so I knew this drive was bootable.

I put the Snow Leopard Operating disk in the attached external drive that I bought with the MBA and I installed the os again, making sure to erase the disk clean first.

The Snow Leopard installed successfully. I checked Disk Utility and it said there were no problems with the hard disk.

I then reattached the external hard drive with the Superduper back up on it and I opened Migration Assistant. I chose "Use Time Machine or another external drive". Then it asked me what I wanted to migrate. I chose all of the ones that showed up "Users", "Applications", "Settings" and "Other files and folders".

I thought it went successfully.

Oh, before I used the Migration Assistant, I updated the software on my computer because it automatically prompted me to after I installed the operating system again in a clean install. I downloaded OS 10.63 and some other applications like iTunes etc.

However, after migrating everything and restarting, I found my desktop had not changed to the old one even though I had migrated settings.

I went into the architecture of the computer and found the folders I had migrated but found they had little crosses on them and it said I didn't have permission to open them.

So it looked like the migration wasn't successful.

I tried Migration Assistant again this time using the other option, migrate from another mac and it gave me a series of numbers to put in as a password during the process.

Even though the external drive was connected to the USB port, it wouldn't recognize it existed and I had to wait forever but the screen didn't change.

So I came here.

Note I am migrating Snow Leopard files to a Snow Leopard system. I had Snow Leopard on the back up and I have Snow Leopard on the computer now, so there isn't anything like an incompatibility problem like PPC files or older system files not working with newer ones.

What can I do? I am sick and tired of doing clean install over and over again. It's taken over night and most of today as well.

Powerbook G4 Panther 1Ghz 120GB, MacBook Air 1.86GHz 120GB, Mac OS X (10.3.x), Nil
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (61,945 points)
    What you do is do it the correct way. Erase and reinstall SL and when it restart, use the setup assistant to migrate from the SuperDuper! clone. When that's complete, restart it, ensure everything works like it did previously, and then run Software Update to bring it up to 10.6.3.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I found that the applications had migrated but the desktop hadn't. When I open the Desktop it is empty. When I go into users, it shows up the user name of the old drive. When I open that up, many folders such as the Desktop have a little "-" sign and it says I don't have permission to open the folders. I don't know why some files have migrated but some haven't.

    I think I did follow the procedure you mentioned except maybe I shouldn't have done the update before doing the migration. I will try it without doing the update. So do a reinstall, erasing the hard drive. Then restart the computer. Ignore any prompts that pop up automatically to do software updates. Then try the Migration Assistant again, using the same steps as above. Then restart the computer and check that everything has transferred successfully including having a different Desktop (same as the clone). If that's OK, THEN do the updates. Okay, I will try it. I didn't know doing updates when I did would cause this trouble.

    Thanks. I will do it now and report back.
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (61,945 points)
    You didn't creating a new owner and administrator account. If you used another name or password, then that 's why the issue. If you used the same name and password, the migration assistant won't allow you to migrate an account with the same info, thereby mucking everything up. Bite the bullet and do it the correct and non-hassle way.

    Yes, the first thing that should pop up on the restart after installing is the setup assistant asking whether or not you want to transfer stuff from another computer, disk, etc. Do that, selecting the SD! clone, and complete the setup booting into the machine. Then, if prompted, install any updates.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I spoke too soon. After I rebooted, the familiar desktop appeared so I think it "took" this time.

    However, when I go to eject the backup volume, it says that one or more programs may be using it.

    I didn't do anything after I booted the computer so I don't know why it says that.

    Can I force eject?

    Because I have to disconnect the backup volume eventually, although the computer doesn't appear to like me doing this.

    Also when I went to the home drive, it is called by the name of the backup volume, not the new name I gave the fresh install volume.

    That's strange.

    I am sure I didn't reboot with the backup volume as the start up. I just pressed Restart and it came up with this desktop.

    I looked at the version of the operating system: it says it's 10.6. So I think the problem was doing the software update especially updating the OS to 10.63. That seemed to put a spanner in the works.

    I just want to know if it's OK to force eject.

    Thanks.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I did create a new user name and password and the user name was different to the one on the backup volume so that wasn't the problem.

    When I go into the Macintosh HD and choose "users", I see two users: the new user name I created on the fresh install HD and the user name of the backup volume.

    When I go into the new user name, it is only about 56KB in size and it has folders with little "-" on them. I can't open them. When I click on the other user name, it has all the files.

    So what I think I did wrong was do the Software Update too early. That confused things and even after I rebooted, I didn't get the desktop I wanted (the old one on the backup volume).

    When I did the clean install and used the migration assistance, I chose "No, do it later" when an automatic prompt came up asking me did I want to update the software.

    Apparently, I did not have the latest OS on the old volume - it was still 10.6. The software update updated it to 10.63.

    So when I left out the updating, the migration assistant worked well.

    I have my old desktop and "home" with the old user name and everything seems to be OK.

    I think I will Force eject the backup volume because I can't keep it attached to my computer forever and I am not using it for anything.

    I can always do a fresh install and use migration assistant again (for the fifth time <rolls eyes> ) if disconnecting the backup drive mucks things up.

    So just a tip for everyone. Ignore the software update prompts that come up and also ignore the fact that the new user has many folders with minus signs in them.

    Just restart and the familiar desktop should be restored on your computer with all the old files.

    Double-check the architecture by looking at Macintosh HD. You will see the new user is actually really an empty folder.


    ..... The only strange thing is:

    In Disk Utility:

    The backup drive: 60.66 used
    810.484 files

    Macintosh HD: 53.42 GB used
    747.945 files


    Strange how there is this discrepancy ......


    But I mucked up the drive before I did the backup (and that's why I did a clean install in the first place) so that might be the reason for the discrepancy......
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,790 points)
    You don't seem to understand the difference between *user accounts* & *startup disks* very well. There is no such thing as a "home drive." Every user account has its own home folder on each startup disk that has that user account created on it. Each home folder has its own desktop (which is a folder) as well as all the other folders that account owns (like Pictures, Documents, & so on). You can't open the folders of other user accounts on that disk because they are private. That's why you see the minus signs in the red circles on those folders.

    So to start with, it is hard to know what you mean by "when I went to the home drive, it is called by the name of the backup volume." Do you mean the startup volume (the volume appearing first on the desktop if you have it set to show disks) has the name of the backup disk? If so, you can't eject it because it is the startup disk.

    Apart from that, it is hard to know what you have done to get to this point. Did you erase the disk, install Snow Leopard from the DVD & use Setup Assistant to transfer your stuff from the backup as previously recommended, or do something else?
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I did everything right except that I did the software update too early.

    When I installed, it asked me for my name. I put my name in, but I didn't put other stuff in like address etc and I didn't register it. So when I installed it there was a folder with a house icon and the name of that folder had my name.

    As I said I installed it correctly.

    What put me off was the folder with the little minus signs.

    I have used Migration Assistant before, with Panther, and there wasn't anything like this, folder with minus signs, etc with that clean installation and Migration Assistant.

    There weren't any problems like this, I recall.

    But with Snow Leopard, if you update the software you can have problems.

    So, I am not confused about the start up disk and home folder. I meant user when I meant home folder in that every user has a different name and their own folder when I said 'drive'.

    As I said, I solved the problem myself.

    Snow Leopard needs to warn people not to update when it prompts you to update otherwise Migration Assistant won't work.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    And you can't use Setup Assistant on MBA if your files are on a back up external drive if you are installing with the optic disk attached to the computer.

    You need to select "Don't set up now, do it later."

    If you do, you will have to disconnect the optical drive with installation disk and attach the external drive to the USB port and it still won't work either. The computer doesn't recognize the external drive.

    You have to use Migration Assistant, AND you mustn't UPDATE.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    And your home folder, or user account will have the name of the old user account, the account that you moved the files from, not the name of the new user account that you created when you did the installation.

    I think it's Snow Leopard, not me. I did everything right and followed the prompts for a clean install and Migration Assistant, and when I rebooted at the end of everything, I had the desktop without any files on it and it didn't have my user settings.

    The only thing I did differently was not do the Software Update when it prompted me.

    So I think this is a bug of Apple's.

    Theoretically, you should be able to migrate files using Migration Assistant including settings and desktop even if you do an update of Snow Leopard (10.6 to 10.63) as Migration Assistant should be able to transfer files from a drive using an older operating system but it didn't work. Migration Assistant in Snow Leopard is acting like a program that syncs files across differnt machines and not like a proper Migration Assistant.

    They should really test their programs before sending them out to the public because it wasted much of my time.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,790 points)
    applecore_eater wrote:
    When I go into the new user name, it is only about 56KB in size and it has folders with little "-" on them. I can't open them. When I click on the other user name, it has all the files.


    This is completely normal. Your access to user home folders is controlled by what user you log in as. If you log into the new user account, you will see the "-" on most of the folders of the old user's home folder. It works the same the other way: If you log into the old user account, you will see the "-" on most of the folders of the new user's home folder.

    The "-" badge means *no access*. That means you can't even see the size of the folders or count the files in them if you look at them individually.

    You can change that: New user can elect to share access to the folders it owns with old user. Old user can do the same for new user. It is completely symmetrical. But you must be logged in as the user that owns the folder to do this.

    Get it? New user's home folder isn't empty -- it just looks that way to old user because there is nothing in new user's home folders set to be shared with old user.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I kind of get it. But I checked the size of the volume of the new user and it was very small, like 40kB so I think it's empty.

    The strange thing is that when I restarted, I expected the home to have the name of the new user account I created. But it doesn't. It has the name of the old account.

    When I go into the Mac HD and go into users, I see two usernames. The old one on the backup volume and the new one I created when I did the fresh install.

    Apparently, after you do Migration Assistant, it defaults to the old username.

    I am surprised at this. I thought MA would copy all the files from the old username account into the new account, and I would then have in my Finder window the new username there.

    Maybe my memory is wrong, but I don't remember having these hassles when I used Migration Assistant on my Tiger upgrade from Panther on my Powerbook.

    Anyway, I think it has something to do with the update.

    Both times I followed exactly the same procedure. But the first time I did the update. And the desktop did not revert to the familiar one after restart.

    The second time, I didn't update. When I restarted the computer, the familiar desktop appeared.

    So, sorry for the confusion about the user name of the accounts and stuff like that. I meant user when I said "home drive".

    Nevertheless, I think my point is still valid that the update does cause problems when using Migration Assistant.

    I thought I was doing the right thing by updating the software but in fact I wasn't. I was preventing the migration from taking place.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,790 points)
    applecore_eater wrote:
    I kind of get it. But I checked the size of the volume of the new user and it was very small, like 40kB so I think it's empty.


    You are using mixing up terminology. There is no "volume of the new user." There is a *home folder* for each user account, & as I explained you cannot not see the actual size of another user account's home folder, only the size of what you have access to. If you have done nothing to change that from the defaults, all you will see is the size of the Public & Sites folders, the Sites one having an automatically created "placeholder" site that is about 37 KB, & the Public one having a "Drop Box" folder you only have write access to.

    The strange thing is that when I restarted, I expected the home to have the name of the new user account I created. But it doesn't. It has the name of the old account.


    If you mean the Home icon only the account you are *logged into* shows that icon. So if you are logged in as New User, that home folder will have the home icon & Old User will have a regular folder icon. If you are logged in as Old User, that home folder will have the home icon & New User will have a regular folder icon.

    Apparently, after you do Migration Assistant, it defaults to the old username.

    I am surprised at this. I thought MA would copy all the files from the old username account into the new account, and I would then have in my Finder window the new username there.


    Migration Assistant will not merge user accounts. If you already have one user account on the new Mac & migrate another user account to it, you will have two user accounts. What you see in Finder windows depends on which account you are logged into at the time, as explained above. If you have automatic login enabled (set in System Preferences > Accounts), you will always start off in whichever user account the OS is set to log into at startup time. (There can only be one.) If you elect to migrate system & network settings in Migration Assistant, this preference from the backup will be migrated, so if it was set to startup automatically into the user account on the backup, that will become the default on the new Mac as well.

    But you can still log out of one account & into the other & everything mentioned above will occur.

    Anyway, I think it has something to do with the update.


    It has nothing to do with the update, _just with what user account you are logged into_.

    Nevertheless, I think my point is still valid that the update does cause problems when using Migration Assistant.

    I thought I was doing the right thing by updating the software but in fact I wasn't. I was preventing the migration from taking place.


    The update does not prevent the migration from taking place. The only problem is that you do not understand about logging into an account & the effects that has on what you see. If you still have both accounts on the Mac I suggest you log out of whichever one you are in now & log into the other. What happens should be apparent.
  • applecore_eater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am sure it has something to do with the update because I followed the same procedure twice without any change (except doing the update) and the first time, the migration didn't take, the second time it took.

    The only thing I did different was the update on the first attempt at migration.

    I distinctly remember that I followed exactly the same steps each time.

    I didn't go in anywhere and change in login information, change users or anything like that.

    I just did the clean install and went onto MA and then clicked "yes" to all the choices for migration. Then I re-booted the computer and after that that was where I had the different desktops - one where the migration had taken place and second where it hadn't.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,790 points)
    Believe what you will but everything you have said points to one thing: you don't quite grasp how user accounts work or the differences you see when logged in as one user vs. another.

    All I can suggest is that you log out of one account & into the other & verify that everything I have said is normal & expected.

    If you see one user account in the Users directory before using Migration Assistant & two or more afterwards, then the migration did "take." Period. This won't change regardless of if or when you do the update.
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