6 Replies Latest reply: Sep 16, 2010 1:12 PM by daphy
daphy Level 1 (0 points)
I am using the firewire to firewire connection to create a disk of my old computer on the desktop of my new computer. It is imperative that I transfer my iPhoto data from my old laptop to my new one with all the labels and albums / folders intact. I have 4 years of photographic microscope data from patient laboratory tests on my old hard drive. These folders are labeled with the patient identifiers and the date of test as well as the diagnosis. I need to have these data on my new computer so I can pull up archived photos to compare new results with past ones. However, when I go to transfer the photos from the old computer the images are only available as "raw" data - that is, I cannot access them as they are arranged in my old computer: folders that have albums by date, subject and lab test. The only images that I can access are what is seen when they are originally imported from the camera (e.g. dsc-0001, etc - not my labels, or my tags, my albums or folders: not "Ms Smith, 12-21-06; positive", etc).

Is there a way that I can import my photos from the old computer into the new one and keep my folders, albums, tags, labels, etc? Or are these data destined to be lost to the archives?

Any help is gratefully appreciated

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4), old MacBood Pro OS 10.3
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    You should be able to copy your iPhoto library directly to the new computer. It's /Home/Pictures/iPhoto Library. Drag it to the same location on your new computer. Also copy /Home/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iphoto.plist.

    Or make things simple and user Migration Assistant on the new computer to migrate your user accounts, third-party applications and support files, and network preferences.

    If you have a Time Machine backup you can restore from your TM backup.

    Migration Assistant tips and tricks
    How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac

    A Basic Guide for Migrating to Intel-Macs

    The Knowledgebase article Intel-based Mac: Some migrated applications may need to be updated refers to methods of dealing with migrating from PowerPC chips to Intel with the Migration Assistant safely. The authors of this tip have not had a chance to verify this works in all instances, or that it avoids the 10.6.1 and earlier Guest Account bug that caused account information to get deleted upon use of the Migration/Setup Assistant. However, a well backed up source that includes at least two backups of all the data that are not connected to your machine will help you avoid potential issues, should they arise. In event it does not work, follow the steps below.

    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/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

    Message was edited by: Kappy
  • daphy Level 1 (0 points)
    I just tried exactly what you suggested. The only problem I ran into is that when I went to drag the preference iphoto plist into my new computer it asked me if I wanted to replace the existing plist with the old one. I did not do that because I am worried that it will erase the files / folders and editing that I have done on the new patient photos. Can I cut and past the old plist into the new plist? so that all of the information is on one list? Will this work?
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (136,630 points)
    If you have the iPhoto Library in the Pictures Folder of the new machine simply Hold down the option (or alt) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library' and point it at the library you have moved.

    iPhoto will do the rest. There's no need to move the plist file.


  • daphy Level 1 (0 points)
    I haven't tried your recent suggestion yet so maybe that will solve the problem that I now have. It seems as if I have two iphoto libraries now. I can launch the one that has the photos that I imported since I got the new computer (Aug 16th) - there are all the folders and albums with my editing nicely listed as I am use to. Then in order to see the photos that I just imported from my old computer I have to launch that iphoto library again; but that only shows the photos from my old computer - but I am happy to say - all of the albums, folders and editing are there. Is there a way I can merge the two iphoto libraries? Looking at my folders in my "home" there are multiple picture folders and multiple iphoto library icons: it goes pictures folder which has the iphoto library icon and another folder called iphoto library this folder has another iphoto library icon with another folder (recovered photos) a data folder, etc. These seem to be duplicates. Can I drag the old iphoto library icon into the new iphoto icon so they merge?
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (136,630 points)
    NO, don't drag the libraries onto the iPhoto icon. They won’t merge and you'll just get a mess.

    The only way to merge two Libraries is with the paid version ($20) of iPhoto Library Manager


  • daphy Level 1 (0 points)
    from what I can tell - it doesn't seem to be working. I launched using the option key and it gives me two libraries to choose from but whichever one I pick, it opens the photos from the old computer and not the new computer. I tried to drag the new photos from the one icon / iphoto library into the old icon / iphoto library folder and I get the "do you want to replace the old folder with the new folder" message. I was hoping to have all of the pictures merged so I could do a search of patient photos so I could compare current results with archived results all on one screen. But I guess this is an improvement from what I was doing - using two computers and going back and forth. At least I have them all on one computer now. But in a way it is better to have two computers because then I can see the pictures at once. The way it is working now I can see either the old ones or the new ones but not all of them at once.