9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 4, 2011 1:26 PM by WZZZ
judahman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
*THE ISSUE:* I used Migration Assistant to transfer all my files and applications from my Mac Mini to my new MacBook Pro. In the process I created a separate user account for the imported content, so as not to lose the apps installed on the MacBook under a username duplicated on both computers.

The migration was successful, but now I have applications (such as Postbox) under the MacBook Pro user account that do not appear when I switch to the migrated Mac Mini user account. My goal is to transfer all the new MacBook Pro apps and docs into the migrated Mac Mini user account now on the MacBook Pro, and then to delete the redundant account)

*THE QUESTION:* How can i transfer an app (and all related files) from one user account to another user account on the same computer?


MacBookPro, Mac OS X (10.6.6), MacMini
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,305 points)
    You don't have to. All users can access applications in the Applications folder unless they were installed by another user via Drag and Drop or have been restricted in a managed account.

    For the former just change the permissions on an inaccessible application:

    1. Select the application. Press COMMAND-I to open the Get Info window. At the bottom is the pane for Ownership and Sharing.

    2. The correct settings should be:
    Owner=system with r/w privileges
    Group=wheel with read-only privileges
    Everyone is read-only

    If the owner is a username then you need to change the permissions as follows.

    3. Open the Terminal application in your Utilities folder. At the prompt enter:
    sudo chown -R root:wheel
    Put a space after "wheel" then drag the icon of the application into the Terminal window. Press RETURN. Enter your admin password when prompted. It will not be echoed. Press RETURN again.

    If you have more than one application whose permissions need to be changed then select all of them and drag them into the Terminal window instead of just the one.

    For the latter if the other user account is a Standard or Managed account, then you have to assign what applications that user can access via Parental Controls preferences or change the account to an admin account.
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (12,775 points)
    That's the problem with using Migration Assistant. It creates a second user and results in Permissions problems. I would recommend going back to square one. Using Setup Assistant instead, which only appears on the first boot of the new Mac, avoids this issue and usually works beautifully in 10.6. You can have another chance at SA by erasing and reinstalling from the install disc and bundled apps disc on the new MBP. Then connect the Mini by Firewire Target Disk Mode and follow the prompts.



  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (12,775 points)
    Kappy's suggestion sounds like it's probably much less hassle.
  • judahman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I agree that Kappy's approach is simpler. However....

    Seems all the applications on the computer are available int the Finders for each user account, which is great, but when I went to open an application, the settings did not follow with it.

    For example, I downloaded the Postbox email app onto the MacBook Pro and set it up to handle mail for all of my POP and IMAP mail accounts at various hosts across the Internet. In the user account migrated from the Mac Mini, I can see and open the Postbox app, but it does not have any of my email settings from the MacBook Pro user account, so I'd have to start from scratch with the app settings, which would be a hassle (I have multiple email accounts and folders). I will need to transfer setttings for other apps, as well, such as VM ware fusion, for instance. or IWorks, or my Fetch FTP client....

    So, now the question becomes: How do I transfer the app settings from one user account to another?

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,205 points)
    I think the other posters responded; however, I recommend starting over, following the steps in Best Practices and Setup new Mac, which will solve all of your issues.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,305 points)
    You will need to replace the /Home/Library/Mail/ folder with the one from the account or backup that contains the data for the account.

    When Migration Assistant transfers an account that account retains all the permissions that belonged to the account's owner - the username of the account. If you change the name of the account when you transfer it then it has a new username with the same password. You cannot access the account without logging into it with the new username.

    If this is what you have done, then you have a problem when trying to transfer files from one account to the other. It would be easier to simply log into the newly transferred account and delete the account you created during the OS installation. If you don't want to keep the new username, then there are ways to change it but they are not trivial procedures.
  • judahman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    {quote:title=Kappy wrote:}
    You will need to replace the /Home/Library/Mail/ folder with the one from the account or backup that contains the data for the account.{quote}

    This makes sense, to a point. but it's easier said than done...

    Postbox does use the " /Home/Library/Mail/" folder for its archive, but since I can only get access to the Library folders of one user at a time, how do I move the full mail folder contents from one user account to the empty mail folder content of the other user account?

    Drag and drop is possible only if the folders from both accounts are visible to the Finder.

    OR... is there a way to get both user accounts to use the same Library folders?
  • judahman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ooops. I stand corrected.

    First, I set up file sharing between the two user accounts, so that lets me move files between them in the Finder for either user account.

    Second, the files and folders in the "/Home/Library/Mail/" folder were from Apple mail, not Postbox mail. so I am still seeking those postbox files to transfer....
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (12,775 points)
    It's beginning to look like my original recommendation might be the simplest after all.