I am trying to use the setup assistant to move my ten tons virtual stuff from my mid-2009 MBP to a brand new mid-2012 MBP. The mid-2009 MBP is running Mac OS X 10.8.2, and is up-to-date.
I first tried to do this over a network, as I had left my firewire-800 cable elsewhere. The setup would always hang at the same spot. This was documented here.
Now I have tried to use the setup assistant via FireWire 3 times, with miserable results all 3 times:
/Applications folder gets horribly mangled every time. Nearly all of the applications (whether Apple or not) are marked out with the circle-slash, and say that they are damaged. Oddly enough, the set of mangled applications has not been the same from attempt to attempt.
None of my extra prefpanes get brought over. Perhaps this is normal (though bad) behavior.
To top things off, my new computer couldn't boot after every one of these misguided setups. Each time I restarted after the setup, it got into an endless loop of wait cursor, no wait cursor, wait cursor.
In case this is a help: After the setup assistant thinks it is done and Mountain Lion starts up, the partitions on computer-as-external-drive show up twice. (There are two partitions on my old MBP, say A and B. When Mountain Lion starts, it has two A's and two B's on the desktop.) This is odd.
As an aside, I had installed most of my applications were put in
/Applications/AAApplications, and none of these were brought over. According to the fantastically helpful Pondini site (http://pondini.org/OSX/SetupLion.html), this is normal, because only the top level of the folder will be brought over. This makes me wonder what use the setup assistant is in general.
I did try to use my time machine backup from an external drive, but gave up because the time machine backups are done wirelessly. Hence, the setup assistant cannot find them when the external drive is attached to the new computer. I have not yet tried hooking the new MBP and the backup drive to my router so that I can use the Time Machine backup. [ed: it seems insane to have wireless time machine backups treated so differently]
If anyone has any troubleshooting advice, I would be greatly obliged. This is more than a little frustrating.