Previous 1 2 Next 22 Replies Latest reply: Oct 20, 2014 9:17 AM by mmarvelous
Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

I got a new iMac with a huge hard drive. I'd like to transfer all my data from my external hard drive into my new iMac computer. What the correct way, and the best way to do that?


Thank you.


iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,320 points)

    Hello Mary Anne:


    I would probably attach the external HD and copy the information.  Of course, the destination would depend on what kind of data you are transferring.



  • maurits6814 Level 1 (15 points)

    Did you used your external hard dirve for a Windows computer or a Mac?

  • Mike Osborn Level 4 (1,205 points)

    As maurits6814 has asked, this answer may not apply if you're transferring data from a hard drive used with a PC.


    But...if you're transferring your data from a Time Machine backup from an older Mac, the best means of doing this is via Setup Assistant, which runs once (and only once) when the new iMac is first powered on.


    The next best means is via Migration Assistant. Migration Assistant can be run at any time, and can be found in Applications --> Utilities. I would urge you to read the excellent information provided by "The Great Pondini" at the URL linked below, as it will probably answer just about any question you might have regarding transferring everything over:



    I hope this helps!

  • maurits6814 Level 1 (15 points)

    If you are transferring from a windows computer (drive), go look which structure the hard drive has. If it is: NTFS, you can buy a program named Paragon that allows you to transfer it anyway.


  • Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks everyone.


    I have a new iMac. And I was using an old iMac. I've already transferred everything from the old iMac to the new one using the Migration Assistant. It successfully transferred everything from the iMac hard drive. But now, I still have my external HD, which holds all my iTunes content like music, shows, etc, plus my iPhoto library. So it's a lot. My new iMac has a 3T drive, so it has enough space for me to transfer all the stuff from the external HD into my new iMac.


    Can I just drag all the stuff into the new computer?




  • Mike Osborn Level 4 (1,205 points)

    You can....


    For your iPhoto library, just find it on your external drive and drag it over to your internal drive.  When you open iPhoto, you'll have to tell it where the library is, of course.  (Note:  Do NOT drag the individual photos'll cause serious issues with your iPhoto library if you do it this way).


    For iTunes, here's a link that will help walk you thru things: three-simple-steps


    All in all, not hard to do at all....and you'll have everything on your internal drive.


    Of course, you'll want to run a Time Machine backup as soon as you can after moving everything.


    I hope this helps....

  • Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

    Great. Thanks Mike!

  • Mike Osborn Level 4 (1,205 points)

    You're welcome.

  • Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

    Actually, Mike, there's been a problem. Everything was going well, I had the files copying over to my new iMac during the night (there's a lot of shows and movies to transfer), and the I woke up this morning to find a window with the message, "Copying files failed. The disk could not be read from or written to."




    What do I do now?



  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,320 points)

    Hello again:


    I stayed quiet as you were getting good suggestions...


    With that message (not a good one), I would run repair disk on the external drive from Disk Utility and see what, if any, messages appear.



  • Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Barry,


    Thank you. I'll do that and see what happens.


    Thanks for the input!



  • Shiozawa9 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi again,


    Shoot. Or maybe a good outcome. Don't know. The Disk Utility said that the drive "...appears to be OK."





    I'm tempted to just drag the whole folder into the new computer HD iTunes folder. Will that screw everything up?





  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,320 points)



    I have never done anything like you describe, so I do not want to give you bad advice (I always use migration assistant when I go from one system to a new one but I always have everything on my internal drive).


    If what you are trying to move is in an iTunes library, this knowledge base article may help:



    If the data is just stored on the external HD, that article will not be of much help.  I think I would drag it to a folder on the new system desktop - that can always be deleted.



  • Mike Osborn Level 4 (1,205 points)

    I wonder if your computer went to sleep during the file transfer?  I might try it again if I were you, but before doing so go to System Preferences and change your settings to never sleep (until you're all can change them back afterwards).


    Since there's no problem with the external hard drive after following Barry's suggestion to run Disk Repair, that drive is fine.

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