Got a New Mac? Learn the ups and downs of Transferring your account.

About a week ago I decided that I REALLY wanted to buy Mac OS X Leopard Server. I have two Macs, about a year old 20″ iMac and a six month old black MacBook.The decision to buy Mac OS X Leopard Server came about after reading about Leopard Server, wanting to get a couple of Apple certifications. I’m thinking about the Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) and the Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC). In order to accomplish this, you would need to train yourself on the Leopard Client, which is not too bad in terms of price. But the server is $499. I am insanely interested in systems, servers and anything administration related. So investing $499 is a main interest of mine is negligible.Noticing that I had not been using my MacBook as much as I would have liked over the past six months, And with the imminent addition of Mac OS X Leopard Server I decided to go ahead and move my account over to my MacBook. I hadn’t done this before because I did not want to bring down my iMac (which I was using as my main machine). But I made the determination that I would go ahead and move the account to my MacBook last night. So I updated all of my podcasts, and started the iMac in “˜Target Disk Mode’.Target Disk mode, for those who don’t know, allows you to have the Mac in the target disk mode be mounted as a firewire hard drive.

This can come in handy for diagnosing problems or transferring a massive amount of data from one drive to another. This is the recommended way of transferring accounts from one mac to another.So I started up my iMac in Target Disk Mode, and started the “Migration Assistant” on my MacBook. I went through the few questions. They include, Which accounts you want to transfer, whether to transfer the Applications, Files and Folders, and the Library Folder.The Applications option will move everything for your “/Applications” folder to your new Mac. While the “Files and Folders” option will transfer all of the folders in the “˜Root Directory’ Of your hard drive. I did have some files in a “˜Downloads’ folder that I established before Leopard came out. The “Library” option will copy everything from your “/Library” folder to your new mac. Note: if you Select “Applications” you will be forced to move the “/Library” folder as well.

This is because there are many options and preferences within the “/Library” folder.At first I had selected the two accounts I wanted to transfer, but upon close inspection it would have been -12.5 gigabytes. This wouldn’t work very well. I decided to move my “˜Itunes Music’ Folder out of my main account. This does not affect my iTunes library, since it was on the same physical hard drive. After moving this folder, I re-did the calculation and it left 32 gigabytes left. So I started the transfer. The estimated time to move was about an hour and a half. Which was about how long it took.

I then re-started my iMac, and shut down my MacBook.This morning I went ahead and booted up my MacBook and logged in. Everything that was supposed to startup upon login worked. The only issue is that you have to Allow access to your keychain for these applications. But that is trivial.Apple has made transferring your account from one Mac to another quite simple and easy. Chalk up another reason for switching to Mac to the list. Try doing this with A windows computer, and make it this easy. This is just step one of the migration. Next will be determining what to do with my iTunes library, do I keep it on my iMac or do I re-do my entire Library and sync my iPod and iPhone with the MacBook? I’ll keep everybody updated with the progress of this endeavor.

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.