I’m happy to report that the transfer of my data from the old Hacintosh to the new worked quite well. It was nearly as simple as it is supposed to be. And of the two major glitches I had, only one is definitely the fault of this being a Hacintosh.
Really, the extent of the instructions to start things off is just to fire up Migration Assistant and follow the prompts. But I did find this guide (warning: link has auto play audio) helpful to give me an idea of where things were headed. Note that the migration takes over your computer and that it can take a long time to complete. And it will reboot when it is done. So keep that in mind before you kick it off. And I chose to restore everything including Applications and System Settings.
After my migration was complete, the computer rebooted and did not come back up. Oh dear. And not safe mode nor booting without caches did the trick. Crap. I did a lot of searching and debugging and discovered the issue is that the Migration Assistant actually restores a remarkable amount of stuff including the Hacintosh content needed to drive my old Hac – the Extra folder, the boot files, etc.. It also restores the System/Library/Extensions directory which means that if you monkeyed around in the S/L/E on your old Hacintosh, you should definitely not restore.
My suggestion is that before you start your restore, you do two things. Make a copy of the S/L/E folder in its entirety and put it somewhere safe. (Even just a sudo cp -Rp /System/Library/Extensions /System/Library/Extensions-bkup is probably all you need.) Also, take a screen shot or copy the list of the files in the root directory by doing an “ls” in terminal. (You wouldn’t necessarily see all the files if you did it in Finder since some of the stuff is hidden.) Then proceed with your upgrade and expect that it is going to break. Boot up from the installer USB drive and open terminal there. Then, on your main system drive that is currently broken, simply move the Extensions backup back into place to replace the now polluted Extensions folder. And remove any files or folders that the migration assistant put in the root folder.
After I got the computer booted, everything appeared perfect right down to the user avatar and Firefox remembering the form fields. Even the smallest things made it over. Awesome.
Almost awesome. I saw that my e-mail folders had migrated but as it turned out none of the messages were there. So 15 “mailboxes” showed in the list but the thousands of e-mails that were supposed to be in them? Nowhere to be seen. I tried entering time machine and strangely, the messages showed up there. But the restore button was greyed out because it was the current state. So I just simply moved back one step to the prior hour and found the e-mail there with a restore button. So I restored. Voila!
Nope, still not yet. Most of the messages came through but a few were missing. I spent way more time than I should have going to the old computer, finding messages missing from the new one, and then moving them to the IMAP server so I could redownload it on the new computer. Many of the messages that were missing turned out to be duplicates or near duplicates – like when you receive two copies of the same message a few minutes apart and I guess I didn’t realize I had duplicates when I filed them so no big deal to lose those. But some of them weren’t duplicates at all and in some cases, all messages from one sender were missing over the course of a couple of years of sending. To make things even more frustrating, some of the messages that I tried to do that to would disappear when trying to store in the new folder. Eventually, I decided there should be a better way.
So back to the old computer and I did an archive of each of the mailboxes, one by one. Then I moved those archive files from the old computer to the new one and did an import. (And I deleted the mailboxes that had been restored by Time Machine.) The result was better but there were still a few messages missing. And then the Mail program froze up completely and I rebooted to clear the problem. After rebooting, Mail was occasionally a little goofy. I got a few messages that were new with new subject lines but when you clicked on them to see the content, the content was actually from a message that was moved off the server and into a mailbox folder years ago. What the hell?
Then I got an idea that the mailbox might need to be rebuilt. So I fired off the rebuild command (from the Mailbox menu) and that instantly did nothing. It seemed to ignore me. More digging let me to a page describing how to manually reindex. You Quit mail, then delete the “Envelope Index” files in ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData and restart Mail. When I did that, Mail said it would take a few minutes to import messages which initially had me worried that it was starting all over but as it turns out, my “import”, it means “index”. And after that finished, the goofy behavior was gone.
Now, looking back on things, I’ll bet if when I first realized those mailbox folders were empty and I had done the index trick, that those messages would have come through and I wonder if I wouldn’t have lost any. If you are reading this and are experiencing a similar problem after migrating mail from an old version to a new one, try the indexing trick first and see if that solves the problem. And let me know if it did!