Rick Lewis

New iMac & Time Machine

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After the first of the year, and I mean right after, I will be purchasing a new 27" iMac with 5K monitor.  I am currently running an 8 year old Mac Pro (early 2009) and El Capitan OIS (10.11.6) with a 26" NEC MultiSync LCD monitor.

 

After this year Apple have said they will no longer support this OIS and it is now the minimum requirement for Adobe LR CC Classic and Photoshop, so its time for an upgrade.  I'm getting the spinning beachball a lot now.  The main problem, honestly, is the old graphics card.  I can put up with the slowness but the old girl needs to retire.  (That last is a nice compliment & not meant to be sexist).  :D

 

I run Time Machine and do a backup every evening at the conclusion of my day.  This will be my first ever use of Time Machine to install in a new Mac my software etc from Time Machine.  I've been told and read that it is pretty simple and easy but are there things I should know up front, warnings, best practices etc that anyone can pass along.

 

I'm excited to get the new machine, as my current one is definitely struggling, but I'm also a little very apprehensive about file transfer and software transfer.

 

Any tips?

 

Rick

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Normally the first time you start up a new Mac it goes through the Set-Up process. That's followed by the Migration Assistant which asks if you want to transfer data from another computer That might be a better choice than working from a Time Machine back-up.

 

Here's what Apple has to say about migrating to a new computer

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204350

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I would strongly advise against installing from a TIme Machine backup as you would be attempting to install an old operating system and old software on a new computer. There is no need to do this at all and it may not work on the new Mac or you may find you inherit serious problems. The new Mac may not even run El Capitan anyway and you may end up needing to completely reinstall the new OS. 

 

No just go with the new operating system that will be on the new Mac and install your Adobe software on that direct from Adobe. Treat your data files as completely separate. If your data files are on your computer's existing hard drive, then back them up beforehand onto an external drive. There is nothing to fear doing things this way - you are totally in control as you can see your data files in the Finder. You should have your other software installers ready separately and be ready to get updates if necessary. If you have peripherals such as a printer, then you will surely be able to download updates for the software. 

 

One of the things that will immediately strike you is the speed of USB3 in comparison to the USB2 that you have on your old MacPro. It is about 10 times faster than USB2 and it is entirely possible to have your image files on an external USB3 drive which you use as your working drive. Even better, invest in a Thunderbolt drive which is even faster again.

 

I upgraded from an early 2009 MacPro back in 2014 and I've never looked back. I have all of my images and data on external drives - one 4TB Thunderbolt and a couple of USB3 drives. I have D800 series gear so the files are large but this setup is way way faster than running off internal drives on my old MacPro. The Thunderbolt is as fast as my 500GB internal flash drive which is very fast for reading and writing data. I have my Lightroom catalogs on the external drives (main catalog on the Thunderbolt) and I have no problems whatsoever with speed. This is a very different mindset to the old have-everything-on-an-internal-drive but it really works. The internal flash drive I use mainly for the OS, apps and non-image files (email, business database etc). A major additional advantage of working like this is that I can move between my desktop and laptop very easily.

 

So depending on your budget and amount of data files you have, I would definitely recommend at least one fast external drive. And don't dump your existing monitor. You will probably need it. 5K monitors sound great but they are not ideal for working on still images as the resolution is too high. I have a 13' MacBookPro Retina screen with very high resolution and I go blind (well vision goes fuzzy) after using it for a while. Everything looks sharp which makes it very difficult to judge. Your 26" NEC should be just fine.

 

Best of luck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MDM
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As fotoDogue states above, simply use the new Mac's migration assistant which appears during the setup process. It will leave the new High Sierra in place and migrate over your applications, data and settings. If you have any incompatible software it won't install it, it will be dropped into a incompatible software software folder.

 

Issues to beware of, if you are using a FireWire drive for your TM backup, you will need an adapter. Apple dropped FW support some time ago. Also if the OS on the old Mac Pro has problems, you mentioned slow down and beach balling, there is always a possibility the migration might not go to plan. On the Mac Pro I would run Disk Utility from the recovery partition prior to migration. Better still if you had previously invested in Disk Warrior, rebuild the directory first. 

 

Personally, as I've worked with Mac's for some time, I prefer to manually setup at each major update, and with new Mac's, leaving any crap behind.

 

Steve

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12 hours ago, sb photos said:

As fotoDogue states above, simply use the new Mac's migration assistant which appears during the setup process. It will leave the new High Sierra in place and migrate over your applications, data and settings. If you have any incompatible software it won't install it, it will be dropped into a incompatible software software folder.

 

Issues to beware of, if you are using a FireWire drive for your TM backup, you will need an adapter. Apple dropped FW support some time ago. Also if the OS on the old Mac Pro has problems, you mentioned slow down and beach balling, there is always a possibility the migration might not go to plan. On the Mac Pro I would run Disk Utility from the recovery partition prior to migration. Better still if you had previously invested in Disk Warrior, rebuild the directory first. 

 

Personally, as I've worked with Mac's for some time, I prefer to manually setup at each major update, and with new Mac's, leaving any crap behind.

 

Steve

 

Thanks to all.  I've read pretty much all the pros and cons that are stated with these responses.  The two most important pieces of software for me are Capture One Pro 11 and the Adobe suite.  Those are very easy to do as a fresh install.  I plan on removing a bunch of old applications that I haven't used in years before I do the migration.  I'll be using a USB3 connection with Time Machine and go that route.  I've got some older applications I want to keep and have long since lost the key codes to so I really want to try it with Time Machine.

 

A friend of mine has had to do a complete re-install on an iMac from Time Machine after a major crash. (His fault).  He said his machine was perfect with one exception.  He had to re-enter passwords for his email accounts.  Otherwise, he said, all was perfect.  He's a professional photographer with lots of software.  So, I'm hopeful because I am very technically challenged.

 

Thanks again for the tips!!!

 

Rick

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Something happened to my 2012 Mac Mini earlier this year. I don't know what it was but when I went to check my email one morning the computer was extremely slow and I kept getting the dreaded beachball. In the following weeks it just got worse and nothing seemed to help including restoring from a Time Machine back. The computer wouldn't restore from the Apple server either. After six weeks or so I finally gave up and just bought a new computer. Like MDM, I keep all of my photos and application related files on an external drive so there wasn't that much to go thought on the main drive.

 

Fearing it might be a virus I did pretty much what MDM suggested - downloaded all of my software for a clean install,  and then retrieved specific files from my back--up. Unlike my 2012 Mac Mini, my Late 2014 Mac Mini lacks a Firewire port. At this point I doubt any new Macs still have them. Before you restore from a Time Machine back-up you should double check to see which files you're restoring. I think I used a Time Machine back-up when I wanted to downgrade to Yosemite but I don't remember if it gives you a choice.

Edited by fotoDogue

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For what it's worth, I backed up for years using Time Machine and a Drobo. One day the hard drive in my iMac failed. After a replacement was fitted I was able to reinstall everything successfully from the Drobo, though it took nearly 48 (slightly nervewracking) hours to do the transfer. The only things missing were some pictures from a card which had been formatted after the last Time Machine backup, and I was able to retrieve nearly all of those using EaseUs.

 

Alex

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14 hours ago, fotoDogue said:

Something happened to my 2012 Mac Mini earlier this year. I don't know what it was but when I went to check my email one morning the computer was extremely slow and I kept getting the dreaded beachball. In the following weeks it just got worse and nothing seemed to help including restoring from a Time Machine back. The computer wouldn't restore from the Apple server either. After six weeks or so I finally gave up and just bought a new computer.

 

Sounds like Apple's inbuilt redundancy mode.;)

 

Allan

 

 

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17 hours ago, fotoDogue said:

Something happened to my 2012 Mac Mini earlier this year. I don't know what it was but when I went to check my email one morning the computer was extremely slow and I kept getting the dreaded beachball. In the following weeks it just got worse and nothing seemed to help including restoring from a Time Machine back. The computer wouldn't restore from the Apple server either. After six weeks or so I finally gave up and just bought a new computer. Like MDM, I keep all of my photos and application related files on an external drive so there wasn't that much to go thought on the main drive.

 

Fearing it might be a virus I did pretty much what MDM suggested - downloaded all of my software for a clean install,  and then retrieved specific files from my back--up. Unlike my 2012 Mac Mini, my Late 2014 Mac Mini lacks a Firewire port. At this point I doubt any new Macs still have them. Before you restore from a Time Machine back-up you should double check to see which files you're restoring. I think I used a Time Machine back-up when I wanted to downgrade to Yosemite but I don't remember if it gives you a choice.

 

2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Sounds like Apple's inbuilt redundancy mode.;)

 

Allan

 

 

 

A lot of Apple's so-called redundancy, certainly with Macs, is due to advancing technology. Apple have been able to discard old technology in Macs simply because Apple make the hardware and the OS as well. PC makers could not do this. For example, Apple discarded internal floppy drives way back which was a shock to some but most of us got over it quite quickly and adopted the CD/DVD writer. They discarded internal CD/DVD drives some time back as well as web speeds increased enormously and hard drives have come down massively in price. And no great loss I think. I have an external CD drive which I rarely use. I did use it to import my CD music at high quality into iTunes. My CDs take up loads of space in drawers which I really should give over to something else as I am unlikely to use them again.

 

Technology eventually outpaces hardware enforcing upgrades or putting up with slowness or lack of new features. It's not all about enforced redundancy. And Apple have been innovators in many areas of technology. 

 

As for quality, the products are generally very good to excellent. I have a 2009 MacPro which still works although it is way too slow for working on images and was put out to grass 3 years ago. My son has a very well used 2009 MacBookPro which is fine for office type usage and internet. I have a 6 year old iPhone that still works perfectly although it is too slow now for web use so I bought a new one some months back but it was my main phone for 5 years. 

Edited by MDM

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On 17/12/2017 at 02:12, fotoDogue said:

Something happened to my 2012 Mac Mini earlier this year. I don't know what it was but when I went to check my email one morning the computer was extremely slow and I kept getting the dreaded beachball. In the following weeks it just got worse and nothing seemed to help including restoring from a Time Machine back. The computer wouldn't restore from the Apple server either. After six weeks or so I finally gave up and just bought a new computer. Like MDM, I keep all of my photos and application related files on an external drive so there wasn't that much to go thought on the main drive.

 

Fearing it might be a virus I did pretty much what MDM suggested - downloaded all of my software for a clean install,  and then retrieved specific files from my back--up. Unlike my 2012 Mac Mini, my Late 2014 Mac Mini lacks a Firewire port. At this point I doubt any new Macs still have them. Before you restore from a Time Machine back-up you should double check to see which files you're restoring. I think I used a Time Machine back-up when I wanted to downgrade to Yosemite but I don't remember if it gives you a choice.

 

From my experience the issues with your 2012 Mac Mini was most likely the hard drive failing. if you had decided to repair it, replacing with an SSD would have made all the difference to performance. Re backups, multiple are the secure way to go, never trust just one. Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner and either cloud or off site too

 

Steve

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2 hours ago, sb photos said:

 

From my experience the issues with your 2012 Mac Mini was most likely the hard drive failing. if you had decided to repair it, replacing with an SSD would have made all the difference to performance. Re backups, multiple are the secure way to go, never trust just one. Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner and either cloud or off site too

 

Steve

 

 I don't think it was the internal hard drive since I was able to run numerous tests, format the  drive, and restore from Time Machine without any errors. What was odd was that I couldn't do a clean install from my USB flash drive or the Apple server.  There were also display issues which could've indicated a problem with either the logic board or video card. Whatever it was, it reached the point where it no longer made sense to waste time on a computer when I could be out shooting.

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6 hours ago, fotoDogue said:

 

 I don't think it was the internal hard drive since I was able to run numerous tests, format the  drive, and restore from Time Machine without any errors. What was odd was that I couldn't do a clean install from my USB flash drive or the Apple server.  There were also display issues which could've indicated a problem with either the logic board or video card. Whatever it was, it reached the point where it no longer made sense to waste time on a computer when I could be out shooting.

 

I think it was a pre-cursor to a hard disk failure because that's exactly what happened to me on, coincidentally, my 2012 iMac. It started to run very slowly and I also could run all the tests you outline without success. I replaced it with a later 2017 iMac but kept the old unit to run my scanner. Low and behold, a few months later it died. Hard disk failure. New H/D installed ($100) and everything back to normal. I didn't bother to reinstate the software other than the scanner software.  

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Maybe sometime, in the dead of winter when I have nothing better to do, I'll pop in a new drive and see if that helps. Thanks!

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