So I helped my mom get a new iMac

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I had been giving my mom my Mac laptop hand-me-downs as I upgraded to newer machines, but the old 17" MBP (Apple model 4,1) which was new in 2008 had been having a succession of bootup problems such that while my mom was able to restart it when the hard drive would get hung up at about 60% of the way during the boot-up process, about a year ago it finally gave up the ghost and would never get past that 60% mark.

So we went to the local Apple Store and after looking over the options she decided to get a modest 21.5" iMac, the model with the minimum specs. Her computer needs are fairly basic with the only thing that took up any space on the hard drive being her pics and vids taken while travelling to mostly Japan. She doesn't play any games or apps though she does watch a lot of Japanese videos on YouTube.

Here's the problem (beyond getting that old 17" MBP running again): I looked up the requirements for Apple's Migration Assistant and found that I simply lacked the cables to connect that old MBP to the new iMac.

That MBP has three USB-2 ports and a two FireWire ports (one 400 Mb, the other 800 Mb) and nothing else.

The new iMac has 4 USB-C ports and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

You might think that the USB-C ports being compatible with older USB-2 cables I could hook up the two together by booting up the 17" MBP in target disk mode via a cable with USB A heads on either end, BUT there is a specific instruction from Apple which says that target disk mode does not support using such a cable for transferring of files between computers, and in any case I had looked through my various cables and could not find one (my guess being that it would cause a short somewhere).

But I do have another MBP, a 15" model with a model identifier of MacBookPro10,1. Let's see: this one has two USB-2 ports and two Thunderbolt 1 ports...and aside from trying out a new adapter cable (some of which had mixed reviews ranging from "great" to "it never worked) I was still stuck without a way to connect the older 17" MBP to my (slightly) newer 15" MBP.

I was fearing that I might have to pull apart that 17" MBP to remove the hard drive and put it into an external enclosure. I am capable of doing that, but having done it once before to swap hard drives with a larger model I wasn't looking forward to starting that task.

While looking through my cables I had simply ignored the external hard drives with which they had been stored. It occured to me that at least one of them had a OLD backup for that 17" MBP (like years before it broke down so it would not have my mom's latest files): could one of them boot up that 17" MBP?

One of them DID! I ran Disk Utility on the internal hard drive, then connected a USB stick with a 200 GB storage chip in it to beigin Disk Utilitys process to copy the contents of the internal drive to that chip. If it all works out then I should be able to test the copy by booting up with it, then begin Migration Assistant's process to transfer all of my mom's files to her new iMac.

Just reflecting on the oddness of being so concentrated on one part of my problem (the incompatibility of various cables and their sockets) that I had simply ignored another solution (boot with a backup on one of the external drives).
macnuke Afar
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while a laptop is more difficult.... i always just pulled the HD on units that were going to go away and stuck the drive in an external box or with the Pro's, just put it in one of the extra bays.

my sisters and i were looking at hooking mom up with a new iMac last year..
we opted for a medium level iPad with the keyboard/stand/charger
it's been the best decision we have made for her computing needs.

i have a box... in that box is a cable/dongle/adapter/converter/dohicky for every Apple back to and including SCSI.
but alas... sometimes as you have stated... you can't use it like that even tho you can connect them.
thank you Apple.
ukimalefu want, but shouldn't, may anyway
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So you found a solution, good.

I believe you could have used wifi, even if it took a really long time.

The new cheaper iMac doesn't have ethernet anymore? really? I would have tried a cheap thunderbolt to ethernet adapter.
ukimalefu posted:
So you found a solution, good.

I believe you could have used wifi, even if it took a really long time.

'Tis true, but I believe it would have taken MUCH longer than the 6 or so hours that the MicroSD card via USB 2 took. That is including clean-up time afterwards since the transfer wasn't 100% clean due to various account names.
Quote:
The new cheaper iMac doesn't have ethernet anymore? really? I would have tried a cheap thunderbolt to ethernet adapter.

There is a gigabit Ethernet port on both current iMac models, but do note that the Apple page I cited above specifically omits Ethernet. That was likely due to Ethernet being a port capable of direct transfers between computers with a rightly configuired RJ-45 cable, but I wasn't sure if I could get that old 17" MBP to boot up much less get its Ethernet working properly (and then I would have figure out where I left that Ethernet cable, and I was frustrated enough...).
dv
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DEyncourt posted:
There is a gigabit Ethernet port on both current iMac models, but do note that the Apple page I cited above specifically omits Ethernet. That was likely due to Ethernet being a port capable of direct transfers between computers with a rightly configuired RJ-45 cable, but I wasn't sure if I could get that old 17" MBP to boot up much less get its Ethernet working properly (and then I would have figure out where I left that Ethernet cable, and I was frustrated enough...).



You don't need a "crossover" ethernet cable anymore. Every Mac since the first iMac has an auto-detect feature built into it that will enable crossover mode when it's plugged directly into somebody else's NIC instead of a switch port.
Ah, thanks for that reminder. Just an old fact that is no longer relevant (at least for Macs).
Robert B. Dandy Highwayman
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Migration Assistant over WiFit takes for for fuckin' ever, and it fails most of the time.
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So I helped my mom get a new iMac