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I'm moving from an old 2007 MBP running Leopard OS X 10.5.8 to a new MBP running OS X 10.8.2 and I want to keep the new system as clean as possible.

Therefore, I chose not to use the Migration Assistant. I'm wondering if it's possible to manually move specific applications by copying files from a Time Machine backup?

In particular I'd like to move Cinema 4D R12.5, but may also want to move other smaller applications.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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It depends, primarily on the way the application got installed initially

  • Apps which get installed by drag&drop'ing the .app file into /Applications can just be copied to the new system. You will loose your preferences (unless you copied your ~/Library as well) but the application should work
  • Apps which need an installer may or may not work depending on whether the installer wrote stuff to other folders besides /Applications. Most installers probably do (there isn't a technical reason to use one otherwise)

And of course you need to keep in mind that PPC applications are no longer supported under Mountain Lion.

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Thanks for your reply - I should have mentioned the 2007 MBP is Intel. But your answer about not knowing where files are stored when an installer is used is exactly what I was wondering if I can somehow find out. :) – sheathe Oct 18 '12 at 17:58
Leopard included Rosetta which allowed PPC apps to run on Intel. And if you need detailed info for specific apps please list them in the question. There will be no general answer. – patrix Oct 18 '12 at 19:23
It's probably worth mentioning that there isn't likely to be a big difference between using Migration Assistant and copying apps with Time Machine. They both roughly boil down to copying files, so the same pros/cons you describe apply. I'd also generally recommend re-installing apps rather than copying to a clean system, if the OP wants to minimize the risk of problems. The App Store makes this easy; installers, not so much ... – jmk Oct 18 '12 at 21:30
Thanks to both of you for your responses. Patrix, I actually did mention Cinema 4D in my original post. It has an installer so I think a fresh install is probably the best thing to do. The only thing is that it comes on DVD and there's no optical drive on the new MBP so I was hoping that manually migrating the software was possible. It would be great if the Migration Assistant provided more flexibility for migrating specific applications. Thanks again. – sheathe Oct 19 '12 at 1:41
This would require the Migration Assistant to know a lot of details about each installed application. Not unfeasible but also not foolproof. So reinstalling is probably the safer option. – patrix Oct 19 '12 at 6:22

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