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I currently have an older iMac (first Intel generation - 2 GHz Intel Core Duo with 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM. I am running OS X 10.6.8 and cannot upgrade to any newer OS to to hardware limitations. I have used Time Machine to routinely back up this iMac.

I have inherited a newer iMac that has data on it from my deceased step father. It is a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 memory and is also running 10.6.8.

I would like to reset or reformat the newer iMac and then use my current iMac data that resides on the external hard drive to make the new iMac my very own, with all of my data files etc.

What steps do I need to follow? And where can I find directions or steps to follow? (I know that I must erase the existing old data that was not mine and then use Time Machine to load my personal information on the newer iMac.)

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There are a couple different approaches you can take.

Approach 1 - Erase the newer iMac, reinstall 10.6.8 and use migration assistant to migrate your Time Machine data

With the newer iMac:

  1. Insert your Snow Leopard DVD (not the gray disc, a retail copy) and boot to it either by holding C while powering on or holding option while powering on and then selecting the 10.6 DVD.
  2. Select "Disk Utility" from the Utilities menu in the Snow Leopard installer
  3. Select the iMac's hard drive from the list on the left in Disk Utility, click on the "Erase" tab, type in a name for the hard drive (Macintosh HD?) and click erase.
  4. Once the hard drive is erased you can close Disk Utility and proceed with the installation of 10.6, following the on screen prompts.
  5. Once the installation is finished your newer iMac will boot to the normal welcome to OS X screen.
  6. I believe the third or fourth step in setting up the newly installed 10.6 will ask you if you want to transfer information from an existing Mac. Make sure your external Time Machine disk is connected and choose the "From a Time Machine Backup" option and follow the onscreen prompts.
  7. Once the migration is finished you should be able to login with your normal user account and your data should appear to be just as it was the last time your old Mac backed up.

Approach 2 - Clone your older iMac to the newer iMac

This requires that you have a firewire cable

With your older iMac:

  1. Download Carbon Copy Cloner on your older iMac
  2. Power on your newer iMac while holding T, you should eventually see the Firewire symbol (sort of looks like a Y) floating around it's screen
  3. Connect the two Macs together via a firewire cable, your newer iMac should appear as an external disk on your older iMac's desktop
  4. Open Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities) on your older iMac
  5. Select the newer iMac's hard drive (should be an orange icon) from the list on the left in Disk Utility, click on the "Erase" tab, type in a name for the hard drive (Macintosh HD?) and click erase.
  6. Once the newer iMac's hard drive is erased you can open Carbon Copy Cloner
  7. Follow the on screen prompts in Carbon Copy Cloner to select your newer iMac's hard drive as the destination and then clone your older iMac's hard drive over to it.
  8. Once Carbon Copy Cloner is finished you should be able to boot your newer iMac and browse through to see all of your older iMac's data now in place.

Hopefully one of those options works and you're able to get that data migrated with little to no pain.

  • Thanks Mr. Rabbit,,, I believe approach 1 is the plan for me and i have all that i need to accomplish it. Thanks so very much. Great instructions and clearly understandable to me. – Giuseppe Sep 4 '13 at 20:51
  • @Giuseppe Great! Hopefully all goes smoothly! – Mr Rabbit Sep 4 '13 at 21:12
  • the first method is the appropriate one, you should however never "restore" to a different computer, rather as suggested use migration tool – Macmaniman Sep 4 '13 at 23:24

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