I bought a new MacBook Pro and tried to transfer all of my files from a 5-year-old MacBook Pro using the Migration Assistant. Both of them are running OS X 10.9.3 (Mavericks).

It seemed to be working fine but it told me that I had to wait 20 hours and I didn't want to wait that long. It said that plugging in an ethernet cable would speed up the transfer. I tried that (via a Thunderbolt adapter on the new Mac) and it didn't seem to do anything. I then cancelled the migration by pressing command + Q.

I am trying it again and it doesn't seem to notice all of my files. On the new Mac, it says I only have 157 KB of data on the old one, even though I have a lot more than that. I tried transferring it anyway and it just restarted right away while the old one said it was trying to reconnect with the new one. I don't see any of my files on the new one.

I tried booting with Command + R and reinstalling the OS on the new Mac but that didn't seem to do anything.

Here is what I see on the new Mac: strange message from migration assistant

What can I do to properly transfer my files?

  • I managed to transfer my data from an external hard drive with a Time Machine backup. I am leaving this question up in case it may be of use to anyone else. Jun 11, 2014 at 1:00
  • 1
    I have seen a couple of Macs running Mavericks do this too. Anyone got any ideas why this happens?
    – pknz
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:09
  • I would never recommend quitting a migration, only cancelling. Also, the hours it lists are usually off by a factor of 3.
    – oemb1905
    Jan 6, 2018 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I recently experienced this issue as well. I hypothesize that the backup is being staged in a cached folder while it completes at which time it'll write the dirs into the proper file structure. To reclaim the diskspace, simply quit migration assistant. Login as a user and restart your Mac. By doing this it cleared out the cached migration and i could start again.

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