I have my first iMac and cannot get the migration from my PC to work.

I have been told that it is difficult if I have already started using my computer. Can I just start from scratch from when I took the computer out of the box? Can I delete anything I've done and use the migration manager. My emails and my husband's music has transferred? I am not real computer literate so please keep that in mind when answering.

  • Even if you're not computer literate, you could at least edit your question to make more sense. Have you even started up the computer? How far into the initial setup have you gotten? Did you even start transferring files, and if you did, did it fail? – At0mic Feb 15 '16 at 19:52
  • I'm going to reset the close votes on this. It's clear that with a Mac that already has data doesn't work with Migration Assistant and the OP needs help / advice now before they dig into the actual migration steps. See my answer for details. – bmike Feb 16 '16 at 0:33

Here is the things you might want to do before wiping the partially set up mac to get back to the automatic migration step described in this other answer

  • Open the Mac App store and make sure you're signed in to the Apple ID you want to "own" the iLife and iWork apps. Once you've signed in and accepted the license agreement, you can wipe the Mac following this instruction and try the "clean migration" with no user accounts on the Mac to delay/reduce the transfer from PC.
  • Copy any documents to an external USB drive before erasing things
  • https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904 - choose the erase install and use Internet Recovery to do the erase with no drives connected.

Also, you get phone support with a new Mac. You can do your best on these steps and then call to get a human to make sure you're on the right track with the erase / migration. https://apple.com/support


On first boot, before configuring anything, you should be given three options. One is to start as a new Mac, one is to restore files from a Time Machine backup, and the third is to use Migration Assistant. Even if you've already started to use your Mac fresh out of the box and downloaded some things, you can still use Migration Assistant. I don't know how to use it, as my PC fried before I could get my hands on a Mac.

To use Migration Assistant (provided you're running Yosemite or El Capitan) you can click the magnifying glass icon in the upper right hand corner, next to your name, and type in "migration". Migration Assistant should be the top hit; press enter and follow the instructions in the dialog box. Hope this helps!

  • Migration Assistant is of little use if you've already set up a default account. It really takes some chops to 'fix' it afterwards - as I found out last year. It will not migrate to an existing account, it wants to make a new one. If they are both the 'same user' that gets… let's call it... interesting. I managed it, but it took some juggling I wouldn't even think of asking a beginner to do. – Tetsujin Feb 16 '16 at 8:33
  • I would like to thank almost everyone who answered with helpful information. I spent 2 1/2 hours on line to apple help and they have gathered a lot of information off of my computer(s) and turned it over to their engineers. They suspect a problem, not of my making, and are working on it. – Raeann Feb 16 '16 at 18:42

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