I am migrating from a Mac Mini (early 2009) running OS 10.6.8 to a Mac Mini (2012) running OS 10.8.5. I made several attempts to use Migration Assistant to copy everything; all ended hung at "4 (or 3) minutes remaining" for hours and hours. According to Google lots of people have this problem, but if anybody solved it I haven't found it. 2+ hours on the phone with a senior Apple support technician didn't solve it either.
Noting that it's always copying applications when this happens, I reran Migration Assistant copying everything except applications, and that completed. (I have question marks in my doc where those applications should be.) I tried Migration Assistant once more on just the applications, in case that made a difference, but it still hangs.
Clearly Migration Assistant doesn't like something in my set of applications, but I've found no diagnostics that would tell me what. If it were choking on one (known) application, for example, I might try temporarily removing that to see if it helps. I've got enough applications that I don't want to just start guessing.
How should I go about migrating my applications? I think I need both the actual applications (contents of the Applications directory?) and settings (preferences, browser add-ons, etc). Where do I find all the stuff I need to copy, and do I need to do anything more than copy the right files to the right places? On Windows I know there'd be registry entries and config files and DLLs and stuff scattered across the disk, but Macs are different. This is my first Mac migration.
I'm trying to avoid reinstalling (and then reconfiguring) all of my applications because (a) hassle! and (b) some came on CDs/DVDs and the new machine doesn't have a DVD reader.
I plan to update the OS on the new machine when I'm done, but I thought that migration might be easier if the OSs were closer to each other.