new (old) mac, came with a 2tb drive for files and data, and a small 250gb SSD drive for only the OS. i have installed new version of sierra into that drive, now using Migration Assistant from a Time Machine disk I want to copy over my applications and files, Apps can maybe go to the SSD but files and data i want on the other, big drive. Unfortunately Migration Assistant wants to only install to the start up drive ( I assume) and so im getting a "Not enough space on target drive" message.

What can I try?

1 Answer 1


Not easily can you let migration assistant handle that task. Instead I would migrate everything but the user accounts to the new drive. Then do some reading on options and mechanics:

My guess is putting the user folders on the second drive is the easiest for you and best result. Start by making one admin account with the same short name as your preferred main account on the old Mac.

It will make /Users/whatever on the boot drive. Then you can copy all of users from the migration donor Mac to the large new drive. Use rsync or something that can run several passes or resume a broken transfer if you can, or be patient with finder if you can’t.

At the end, you’ll use advanced settings in the user preference pane to point the home folder(s) for each account needed to the second drive home folder.

  • The “not easily”, would require two runs of migration. One to an os on the large drive, one to migrate just the apps and settings to a second os on the small drive. Then cleanup of everything but user data from the larger drive and finally perform the “account settings shuffle”.
    – bmike
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:33
  • Thanks for the suggestions and links, theres some food tips there. However my problem still stands in a way, as I cannit GET my data (movies, music pictures etc) from migration assistant at all because its destination defaults to the smaller SSD, which complains of lack of space, if it didnt i could move it manually, I suppose i need to grab them via normal Time Machine operation? Aug 4, 2017 at 12:14
  • @MarkCourtneyFrancombe you have to install an os on the big drive and boot from the big drive to migrate data to the big drive. Sorry to be a little repetitive, but you’ll temporarily have three OS - one in the old Mac, two on the new Mac to use migration assistant.
    – bmike
    Aug 4, 2017 at 14:11

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