I recently had the hard drive replaced (by apple) in my iMac (Snow Leopard). I still have the removed hard drive, which obviously has all my old data etc ... on it. I did not create a time machine backup.

I would like to transfer everything from my old hard drive to the new one, so in effect the mac would b returned to its previous state, albeit with a new hard drive installed.

I have tried migration assistant but it didn't transfer over any of my existing apps or settings.

Could anyone please assist as to the best method to do this, any advice greatly appreciated.



  • Did you run Migration Assistant on a blank new install of Snow Leopard or perhaps was it on top of a system that already had an account set up? The former is the best solution for getting everything back perfectly since the software doesn't have to pick between the new setting and the old setting if they conflict.
    – bmike
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:23
  • I did it on top of a system that had a user account setup. Shall i re-install snow leopard?
    – noelmcg
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:26
  • If you can afford to lose all that is on the current drive, yes. If not, I've had good success installing SL onto a spare external drive and migrating things from the backup to the mac when booted to the newly installed image on an external drive. From there, you can usually start up Time Machine and migrate things with more time available.
    – bmike
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:52
  • 1
    Let's close this off as we have an answer (or shelve it). Migration didn't go well since you installed onto an account that was updated. You can answer this yourself and select your answer. Then you can ask a more detailed question specifying all we mentioned here and I'll watch for it and offer an answer there. I'll delete this comment once you make a second question or edit this into the new question...
    – bmike
    Feb 22, 2012 at 18:17
  • 1
    Will do, cheers for your assistance @bmike. Will try the clean install and answer this question myself.
    – noelmcg
    Feb 22, 2012 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


Resolved the above by booting from install disk and using disk utility restore function.

Made sure everything was erased and formated correctly (mac extended journaled) on the new internal drive. Restored using the old drive as the source.

Slower process, but everything is as it should be. All applications, settings etc ... all correct.

  • Excellent - it's always hard to decide whether to re-try a migration when it fails or start anew with a complete erase and set up from scratch. I'm glad you got things sorted and documented it here. +2 if I could.
    – bmike
    Feb 24, 2012 at 13:33

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