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Migration Assistant

Dead drive during migration assistant

Last weekend I tried to use Migration Assistant to transfer files and applications from my old MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Pro.

I tried with this process twice, one getting stuck at 27 minutes (after 8 hours) and another stuck at around 1:37 minutes. I cancelled, did more research online, and tried making my old Mac the target disk and used a thunderbolt cord to connect to my new Mac. That got stuck as well. I cancelled it and thought that my last ditch effort would be to only try to transfer my files, and not my applications, as that apparently could be the problem.

Then, when I tried to reboot my old Mac, it booted to login. Once I logged in, it went to a black screen with a circle with a line going through it. Which is no bueno.

I then booted it in recovery mode. I repaired my hard disk (or so it said) and remounted them (or so it said). I then tried to reboot, but it just brought me back to the same situation.

So, this is my question: can I at least salvage the files on my old computer, moving them to an external disk and then reinstall the OS?

I’m reaching out to you after reading on your website that you are still not doing in-person work because of COVID. Is there any way that you can help me virtually?

I really don’t want to loose my files, but if I must, then so be it. If that’s the case, will reinstalling the OS take care of my old mac’s current issues?

Great troubleshooting steps. So sorry to hear things went south.

1. When you boot the old Mac (that is no longer booting into MacOS) into target disk mode, can you mount the drive and still see your files?
2. Is this a solid state drive on the old computer? That matters for file recovery. Spinning drives: there’s usually a long way around to regain files. Solid state drives: not so much. Once the data is gone, it’s pretty gone.
3. I know migration assistant can be very slow but almost 100% of the time, it you have the massive patience (24 hours in some cases) it usually finishes the job. Can’t tell you how many times I wait it out and it finally comes through. That being said, no damage should have occurred to your old Mac during the transfer process as there is no data being written to the old drive that would cause boot up issues. More likely the case is that the drive may have physically failed during the read process. Dying drives often die when they are under their most stress which include data transfers, OS reinstalls, etc…. Anything where the old drive has to work a tremendous amount. I’m betting that’s what may have happened in this case. If this is true, then it may still be possible to recover the files but it would most likely require removing the drive from the computer, putting it into an enclosure, then manually dragging them. But then, you’d need to be mindful of permissions issues. I can go into more detail on that later if you wish.
4. Reinstalling the OS on the old computer may not help and could actually hurt as I stated in the reasons above: causing stress to a physically dying drive. That said, there are two ways to reinstall the OS, erase and install which would guarantee you lose the files, and clean install which is suppose to only replace the OS and not your personal data.
5. Are you at anytime hearing clicking from the old Mac? A clicking sound means the drive is DOA.
6. How old is the old Mac?

It sounds like you took several of the correct steps in working the issue but my bet is that the old drive died in the process. Happy to assist anyway I can.

Migration assistant failed. What now?

I got a New iMac in the migration has failed several times now. Is that something you’re able to help with?

Ah, Sorry to hear that the migration has failed. Yes, I can most likely get things moving for you. There are several ways to resolve this.

1. Try a different connection method. Ie: ethernet, Thunderbolt, wireless transfer.
2. Pulling the drive of the older computer and migrating the data from a hard drive enclosure
3. Just doing it manually by drag and drop.

Here’s the catch, I’m still stuck under COVID orders until at least May 8. At that time, I feel like I’ll be able to at least extend to dropoff/pickup appointments in addition to online sessions that I’m currently restricted to. And this issue would not be an easy one to resolve via an online session as we wouldn’t know if we were successful for several hours after each attempt.

So if you feel like waiting until May 8, I will hopefully be able to start doing pickups at that time.
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