I'm in awe of Apple.

I just finished getting my new Powerbook running and it was astoundingly easy. Having spent many years in the Windows camp, I'm conditioned to think that moving all your programs, data, and settings from one computer to another is supposed to take an entire weekend and be a very tedious and error-prone process.

Not on the Mac.

I used a firewire cable to copy all the data from the old Powerbook to the new one. I literally copied the whole hard disk--there's more than enough free disk space. Migrating my applications was a matter of finding the old apps and dragging their icons from the old location to the new Applications folder. Moving my preferences and settings was a matter of pulling nearly everything from ~/Library on the old machine and dropping it onto the new one.

That's basically it. I think the machine to machine copy took the longest, but really don't know. That happened while I was sleeping last night.

Now I'm installing Xcode and the developer tools so that I can install a few Perl modules that I need. When it's all over and one, I don't think I'll have more than an hour and half invested in this process.

I'm completely amazed. I can't imagine ever dealing with this sort of thing on Windows again--tracking down DLLs and registry entries or, worse yet, tracking down all the media to reinstall everything.

Excellent job, Apple!

About the only thing that would have made it easier is if the new Mac had noticed the old Mac and offered to migrate everything for me.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this wonderful machine as time goes on, but right now I'm just pleased as hell about how easy the upgrade was. Microsoft, are you listening to this? Scoble? Will Longhorn be this easy? If not, you guys are doing something very wrong.

Posted by jzawodn at May 07, 2004 10:45 PM

Reader Comments
# Tom Becker said:

Glad to hear it went so smoothly. I find myself doing more and more on my PB and have that same feeling about not wanting to deal with a Windows migration again. I just wish I could use a Mac at work.

When I tell my pal who works in the Exel group in Redmond about how easy Apple has made life, she always comes back with something about the 900,000,000 software titles that are not available for OS X. To be honest, I don't need all those titles, just the 20 or so apps I depend on - just like Apple says in their marketing.

on May 7, 2004 11:05 PM
# Ask Bjørn Hansen said:

I usually have some things in /Library/Application Support/ too that needs to be copied over.

(but yes, yay for OS X being almost as easy as OS 7-9 to reinstall or move everything over on ...) :-)

- ask

on May 8, 2004 12:09 AM
# Jay Allen said:

Jeremy, having been on the Windows side for many years, I completely know what you mean.

However, my experience differs a bit from yours because (if you discount TRS-80's and Apple IIs) I started out as a Mac user. I was forced over to windows by the company I worked for. The only people in the office who had Macs were the designers and a few renegades who bought their own.

Those years for me felt like forced labor at an internment camp. I got angry every time I saw the letters D, L and L. I was bitter that I had to spend every moment of usage on that computer vigilant against malicious things that might do harm through my browser, email or word processing (!?!) application. I was sick of stupid circular-logic dialog boxes and useless wizards. I was disgruntled by obligation to perform clean installs every quarter and restart my machine every four hours or whenever I changed any setting, whichever came first. I was tired of having to perform fifty arcane and low-level technical procedures when I should have just been able to click a button and have the computer do what I wanted.

And then, I bought my G4 Titanium Powerbook running OS X.

I have never, ever for one second looked back with any wistfulness or longing for Windows. I doubt that I ever will.

The Macintosh has always been a superior platform for user experience. It has always been far ahead of Windows in terms of having things simply work and hiding the unnecessary details from the user. With OS X, it also has become the ultimate developers tool which allows you to get into the guts of things UNIX-style.

It's good to be home. I doubt I will ever leave again.

on May 8, 2004 06:09 AM
# culley said:

You should look into Carbon Copy Cloner. Example: We have visitors staying in our home office right now and I can't get up in the morning and do my daily internet routine on the iMac. So before they arrived I used CCC to copy everything over to my powerbook. Now I am working from the powerbook in the living room on a different computer with everything available that I modified on the iMac yesterday. If only I could transfer the screen size too.

on May 8, 2004 07:09 AM
# Chris Larson said:

Finally... Someone else who switched is seeing what i'm talking about. Now start to think about enterprise level business and their IT departments. If they where all using macs the IT department would be half of what it currently requires. To fix a machine you just have remote desktop -- a current backup of the CPU and load it (this is assuming something actually went wrong)

Basically The world would be a differnt place if we all USED a MAC. Don't get me worng i'm not an avanglist of any type it's just that I contuinually have the same experience you had when using a mac.

Just a side note: I'm using the same install on my powerbook when Jaguar was released. Basically I haven't gone my the 6 month reinstall microsoft issues to insure machine speed and stability.

Enough said!


on May 8, 2004 07:20 AM
# Tony Hursh said:

Add me to the list of satisfied switchers. I've been using OS X off and on at work for a while, so when the time came to replace my aging Linux box (still functioning as a server, btw) I bit the bullet and purchased a new G5 tower. Rich Unixy Goodness in a Candy-Coated Shell (tm). All my favorite tools (emacs, PHP, MySQL, Apache) run natively, not as some crappy port.

It also talks to both my home Linux network and the Windows network at work without having to spend 5 hours tinkering with samba (my least favorite part of a new Linux install...I'm sure if I worked with samba every day I'd remember the proper incantations, but I don't. It's always been an, um... adventure... to get samba working for me on a new machine).

on May 8, 2004 10:15 AM
# Mike Conlen said:

"About the only thing that would have made it easier is if the new Mac had noticed the old Mac and offered to migrate everything for me."

Notice how after a short time of being a Mac user your expectations are starting to climb? It's a great thing until your Mac laptop's disk crashes and you have to use a PeeCee for a few days until the new hard drive gets here. Oh wait, that's me, not you.

on May 8, 2004 11:15 AM
# John Konopka said:

"When I tell my pal who works in the Exel group in Redmond about how easy Apple has made life, she always comes back with something about the 900,000,000 software titles that are not available for OS X."

They are not available for the Mac because they mostly consist of anti-virus software and application uninstallers.

on May 8, 2004 02:36 PM
# Arcterex said:

A buddy of mine at work did something similar, but he basically burned an image of his original hd to the new mac and then booted up from it as a boot image and then mirrored it onto the drive or something. Not a mac head, but I'm sure it's easy enough.

Thing is for me a new box is exciting because it's all fresh and new, and while it sucks to have a weekend taken up, it's also a time to decide what you need installed again, tweak prefs, etc. Just like a new car, you have that new car feel for a bit before it's just "the car".

Course, I have a lot of free time :)

on May 8, 2004 11:20 PM
# Xerox Nightengale said:

culley wrote:
"You should look into Carbon Copy Cloner." (CCC)

Chris Larson wrote:
"Now start to think about enterprise level business and their IT departments."

Exactly. I use CCC at work and home. At work I have a portable Firewire drive with an 'ideal' system set up which gets cloned to all the new Macs out of the box. It used to take me 3 hours to set up a Mac. Now it takes about 15 minutes and the only setting I have to change is the name of the machine.

At home I do the same thing, but I use my iPod as the portable Firewire drive, and the clone I make I call my backup. If my Mac dies, or I get a new one, I can clone the iPod to a new machine. If I leave the house, I've got a couple days of music and my Mac in my pocket. If I'm out in the world and can find a Mac, I can boot it up off my iPod and I've got my computer. It's brilliant, easy* and quick. And the iPod works elegantly: clonning doesn't affect the iPod music, iSync data, or other files that aren't part of the clone. It's the real reason I bought an iPod. (Having music is nice too.)

(*with 5 minutes of explanation, your mom could do it.)


on May 9, 2004 06:51 AM
# David Buxton said:

Interested in your thoughts as to why windows is not as easy for this situation (moving user data from one machine to another).

The windows registration database is one culprit. But is it the UNIX or Macintosh mindset which makes the rest of it so easy? Or both? And what would it be for the transition to be perfect? (For the moment you can consider that perfect transition from one Mac OS X box to another.)

on May 9, 2004 03:18 PM
# slebetman said:

It's the mac mentality. OS X has actually made it more difficult to do this but it is still WAY easier than Windows. On the old OS8/OS9, to install an OS to a disk, simply drag the "System Folder" to it. No installer needed. Actually, I used to create my own emergency disk by creating an empty folder on a Zip disk, rename it to "System Folder", copied over the "Finder" and "System" suitcases. And then dragged over "Norton Utilities" to the Zip disk. In all my experience using the Classic Macs, I've only ever touched the OS installer when upgrading.

on May 10, 2004 01:32 AM
# Leland Jordon said:

Now, if Apple only filled up its web pages with instances like this, showing how ridiculously simple a Mac is to own...

Well, wait. If they did that, they'd have to add another few hundred pages!

Other OSes, it seems, are still overengineered, with the thought that, "It's a computer, a highly complex machine, so anything you do on it should be complicated." By contrast, I get the sensation that Apple developers sit there and go, "Joe Blow should be able to do this and this on his Mac. Let's figure out how to make the Mac let it happen."

on May 10, 2004 05:57 AM
# Hugh Lutley said:

Here's my two pence worth. I've just stumbled over this blog after doing a google search for 'switch linux mac'. I ditched Windows several months ago for a Linux solution and consequently spent the weeks and weeks going through the various distros trying to find out what felt right. Eventually I ended up with Gentoo linux which to me, feel free to scorn this next bit, is the most user friendly distro (after installation). I thought I was happy with my choice. Anyhow, my wife desired a laptop, I didn't want her to get a Windows box although they are cheap as chips so I got her an iBook. Since then I've bought myself a 12inch PB and there's an iMac on its way too. Everything I liked to play with from Linux is here 'under the hood' plus my wife gets the sort of Desktop she wants (sorry Gnome, KDE). I also work as a video editor and I've got all that going on too.

Don't laugh at me but I spent ages looking for how to uninstall apps! Didn't realise I just had to drag them to the trash.....

on May 13, 2004 01:34 AM
# Rob Seolas said:

You should use the new Mac OS X Setup Assistant. It does it all for you, just like you wanted. I could not believe how easy it was, and everything worked perfectly. Its free and on every mac. Here is the link


on February 10, 2005 08:55 AM
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