Mac target disk mode transfer

If you do not have these ports, you may want to explore an alternative way to move your data from a Mac to PC, such as loading your Mac files onto another USB external drive and then moving them onto you computer. You can also use an Ethernet cable to create a file sharing connection between your computers.


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  • Using Migration Assistant to transfer files from one Mac to another.
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If your computers have FireWire ports, your Mac will accept either 9-pin connectors FireWire or 6-pin connectors FireWire depending on the age of your machines. Generally, FireWire will transfer files faster than its older counterpart. You may need to find a cable with two different types of FireWire ends if your computer ports don't match.

How to Boot a Mac in Target Disk Mode

If you are using Thunderbolt to transfer files, both computers must have Thunderbolt ports. Before connecting the two computers, make sure your Mac is switched off first. You will need to download and install additional software to view your Mac hard drive and transfer files. Visit the Mediafour website link in Resources to get this free software. Switch your Mac on.

Boot a sick Mac into Target Disk Mode for troubleshooting

Press and hold down on the "T" key right away until the FireWire icon appears. Launch MacDrive and your Mac volume should appear.

Starting Up Mac in Target Disk Mode

The Mac Migration Assistant makes it easy to transfer all your files from one Mac to another. It can also transfer files from a Time Machine backup or an external clone drive. Better still, make a bootable clone of the startup disk.


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Using Migration Assistant is very easy, but there are a few things to check and prepare before you get started. The next step is to connect the Macs to each other.

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There are number of options for this. If both Macs are running macOS Sierra or later, you can just place them next to each other and make sure WiFi is switched on both machines. Clever, huh? And any Firewire cable can be used to connect Firewire-to-Firewire. The old Mac will now mount as a disk volume on the new Mac.

What Is Target Disk Mode?

If you did, you can skip them. Likewise, if you wanted to migrate from a Time Machine Backup or cloned drive, you would give these four steps a miss. If you choose to transfer them, the whole account will be transferred and a new account created with the same name. If you do, a new account will be created on the new Mac with the new name you provide. The transfer could take several hours, depending on how much data there is to copy, so go and make a coffee!

The process of transferring files from a Time Machine backup is the same as described above, except that you can ignore all the steps that involve the old Mac. On the next screen, choose the backup you want to migrate.

Use Target Disk Mode to Transfer Files Between Macs | The Tech Guy

The fewer files Migration Assistant has to transfer, the quicker it will be. It identifies files you can safely remove from your Mac, including system junk, unnecessary Photos files, and large and old files. It can also safely uninstall applications you no longer need.

How to use Target Disk Mode with Thunderbolt 3 on MacBook Pro

Transferring files from one Mac to another using Apple Migration Assistant is very easy.