This article is intended for those who have been renting a MacBook Pro from V School and are now ready to switch to another computer. We'll talk about what needs to be transferred/reinstalled and how you can handle that transfer either to another Mac or to a Windows machine.

What do I need to transfer or reinstall?

You probably already have a good idea of what you would like to transfer to your new machine (photos, music, documents, any other personal materials, etc.)

However, when it comes to development, you should consider also transferring or installing the following on your new machine:

  • NVM
  • NPM
  • Node
  • MongoDB
  • Visual Studio Code w/ all the extensions you added
  • Your terminal's .profile, .bash_profile, and/or .bashrc files, etc.
  • Your SSH key pair (depends on your situation if this is a good idea or not)

Transferring to a new Mac

The easiest way to transfer everything from the computer you're using now to a brand new (to you) computer (assuming it doesn't have anything on it you need to keep) is to make a Time Machine backup and restore the new computer to that backup This will make your new computer exactly like the original, and means you won't need to transfer anything at all manually.

You'll need

  • A cleanly-wiped external hard drive with enough space to back up your computer on it
  • A new Mac with the same operating system version as your current machine (may require you to upgrade the new or old machine accordingly)
  • Time (if this is your first time backing up your machine using Time Machine, it may take a few hours to complete the process)

1. Back up your existing hard drive

  • Plug in the external hard drive
  • Open Time Machine (System Preferences --> Time Machine)
  • Click "Select Disk" and choose the external hard drive you're going to back up to
  • Wait until the backup finishes.

2. "Restore" the new computer to your backup

  • Plug the hard drive with your Time Machine backup on it into the new computer
  • Make sure the new computer is turned completely off
  • While holding the Command + R keys, turn your computer on.
    • Continue holding ⌘ + R until you see the Apple logo AND the progress bar on the screen. Eventually, this should open your computer to a welcome screen with a list of macOS Utilities for you to choose
  • Choose "Restore from Time Machine Backup"
  • Choose the restore source to be the external hard drive you created the backup on
  • Choose the restore destination to be the MacintoshHD drive of the new computer
  • Follow and remaining prompts and wait for the restore to complete.

When it's done, it will restart the computer and start up just as if it were your old computer!

Manual method for transferring to a new computer

If you are either:

  1. Are transferring to a Windows or Linux machine
  2. Are transferring to a mac that has content you don't want erased,

you won't be able to simply erase the new computer and restore like the steps above direct. Instead, the process is going to be a lot more manual. You'll want to do the following:

  • Set up the new computer with the development tools you need.
    • The linked article includes some setup steps that are specific to a Mac (like installing Homebrew), but should give you a general idea of what needs to happen in order to get things set up like we had them in class.
    • Make sure to also follow the links to the articles that describe certain aspects of the setup process in more detail.
  • Transfer any documents you know you want to keep by putting them on an external hard drive/thumb drive
    • Documents
    • Coding projects (which should also all be on GitHub)
    • Photos
    • Music
    • etc.

If you have any questions about the transfer process, please reach out to a V School instructor for help.

Good luck, and enjoy your new machine!