OS X: Move data from an old user account to a new one on the same computer #
Migrating data from an old user account to a new one under OS X (without first copying it to another device) can be a little tricky due to permissions issues. This procedure worked well for us, but it might not for you; proceed at your own risk (and joy):
- BACKUP all critical data to an external drive and then disconnect that drive. Do not reconnect until you are SURE that everything has worked out.
- Create the new user account and log in at least once. Do not create any new data under this account, as it would simply be overwritten in the ensuing steps.
- Enable the root account
- In Tiger: Applications > Utilities > Netinfo Manager > Security > Enable Root User
- In Leopard: Applications > Utilities > Directory Utility > Edit > Enable Root User
- In Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion: /System/Library/CoreServices > Directory Utility > Edit > Enable Root User
- Login as the root user and drag desired directories (iTunes, iPhoto Library, Keychains, etc) from the old user account to the new one. We are moving, not copying, the data.
- Login as the new user and open a Finder window.
- Right click on the new user's Home directory and select Get Info.
- Under Sharing & Permissions, click "Apply to enclosed items" (Leopard users will need to click the gear icon first to reveal it).
- That's it! If you run into any troublesome directories, try BatChmod for adjusting permissions (BTW, BatChmod can also remove ACLs added to a folder or file under Leopard). You may want to delete the old user account (System Preferences > Accounts) when you're sure everything is good. Finally, don't forget to disable the root account.
/mac | May 06, 2009
Subscribe or visit the archives