There are now more Macs than ever being used around the planet, thanks in part to the constant improvements to macOS that make it more powerful and less difficult to use. Moving data from a Windows PC to a Mac is now easier with the latest update to the Migration Assistant in macOS Mojave. In this post, we’ll show you the steps to a flawless migration from Windows to macOS.
Preparing to migrate data
First, make sure that your PC isn’t so outdated that it can’t run Windows Migration Assistant. It works with Windows 7 and all newer versions up to Windows 10.
Next, get the administrator access credentials for the PC. This is important as the Windows Migration Assistant requires administrative access to certain files on the PC.
Both the PC and the Mac need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network, or if you prefer, you can run an Ethernet cable between the ports on the PC and Mac for a direct connection. Since newer Mac laptops do not have an Ethernet port, you may need to purchase an adapter like the Macally USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter or Apple Genuine Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter.
Now you’ll want to make sure that your Windows drive on the PC doesn’t have any issues. To do this:
- Choose Start > Run. (You can also press the Windows key+R on your keyboard to open the Run box.)
- In the Run window, type cmd and press Enter.
- In the command window, type chkdsk and press Enter.
- The chkdsk utility may report that it found problems. In that case, type chkdsk drive: /F and press Enter. “drive:” is the Windows startup disk, like “c:” or “d:”. At the prompt that appears, press the Y key, then restart your PC. This process might need to be repeated until chkdsk reports no issues. If you can’t clear chkdsk issues, you may need to have your PC serviced before you migrate data to the Mac.
Migrating data from PC to Mac
You’ll need to download and install the Windows Migration Assistant to your PC. There are currently three different versions of the Windows Migration Assistant, each for a different version or versions of macOS / OS X.
- If you’re running macOS Mojave, download this version of Windows Migration Assistant.
- For macOS Sierra and High Sierra, download this version.
- Still running OS X El Capitan or earlier versions of OS X? Download this version.
Once the Windows Migration Assistant is installed on your PC, it’s time to get started.
1) Quit any open Windows apps.
2) Launch Windows Migration Assistant.
3) Click Continue to begin the process. Note that you may be asked to disable automatic updates on your PC for a while; click Continue to bypass this.
4) Now start up your Mac if it’s not already up and running. If it’s a brand new Mac and has never been booted up before, Setup Assistant automatically launches. If you’ve already set it up, go to Applications > Utilities and launch Migration Assistant.
5) In Migration Assistant on the Mac, go through the onscreen prompts until you’re asked how you want to transfer your information. Select From a Windows PC, then click Continue. When prompted, enter the administrator name and password.
6) Click Continue, and all other open apps will be closed.
7) On the migration window on the Mac, a list of available computers will appear. Select your PC from the list, then wait for the PC to show a passcode. That same passcode should show up on the Mac as well. Once it does, you can click Continue on both the Mac and PC.
8) The Mac now scans the drives of the PC and constructs a list of information you may wish to migrate. When the scan is complete, select the data you wish to migrate to the Mac, then click Continue.
9). When the migration is complete, quit Windows Migration Assistant on the PC, then log into the new user account on your Mac. You’ll be asked to set a password for your new Mac account.
After logging into the Mac, remember to authorize your Mac in iTunes so you can play content downloaded from the iTunes Store, and make sure to log into iCloud as well.
What types of data are transferred?
A surprising amount of the data on a PC can be transferred to your Mac. For many business PC users, it’s important to know that transfers from Outlook are only supported for 32-bit versions of the program, as Migration Assistant doesn’t support the 64-bit versions. Outlook users can also run the app on Mac (as part of Microsoft Office for Mac) and connect to the same servers for access to their contacts, calendar, and so on.
Photos show up in your Mac’s Home folder — that’s the one in the Users folder with your name. A good way to import all of those photos is to launch the Photos app on your Mac, select File > Import, and then choose your Home folder. The Photos app scans that folder for all photo files and presents them for review before being imported.
If you used either Windows Live Mail or Windows Mail on your PC, both your IMAP and POP settings and messages move to the Mac Mail app. For Windows Mail, “People” moves to the Mac Contacts app.
Any bookmark you had saved for Internet Explorer, the old Safari for Windows, and Firefox on the PC is transferred to Safari on your Mac. iTunes content — music, movies and other files — stored in the Windows version of iTunes is transferred to iTunes on the Mac. Finally, some system settings from the PC — language and location settings, web browser home page, and custom desktop pictures — are also moved to System Preferences.