The joy started when my fully-speced Mac Studio (MS) box arrived. UPS left it on my doorstep without a signature, or even ringing the doorbell. Luckily, I got an e-mail announcing the delivery. I could find no way to open the box. But I must have missed one side because I finally found an arrow that I ripped down to open it. There is nothing in the box except for the computer and a small sheet identifying the ports.

I had set up my 5k LG monitor and a new HDD in an OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 enclosure, and plugged these into the back Thunderbolt ports, and a mouse and keyboard into the front USB ports. The Mac turned on by itself, and started talking to me about using voice assist. But the monitor remained blank. Some while later,, the monitor turned on and wen through the usual setup questions, insisting that I sign into iCloud (which I do not use). I tried once ignoring this, and the system hung at the Find My Mac screen! Then it launched the migration from my old mac.

But, it did not tell me what to do. A call to Apple support revealed that I had to also run Migration Assistant (MA) on my old Mac Pro (MP). I did this, and it closed all my programs. Then it said it could not log out, so I did this again. Finally, my old Mac appeared on the new Mac and I proceeded. It showed a screen of what was migrateable and sat there calculating something. After a while I realized that I could continue. 

The process continued, but my old Mac was on WiFi instead of ethernet. I have perhaps a million files on my 12 year-old Mac Pro. It said it would take 32 hours to do the transfer! Unlike on the Mac Studio, there was no way to change the networking on the old Mac. So I canceled the process.

I Googled this issue How to disable wifi during Migration Assi… - Apple Community and set the preferred network order. I also removed all known WiFi SSIDs and passwords from Networking and Keychain. Then I restarted the whole process. The Mac Studio saw the Mac Pro, but could not connect! I tried this three times. Apple support was useless. There is no firewall of course, and the old Mac showed up, so it was on the same network. 

I am now trying to do the transfer from my Time Machine backup. Luckily I had an extra switch lying around because all the USB ports on the Mac Studio were used by my keyboard and my mouse. After 2 hours it still says "Preparing to transfer user documents."

So, I went back to trying WiFi, and I only transferred Apps and system and networking files. This reduces the time to 5 hours.I am still waiting for this to finish.  It has transferred 1,259,352 files so far and seems stuck at less than 50% done.

There are multiple issues with this process, and my experience with it so far is awful.

  • With a large number of documents, The migration assistant should allow you to put a user's directory somewhere besides the small boot disk. I have a 16TB HDD in an OWC ThunderBay enclosure that I could use.
  • The Mojave (not updated by Apple in over a year) Migration Assistant should have a way to set the networking. The one on the MS does.
  • The instructions on migrating from the MS are non existent. It should have told me to start it on the MP.

I did get a useful reply from the Apple Forums:

BDAqua has replied to your question. You can view the full discussion in Communities.

Ethernet cannot be used with Migration Assistant

  • Make a New Location, Using network locations in Mac OS X ...
  • System Preferences>Network, top of window>Locations>Edit Locations, little plus icon, give it a name.
  • System Preferences>Network, click on the little gear at the bottom next to the + & - icons, (unlock lock first if locked), choose Set Service Order.
  • The interface that connects to the Internet should be dragged to the top of the list.
  • Drag Ethernet to top of list
  • Sys Prefs>Network>highlight the Interface you're using>Advanced>TCP/IP>Configure IPv4: Using DHCP.
  • System Preferences>Network>choose interface>Advanced>Proxies Tab, make sure none are set, like for HTTP & HTTPS.
  • Apply.

With Ethernet, I get over 100 MB/s transfer rates. With WiFi (from MP to router) I got 5–11 MB/s. A factor of 10 faster! But the Migrate app says 25 MB/s or less (while transferring) and predicts 2 hours. We shall see. Oops. It hung.

Finally, I used the Time Machine backup and after a night, it worked. It should not be so slow to just migrate Apps and System Settings.


It is a week later and I have mostly set up my new Mac. This is NOT a job for novices!

For example, with all the above migration attempts, Monterey somehow made a new mount point for my 16 TB Western Digital disk (which is where I have moved my home directory). This is totally undetectable unless you look at it in Disk Utility which showed the mount point as MacWD16 1 instead of MacWD16. But Copying a path to Home (using ForkLift) showed MacHD16. As a result, strange things happened. I logged into my ISP, and it did not find my ssh keys (in home/.ssh). It took me a while to figure out what was happening.

There is no way to change the mount point using Disk Utility. Apple support did not know what a mount point is!

I had to unmount the 16 TB disk to fix things. But my home was on it, so I put it back on the boot disk. BIG MISTAKE! Moving home starts you back from scratch, and I lost a day's worth of adjusting everything to my liking. If you need to do this, make a new admin account on the boot disk, log into that account, and you will be able to unmount the offending disk.

Once the disk is mounted, I opened a terminal, and did sudo su, Then

cd /Volumes

showed both of these MacWD16 directories. I deleted both of them

rm -rf "MacWD16 1"
rm -rf MacWD16

Then I was able to remount this disk in the proper place, and programs could find my home directory. This is a bug!

I bought the ThunderBay Flex 8 enclosure so that I could move the 4 data disks from my Mac Pro. One of them had my home directory on it, so I moved it to a different disk. I should have known better. I was unable to open a session, and kept getting an "enter password to fix your Library" but it would not accept the correct password. Google this--it is a well-known issue. You have to rebuild the permissions to fix it. But my Mac has not been able to boot into Recovery Mode for many years now. 

Luckily, I was able to open Preferences (which took my password), and I could make a new account on the boot disk. I also had to change the boot settings to require a login. I had never changed this. So, I can use the old Mac by logging in with this new account. The main reason for this is that I had 3 Parallels Windows VMs that I might need to get things from. (Don't ask me why I have 3 of them.)

But when I moved the disks to my new Mac, they still did not work properly. I had to again go onto terminal as root and fix ownerships:

chown -R jar:staff <diskname>

for each disk.

You can see that contrary to Apple's claims it does not "just run." The setup process was really frustrating and time consuming.

The Mac Studio is tiny compared to my old Mac Pro. But it needs many expensive add-ons: Blue Ray DVD writer, OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 (for extra disks, cards, ports), 2 USB hubs (one hanging off left, one hidden behind the MS). Several external drives are still on top of the MP, but plugged into the MS. I also needed a USB to TosLink adaptor to use my Logitech speakers. I had to buy a new mouse too—I hate the magic mouse, and Logitech has no support for their Hero on Mac chips.

I got a Logitech MX Anywhere 3 for Mac, which I highly recommend, even though it is expensive. It is a plain Jane mouse, but I love the free-wheeling scroll wheel, and it is accurate (unlike Magic Mouse). And middle-click is working again.


The good and the bad

  • Good. My boot time had been reduced from 5 minutes to about 30 seconds.
  • Bad. Guess what? The Mac ARM chips do not support virtualization. 

Luckily, Parallels 17 does run, and I can install Windows 11, and most apps run.  I had hoped to run Windows Subsystem for Android, but this is impossible because of the lack of support for virtualization in the M1 chip..

  • Bad? Doing normal daily things, I do not notice any speed increase in browsing, reading mail, running Office apps, etc. But my Mac Pro had 2 Xeons with 12 cores and 24 threads and 64 GB of memory... I have not yet tried editing videos, which I do expect to be faster.
  • Bad. 32-bit Mac apps do not run, so there goes my investment in Adobe's Creative Suite. I will miss Adobe Illustrator.
  • Bad.  I have two monitors stacked vertically. I used to be able to trigger the desktop manager by dragging the app window I wanted to move to a different desktop to the top menu bar, and then the desktops would display. But, now I must drag the App window to the top of the top monitor for the windows to appear; as soon as I drag this off the top monitor window bar, the windows on the bottom monitor disappear! I must use the keyboard F3 key to move an App window.
  • Bad. The migration process left the Applications folder in a state that prevents me from deleting any apps. It is a permission issue.
    • I had to go in using a terminal as root (sudo su) and change ownership to me, and change the permissions to allow write access to all the files in the app (recursively). 
      rm -rf appname
  • Good. The sound coming out of the USB ports is substantially improved. I now actually get imaging from my desktop speakers.

Stay tuned ... I will keep updating this review.

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