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Ask Max: Transfering Data From A G4 to a G5

Asked on 11/24/2008:

We just got a new non Intel G5, and need to transfer some data, about 80 gigs on a secondary drive, from a G4 running 10.2.8, which we also bought from you. Once this is done, I need to change some drives around on the G4, and transfer it back.

I tried buying a remote drive, but what's compatible with the G5, isn't with the G4, I tried file sharing, but apparently I need to put what I want to transfer into a "Public" folder, but there's not enough room on the main drive to do that, it'll take me till next year. How do I transfer this data over, is there a way to hook the two Macs together where I would be able to "see" the other drive where I would just be able to drag everything over in one shot. Can I run an Ethernet cable between the two? Is there some other way?


One of my favorite features of the Mac computer FireWire port is that it supports "Target Disk" mode (all but the B&W G3). You can put a Mac into Target Disk mode by turning it on while holding down the [ T ] key. After you see a FireWire symbol floating around on the screen you can connect your two Macs together with a 6-pin to 6-pin fireWire cable. The hard drive of the Mac that is in Target Disk mode will appear on the desktop of the other Mac. All you need is the cable, here is a link to an inexpensive Firewire cable, if you do not already own one.

The drive you bought may be USB 2.0 only, and that could cause problems with a older USB 1.1 found on some used Macs. The drive will work fine for the G5 and newer Macs. Make sure you format it via Disk Utility to be Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

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