OS X - Migrating Your Data from a Windows System to Mac

Use Windows Migration Assistant to transfer your music, pictures, documents, and other data from a Windows PC to your Mac.

Windows Migration Assistant transfers your contacts, calendars, email accounts, and more from a PC. It migrates this data to the appropriate places on your Mac.

Before you begin

To prepare for a smooth migration:

  • Make sure that Windows is up to date. Migration Assistant works with Windows XP and later.
  • Make sure that you know the name and password of an administrator account on your PC.
  • Connect your Mac and PC to the same network, such as your home Wi-Fi network. Or connect an Ethernet cable between the ports on your Mac and PC to create a direct network connection.
  • Use the check disk (chkdsk) utility on your PC to make sure that your Windows drive doesn’t have any issues.

To run the check disk utility:

  1. Choose Start > Run.
  2. In the Run window, type cmd and press Enter.
  3. In the command window, type chkdsk and press Enter.
  4. If the check disk utility reports that it found problems, type chkdsk drive: /F and press Enter. In this example, “drive” is the letter that represents your Windows startup disk, like “d.” At the prompt, press the Y key, then restart your PC. Repeat this process until the check disk utility reports no issues.

Can you clear all of the disk issues that the check disk utility reports? If not, you might need to have your PC serviced. Then migrate your data to your Mac.

migration assistant image

Move your data

This section guides you through migration, post-migration, and what to do if the steps don’t work for you.

How to move your information from a PC to your Mac

  1. On your PC, download and install the Windows Migration Assistant.
  2. Quit any open Windows apps.
  3. Open Windows Migration Assistant.
  4. In the Migration Assistant window, click Continue to start the process.
    migration assistant image
  5. Start up your Mac. Setup Assistant automatically opens the first time you turn on your Mac. If you’ve already set up your Mac, open Migration Assistant from the Utilities folder.
  6. On your Mac, follow the onscreen prompts until you get to the migration pane of the assistant. Select the option to transfer information “From a Windows PC.”
    migration assistant image
  7. When you’re prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
  8. Click Continue to close any other open apps.
  9. In the migration window on your Mac, select your PC from the list of available computers. Then wait for the PC to show the same passcode that your Mac shows.
  10. migration assistant verification code image
  11. Once both computers display the same passcode, click Continue on your PC and Mac.migration assistant verification code image
  12. Your Mac scans the drives on your PC to build a list of information to migrate. When the scan completes, select the information that you want to migrate to your Mac and click Continue. Learn about some of the data that you can transfer.
    files to be transferred image

You can watch the progress and estimated time remaining on both the PC and your Mac. They tell you when migration is complete.

After you move your data

When migration completes, close Windows Migration Assistant on your PC. Then log in to the new user account on your Mac. The first time you log in to a user account that’s migrated from a PC, you’re asked to set a password. You can use the same password that you used on your PC, or create a new password. Learn how to choose a good password.

Once you’re logged in to the user account that you migrated, be sure to authorize your Mac in iTunes. It’s important to authorize before you sync or play content that you download from the iTunes Store.

If you have issues moving your data

If the steps above don’t work as you expect, try these options.

Quit other Windows apps

Use these steps to make sure that no other apps are open while you migrate:

  1. Press Alt-Tab to choose an open application.
  2. Press Alt-F4 to quit the selected application.

Check your network connection

Does your PC appear in the Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant window on your Mac? If not, make sure that the computers are connected to the same network. You can create an isolated network if you connect a single Ethernet cable between your Mac and PC.

If Migration Assistant still doesn’t show your PC, try to turn off any Firewall software on your PC. It might block network ports that Windows Migration Assistant needs to work. After migration completes, you can turn on your Firewall software.

Turn off antivirus software

If Migration Assistant doesn’t open on your PC, turn off any antivirus software on your PC. Then try to open Migration Assistant again. After migration completes, you can turn on your antivirus software.

If your PC isn’t compatible with Migration Assistant

There are other options you can use to transfer your data. For example, you can use an external drive or file sharing to manually copy important data to your Mac.

What data can I transfer?

Migration Assistant lets you choose the data to move to your Mac. Here’s what moves over for specific apps and data types:


Email, contacts, and calendar information
Migration Assistant moves your email messages, email account settings, contacts, and appointments. This depends on your Windows version and the accounts that you have.

Migration Assistant supports this data from 32-bit versions of Outlook in Windows XP and later:

  • People move to Contacts*
  • Appointments move to Calendar
  • IMAP and Exchange settings and messages move to Mail
  • POP settings and messages move to Mail*

Migration Assistant doesn’t support 64-bit versions of Outlook. You can manually migrate Mail, Contacts, or Calendars from Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 by signing in and entering the content on your Mac manually.


Photos and other images copy to your Home folder. You can add these files to Photos. After you migrate, open Photos and let it search your Mac for photos to import.

Other files
You can also choose whether or not to move these files during migration:

  • Files from the top-level folder of the currently logged-in PC user’s home directory
  • Non-system files located in the Windows or Program Files folders
  • Top-level folders located on the user’s Windows system disk
  • Top-level folders located on other local disks attached to your PC

Outlook Express
Migration Assistant supports this data from Outlook Express in Windows XP:

  • People move to Contacts
  • IMAP settings and messages move to Mail
  • POP settings and messages move to Mail*

Windows Live Mail
Migration Assistant supports this data from Windows Live Mail in Windows Vista and later:

  • IMAP settings and messages move to Mail
  • POP settings and messages move to Mail*

Windows Mail
Migration Assistant supports this data from Windows Mail in Windows Vista and later. The only exception is Mail app for Windows 8.

  • IMAP settings and messages move to Mail
  • POP settings and messages move to Mail*
  • People move to Contacts

Bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Safari for Windows, and Firefox transfer to Safari.

iTunes content
Your iTunes Music, Movies, and other iTunes library files transfer to iTunes on your Mac.

System settings
Your language and location settings, web browser homepage, and custom desktop pictures transfer to System Preferences settings in macOS.

If you have any questions, come by the Help Desk at Hardman & Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center Room 105, call 646-1840, or email us at help@nmsu.edu.

Keywords:move os x mac imac macbook data files windows system switch transfer   Doc ID:76357
Owner:John B.Group:New Mexico State University
Created:2017-09-06 12:13 MDTUpdated:2018-01-02 09:26 MDT
Sites:New Mexico State University
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