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How do I transfer files from my old Mac to my White iMac "Core Duo/Core 2 Duo"?
You have several options for transferring files from your old Mac to your Intel-based iMac. Depending on the "vintage" of your "old" system, one of the below options may be perfect for your needs.
Via Firewire & Migration Assistant
If you have a Firewire cable handy and your older Mac is running MacOS X 10.1 or later, Apple intends for you to use the included Setup Assistant/Migration Assistant utility to transfer data from your old computer to your new iMac.
Apple instructs one to update the firmware on the old computer, connect a Firewire cable between the computers, and use the utility upon first starting your new iMac. Apple notes that some settings and preferences will not transfer and some applications may have to be reinstalled.
For additional information, please refer to the "Setup Assistant/Migration Assistant FAQ" from the Apple Support Site.
Via Firewire Manually
If you have a Firewire cable and would prefer to start with a "clean install" of applications and settings rather than using the Migration Assistant, the Intel-based iMac systems also can be connected to another FireWire-equipped Mac by using "FireWire Target Disk Mode". In this mode, the other computer simply will appear as a second hard drive on the desktop of the iMac. According to Apple "to use Target Disk Mode, simply connect the computers using a FireWire cable, then start the second computer while holding down the "T" key on its keyboard."
For additional information, please refer to "How to Use Firewire Target Disk Mode" from the Apple Support Site.
If you have an iPod, it is easy to connect the iPod to the older Mac in disk mode, copy your files, connect the iPod to your Intel-based iMac, and copy your files to the new system.
Via Wireless Networking (AirPort/AirPort Extreme)
As all Intel-based iMac models are equipped with AirPort Extreme (802.11g or 802.11n), your new iMac and another AirPort or AirPort Extreme-equipped Mac, can be networked together without the AirPort hardware access point by using "direct computer-to-computer communications" within a range of approximately 50 meters.
For Macs that have 10Base-T or 10/100Base-T or faster Ethernet installed and are capable of running MacOS 8.6 or higher, the first Mac can be added to an AirPort network via a crossover Ethernet cable between the computer and the hardware access point and the Intel-based iMac can be added to the same network by the wireless AirPort Extreme connection.
Via Wired Networking (Ethernet)
If you're not interested in using wireless networking, an Intel-based iMac also can be connected with a standard Ethernet cable to many other recent models. For older systems, assuming that Ethernet is installed, you can just use a simple crossover cable, or Ethernet cables and a hub, to connect another Mac to the iMac. Although it has not been updated in quite some time, Three Macs & A Printer covers basic types of wired networking in-depth.
Via CD or DVD
Alternately, if your older Mac has a DVD-R or CD-R/CD-RW drive, it is simple to copy files to DVD or CD, and then transfer them to your Intel-based iMac.