Mac OS X Migration Assistant – “About a minute remaining” appears to hang

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I recently setup a new MacBook for a client who wanted me to transfer all her files from her old MacBook to the new one. The new MacBook, of course, didn’t come with Ethernet, so I decided to just do the transfer over a wireless connection. Since the client wasn’t in any big hurry, this was not an issue. I had about 220GB of data to move. The old laptop was running 10.9 (Mavericks) and the new one 10.10 (Yosemite).

So I fired up both the old and the new laptops and got the initial screen for Migration Assistant. I answered the questions correctly and entered the number code on both laptops. The initial transfer began and the estimated time was 15 hours. No big deal. I let it run overnight.

I checked on the transfer in the morning and it had about 4 hours remaining (as expected). I left it run until lunchtime when I checked it again. The display showed “Less than a minute remaining.” It was looking rather hopeful! However, four hours later, it still showed “Less than a minute remaining.” Uh oh! Should I stop it or let it go?


Since I had time to kill, I decided to let it run. It ran for another nine hours after it showed “Less than a minute remaining.” So in Apple time, a minute could take several hours!

If you are faced with a similar situation, patience is the key. Let it run and when you think it is hung, don’t restart it. Walk away and let it finish.

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