How I upgraded my music workstation and lived to tell about it


As another snowstorm developed outside during this record-setting winter, inside I had set a record of my own: it had been more than six years since I had purchased my main music workstation. An early 2008 Mac Pro, it had served me well; but as you may have seen in last week’s post, a sleeker, rounder, and much faster version has recently arrived to take its place.

Mini-me, more powerful and quieter
Mini-me, more powerful and quieter (even if you’re tempted to throw your trash into it)

The task, then: get fully running on the new Mac Pro “with all deliberate haste”. I was still running Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6.8) on the old computer with many years of applications and data squirreled away on it. While I could have used Apple’s Migration Assistant and let the work be done behind the scenes, being now three OSs removed from the current version I wanted to start fresh — which meant a manual migration.

Through a combination of collegial advice (especially from Mike Benoit of MPB Music and Sound) and online research, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly everything went. So much so, that I thought I’d share what I found.

What follows is hardly an exhaustive list of what to do – it’s specific to my needs and preferences. But if you find yourself faced with a similar task, hopefully you can find some helpful information here. Mac users will obviously have more in common with my experience, but many of the applications and accessory information applies to PCs as well.

With the exception of the computer itself, which I bought from an authorized Apple reseller, I purchased everything else from Amazon, so I’ve linked to those products directly. (Those are affiliated links, which constitute advertising; if you’d like to learn more about what that means, please see our privacy policy, section 4(b).)

The task

Upgrade the old to the new, transferring data and applications, updating where necessary.

ComputerMac Pro (Early 2008)Mac Pro (Late 2013)
OSMac OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)Mac OS 10.9.1 (Mavericks)
ProcessorTwo 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5
Memory14 GB 800 MHz DDR232 GB 1866MHz DDR3
StorageTwo 480GB SSD; two 500 GB HDD1 TB PCIe-based flash storage



My old Mac Pro has 4 internal storage bays, which I was using as follows:

  1. 480 GB SSD: OS, Applications and Data
  2. 480 GB SSD: Music sample libraries, very large media, photo library
  3. 500 GB HD: Backup of 1
  4. 500 GB HD: Backup of 2

In addition, I have a 2TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro which was connected via FireWire 800, partitioned to backup everything.

I’ve relied on SuperDuper for many years for easy backups. You could also use Time Machine or other backup solutions, but whatever you use, don’t even think about proceeding without backing up first!

Serial numbers and software authorization

It seems as though every software product comes with its own authorization scheme. And what of all the online accounts one needs to access for registrations and product updates? It’s a necessary evil in the upgrade and installation process, and you’ll need this information at the ready.

I use 1Password to keep all this information together. I had to train myself at first to habitually save a serial number or authorization license here every time I installed something new, but I’m glad I did. You can easily drag an application icon to 1Password and enter the product’s code, or license key. 1Password also securely stores your internet passwords, credit card numbers, and other secure data should you wish to entrust it with that information.

Mavericks includes iCloud Keychain, which handles internet passwords and credit card data – but keep in mind I was upgrading from Snow Leopard, and in any event it wouldn’t have helped with all the software authorizations.


I had both computers running, each with its own display, keyboard, and mouse, for the entirety of my upgrade process. This made it simple to connect both of them to the internet and to each other, and to use either one to quickly locate something if needed.

You’ll definitely want a hard-wired internet connection for this; wireless won’t cut it. So many installers are online now that I easily downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of data while upgrading, not to mention transferring everything from my old computer to the new (more on that in a bit).

I bought a 50-ft AmazonBasics Ethernet cable for $7; it plugged into an available port on my cable modem and worked nicely.

Optical media is on the wane, and the new Mac Pro (like all of Apple’s new Macs) doesn’t include a CD/DVD drive. We still use optical media, though, so I picked up a $34 Samsung read/write external DVD drive. It’s powered through the USB, is tray-loading, and did the job – although in the end I was surprised how little I used it (keep in mind my frame of reference is setting up the last machine six years ago!).

Sure, there’s Apple’s SuperDrive at more than twice the price, and if you need Blu-ray and USB 3.0 support, Asus makes a model — but it wasn’t necessary for me.

The new Mac Pro doesn’t come with a display, or even with a keyboard or mouse; just about any kind will do. I had an HP 23-inch display which I was able to connect to the computer with a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable from Cable Matters. The Mini DisplayPort end plugs into the Thunderbolt ports, 6 of which are included on the new Mac Pro.

(A side note: my main workstation – the one I eventually moved my new Mac Pro to – uses two 30-inch HP ZR30w monitors. Because they were connected to the old Mac Pro via DVI, for a while I thought I would have to get two of Apple’s pricey – and bulky – Mini DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adapters to connect them to the new Mac Pro. Luckily the HP ZR30w monitor has a DisplayPort, so I can use the Cable Matters cables here instead.)

A view of the Hudson River, from a Mac Pro
A view of the Hudson River, from a Mac Pro

For the keyboard, I recently connected a $60 Mac-specific Logitech K750 wireless solar keyboard (the older photo above shows my standard-issue Apple wired keyboard). Apple doesn’t make a wireless keyboard with a numeric keypad, which is essential for working with Sibelius and Finale. The Logitech model is solar-powered, and while the solar panels take up a bit of space, it’s nice to never have to re-charge it or use batteries. The keyboard connects via a wireless USB receiver.

Although I configured the Mac Pro with 1 TB of internal storage (up from the stock 256 GB configuration), I still wanted to keep some sample libraries on an external drive. I’ve been very happy with the Crucial m500 line of SSDs — the 480 GB version goes for about $260 — but I was dismayed at the limited options for connecting the drives to the new Mac Pro via Thunderbolt. Drobo makes a storage array for $300 that connects 4 drives – but you still have to supply your own drives!

So I started looking into connecting the drive via USB 3.0 instead. When you consider that the SSD SATA transfer speeds max out at 6 gbps, the USB 3.0 limit of 5 gbps was not much of a hit (it’s still faster than the 3 gbps I was getting in the old Mac Pro). I found another Cable Matters product: the $29 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA hard drive docking station. It features a built-in 3-port USB 3.0 hub, includes the USB 3.0 cable in the box, and has its own power source. It was easy to set up with no tools. So this became my drive for my sample libraries. I haven’t done any fancy hardware tests (and don’t plan to), but it seems plenty fast to me.

For good measure, I also purchased an $18 enclosure case made by Inateck for a second SSD to use as a backup to the storage on the Mac Pro. This enclosure draws power directly from the USB port; it doesn’t have its own power supply but it does have a power switch, to avoid unintended mounting of the drive. It also includes a short USB 3.0 cable.

On the subject of USB 3.0, a hub was a necessity – the new Mac Pro only includes a paltry four ports. I got two 9-port hubs by Anker, for $60 each. If you get a USB hub, be sure to get one with its own power source, like this one does. This hub has a built-in surge protector, and it also features a tenth port, which is intended purely for charging devices and doesn’t connect to the computer.

With the computer and accessories in place, it was time to start setting up the new computer.

First, on my old Mac Pro, I used a handy utility called Print Window to print a list of all my applications. There were some I forgot I had, and some I didn’t even remember installing in the first place. So I went through the list and crossed out any that I didn’t want to install on the new Mac Pro.

A bit of pruning after six years was in order
A bit of pruning after six years was in order

On my new Mac, the usual Apple setup is straightforward; I entered in my information and Apple ID, created a local user account, and was off and running. Next, I went through the list of applications on the new Mac and compared them with my printed list; I crossed off anything that was already pre-installed on the new Mac.

I knew I was going to be mucking about with my home library folder (known as ~/Library) , which is hidden by default in Mavericks. So the very first thing I did was show it permanently by showing my home folder in the Finder, choosing View > Show View Options and checking “Show Library Folder”. This Macworld article has more information.

Now it was time to start installing applications. This being the Sibelius blog, after all, let’s start with Sibelius.

Installing and transferring notation software


On my old Mac I had Sibelius 5, 6, 7, and the testing version of 7.5. I haven’t used Sibelius 5 for quite a while, but I do still have a few current projects in Sibelius 6, in addition to Sibelius 7 and the soon-to-be-released Sibelius 7.5.

Although I’ve heard from colleagues that Sibelius 5 can run on Mavericks without playback, I was willing to let it go. So I started installing Sibelius 6.

Before I did that, though, I needed to unregister it on my old Mac to free up a license. If you haven’t already saved your Sibelius 6 serial number (remember 1Password from earlier in this post), take note of it by going to Sibelius 6 > About Sibelius 6 on Mac or Help > About Sibelius 6 on PC.

Once I did that, I unregistered Sibelius by going to the Help menu and chose Unregister Sibelius.

On the new Mac, I installed Sibelius 6.2 by going to the Sibelius 6.2 download page, downloading the 2.6 GB file called “Full DVD contents including sound libraries”, and following the instructions.

Once installed, I opened Sibelius 6 and was prompted for my serial number, which I entered. Then, I went to Sibelius’s registration page and entered in my serial number. (Registering Sibelius 6 directly from the program broke as of Mac OS 10.7.) The web site returned a registration number beginning with “R”. I copied and pasted it into the registration window in Sibelius 6, and I was on my way.

Next, I closed Sibelius 6 and began a similar process with Sibelius 7 and 7.5. I was able to deactivate both versions on my old Mac by opening Sibelius 7.1.3, going to File > Help and clicked the Deactivate Sibelius button for both 7 and 7.5:


On the new Mac, I installed Sibelius 7.1.3 by going to the web site and entering my Sibelius Activation ID. If you don’t know your Activation ID, you can enter your Sibelius serial number and e-mail address here, and you’ll receive it. This brought me to page where I was able to download the full Sibelius 7.1.3 installer (about 600 MB).

I then located the Sibelius 7 sounds on my old computer. (At this point, I had initiated a network connection from my new Mac to my old Mac, which allowed me to easily transfer files over the Ethernet connection I had set up.) I transferred the entirety of the Sibelius Sounds folder – which includes two folders, Sibelius 7 Sounds and Libraries – over to the corresponding place on my new Mac: Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius Sounds. You can actually place the Sibelius 7 Sounds folder anywhere you like, and I could have put it on my external drive. Just be sure to keep the Libraries folder at this path, and Sibelius will prompt you to locate the Sibelius 7 Sounds when you next open Sibelius.

Once installed, I opened Sibelius 7.1.3 and entered my System ID and Activation ID, and was set with a new install of Sibelius on my computer (albeit one without the Mavericks fixes, which will hopefully be forthcoming soon).

I closed Sibelius 7 and set about transferring my preferences and custom settings for both Sibelius 6 and 7.

First, I went to ~/Library/Preferences on my old Mac and copied both com.avid.sibelius7.plist and com.sibelius.sibelius6.plist to the corresponding place on the new Mac. This ensured that Sibelius would open with all my custom preferences.

Then, I went to ~/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius 7 and copied the entirety of the folder, including all sub-folders, over to the corresponding place on the new Mac. I did the same for ~/Library/Application Support/Sibelius Software/Sibelius 6. Now all my House Styles, Manuscript Papers, custom shortcuts, Playback Configurations and plug-ins were on the new Mac.

I then installed my testing copy of Sibelius 7.5, which I presume will be able to be downloaded directly from Avid’s site once it’s released. Sibelius 7.5’s installer provides an option to copy supporting files from Sibelius 7, which I covered in an earlier post. I chose this option – being careful to leave “Uninstall Sibelius 7” unchecked – and finished the installation. Once installed, I opened Sibelius 7.5 and entered my System ID and Activation ID.

The Sibelius 7.5 installer copies all your supporting files, but it doesn’t copy preferences. So, on the new Mac I went to ~/Library/Preferences and deleted com.avid.sibelius75.plist. I then made a copy of com.avid.sibelius7.plist and re-named it com.avid.sibelius75.plist. Although not officially supported, it seemed to work.

Finally, I downloaded and installed Scorch.

Here is a summary of the Avid Knowledgebase or web pages I found useful:

Finale and Garritan

On my old Mac, I have every version of Finale going back to Finale 2008 (except Finale 2014, which won’t run on Snow Leopard). However, MakeMusic will only support Finale 2011 and higher on Mavericks, so that’s what I decided to install.

As with Sibelius, de-authorization on the old computer is required with Finale. First, I opened Finale 2011 and went to the Help menu, and chose Deauthorize Finale. I did the same with Finale 2012.

I then located my Finale 2011 installation DVD, inserted it in my external drive connected to the new Mac, and ran the installer.

One of only two DVDs used during this whole process (Microsoft Office was the other)
One of only two DVDs used during this whole process (Microsoft Office was the other)

Once installed, I immediately downloaded and installed the Finale 2011c updater.

I opened Finale 2011, registered it, and then proceeded with Finale 2012. I had bought Finale 2012 as a download, so I went to the MakeMusic login page. I only saw my most recent Finale 2014 purchase at first, but I then noticed a link to “Previous Versions”, where I was able to download the Finale 2012 installer:


I downloaded, installed, and registered both Finale 2012 and Finale 2014, which was straightforward.

Next, I downloaded the installers for the Garritan Jazz & Big Band 3 library, and the Garritan Personal Orchestra 4 library. Both are lightweight but decent-sounding sample libraries that work with any application that supports AU or VST.

I also downloaded the electronic keycard for each library that would be needed for authorization (although I had them saved in 1Password as well).

I installed both Garritan libraries, and then headed back over to the download library to install the latest ARIA Player update. I installed it, found the player at Macintosh HD/Applications/Garritan ARIA Player, and opened it. Once opened, I dragged the keycard from each library onto the player to activate the libraries.

Now it was time to transfer over my preferences and custom settings for Finale 2011 and 2012 (since I hadn’t yet used Finale 2014 on my old Mac – only on my MacBook Pro – there were nothing for that version). I went to ~/Library/Preferences on my old Mac and copied both Finale 2011 Preferences and Finale 2012 Preferences to the same location on the new Mac.

Then I went to ~/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic and copied over the entire contents of both the Finale 2011 and Finale 2012 folders. I did the same for Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic.

At that point, I needed to make certain that the Garritan sound libraries would work with all the versions of Finale installed on my new Mac. The directions on the MakeMusic web site were detailed and clear – just be sure to pay attention to which version and product is referred to in the instructions.

Here is a summary of the MakeMusic support articles I found useful:

Installing and transferring other music software

Logic Pro

Installing Logic was easy. I had Logic Pro 8 and 9 on my old Mac, but I don’t have many custom settings or 32-bit plug-ins, and I had heard enough good things about Logic Pro X that I was willing to leave the previous versions behind. Should you not wish to make a clean break, it is entirely possible for Logic Pro X to coexist with your previous version.

Since I hadn’t bought it yet (Logic Pro X isn’t compatible with Snow Leopard), I headed over to the App Store. $200 and 50 GB later, Logic was installed on my new Mac.

I chose to install the legacy instruments and content. I also opted to “Show Advanced Tools” in Logic > Preferences > Advanced; it seems silly to have a powerful program like Logic not display these options. (If you’re upgrading and already have Logic 9 on your Mac, “Show Advanced Tools” should already be checked.)


Vienna Instruments

I have the Special Edition of the Vienna Symphonic Library, volumes 1 and 2. The instruments themselves existed on my samples drive in my old Mac, and I simply transferred the entire folder named 100 SpecialEdition and its 57 GB of contents over to the new Mac via Ethernet, on the external drive I had designated for my samples.

VSL uses a USB key dongle authorization, so I unplugged the key from my old Mac and plugged in the new Mac. I then went to the site for the eLicenser Control Center, downloaded the latest version of the application, and installed it on my new Mac. I opened the application just to make sure the VSL registrations appeared, and then quit the program.

I then went to the download area for Vienna Instruments and Vienna Ensemble. Once logged in, I saw links to download the latest software, which I did, and installed it.

After installing the Vienna software on my Mac, I went to Macintosh HD/Applications/Vienna Ensemble and opened the Directory Manager. I told it where to find my sample libraries, and that was that.



I have EWQLSO Gold, Symphonic Choirs, and Stormdrum. Like the VSL instruments, I transferred over their three folders from my old Mac to the new (about 145 GB).

Each of these libraries uses the PLAY player, and each license is authorized to an iLok key, purchased separately. I had already set this up when I first installed the libraries on my old Mac, so in this case, I didn’t need to download any software. I just unplugged the iLok Key from the old Mac and put it in the new Mac. More information is at this EastWest knowledgebase article.

I then went to the PLAY Software update page and downloaded and installed the latest PLAY software. Once installed and downloaded, I opened PLAY and went to the “Browser” window. From there, in the “Favorites” section I added each of the libraries, as instructed in this article.


The XSample solo libraries have some very nice sounds and effects. As with the previous sample libraries, I simply transferred its folder and 15 GB of sounds from my old Mac to the new.

XSample uses the Kontakt Player (more on that below).


I have Kontakt but hardly use it – I skipped installing it on my new Mac. If I need it at some point, I’ll install it. For now, I just downloaded the Kontakt 5 player and installed it.

I opened Kontakt Player and added to it my XSample library, as described in this article on Native Instruments’ site. I clicked “Activate” and entered my serial number, and I was ready to use XSample.


NotePerformer for Sibelius

Wallander Instruments’ NotePerformer for Sibelius is a relatively new product that I enjoy using, with excellent results, for bigger orchestra projects in Sibelius that don’t call for a lot of time-consuming custom setup.

Installing NotePerformer is incredibly easy. I went to the product update page, requested a download link, received the link in my e-mail, downloaded NotePerformer, and installed the software on my new Mac.

M-Audio MidiSport driver

I have a USB MidiSport 2×2 that is about 15 years old. I use it to connect my Mac to my equally old Roland RD-600 keyboard. M-Audio drivers are found here.

Mine works fine, but if you have one of these gadgets and are having problems getting it to work, this Apple support article might help.

Midiman, still going strong
Midiman, still going strong

For daily note entry and editing I use a discontinued M-Audio O2 USB MIDI controller, which is basically the same product as the M-Audio Session Keystudio 25, which has also been discontinued. I like its size and slimness, and I haven’t yet found any current product I like as much for the way I use it. It’s class-compliant, so no drivers were necessary.


To be sure I had the latest version of ReWire, I downloaded it from Propellerhead.

Installing and transferring other software


Firefox has been my browser of choice for a long time, for better or worse. I downloaded Firefox and installed it. Then I followed the directions on Mozilla’s help page to copy my the contents of my default profile folder from my old Mac to the new, keeping in mind that the default profile same on one machine would be different than the other – so I copied the contents of my default profile folder, not the folder itself, keeping the folders on each machine intact.


I like Postbox as my mail client. I downloaded and installed it. What I said for Firefox above applies to Postbox as well (Postbox has its roots in Mozilla’s Thunderbird). Complete instructions are on Postbox’s site.

Microsoft Office

Since I collaborate often with other users of Office products, Office is a necessity. (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote all came with my new Mac, but I’ve never had the occasion to try them.) I found my Office 2011 installation DVD and gave it a whirl, entered my serial number and had no problems. I did have to run Microsoft AutoUpdate a few times to be sure I had all the latest updates (from any Office application, go to the Help menu and Check for updates.


I know, I should just switch to Keyboard Maestro. But I think that until QuicKeys really and truly stops working, or they invent a way to port QuicKeys shortcuts into another program, I’ll stick with it. Believe it or not, it seems to work fine.

I downloaded QuicKeys from the Startly site and installed it. To transfer my data, I went to ~/Library/QuicKeys and copied the entire QuicKeys folder from the old Mac to the new Mac, overwriting the folder entirely. To copy QuicKeys preferences, I went to ~/Library/Preferences and copied com.quickeys.quickeys.plist from the old Mac to the new.

Then, I followed the directions on the Startly forum to get QuicKeys to work:

Go into System Preferences and click on the Security & Privacy pane. Switch to the Privacy tab and pick Accessibility in the left column. Check both “QuicKeys” and “QuicKeysUserEventHelper”. Quit and restart QuicKeys.


Then, in the Finder go into the Applications folder and click on QuicKeys once (do not double click and open it). Type Command-I  to Get Info, and check “Prevent App Nap”. Quit and restart QuicKeys.


Quicken 2007

While were on the subject of applications that haven’t been updated in a long time, let’s deal with the Mac version of Quicken. The last “full” version was Quicken 2007, although there is Quicken Essentials, which I tried a while ago, didn’t like, and got a refund for it.

For a good long while it looked like Quicken 2007 would be mothballed completely, since the original version of it was a PowerPC-based application, which Apple stopped supporting with OS 10.7 (Lion). Then Intuit heard enough customer feedback to do the bare minimum to make Quicken 2007 work on Intel Macs. The resulting application can be purchased for $15 and downloaded on Intuit’s site.

I have 10 years of data in Quicken, and while I’ve tried or looked into many alternatives, none of them can do what Quicken does. Sure, it looks like a bad Mac port of a Windows program from 10 years ago (which it is). But do you really need your finance software to be flashy, or do just need it to do a good job keeping track of the money? Quicken 2007 still does just fine in the latter regard, and so it has a place on my new Mac. My Quicken data file opened just fine.

Adobe Acrobat Pro

For NYC Music Services projects we use Acrobat quite a bit for a lot of the high-volume printing we do. I was still using Acrobat 9, and I think I could have kept on using it without a problem. But I decided to cough up $200 for the upgrade to XI. The jury’s still out, as far as I’m concerned.

I purchased and downloaded the upgrade from Adobe’s site. Like every other Adobe product I’ve encountered, the experience is far more complicated than it needs to be, but it eventually worked. I had to download a download manager, and then use the download manager to download the Acrobat installer. Then I had to enter my new serial number, and then I had to enter the old one from Acrobat 9 in order to verify that I was eligible for the upgrade.

I also had to reset my Adobe ID password because it wasn’t clear once I opened the program if I had registered successfully or not. But everything seems OK now. This might have been one upgrade I would have been better off skipping, or at least taking advantage of the 30-day trial offer first.

But it’s done, and that’s all well. I had a lot of custom headers and footers that we use, and I copied those from the old Mac to the new one. Their location is at ~/Library/Preferences/Acrobat/9.0_x86/HeaderFooter (copy that folder into into ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe/Acrobat/11.0 on the new Mac).

Cloud storage

Installing cloud storage services on the new Mac was as easy as going to the Dropbox install and Box sites, downloading the installers, installing, and signing in. Files and folders started syncing right away.

App Store purchases

Any applications you purchased directly through the Mac App Store will be available for download once you open the App Store on your Mac and log in. I didn’t have very many, but what I did have installed easily. Keep in mind that all Mac software updates, including system updates, are now handled through the App store as well.

Other applications

I had a number of other applications of less general or music interest. Generally, everything installed without problems.

Transfer preferences and settings


Certain applications make use of the OS X Keychain (Flow, the FTP application I use, is one of them). It’s easy to safely transfer Keychain data between Macs as follows:

  • On the old Mac, go to ~/Library/Keychains
  • Copy login.keychain to the new Mac and put it on the Desktop
  • On the new Mac, open Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access
  • From the File menu, select Add Keychain… and select the login.keychain file
  • Click the lock to unlock the keychain file
  • You can then delete the login.keychain file from the Desktop

Page sizes, printers

I had many custom page sizes I wasn’t looking forward to re-creating. Fortunately I didn’t have to. I just went to ~/Library/Preferences and copied from the old Mac to the same location on the new Mac.

Setting up printers was easy as well: My connected printers automatically appeared upon opening System Preferences > Printers and Scanners. I added them and Mavericks automatically downloaded and installed the drivers.

Monitor ColorSync profile

I had a custom color profile for my HP ZR30w monitors (it ends in “.icc”). I found it on my old Mac at Macintosh HD/Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays and copied it to the same location on the new one.


I had over 600 fonts on my old Mac. I went to Font Book on my old Mac, went to Edit > Select All, and then went to File > Export Fonts… to export them to the Desktop. I then took the time to go through each of the fonts and delete the ones I didn’t want.

On the new Mac, I opened Font Book. I went to Font Book > Preferences and made my default install location “Computer”. Then I went to File > Add Fonts and added all the fonts I had exported from my old Mac. Font Book automatically alerted me to any duplicates or any problems with any of my fonts.

Transfer data and documents


This was simple: I copied the contents of the Documents folder from the old Mac to the new. Maybe one day I’ll go through and delete really old stuff.

iTunes library

Excellent instructions are available directly from Apple. I used the “Home Sharing” option, and then I deauthorized iTunes by using Store > Deauthorize this computer.

iPhoto library

Again, simple: Copy the iPhoto Library from wherever it was on your old Mac to wherever you want it to be on your new Mac. For me, I had it on my samples drive in my old Mac, but on my new Mac, I have plenty of extra space, so I put it right into my Pictures folder. iPhoto will ask where the Library is when you first open it so I just pointed it in the right direction.


I had some iMovies on my old Mac, but none that I cared about keeping. Sorry!

Contacts (Address Book)

I don’t use iCloud, so I manually exported my contacts. It was a simple matter of going to File > Export > Address Book Archive on my old Mac and saving the file.

I then restored the file on my new Mac in Contacts by going to File > Import and opening the file. More info on Apple’s site.

Calendar (iCal)

Likewise, in iCal on my old Mac: File > Export > Export. Open the file in Calendar on my new Mac: File > Import > Import. That’s about it; Apple’s site has a bit more.


I realize I don’t have a massive amount of sample libraries or fancy plug-ins, and as I said before, this is just one’s person’s experience. But with a little bit of planning, the right gear, the advice of good colleagues and some search engine results, I was back up and running to my satisfaction ahead of schedule.

Did I go for a nice long walk to enjoy the unexpected free time? No! It was snowing, so I wrote this blog post instead. I hope there are some useful nuggets in there. Feel free to add your comments below about your experiences, or any suggestions about how to improve upon what I discovered.

Would I do this all again? Sure – in another six years!


  1. Henry

    Thank you for an incredibly useful resume of the upgrade process, which I expect will be of great help to me …. when I can afford to move on like you did! Best wishes.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Henry. It had been a long time coming!

  2. Mike

    What a fantastic and detailed writeup, Phil! Lots of very valuable and helpful tips here. I wish I had known about that solar-powered Logitech keyboard a few months ago. Not knowing about it, I ended up with the Apple wireless keyboard, a separate Belkin numeric keypad (also wireless), and a bunch of rechargeable batteries. It works fine and looks OK, but…yuck!

    One small additional tip that some readers may find helpful. My computer is nowhere near my main router, so I had no way to connect the old and new machines to it with an Ethernet cable. Instead, you can connect your Macs directly to one another! If you have a really old Mac, you might need a special cable called a crossover cable to do this, but most Macs sold since 2000 can use a regular cable. More info is here:

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mike Benoit. I was (and am) grateful for your advice!

      And, thanks, Mike Klinger!

  3. Mike Klinger

    Awesome! A lot of us are at that same point in time, this will be extremely useful.

  4. Matt Carey

    Thanks Philip! I love reading your posts and this one is very timely for me as I picked up a new computer yesterday. Do you know when Sibelius 7.5 will be released? I’m wondering whether there is any benefit in not installing the current version and just waiting for 7.5 to try and keep my computer a little ‘cleaner’ for as long as I can.

    Thanks also for sharing info about other software you use. I’m going to look into 1Password and a few of the other things you mentioned.

    One more question since this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. As a ‘power user’ do you use the (piano) keyboard for much of your note input or do you prefer the (computer) keyboard? I’ve been using Sibelius for years and found that (computer) keyboard entry has been faster for me – even for piano/keyboard parts – but maybe it’s worth the investment of time to learn how to use the (piano) keyboard note entry facility more efficiently?

    Thanks again.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Matt! I don’t see any harm in installing Sibelius 7.1.3. In fact you might benefit from keeping it around, should you need it; 7.1.3 and 7.5 seem to co-exist happily on my machine. Plus if you put the Sibelius Sounds on your machine now, your 7.5 install will go more quickly since you’ll have gotten that part out of the way.

      Avid has said “February” for 7.5 release so I predict any time in the next 11 days. :-)

      I was just talking note entry today with a colleague. I generally use step-time entry with the MIDI keyboard, but occasionally use the computer keyboard too. The methods are really quite similar and you can freely use both; instead of typing on your computer keyboard, you just play the note on your computer keyboard.

  5. Dennis

    This is in response to Mike, but might interest anyone who has a similar problem. I also have a router nowhere near my computer(s). But offers cables that work great at a very reasonable price. I’ve had a couple of the 50′ ones with great results. Having a hardwired connection (even for a temporary connection) is great, and well-worth the money.

  6. Tim Parkin

    Thanks for a great article Philip. I shall need to do a similar transfer here in the UK in the next 3 months and this article will be invaluable.

  7. Peter Roos

    A very cool and entertaining post Philip. I’ll cross post this on other music forums. I’m a PC and I have been through several of these exercises.

  8. Peter Roos

    Edit my previous post — I am not a PC, I am *on* PC (windows). :)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Ha, thanks, Peter!

  9. Alan Knight

    Hi. I think you’re running the (not yet released) Sibelius 7.5 here on Mavericks? Does this fix the problems that (still, months later!) plague the released version of Sibelius on Mavericks?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Alan, until Sibelius 7.5 is officially released, it’s probably best if I refer to statements made on Sibelius’s official Facebook page, regarding Mavericks, where Avid’s Sam Butler said “We have resolved the font problem in 7.5 and are working with Apple on a solution that will resolve the performance for all v7 and v7.5 products all at once.”

  10. Ernie Jackson

    Incredible article. Is there someone who could provide a PC version as well? that would be great.

  11. Mary Jo Disler

    Just curious how long the setup/install process actually took, after the planning and purchases were in place. And thanks for such care and detail. Terrific!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mary Jo! I did it over a weekend and still had time to write the whole thing up in the blog. But yes, the planning and purchases happened ahead of time.

  12. Jane

    I have the same OLD Mac. I am wondering if I really need to replace it with another pro. I have been hankering to have a Macbook. Would that usable for Sibelius if I added a monitor, synth, keyboard, etc.?


    1. Philip Rothman

      Jane: Yes, you can add peripherals to a MacBook and Sibelius should run just fine on any of the latest Macs.

  13. John Day

    Hi Philip
    can you please advise how I can download Sibelius 7 sounds
    FYI – I bought my copy online so I don’t have the disks which I understand are usually necessary.
    Many thanks

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