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


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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