We just bought a new MacBook Pro and are in the process of transferring data from the old computer to the new one.
When you first turn on the new computer, you set a few configuration items (like US English keyboard) and then are asked for your network information — we entered our wireless password and it connected. We then used Setup Assistant to try to transfer data from the new computer to the old, and ran into some problems.
We bought a Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter for the new computer, and our intention was to connect the computers directly (since the old MacBook Pro has an internal Ethernet port) for transfer. Allegedly Macs can form an ad-hoc network if you connect them directly, without the need for a crossover cable. We set the two computers up on the kitchen table, and tried it. But we couldn’t get the two computers to see each other, and none of my basic “is it plugged in? should we reboot it?” tricks made any difference.
So we hauled the computers across the room, set them up again on a bookcase, and hard-connected them via Ethernet to the Linksys wireless router. The two ports lit up on the front of the router, so we knew that both Ethernet ports were active, and the computers were able to see each other in Setup/Migration Assistant. So far so good.
But once the transfer began, we saw an estimated transfer time that started at 50 hours and steadily climbed toward 80 hours. This was not good! A look at the Linksys router confirmed that the Ethernet-active light on the new computer was no longer lit. So what I inferred is that the old computer was uploading files via Ethernet, but that they were being routed out to the new computer via wireless!
So we cancelled the transfer, restarted the new computer, and initiated the setup process again. I was going to remove the wireless password to force the new computer to use its Ethernet connection. But unfortunately, if the computer you’re setting up has Internet access, you aren’t prompted about it! (I could have done something tricky, like changing the wireless password for the network, but I didn’t think of that in the moment.) So we went straight into Setup Assistant and hoped. The Ethernet-active light was lit when we started the transfer — but then it went out and we started seeing incredibly long transfer times again.
And so yet again we cancelled the transfer and restarted the new computer. At this point we gave up on Ethernet, moved the new computer back to the kitchen table, and connected the Time Machine backup disk to the new computer, which is currently transferring a more or less identical set of files with a far more reasonable estimated transfer time of 1 hour 15 minutes.
If I’m guessing correctly what happened — that on the new computer, the slow wireless network connection was overriding the fast Ethernet network connection — then this is a problem in the way things come set up from the factory. Presumably an order of precedence (perhaps a configurable one) is built into the OS — the default behavior should be to prefer the faster connection, no?