Set target disk mode mac

How to Use Target Disk Mode to Boot From Another Mac's Hard Drive

To use it with Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant , or anything else lengthy, it's usually best to first set the old Mac to never sleep, so the transfer won't be interrupted. Also be sure the Mac has reliable power. Click the confirmation prompt, and the Mac will restart, showing a special screen with a FireWire icon.

Shortly thereafter, it should appear on the other Mac as a FireWire drive. You can also start Target Disk mode by powering the Mac down, then starting it up while holding down the "T" key.

You must use a wired keyboard, directly connected to the Mac not via a hub or display , and some non-Apple keyboards may not work for this. To exit from Target Disk mode, power the Mac off. Your Mac essentially becomes an enclosure for your internal drive.

Video walkthrough

Target Disk Mode was first introduced with the PowerBook in and has made it into most Mac models since then. Here's everything you need to know about your MacBook ports.


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  • Before Entering Target Disk Mode.
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  • What Is Target Disk Mode? How and When to Use It on Your Mac.

Take your cable and connect both computers via the relevant Thunderbolt or FireWire ports. Connect any adapters you need for older machines. Only by manually encrypting the files on your hard drive can you truly keep your files safe. Wait for the drive to decrypt, then it should show up like any other external drive. Use Finder to browse files, copy to and from the drive, and then safely eject your drive.

On your target Mac, press the power button to power down the machine. You can now restart this machine as normal, if you want.

What If Your Hard Drive Fails To Display On The Desktop?

Now that you know how to use target disk mode, you should familiarize yourself with some of the applications for this boot mode. This is most useful for large files like videos, media libraries, disk images, and so on. A wired transfer via Thunderbolt is much faster than a similar wireless transfer using the notoriously buggy AirDrop AirDrop Not Working? We can step you through all of your available options. Connect the target and host, boot the target into Target Disk Mode as normal, then on the host launch Migration Assistant under Utilities.

Target Disk Mode - Wikipedia

Operating system failures happen to the best of us. What if your Mac runs out of space mid-install? And how do you fix the problem when you can't access your computer normally any more? What if you have a MacBook with a broken screen or dodgy keyboard? This will restore access to your damaged Mac so you can recover files, wipe the hard drive, and do anything else you need to do. Connect the two machines as normal, and launch your broken target Mac in Target Disk Mode.

Now reboot the host machine and enter Startup Manager by holding Option as your host Mac boots.


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  • Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode Requires Apple's Special Cable [Tip] | Cult of Mac.
  • Target Disk Mode for Mac to Mac Data Transfer;