How do I install Lima for the first time with a pre-filled hard drive?

First of all, note that this feature is not available in 1.3.0 when pairing (i.e. adding) a second Lima device with its own hard drive. It is not currently possible to import external content into Lima after installation using this optimized method. 

We recommend to read the following sections regarding the import process.

If you use a pre-filled hard drive to Install Lima, we recommend you to backup your data somewhere else before launching the installation process. Please read below to know why.

A hard drive with a detected damaged sector may enter a ‘blocked’ mode where it is no longer possible to do any further reading. Your hard drive may be old or damaged but maybe you don't know it, neither does Lima without reading and writing into the entire HDDand such a thing can’t be done!

In other words, we do all the healthy checks on your hard drive that we can do, but before the import of your data has started we can’t be 100% sure your hard drive will work properly during the whole import. Besides, note that the import process is going to read and write a lot on your hard drive.

If you encounter a “Damaged disk” warning while importing your data during the installation process, please read our article: “Damaged Disk” warning during installation.

For this reason we recommend you to only use a pre-filled hard-drive that contains data that you’ve backed up somewhere else. We decline any responsibility regarding the loss of any of your data.

 

What does the import encryption process of the pre-filled hard drive do?

The import encryption process transfers, encrypts, renames and moves your files inside the hard drive.

The import process encrypts the files into the Lima supported format that will make them accessible via the Lima application, and in order to save your hard drive storage space, the original files in the hard drive are deleted once they have been encrypted and moved into the “.lima” folder in the hard drive. This makes it possible to successfully import data with a hard drive that is nearly completely full of content.

As a result, once encrypted (imported) into Lima, a file is no longer accesible in the hard drive for a standard use via the Mac or Windows desktop, but only via the Lima application (once the hard drive is plugged back at the end of the import process to the Lima device).

At the end of the installation and the encryption process, once the hard drive is plugged back to the Lima device, you can access the encrypted data of the hard drive via the desktop Lima application.

All the imported data from the pre-filled hard drive can be found in the Lima Drive, into the folder named “Import”.

 

The imported files have no metadata visible via a Mobile Lima application. Please note that no metadata is generated for the files added to Lima via the fast import encryption process.

In other words all the media files, that are added to Lima using the import encryption process at install, don’t have visible thumbnails and media additional information via the Mobile Lima applications for iOS and Android. These metadata still can be generated, to do so: "pin it" (right click on the file, click on 'Lima' then, click on 'keep offline version') on a desktop with metadata worker activated

 

What is exactly imported from the pre-filled hard drive?

All folders found at hard drive root will have their whole content imported into the /Import top-level directory of the Lima Drive.

The system folders found at the HDD root are not imported. These include folders that are created by the OS or by any previous Lima installation, such as ".Trashes" ".fseventsd" ".TemporaryItems" on macOS, or such as “$Recycle.Bin”, “System Volume Information” on Windows, and every root folder with a name starting with a dot (“.”).

The import process doesn’t manage the symlinks on folders or on files, neither the shortcuts on WindowsWhen a symlink on a folder is found, Lima just skips it. When a symlink on a file is found, Lima tries to add the linked file copy to the import list with no warranty.

Please note that, typically a macOS application contains symlinks. If you import it into Lima using the install import, the application won’t run correctly. Please zip any mac application before the import.

Typically, software code sources may too contain symlinks or shortcuts on folder or on files, the symlinks or shortcuts won’t be imported in Lima using the fast import process.

 

How can I skip the pre-filled hard drive encryption?

Actually you just can’t skip the encryption step: if some data is found on the hard drive, it will be encrypted and imported into Lima following the limitations and rules described in the above sections.

If you don’t want Lima to import the data on your hard drive please:

1) Stop the installation process: On the screen “Excellent! You already have some data to play with” please choose “FINISH LATER”.

2) Unplug the USB hard drive from the Lima device and connect it to your computer.

3) Remove your data from the USB hard drive (cut/paste it somewhere else).

4) Re-plug the USB hard drive to the Lima device.

5) Relaunch the Lima application by right clicking on the Lima icon from the desktop toolbar and select "Resume Install".


An exception to this rule exists when the Lima hard drive has a format that is not compatible with the Operating System running the installer (i.e. the Lima hard drive is a Windows disk and the installer runs on macOS). See the article: "Existing data will not be imported" warning screen. In this case, the import is either skipped altogether if the hard drive contains less than 5GB of data, or a specific error screen is displayed if the disk contains at least 5GB of data.

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