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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Moving whole Users folder to second drive

Moving whole Users folder to second drive
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GSixZero
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Sep 16, 2011, 06:13 PM
 
Set my new MBP up with dual drives, one SSD and one standard HDD. I'm booting of the SSD but I want to move the whole Users directory to HDD for storage and HDD reliability. What's the best way to do this?

Thanks.
John

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-Q-
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Sep 16, 2011, 07:22 PM
 
It's actually pretty easy with the later versions of OS X, but a little work is involved. OWC has a good walkthrough here:

OtherWorldComputing.com
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 16, 2011, 11:56 PM
 
I suggest you consider not doing this, because it (partially) defeats the purpose of the SSD. All those small but often-accessed files in ~/Library will be slowing down a lot of your mundane tasks. If you want storage and reliability*, you can get it with backups and by moving folders like "Documents" "Pictures" "Movies" etc to the HDD (or direct your iApps to use new folders there), but keep ~/Library on the SSD. Just a suggestion.

*I assume by "reliability" you mean that SSDs fail without warning (when they fail), not that each individual access would be more prone to failure with SSD?
     
P
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Sep 17, 2011, 04:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I suggest you consider not doing this, because it (partially) defeats the purpose of the SSD. All those small but often-accessed files in ~/Library will be slowing down a lot of your mundane tasks. If you want storage and reliability*, you can get it with backups and by moving folders like "Documents" "Pictures" "Movies" etc to the HDD (or direct your iApps to use new folders there), but keep ~/Library on the SSD. Just a suggestion.

*I assume by "reliability" you mean that SSDs fail without warning (when they fail), not that each individual access would be more prone to failure with SSD?
++ on this entire post. Only gotcha is if you're a Steam user - Steam stores its files deep inside ~/Library, and that folder needs to be moved out as well.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
GSixZero  (op)
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Sep 17, 2011, 07:01 PM
 
So can I just leave my user folder on the SSD and make symbolic links to data stores on the other drives like ~/Documents ~/Downloads ~/Movies ~/Music ~/Pictures, etc?

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besson3c
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Sep 18, 2011, 01:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by GSixZero View Post
So can I just leave my user folder on the SSD and make symbolic links to data stores on the other drives like ~/Documents ~/Downloads ~/Movies ~/Music ~/Pictures, etc?

Yes. I think I read about people having problems doing this with iTunes, but normally this works just fine.
     
turtle777
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Sep 18, 2011, 02:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Yes. I think I read about people having problems doing this with iTunes, but normally this works just fine.
It's been working fine for me with iTunes for like 3 years now.

First on a FW ext. HD, now my iTunes library is on my Drobo. No problems.

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l008com
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Sep 18, 2011, 06:25 AM
 
I disagree. I moved my whole user folder to my HDD and left my OS and Apps folder on the SSD. There aren't very many small files in ~Library that are going to get accessed at the same time. It's a waste to have your user folder on your SSD, with today's SSD capacities and sizes.

That said, I did move my Mail folder to my SSD since i do have something like 100,000 emails, and a 90 GB SSD that had the space.
     
cms
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Sep 18, 2011, 06:57 AM
 
I moved my Home folder to my iMac's SATA drive and have nothing on my SSD boot drive except the OS and all apps. Performance is amazingly quick (3.4 GHz Core i7; 16 GB RAM). Only issues I have had were with Dropbox – easily fixed – and iCal, which took a bit more lateral thinking to resolve. It turns out the iCal issue was inadequate permissions on the relevant folder in the relocated Home folder but was easily rectified once I'd worked out what was going on. I could see my calendars but couldn't add/update/refresh events and reminders. I checked permissions in Home/Library/Application Support/iCal and added myself with full read-write access – rather bizarrely, I wasn't there at all, despite it being my own Home folder. All good now and very pleased indeed with my iMac's sparkling performance
     
P
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Sep 18, 2011, 10:03 AM
 
An iMac has a reasonably fast 3.5" HDD with a generous cache. An MBP has a very slow 2.5" HDD. Not the same thing.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
cms
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Sep 18, 2011, 10:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
An iMac has a reasonably fast 3.5" HDD with a generous cache. An MBP has a very slow 2.5" HDD. Not the same thing.
Agreed.

However, I didn't realise this thread was restricted to discussion relating to MBPs.
     
besson3c
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Sep 18, 2011, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
An iMac has a reasonably fast 3.5" HDD with a generous cache. An MBP has a very slow 2.5" HDD. Not the same thing.
Aren't they both just 7200 rpm SATA drives?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Sep 18, 2011, 10:57 AM
 
7200rpm is an option for the MBP but 2.5" drives are still not as quick as 3.5" drives as a rule.

I'd be inclined to leave the user library on the SSD too. iTunes and iPhoto are perfectly happy to have their library folders moved elsewhere. Documents and Movies are just folders.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
chabig
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Sep 18, 2011, 12:48 PM
 
Moving seldom used files makes sense to me, along with iTunes media files since they're accessed real time. But shouldn't the bigger files in ~/Pictures remain on the SSD too? Does keeping them on the HD prevent iPhoto (for example) from showing the same SSD performance increase?
     
P
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Sep 18, 2011, 12:50 PM
 
The OP was on an MBP, so I answered from that perspective. The experience with an iMac is not necessarily the same.

A 2.5" drive is inherently slower, because the reading arm has to move more on average to cover the same amount of data. The first track (where the os will put the most used files) is also smaller on the 2.5" drive, the cache is usually smaller and more drives use slower spindles. In this case, I suspect that the larger cache in the iMac may be helping your performance more than you realize.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 18, 2011, 01:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by l008com View Post
I disagree. I moved my whole user folder to my HDD and left my OS and Apps folder on the SSD. There aren't very many small files in ~Library that are going to get accessed at the same time. It's a waste to have your user folder on your SSD, with today's SSD capacities and sizes.

That said, I did move my Mail folder to my SSD since i do have something like 100,000 emails, and a 90 GB SSD that had the space.
The default location for storing emails is in ~/Library
     
Waragainstsleep
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Sep 18, 2011, 05:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
Moving seldom used files makes sense to me, along with iTunes media files since they're accessed real time. But shouldn't the bigger files in ~/Pictures remain on the SSD too? Does keeping them on the HD prevent iPhoto (for example) from showing the same SSD performance increase?
Thats a good point if you use iPhoto a lot. I imagine Aperture might like it too but then you risk using up your precious SSD space fast.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Andy8
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Oct 4, 2011, 07:49 AM
 
I got an external 1TB WD My Book Studio via FW800 into my newish Mini.

Is there some way to map some of the folder like Documents, Pictures, Music, Movies, Downloads so that they play nicely with my Finder? (like having the proper icons show up in the sidebar)

I tried moving my home folder via advanced options in the User Preferences, but then it only copied over part of my Library folder, so when I rebooted it reverted my user account to a new like state, with none of my old settings or preferences in place, so I ditched that and just moved the larger folders as listed above over to the WD external drive, but then they don't seem to play as nicely as when the user folder is moved formally.

Any suggestions?

10.6.8
Mini c2d 2.4
8Gb ram
60Gb SSD
1TB WD external FW800 drive

Edit: fixed it by following the OWC instructions that Q posted above.
( Last edited by Andy8; Oct 4, 2011 at 10:13 AM. Reason: added specfications)
     
   
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