Changing home drive from SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mpeyrac, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. mpeyrac macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Hey Guys,

    I know this is my first post but I have been a long time reader and I thought this would definitely be the best forum to post my request. Thanks for helping!

    I currently using a 500GB drive, however I've just bought a new 256GB crucial SSD.
    I am going to install the SSD into the main HDD bay and swap out the optical drive for the 500GB drive. Once the new SSD is installed I am going to install LION and run time machine to restore all my apps and data onto the new SSD. From here I would like to format my old 500GB disk (in the optical bay) and use this for my user/data storage.

    What I need to know is how do I move my home drive from the SSD to the new drive? Is it as simple as copying my "username" to the 500GB disk and going into the users and groups properties, advanced properties and changing the location of my home drive to the 500GB (where I dumped my username)?

    I hope what I am saying makes sense? I know there are alternatives however I don't want it to get too complicated. I am really hoping its as simple as literally copying my "username" to another volume and pointing the home drive location there.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
  3. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks for posting that.

    So it looks like its not as simple as just copying my user directory to another volume and changing the location under user and group - advanced options to reflect the new volume?

    What if I don't want to use CCC but just use Time Machine to do a restore to the new SSD, will this work?
  4. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Nothing wrong with using time machine afaik. Just make sure that you have everything that you want backed up on there.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yup, I've used TM to restore my drive w/o any problems. It was a tad slow but it works seamlessly as you would expect an apple product to work.

    I do prefer using CCC, just because its quicker. I take a CCC back up for just an occasion and I use Time Machine when I over write a file, or change something that I wish I didn't. CCC is for those oh crap moments when something terrible occurs, thankfully that's a rarity. :)
  6. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    so Dangerous Theory, once I restore the SSD. Would I just copy the folders (music, pictures, movies) across to my old data disk and then add symbolic links?

    Could I not just copy my whole "username" and add a symbolic link for that?
  7. mpeyrac, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012

    mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    I don't understand one fundamental thing. How does copying my home drive to another location and referencing it under user and groups, different from building symbolic links?
    This seems a very convoluted process.

    EDIT - I found this. Can anyone confirm this works
  8. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    The difference is that moving the entire home folder is moving everything. There is no granularity.

    Moving everything just kills off most of the speed advantages of the SSD. There are also preference files (Mail, iCal Data) in there which are needed by apps frequently. If they stay on the SSD the HDD can go to sleep and stay that way you are better of. Working data should always be on the SSD or else why did you buy it.
    Stuff that should be moved is only big files like movies (archive, watching), music, pictures.

    You do want to have movie files that you are currently working on, music files if you work with those on the SSD and move the stuff once finished to the HDD. If you are a programmer you want all your working data and all repositories on the SSD not the HDD. They rarely need too much space and the access speed helps a lot.

    Moving the entire home folder seems easy but it somewhat defeats the purpose of having an SSD.
    Yes app launch times will be a bit quicker, swapping won't hurt as much, startup is quicker, but
    you spend like a few seconds launching apps but hours working with them
    swapping really isn't all that much of a problem today with ram prices so low,
    and who ever starts up their mac frequently is a fool to begin with. You put it in standby unless an update demands a restart every couple of weeks. Wake up from standby is no faster on an SSD.

    Somebody who moves his entire home folder to an SSD has IMHO wasted his money.
  9. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Ok thanks Dusk007, I've done a little more reading and think I'm ready to do everything that you have, and others suggested. Creating SymbolicLinks.

    I only have 1 last question regarding symlinks.

    If I move my music/pictures/movies to the 500GB drive. When creating the Symlink in Terminal would I do this

    # ln -s /Volumes/Data/Movies Movies
    # ln -s /Volumes/Data/Music Music
    # ln -s /Volumes/Data/Pictures Pictures

    I believe this says map my data drive/x folder to Movies/Music/Pictures Folders

    But I am a little confused, don't I need to map the destination folder in full /volume/SSD/blah/blah/users/blah/Music OR Pictures OR Movies???

    Can someone please confirm either way? I'm just not sure how it would know what Music OR Pictures OR Movies are on their own?

    Thank you,
  10. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    hmmm looks like I've run into some issues when trying to point my music, downloads, movies and pictures under my user profile on the new SSD to the old mechanical drive.

    Basically I this is what I do -

    1. I open terminal and type sudo su
    2. change directory to /users/myusername
    3. I type - ln -s /newdata/volume/Pictures Pictures

    The error I receive is
    ln: Pictures/: File exists

    So basically I can't overwrite the Pictures folder on my SSD to point to the old pictures folder on the mechanical disk.

    Does anyone know a way around this error? Basically I want the files under my user profile on the SSD to look like this -

    Pictures folder on SSD --> symlink to Pictures folder on mechanical disk
    Downloads folder on SSD --> symlink to Downloads folder on mechanical disk
    Movies Folder on SSD --> symlink to Movies folder on mechanical disk
    Music folder on SSD --> symlink to Music folder on mechanical disk

    NOTE - I am able to type this command
    ln -s /newdata/volume/Pictures ~/Pictures -------> However with this command it creates a symlink under /var/root and this pointer obviously isn't the same as the "pictures" folder under my user profile on the SSD.
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Not if you navigated with cd to your user folder.
    If do the command from any other location, you'd need a full path.
    like ln -s /Vol....ures ~/Pictures

    Don't log in with the root user. ~ always points to the current users home folder, if the current user is root .. well.
    type sudo directly in front of the command that only gives you root privileges but doesn't make you root user afaik.
    Or maybe try it without sudo first, chances are it isn't needed in your own user folder.

    If it says you cannot overwrite try adding the -i tag. I did it long ago and don't have Lion, who knows what is all different. My folder shows no special rights needed.
    ln -s -i ....
    -i asks for a confirmation 'y' but should overwrite like the -f force param.
  12. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Hey Dusk007,

    Thanks for replying. So after doing extensive research it looks like this is the best solution.

    From what everyone is saying (including the link above) when you remove, lets say the "Music" folder from the SSD and point it via symlink to the HDD - it will infact link it but you will not see nice icon MAC has allocated for the music folder but infact an icon with a little curved arrow.

    I think I will just use this process in the meantime so I can offload the items that I want to the HDD then I will add them to the finder sidebar myself.
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Yes I checked it does seem to have some ****edup deny delete to everyone extended attribute. And if you remove it, it messes up a lot more. Seems they don't want you do that anymore.

    Movies can just be moved to a custom folder. Downloads I would keep on the SSD.
    Music just reset the music folder inside of itunes. What does it really matter if the one in the home folder works.
    Pictures iphotolibrary manager might help. I use it to basically keep 2 libs. One with old big archived photos and a smaller one with the more recent stuff. It can also be used to adjust picture library locations.

    Strange though. In Windows they add the feature to change those locations at will from within the folder prefs. In OSX they go the other way.
  14. mpeyrac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Yeah I know what you mean. Look I was able to move all folders, including movies, music, downloads and pictures.

    The way I did it was using symlinks. Specifically I used this website. Worked a dream.

    One thing I will note with this method is that the special icons associated with each folder are lost and you have the little curved arrow. Other than that everything works like a dream. Half my stuff is offloaded to HDD and the important stuff sits on the SSD.

    Very happy now. A hassle to setup but making the most of the SSD. Hopefully oneday I will be able to get a big enough SSD and won't have to go through this hassle.

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