Creating user accounts on separate drive

Discussion in 'macOS' started by macstatic, May 23, 2013.

  1. macstatic, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013

    macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    What is the correct way of creating a new user account on a separate drive from where OSX is installed?

    I've done it before but am unsure if I performed a "hack" or not, but this time I want to do it "by the book" (for other reasons I'm reinstalling OSX and everything else and thus have a freshly reformatted drive for the user). Google results only give me info on how to create the user on the OSX drive, then move it over to the separate drive, reboot and delete the original user folder on the OSX drive, seemingly for people who already have a functioning user account but which they want to move elsewhere. But is there a different way to do it when I don't need to move things over? I can't seem to find a way to access "Advanced option" for user-accounts unless I've already created an account (which defaults to the OSX drive).

    In my Mac Pro I now have OSX (Snow Leopard) and an administrator user on the boot drive and I want to create a "standard" account on a separate physical drive (which is freshly formatted).
  2. MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    Why not just do the standard make the user and move it method? Honestly I think you are probably making the process more difficult than it needs to be. But here is my best guess:

    You could try creating the new user through dscl. Something like these steps here. You would need to look through the dscl options to determine the exact commands for 10.6.

  3. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    I didn't quite understand everything about dscl in the command line, so I tried the other method again. Actually I found out that it's very important to log in as the standard user right after you've created it, then copy/change the path after this fact and still logged in as the standard user. Failing this I got ownership issues (the new user folder would belong to the administrator). So this is wht I did, step by step:

    - install OSX from the DVD, create an admin user as part of the installation
    - admin: create new standard user
    - log out
    - log into standard account (IMPORTANT!)
    - standard: initialize (format) the separate HDD to wipe it clean
    - standard: create a Users/ folder on that separate HDD
    - standard: copy the original standard user folder to inside the new Users folder (on the separate HDD)
    - standard: in System preferences' Accounts section; right-click on standard user to access Advanced options.
    - standard: change path to new location of standard user folder
    - standard: when asked to reboot, reboot the Mac
    - at this stage it doesn't matter which account you log into, but you might want to log into the standard account to check things out
    - log into standard account
    - standard: locate the original standard user folder, then delete it as it's unused and will only cause confusion

    Have I done everything "by the book" now?
    I read something about symbolic links on some site related to all of this. Is this something I have to be concerned about or can I go ahead and put my files back into the new user area now without any problems?

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