Do you have a seperate home partition?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by weizilla, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. weizilla macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #1
    I just brought my first mac computer a few hours ago (blackbook) and I love it.

    One thing I'm would like to do is reinstall mac os x so I figured I'll partition the hd too. With windows xp, I had my "My Documents" on a separate drive for easy backup. In Vista and Linux, there were too many hidden and random folders so I just kept the documents themselves on a separate partition and kept the "Documents" and "/usr/[user name]/" folders on the main partition. I figure I'll lose settings but it'll keep my documents partition clean.

    I was planning on doing this as well with mac os x but would it be better if I just mount the entire "/Users/[user name]" folder from the separate partition? Would this screw up permissions if I reinstall mac os x later one because the settings from the previous installation will be there?
     
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #2
    It is possible to have your user folder in a location other than the default /Users, including on a separate partition, and it's pretty easy to find tutorials for that on the web.

    However, I'd recommend against it unless you have a VERY good reason; since Apple, Apple's installers, Apple's documentation, basically all troubleshooting, and pretty much any application is going to assume the user folder is in the default location, you're setting yourself up for arcane problems down the line. It could very well work perfectly, but I'm willing to bet at some point you're going to have trouble with some system update.

    That said, since ALL user settings will be in your home folder, backing it up isn't that big of a deal--back up your user folder, and you can easily restore that exact user state from the backup later. Done this many times.

    Now, if you're talking about data past your stock ~/Library stuff (bookmarks, preferences) and some text documents (that is, big video files or whatever), it might well be worth keeping your files on another partition; I do this as well. That has the advantage of compartmentalizing things, it can reduce fragmentation depending on how you work, it can prevent you from unintentionally filling up your boot drive, and of course if you do something to the OS (reinstall, whatever), your main data is elsewhere.

    Basically having a document partition that you generally save stuff to, like you've done before, is fine; having your actual user folder in a nonstandard location, I'd say asking or trouble.

    Incidentally, if you're worried about permissions issues on a non-boot partition, you can always set the "ignore ownership on this volume" checkbox in the Finder, which removes a layer of security if you have multiple users, but also relieves most permissions hassles.
     
  3. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #3
    That's everything I wanted to know. Thanks!!!
     
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #4
    Not necessary in OS X

    I always did that in windows.. one partition for data, one for XP. About once every 6 months to a year I'd wipe the XP partition and start fresh, just because it kept everything running smooth. Install my apps, and about 2-3 hours after I started I had everything back up and running.

    I got a mac mini, to be a 2nd computer. Never bothered to reformat it, and well I'll be but it was one of the original G4's running Panther. Now, what, 3 years later, it's still running that same darn instillation of Panther. I've never once had a problem with it.

    Now that Leopard has Time Machine®, I don't think you have to do it at all. Just make sure you back up (like you would anyway) and you'll be fine.. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had to use a backup of anything since I switched to mac.
     
  5. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #5
    Instead of moving the actual folder to another location, would making a folder on another partition and creating a symbolic link from /User/[user name] to that folder solve these problems?
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #6
    http://www.bombich.com/mactips/homedir.html

    ...that's an old tutorial, but it probably still works. And yes, creating a symlink to map /Users/you to /Volumes/[whatever]/you is basically all that's involved.

    But again, while it'll probably work fine, it strikes me as having a greater-than-zero potential for annoying/weird issues down the line, and a relatively small benefit.

    If you've got a good reason to do this, go for it. Even if things go wrong, at worst you'll probably just have some hassle, rather than data loss (of course, back up, but that's ALWAYS true). Personally, I don't see what it gets me for the sort of thing in ~/Library. If I were keeping a bunch of stuff in my Documents folder, maybe, but then why not just save that stuff on another partition and leave any home remapping out of it entirely.

    There are iPhoto and iTunes libraries, but those can easily be moved without messing with the whole home folder.
     

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