Do you normally partition your Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hady, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. Hady macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2014
    Hello guys this is me again, yep with my new macbook pro and asking a lot of questions ! :D

    I came from an windows background which the first thing i ever did with a new laptop was to partition my hard drive so i can keep my data safe when installing a new windows latter on, and also just to keep them away from the windows files and for them to be private and secure and all that stuff.

    I'm wondring if its the same deal with a mac ? do you guys normally partition it ? and is installing a new OS on a mac a pain like windows and could risk losing my data ? also I'm not a back up guy so i won't be doing any back up before upgrading my OS, i just don't like having copies of my private data ! also it takes a lot of time.. so tell me more about your experience regarding this.

    thanks everyone !
  2. pmau macrumors 65816

    Nov 9, 2010
    Since years I have been creating a "Users" partition in a way that all my new
    users are at /Volume/Users/xxx, instead of /Users/xxx.

    This way, I do not have to migrate anything when I update my OSX release.
    I can boot from an external drive, update OSX and re-create the user account with the correct path.

    I also try to limit the /Applications folder to Apps from the store and Apps that have an installer. This means I only have to reinstall Apps from the store after I setup my new Mac.

    Stuff like Firefox, Chrome or other Apps are located inside an Applications folder in my Home directory, i.e:


    I can also update these without being an administrator.

    But you have to choose if you want to follow this approach.
    It takes a little knowledge about modifying the user account and knowing what Apps are better left in /Applications
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Mostly mac users use time machine

    If you can set up some networked storage and have time machine running in the background then OSX updates are all handled online without you having to worry about anything any issues and you can restore from your time machine backup.

    OSX will install the new OS version directly to your mac without disturbing any of your content, I have never had an issue.
  4. snaky69, Sep 15, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014

    snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Nope. It's a rather useless practice, even with Windows nowadays. You can do an OS install only on both operating systems without wiping any data.

    Edit: And having no backup strategy is just about the stupidest thing you can do with a computer. Every, single, hard drive, eventually fails. It's not a question of IF, it's a question of WHEN. You should invest in a backup solution, and you could use time machine(which comes bundled with OS X).

    The first backup does take a while, but subsequent backups are extremely quick as the backup only contains what has changed from the previous one.

    Usually a good backup strategy for important files is: the original, a copy on another hard drive and a copy off site, should the building burn down.

    Trust me, unless you're high up in a corporation or government, you're not interesting enough for anyone to bother snooping through your private data.
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Nope, no reason to. Just the potential of getting annoyed when one partion is full and the other is empty.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I see no reason or benefit to splitting up my drive (other then bootcamp). I have OS X on a single partition and I've done that for years.

    Its true that many enterprise Unix servers have a separate drive for the OS and another for the data or user areas but we're not talking about business servers, but rather home computers where people rarely need to split the partitions.
  7. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    installing/updating OSX is vastly quicker/easier than Windows. That said I have seen people run updates and have it not go well. (Requiring reformat, ie, data gone.) Doing a major update (like Mavericks to Yosemite) without having your personal files backed up is just stupid, to put it bluntly. Possibly a bit safer if all your files are on a separate partition, but still. I think partitions made more sense with mechanical HDs; not so relevant with SSDs.

    Having no backup (especially for a portable device that can be lost/stolen) is pretty much a guarantee that your "private data" will eventually be lost/stolen. You can do encrypted backups, have it run automatically, heck just drag your user folder/files over to an external usb drive every couple weeks. It doesn't have to be a time-consuming regimen.
  8. Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    I have 5 Partitions, then again I'm using 4 Operating Systems and needed a place for all of the to share their data.
  9. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    No, in fact, I use RAID 0 to combine few HDDs into one big and fast partition.
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Recovery partition and regular partition are a gracious plenty for me.
  11. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Since time machine has a complete backup of everything at all times, separate partitions seem unnecessary. You can just copy everything you need over to the new install, if necessary.
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    No, I don't partition them. The only exception has been for Boot Camp. Otherwise, I have external drives I use for overflow storage.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd also add that OS X's ability to upgrade without affecting a user's data is another reason why it doesn't make sense to split up the drive.
  14. Rizvi1, Sep 17, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014

    Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    I've been doing a practice for the past few years where I make my main partition titled "Filevault," and a smaller one I title "Non-Filevault." Non-Filevault is just 50GB and in it, I have no personal files, no additional background processes running (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc). No back ups are performed on it - it's just a clean OS install.

    (I do have a login for that partition. And I don't allow it to remember the password to my main partition in its keychain so it does get kind of annoying to always have to enter in the main partition's password everytime I login to unlock it - I'm not sure if avoiding that is even necessary, but I just do it to be safe).

    But I did just have my first painful process with working with partitions. Apparently, once you use Filevault, once you delete a partition (let's say you want a clean install), it becomes unusable free space. You can't set up that partition to be able to get an installation on it again, nor can it be absorbed back to the main partition. It's just stuck.

    I called up Applecare and they said I had to turn off my Filevault on the main partition, then I could go back and make that space proper. That decryption process was like 8 hours. And even then I still don't think I could work with doing a clean install on that partition after Filevault was off and the decryption was done. I ultimately ended up having to delete the entire HD.

    The reason I deleted this partition was because I was selling my laptop and wanted to have a clean install on that partition so the person buying it could play around with the computer to make sure everything was working before buying it (yeah, it was already a clean install, but over the years, I don't know what's been installed behind the scenes. I wanted it freshly clean. Didn't want to take any chance on slowdown).

    So the plan was that if the buyer was good with the purchase, then I would at that moment erase my main partition and let him go home and do a clean install on his own using Internet Recovery. I thought this process would safeguard me against having to delete all my files off the computer before the sale so that I could keep using it to the last possible second.

    Long story short, I like working with partitions and already on the new 2014 rMBP I bought last night, I set up my usual 50GB one. But I know that should I need to change anything with these partitions, because I use Filevault, it's going to be a long annoying ordeal.

    And I would need to prep for the future sale of this rMBP in advance since you can't do a clean install without first turning off filevault and letting the decryption finish.

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