Does Mac OS X use external drives for scratch space?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Unspeaked, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    By default, does an install of Mac OS X use external drives or secondary drives (in two drive systems) for scratch disk space?

    If not, what about a second partition of the same drive?
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    No. It's not needed with OSX, as the OSX does defrag periodically (unlike a certain poorly made os).

    You can use other disks for scratch disk for media apps though.
  3. TH-Gunner macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2008
    OSX must use some of the primary disk as swap... How else does it save the RAM to the HDD when it goes to sleep?

    But no, I don't think any sane OS would use USB-type external HDDs for swap. It can too easily accidentally be disconnected and that would be problematic.
  4. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    All computers use the system drive as a scratch disk, to not use the system drive would defeat the purpose of "scratch disk"
  5. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    If you get OS X running on ZFS it would, but why would you want your scratch disk to be external, let alone USB???
  6. BobZune macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    If you are comfortable with mucking around the OS (e.g., at least intermediate+ level Unix knowledge) you can move the swap space to another partition. See

    to get started. There are other resources too, if you want to search for moving the swap.

    It is too much trouble for 'normal' users and the OS manages swap just fine, so it is better to leave it alone unless you have some very specific need.

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