Dumb question about SSD boot volume..

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rmpstudio, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. rmpstudio macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    If i'm using my SSD as my boot drive, does this mean that when i drag and drop things to the desktop that they're going to save on the SSD drive?

    Is there a way to avoid this? Can i select a drive to "act as the main desktop" or something?

    I'm kind of a desktop junkie. I throw a lot of stuff on there and if my 80gb drive is going to get filled up with those items, it worries me that my configuration might have an Achilles heel.
  2. gesundheit macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2004
    The "desktop" is just a folder in your Users directory. I copied my entire Users directory (with SuperDuper) to a separate RAID drive, and just have the system and apps on my 80GB SSD. Everything I drag or download to my desktop is actually on the RAID. I know there are a couple other folks here doing something similar. I read through these directions:




    Now I've heard people have had problems after separating their Home directory from the boot disk, and I have already noticed that another Users folder has been created on my boot disk, and Google Earth has set up in there in the ~/library/application support folder. I'll have to keep an eye on how mucked up things get. If it doesn't pan out, I may just go with my "data" (docs, photo and music libraries) on the SSD, and put the Users back where they "belong." Then I'll just make sure I'm tidy with my desktop and move things off into the Documents folder before the desktop (on the SSD) gets too full.
  3. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    Thanks for the links, gesundheit. I've been considering an SSD boot drive as well and would want to minimise writes to it if possible. From some of the comments on the first link, it seems that some applications still use the home folder on the boot disk through a simple path ~systemdisk/users/homedirectory instead of using the directory services (?) that OSX does to locate the home directory.

    I was thinking a workaround would be to simply replace all the folders inside the boot disk home directory with aliases of the equivalent folders on the second disk. In fact, why not just do this anyway instead of moving the home folder location through the account preferences? Leave it where it is but move all the folders inside it and replace them with aliases. Can anyone see a reason why this wouldn't work?
  4. chelsel macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    good question. I'm anxious to hear opinions on the aliasing suggestion also.
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think this problem is occurring when an application tries to access the user directory when the RAID hasn't come up yet for the system -- whenever OS X fails to find the user directory where it expects it, it creates a new one (like the behavior when users changed the name of their home directory in previous versions of OS X).

    Normally, in Unix, one might go a step further and establish a mount point using fstab for the /users directory. This I guess would be lower level, and it would prevent the problem, because even if OS X were to try to create a new user in /users, /users still always would point to the alternate drive.

    But it seems that fstab is deprecated in Leopard and people are having trouble doing this with the automounter.

    FWIW, not in the context of an SSD boot drive, but in the context of Filevault, I didn't want a 40GB filevault file that contained encrypted versions of MP3s and stuff like that, so I just moved my large directories that didn't contain sensitive information like the music and so on outside the encrypted folder, and this did work fine. I'd figure that, if you could move all your document folders as well as your music and so on off the SSD in this way, your home folder would actually be quite small and pose no real issue for the SSD?
  6. rmpstudio thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    wow. thanks. that's why i love this forum. Ask a question. get an answer. :)

    that's exactly what i needed to know how to do and now i'm not so worried. :)
  7. gesundheit macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2004
    I tried unsuccessfully to create a symlink on the SSD pointing to the new Users folder on my RAID (which is the outer partition of 3 1TB HDs inside my MacPro, and I don't think delayed mounting has been a cause of any foul-ups). I may have another go at the symlink soon.

    I was initially going to just put docs, music etc on the RAID, and that would leave me with a nice slim Home folder on the SSD. But I kind of liked the idea of having all my user-created data, including the user library with bookmarks etc, off on a separate drive, and the easily replaceable OS and apps as the only things on the SSD, which I'm far more likely to corrupt as I muck around with it. If I do run into more User directory misbehavior though, I may be forced to go that route.
  8. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    I'm using my SSD for a boot/applications drive. I moved my user files to a RAID 0 array. The whole system is fast. 360GB/s or thereabouts.

    In Sys Prefs, Control click on your user and change the folder to another drive.

    I have read about people having problems with updates. I have had none so far.

    It is the best way to go. Go back and delete the old user files on the SSD. I had to delete the folders in my find and drag them over from my new users folder on my RAID 0 array.

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