Help for using SSD for main system, HDD for data

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by palz, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. palz macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2010
    I'm considering buying an SSD for my MacBook Pro, after finding out that a RAM update wouldn't be worth it. As you probably know, SSDs are very expensive, so I'm probably going to buy a low capacity SSD (maybe 64 GB) to store the main system, and put my documents and data on the HD that shipped with my laptop. Problem is, I know how to do this in Linux easily, but I'm not sure how to do this using OS X. In Linux, you'd simply mount another disk as the /home directory (which stores user data.) I also don't have access to another Mac, if that's necessary.

    Basically, how do I mount my HDD as the /Users folder (maybe I'll add a partition for Applications as well) in OS X, and use an SSD for the /System and /Library folders (and any others?)
  2. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2011
    Are you sure its necessary to split things up? Aside from my video games and multimedia, I have everything on a 30GB SSD partition. Anyway, I used "symbolic links" to redirect things that couldn't be re-defined in a program.
  3. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Assuming that you plan on putting the HDD in an Optibay type enclosure in the optical bay this is very easy to do. Its helpful to do a fresh install when you do this, that way you don;t get fragmentation of links to where your files are as the physical address is going to change.

    After you've got the computer set up to how you like after your clean install Copy your Home folder to the HDD (just copy the folder with your account name from the /Users folder to the / of your HDD)
    In the Accounts section of System Preferences click the lock to unlock full access.
    Next Right click (option+click) and select Advanced Options.
    Next to the Home Directory line, there should be a button that allows you to choose the location for your Home Directory.
    Navigate and choose the copy of your home folder that's located on your HDD.
    Click OK and restart your computer
    After you restart you can tell if its using the folder on the HDD if you navigate to the HDD and the folder icon has changed to a house.
    You may now delete the original Home folder in the /Users folder if you would like. to reclaim some space on your SSD

    I did this last year and its worked out great. 40GB Intel SSD + 500 GB WD = Fantastic combo.
  4. palz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2010
    Thanks, this seems awesome, seeing as a 30-40GB SSD is much cheaper than other sizes.

    So I'll use internet recovery to install Lion on the SSD. But there's one (pretty big) problem. I have applications that came with my MacBook (I got it thru work, but can't guarantee access to the software) that I need (VMware Fusion, Aperture, FCPX, and Illustrator CS5.) My question is, if these have libraries installed elsewhere on the system, how can I make sure they're copied over when I reinstall? Can't I just copy /System and /Library?
  5. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    This is where the clean installation is recommended. You could, in theory, just copy the /system and /library folders; but the problem that usually arises from doing so is when the applications refer to the previous plists that point to the old home directory on the / volume instead of the new /new volume/ location.
    If you can, I wholly recommend trying to gain access to the installation media from your IT department to re-install cleanly. In regards to VMware, the virtual machine vdmk file can simply be imported back into a new installation of VMware on the same computer and work just fine.
  6. palz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ok, what I'll do is copy the partition to an external HD (and make it bootable so if need be I can just load directly into OS X), blank my HD, install OS X on the SDD via internet recovery, and reinstall. And I realised that another problem with just copying those folders is that the kernel and other vital (/usr, /bin, /var, etc.) data isn't in just /System and /Library.
  7. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    I almost forgot about the migration assistant. i suppose that using the migration assistant to transfer only the applications and then manually transferring your home folder and personal files to the second drive in the machine would also work to achieve what you want.

    Using this method, if your user short name stays the same you could conceivably just transfer the entirety of your current home folder and then when you link to that in system preferences, it will load up your desktop and preferences as you have the right now.

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