How to split OS/Apps and data when adding an SSD

nconnella

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 1, 2008
193
24
So I'm considering adding an SSD drive and moving my existing drive to the SuperDrive slot.

My question is about setting things back up once the drives are installed.

Can anyone recommend the best way to get my information back on the two drives? I want OS and apps to be on the SSD and data on the HDD.

If I do a clean OS install on the SSD can I use data migration to put apps on the SSD and do the same process to put the data on the HDD?

Is this the easiest way to split things up?

Thanks!
 

priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
3,631
476
Estonia
I did a simple split:
- OS and all apps on SSD (blessed ie bootable drive)
- User home folder (most if not all of your data) to HDD. Actually, I just left it there and removed all other files & folders from HDD after setup was complete.
I also set up separate admin account with home dir on boot drive (SSD) just in case I need to boot without the HDD. Without user home folder you won't be able to sign in to the system.
I did a clean install on SSD because it was too small to have TM backup to be restored.
You can set user's home folder location in Users & Groups Preferences - Advanced Options...
I also created symlinks to user folders on HDD volume into /Users folder on boot volume, just for compatibility with legacy applications (not even sure this is necessary).

PS for mechanical decoupling reasons, I left the HDD in original place (it has rubber suspension) and installed SSD with caddy into Superdrive bay. Because SSD can withstand mechanical forces, it won't be affeced by rigid mount of Superdrive caddy. I have no idea, if there are any caddys available with mechanically decoupled drive mount. If you need to place SSD to the original location of HDD (there are reports about failing boot when boot drive is connected to Superdrive SATA connector), then I'd suggest to get a caddy with rubber padded drive mount.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
I would strongly recommend against putting your entire home folder onto the HDD for performance reasons. ~/Library is one folder that you definitely want to keep on the SSD (it is hidden). Depending on what documents you're working with, I would keep that folder on the SSD too. There is nothing more annoying than waiting for a spreadsheet to load.

You simply need to restore to the SSD. Then you move all of your stuff like movies and music to the hdd. Then create symbolic links, or aliases (I prefer symbolic links) in the home folder called music/movies/whatever else you moved and point them to the new location on the HDD. There are hundreds of thread describing this in more detail on the forum. Use the search function.
 

nconnella

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 1, 2008
193
24
Thanks for the advice guys. The reason I can't simply restore to the new drive and then move stuff is my SSD won't be large enough. My HDD is about 400GB full and my new SSD is only 240GB.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
Thanks for the advice guys. The reason I can't simply restore to the new drive and then move stuff is my SSD won't be large enough. My HDD is about 400GB full and my new SSD is only 240GB.
Do you not have a backup disk? I would start by going out to the shops and buying an external 1 TB or 2 TB drive before doing anything. :)
 

nconnella

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 1, 2008
193
24
Do you not have a backup disk? I would start by going out to the shops and buying an external 1 TB or 2 TB drive before doing anything. :)
I have a time machine backup drive. But I have to do a data migration or full restore from that. I think I've thought of a simple solution. I have an additional external drive that I'll copy all my music and movies to (majority of the space) then do a new time machine backup and restore THAT to the SSD.

Then once that's restored and I've set up my symbolic links to the new Movie/Music folders on the HDD I'll copy the media back over and be good to go.
 
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