Install Users directory on another drive.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Alan Mackey, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Alan Mackey macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2011
    I come from the Linux/Solaris world where, installing the OS from scratch, you can customize your partitions so, for instance, the /home directory is installed on a separate partition and/or drive.

    Is it possible to do this on macOS? Is so, how?

    I know I can always install the OS and move the /Users directory to another drive, but I was specifically wondering about doing it during the first install.

    Any info would be much appreciated.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Frankly, in the "Mac realm", you're better off just leaving your home folder on your boot drive.
    Things just go better that way.

    If you have "large libraries" (of movies, music or photos) in the home folder, they are easily moved OUT OF the home folder, and are easily accessible from other volumes (drives).
  3. amors macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2013
  4. Alan Mackey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2011
    That could work for the iTunes and Photos libraries (just copy/move them to the new drive, press Option while clicking on the app icon and choose the new location), but I'm not sure I can do the same for my iCloud Drive folder (it's rather large and I need to move it to another drive).

    As a temporary workaround I just copied my entire home folder to the new drive, changed the mount point using System Preferences > Users and rebooted. Once I verified everything was running smoothly from the new location (including the iCloud Drive folder), I deleted the original home folder from the boot disk.

    But I still wonder if, during the OS first install, I could mount the /Users directory on another drive. I mean, Fusion Drive works exactly like that, so I guess it surely must be possible.

    Thanks anyway. Much appreciated.
  5. teidon macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    It's true that in macOS it's usually best to go "with the stream" instead of trying to "swim against the stream". Often when you try to do something the non-Apple way, things get hard and/or begins to fall apart. But thanks to the Unix -like file system that macOS uses, it's possible to move system folders to other partitions in a way that it's transparent to the rest of the OS.

    I highly doubt there is a way to do it during the installation of the OS. macOS is all about user friendliness and ease of use. Power user features such as tinkering with various partitioning schemas aren't at the spotlight. If it's possible to create a "One-click OS (re-)install" feature, anything more complex than that can't possibly be easier/simpler to use. And so the Apple style would be "One-click OS (re-)install". Also if there is less than say 1% of users that need/want a specific feature, there is little reason to provide that feature in any kind of user friendly form - but also little reason to prevent those users from doing it some other way.

    Here is one guide how to move /Users to other partition. Not sure if it still works, but it's very much not "the Apple way". If thinks break sometime later, you have yourself to blame. ;)
  6. Alan Mackey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2011
    Okay, I think I got it: creating a Fusion Drive will allow me to do what I originally wanted.

    Thank you all for your responses.

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5 September 19, 2017