Is this possible? (partition hd and map my folders to it)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by eBrooker, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. eBrooker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #1
    I'm new to macs and was just wondering if this is possible (it's how I set up all my pcs).

    Basically I want to create a partition, and then 'map' my 'home' folder theret (my documents, music, videos, emails etc).

    So I end up with two partitions, one for the OS and applications, and the other for all of my own important files. This just makes it easier to reinstall an OS in future (should it start to play up) without having to worry about your files. In vista you just right click your 'my documents' 'my pictures' (etc) folders and then change the location to where you want. Same with email you just select the store folder.

    Really hope this is possible!
    :eek:
     
  2. i.shaun macrumors 6502a

    i.shaun

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    I'm not sure if that can be done, and if it can be, I sure don't know how.


    I'm just here to offer another possible solution.


    Create your own folders on the partition, ie: "Documents" "Applications" etc...

    Open finder and drag the default ones away so they *poof* away. Drag your new folders into the finder sidebar for easy access. When saving files, the things in the finder sidebar are always one click away.



    Now, to fix the Generic folder icon problem, click the "Mac Basics" link in my signature and follow the proper link.


    When you want to re-format, just do it. All your files will be on the other partition anyway. If you use iPhoto, you can set it's default location to the location of the new photos folder.


    -------------
    Front Row.

    Want your movies to appear in front row, but don't want them in the default "Movies" folder? Place them in a folder of your choice, then Create an Alias to the folder. Place the Alias in the default "Movies" folder. Front row will then be directed to that folder when you select "Movies"
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Lots of ways, best is to one I list last.

    Yes of course you can do this. I keep my home folder on an external disk drive because the startup drive lacks enough space. But what you are asking to do is solve a problem that does not exist. Installing mac OS X without messing up your files is a non-issue. I would not partition a startup drive to solve a non-existent problem. Leave your PC problems and solutions for PCs.


    OK if you are really set on doing this, a disk partition acts just like any other disk. So if you wanted to move your home directory to some other disk just copy it over. Then delete the old copy. Replace the deleted folder on the startup drive with a "link" to the place you moved your stuff to. Mac OS X uses the term "alias" for what everyone else calls a link. In the finder, right click on any folder and choose "make alias" then drag the alias to where you want it. You can then re-name the alias to what your home directory is called.


    It's actually faster to do this in the terminal, to move a home folder to some place then make a link that points to it just two commands "mv" followed "ln".

    What you really want to do is make a NEW home directory in another place. Go to "preferences/user accounts" then get to the list of users and right click on yourself. Choose "advanced options" and notice that there is a place to specify where the home folder is located. Now change that to your external drive, a network "share" or whatever you like. After you make the new home folder copy your data to it

    One more thing.... Before doing ANY of this make a good backup then UNPLUG the backup drive and put it someplace safe. You really should make more than one backup.
     
  4. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    Location:
    UK
    #4
    It's a good idea to create a second admin account incase something goes wrong when changing the location of your home directory. That way you'll still be able to login and fix things easily.

    Also if you reinstall the OS by doing an archive and install then it will keep the contents of your home folder.
     
  5. eBrooker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #5
    Thanks for the help everyone :)

    Yes this is exactly what I wanted - perfect! Thank you!!

    You've got me thinking now whether I really need to do this or not.

    On windows, if the system messes up you can put the OS disk in and attempt a repair. If that doesn't work your only other simple/quick alternative is to do a system install, ie formatting the drive and starting over reinstalling the OS and programs etc, thus losing everything on that drive, including your old emails/files etc.

    However, if you have a separate partition with all your own documents, emails and other files stored on it, if you ever need to re-install the OS it won't touch that partition (so they are still there, safe and sound). (Of course it's wise to keep back ups of this partition too - but this way kinda gives you two back-ups/fail safes).

    I really don't know how OSX works when it comes to repair/complete re-installs - are there any cases where a 'repair' might not work and you have no choice but to do a clean re-install of OSX from scratch? (ie by formatting the drive and wiping everything of it). And if that's the case do you lose your home directory/files? (I would imagine so?).

    If that did happen wouldn't it be prudent to do what I do on the windows PC? That way if the repair didn't work and I reinstalled OSX it would only wipe that partition and leave my home directory intact (the second partition) which I could then go to and copy over the important things like emails, documents etc when the re-install was complete, effectively restoring my system and files quite easily.

    I worry quite a bit but I think having this 'safer' option gives you more peace of mind.

    What do you think - am I worrying too much?

    If it is a good idea to go with the partition, how much space do you think I need to give the OS partition?
     
  6. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    You may want to take a look at Apples page on doing an Archive and Install of OS X.

    Mac OS X: About the Archive and Install feature

    The time when this wouldn't work is if there is a problem with the hard drive which requires it to be reformatted. Personally on my single hard drive system I leave everything on the same drive and backup via time machine to a second external drive.
     
  7. eBrooker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #7
    Glad you mentioned time machine!

    Is that like a proper back-up system? So say for example I set time machine to back up just my home directory (ie all my files/emails etc) onto an external hard disk. Then a few months down the line I had to do a clean re-install of the OS - could I copy over my home directory that was saved via time machine onto my clean install? Thus getting al my files back? Or is it a bit like windows registry snapshot - that only works with that particular install, not a reformat.

    If it can be accessed from other apples (ie new installs) that would be great!
     
  8. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a

    charlesbronsen

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    #8
    i too am wondering how you apply your time machine backups if your current os x heads south?
     
  9. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #9
    I have my home directory on a different hard drive. I used the system preferences method. However, its best to copy the data before you change the path. As the moment you change the path it will create a library folder with basic settings etc. Sometimes if those files are in use its hard to replace them with the ones you want to copy.

    As for time machine. If you have a full backup of with time machine(not just the home folder) then from your mac os x boot disk you can restore the entire hard drive. Or once you have done a fresh install you could do a restore as well of whatever files you may want. It contains all the data not just a snapshot of changes. You can even browse through the hard drive you backup and see all the files. However thats not recommend because its alot of links and you could mess something up if you change things.
     
  10. soberbrain macrumors 65816

    soberbrain

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #10
    You can use time machine to restore your files after reinstalling OS X on your Mac or to transfer your files from your old Mac to your new Mac.

    I did this recently to transfer my girlfriend's files from her iBook to her new MacBook.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1177
     
  11. eBrooker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #11
    Can you not just browse the directory and copy/move files like you would were it any normal directory/folder? That would be better in my view :confused:
     
  12. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #12
    This is what I do, and is probably the best thing to do. I have a copy of Super Duper and it backs up my system once a week. It only replaces older files with new ones. The great thing about this backup is that it's bootable. So if the Hard Drive fails (which it doesn't matter how many partitions you have, you will lose it ALL). Then you can just boot off that drive until you get a new hard drive.

    When you get the new hard drive you just Super Duper the install from the external backup to the new inside HD and you can boot up from that and you are back. No need to reset all your settings all over again (like you would have to do with a backup partition for just files versus backing up the whole os).

    An average backup of my 250GB internal HD to an external takes about 1.5 hours, so it is something that happens while I'm away.

    I honestly think this is the best way to go about it. Time Machine is nice, but it sucks having to reinstall the OS and all that when you can just boot off the external HD. This is assuming you have an Intel Mac.
     
  13. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #13
    You don't need to reinstall the whole OS. All you do is boot from the install disk. Then in of the menus you can restore the timemachine backup system and all.
     
  14. eBrooker thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 4, 2008
    #14
    For back-ups like that I would prob lean towards using time machine as it is an inbuilt application - however, the main reason for what I suggested (what I do on my pcs now with the seperate partition) is that _if_ the OS fails beyond repair (and the hard drive is fine itself) then your own personal files are protected and safe, and a clean fresh install won't touch them.

    It's more like an additional protection layer, and makes things a little bit easier for you in the long run.
     
  15. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #15
    But if you use time machine and leave the drive connected then you have a backup that is less then an hour old. So you don't really need to worry about the data on the internal drive.
     
  16. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #16
    O'Rly? Looks like I'm going to have to learn more about time machine then aren't I?

    BUT, even with Time Machine, what if my internal HD fails and I don't have the time to get a new one right away? I just boot off the external HD and run that for the time being. So what if it is just a tad bit slower, there is a LOT less downtime in such a situation, especially if the HD isn't user replaceable... ALU iMac...

    You can probably tell that I have had issues with failing hard drives in the past. I have really only been really good with computers for about four years now. In that time I have gone through FOUR hard drives. 3 full size and 1 laptop size. The first 1 was an internal drive that failed. The 2 were SeaGate external hard drives that I got used... And the laptop drive was one that I put in my MacBook and it had a physical crash just about 1 month out of my year warranty (that is just fantastic isn't it?). Since then I have been keeping a bootable backup.

    The problem with Time Machine I guess is I just don't understand it I guess. Moving to iTunes was a huge leap for me because I was very anal about my file hierarchy and naming of my files. Two years after owning a Mac and I am just now using iPhoto to organize my pics. I have always had a file system that I backed things to manually, so I had complete control. But as my used HD space grows, my patience will not!

    BTW OP, I did exactly the same thing with my Hard Drives as well. I actually had two hard drives though in my computer. One for the OS (a small 20GB hd) and one for files (a small 80gb, it was big back then though...). The main reason I did this was to reinstall the OS every 3 months, cuz that was the only thing I could do to keep the OS fresh and snappy.

    Well, thanks for the enlightenment, looks like I'm spending my night off learning about Time Machine.

    -Nick
     
  17. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #17
    This is an excellent point. It has its advantages. On the flip side if the hard drive is big enough you can have restore points back in history for day to day use if you lose files. Or if you make a system change the fries you system you can revert to the last hours backup.

    Or if you have another external drive you could restore to that drive if you need to use your computer when the internal dies.

    Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
     
  18. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a

    charlesbronsen

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    #18
    can you setup time machine to back up manually? I dont really need to backup every hour or day for that matter. It would be nice if I could just backup whenever I make a change or addition worth backing up.
     
  19. soberbrain macrumors 65816

    soberbrain

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    May 9, 2008
    #19
    You can turn Time Machine on and off.
     
  20. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a

    charlesbronsen

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    Oct 22, 2008
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    #20
    I think that would be my best bet as I could just backup and turn it off untill another backup is needed. thx :)
     
  21. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #21
    On the other hand it doesn't take much space to do those hourly backups because it only does the files that change.
     
  22. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a

    charlesbronsen

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    #22
    Each hour seems a bit much for me. I dont want to back up every little file/prog I download or use. I'm also too paranoid to leave my external running 24/7.
     
  23. stefan007 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #24
    moving default map Music

    Hi,

    I have an mbp 13" and I'm completely new to mac (and yes, I love it! ;) )

    I made 2 extra partitions, one for my music and one for my documents. Now, I already read that you can move the entire home folder to another directory, but my question is, can you also move the default map for eg. Music (and only that one, so not also Documents etc.) to another partition (so that the OS recognises that map as the default one for music?)

    Thanks in advance,

    Stefan
     
  24. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #25
    That varies from application to application. The iTunes library can be moved to anywhere you want under

    iTunes -> Preferences -> Advanced -> iTunes Music folder location

    (Side note: Apple needs to put some work into standardizing their interface capitalization across applications.)
     

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