Move Home directory to USB drive

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by kevink2, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. kevink2, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018

    kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    I just bought the new Mac Mini, but since my old home directory is quite large, I want to place it on an USB 3 drive (SSD).

    In the past, I used to have my home directory on a different partition (i.e. /Volumes/username), but back then, it used to be a normal SATA connection, so USB is probably messing things up.

    Now, when I changed my home directory to /Volume/username, on reboot the USB drive became /Volume/username 1.

    The alternative of setting symbolic links don't look like it will work. I can't delete the /Users/username directory (with the plans to setup a link to the /Volumes/username) or a couple large directories like Library or Pictures.


    Some additional research led to a solution. Instead of directly on /Volumes/username, It needed in my case to be /Volumes/username/username after I moved all the home files down a level.
  2. Just Jeff macrumors newbie

    Just Jeff

    Jan 24, 2017
  3. Fishrrman, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    Pay attention to what Just Jeff wrote in reply 2 above.

    I strongly suggest that you DO NOT attempt to move your home folder from the boot drive. It's possible, but may cause some unintended consequences.

    Instead, just move "stuff that's inside" -- such as the Photos library, iTunes music folder, etc. -- to the external.
    They will run fine that way, once you "re-direct" your apps (such as Photos and iTunes) to "find them" there.

    The end result will be a "slimmed-down" home folder, that still has the essential stuff in it.

    BE AWARE of the following (again, because of the "hard links"):
    You CANNOT simply move the "first sub-level" of folders inside the home folder (such as documents, movies, music, pictures, etc.).
    But you CAN move things that are INSIDE OF those folders.

    I don't use my home folder for very much at all.
    Some pics, but my iPhoto/Photos library is small and I keep all my own photos stored and organized elsewhere.
    I don't use iTunes at all -- next-to-nothing in my iTunes folder.
    Nothing in the "movies" folder at all.

    End result: never have problems with the home folder "getting too big", because all that stuff is "somewhere else" on another partition or another drive...

    One more thing (you may already be well aware of):
    If you move stuff to an external drive, that becomes one more drive that you must keep backed up, if those things are important to you...!

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