Moving "Movies" folder to an external drive

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Draddy, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. Draddy macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2007

    So I want front row to look at the movies folder on an external drive instead of in my home folder... is this possible?
  2. Macsterling macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3B48b Safari/419.3)

    You can with the movies folder in iTunes. That's what im doing now until I get my itv.
  3. motownflip macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    create a alias folder in the movies section and link it to your external hd. That's it. I hope I'm explaining this right, I'm exhausted.
  4. Draddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2007
    yep, thanks. didn't think of that.
  5. jamtoast macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2009
    Seamlessly moving OS X Movies folder to an external drive using a symbolic link

    To move Movies (or another 'special' home folder like Pictures or Music) to an external drive you can use the following method which I found after some searching.

    The nice thing about this method is that it is 'seamless' - if you click on the Movies folder in 'Places' you look straight into the folder as if it were still in your home folder on the start up drive even though the content now resides on an external volume. The same applies within Front Row. No having to click through an alias.

    Warning! :eek:
    This worked great for me - but since it involves hacking around in terminal with root privileges I make no promises that you won't monster your data or you system! Best do a clone with SuperDuper! before you start. ;) I did this on OS X 10.5.7

    You will need to login as the root user to do this. If you don't know how to do this see this link.

    The following instructions assume your external hard drive is called <external_hd> and that your home folder (your short account name) is called <username>.

    You must not already have a folder named Movies on <external_hd>. If you do rename it to something else.

    1. Log in as 'root' user.
    2. Open Terminal
    3. Navigate to your normal home folder
      cd /Users/<username>
    4. Create the new Movies directory on your external drive
      mkdir /Volumes/<external_hd>/Movies
    5. Move the existing contents of your home Movies folder to the new Movies folder on <external_hd> (If you have a lot of content in your old Movies folder this will take ages - go and make a cup of coffee).
      mv /Movies/* /Volumes/<external_hd>/Movies/
    6. Delete the now empty Movies folder in your home folder
      rmdir /Movies
    7. Create a symbolic link in its place that points to your new Movies folder on <external_hd>
      ln -s /Volumes/<external_hd>/Movies /Movies
    8. Log out of root and back into your normal account and bingo!

    Note that Time Machine (or other back up programs) will not back up this directory as part of your home folder - as the Movies folder is now just a pointer to your external drive.

    Modified from original solution found at TinyApps.Org
  6. GingerPrince macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    I don't think you want to be referencing /Movies do you? Surely it should be just Movies?

    Anyway, it doesn't work in the sense that it doesn't restore the special icon for the 'Movies' folder. And why do this as root? Just use sudo, that's what it's there for.
  7. koopatroopa macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2006

    Following these instructions to the letter, but can't get it to work. Desperately want to try and achieve this. Any thoughts?

    The Documents directory does not want to be deleted, and tried sudo and everything. Terminal keeps telling me "Directory is not empty", even though it definitively is!
  8. jamtoast macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2009
    Try using root, not sudo. Agree sudo should work - but didn't work for me either. GingerPrince is right thoough - doesn't restore the special icon. At least it did initially, but after restart it reverted to looking like a plain folder.
  9. ViperDesign macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2007
    why do you want to do this? I am confused on the reason for this?

    Why not just put them on the external, and then import them into iTunes and choose not to move the files in preference? Much easier that way...
  10. mbrowne macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2009
    Improved instructions

    Another update: Since it's actually the footage, and not the project files themselves, that take up significant space, it might be a lot easier just to follow the instructions here to just move the footage:

    jamtoast's instructions are actually on the right track, I think he just made a couple typos while entering them. A little Unix knowledge comes in handy for this sort of thing :) The Movies folder is actually stored in each user's home directory, which is referenced with a ~. I would recommend these instructions instead:

    1. Move the files in the Movies folder to your external drive (I'm going to assume that you're moving it to a folder called "Movies"), using Finder (they will be copied by default, since you're dragging to a different drive, just delete the files on your main drive afterwards).
    2. Make an alias to the external folder and drag it to your home folder on your main drive (just let it be called "Movies alias" for now). You can do this by option-command-dragging the folder icon, or look up Aliases in Help.
    3. Click on your original movies folder (on your main drive) and select File > Get Info. Click on the folder icon at the top and copy it (Command-C). Click on the alias you made, do a Get Info on it, click the ordinary folder icon and paste the movies icon (Command-V). This is just aesthetic, but it's nice to have the Movies folder look different from an ordinary folder, I think.
    4. Open Terminal (just use Spotlight and type in Terminal). You should already be in your home folder
    6. Now go back to Finder and rename "Movies alias" to "Movies," then drag it to the left-hand sidebar so it will be listed with your folder shortcuts as it probably was before. iMovie and any other programs should know to look at your external drive now, or wherever your alias points to. (These instructions could work for a second internal drive also.)

    One thing I was never able to figure out was how to get the folder icons to look just like the originals, but I think I read somewhere online that the best bet, if you're not satisfied with the image of a folder with a little reel in it, is to go to one of the sites where you can download free alternate icons for those folders and just download one you like.

    Update: As I was just revisiting this process myself, I noticed one drawback to moving the iMovie folder to a different drive -- the "Media Browser" option in the Share menu no longer works correctly, i.e. other apps like iDVD won't be able to see the files you've exported. I can't seem to track down where they are on my hard drive either, so for now I'll be using the "Export Movie" and "Export Using QuckTime" options. Based on a Google search it seems that iLife 09 may change this, but I'm still using 08 so I can't test it. If you have iLife 09 and it still doesn't work, you could try double-clicking this file and playing with the settings (this file doesn't exist in iLife 08):

    [Your Main Drive]/Library/Preferences/
  11. mbrowne macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2009
    Also, for the record, iTunes does not allow you to move the Movies folder. I guess the earlier poster was thinking in terms of movies that you happen to have in iTunes.

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