Moving the home folder

Discussion in 'macOS' started by deryk, May 2, 2005.

  1. deryk macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003

    I recently purchased an external hard drive (firewire 400) and I want to move my home folder there. When I hold down the option key and click on the folder, it just copies my home folder to the hard drive. Is it possible to move my home folder to the hard drive? I'm using OSX 10.3.9.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. n0de macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    Moving Home Folder

    Here you go:

    You can move your personal User folder to another volume with a few simple commands in OS X's Terminal application.

    Open Terminal and type the following commands:

    sudo ditto -rsrc "/Users/username" "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username"

    sudo niutil -createprop / "/users/username" home "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username"

    Sudo asks for your password to provide temporary root access, which is necessary for this exercise; volumename is the name of the new volume; and username is the name of your user folder.

    The first command (sudo ditto) copies your complete user folder, including all invisible files, to a new user folder on the volume volumename; the -rsrc option ensures that all resource forks are copied. The second command (sudo niutil) basically reassigns your home directory from the original location to the new location. (In fact, this Terminal command does exactly the same thing as using the NetInfo Manager utility to change the location of the property home for your user profile.) At this point you should log out and then log back in to make sure your user folder was copied properly to the new volume and your home folder was properly reassigned. If you're successful, open Terminal again and type the following commands:

    sudo rm -dr "/Users/username/"

    sudo ln -s "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username" "/Users/username"

    Here, the first command (sudo rm) deletes your original user folder. The second command (sudo ln) creates a symbolic link (similar to an alias in OS 9) from the main Users directory on the boot volume to your new user folder on the new volume (mainly so that it's easier to find your personal user folder, which you'll see in the standard Users directory on the boot volume).

    If you want to use this technique to move all user folders, remove /username from the first two commands above. However, you should remove (using the rm command) and link (using the ln command) each user folder individually and leave the main Users folder and the Users: Shared folder alone, because some applications require you to have the shared folder inside the Users folder on the boot volume.

    Original Link:
  3. deryk thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003
    Thanks, but I stil need some assistance

    Thanks for this reponse and I am just getting around now to doing this and I am having some problems. I have repaired permissions.

    When I type these commands in the terminal here is what I receive:

    [J-Ryan-XXX-Computer:~] ryan% sudo ditto -rsrc "/Users/Ryan" "/Volumes/Ryan's Files/Users/Ryan"
    [J-Ryan-XXX-Computer:~] ryan% sudo nuitil -createprop / "/Users/Ryan" home "/Volumes/Ryan's Files/Users/Ryan"
    sudo: nuitil: command not found
    [J-Ryan-Kennedys-Computer:~] ryan%

    I am unable to get beyond just copying to the external hard drive. Any further help, I would much appreciate.


  4. deryk thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003
  5. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
  6. frm macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2009
    Help with 10.3.9 Moving Personal User Folder please?


    I have followed step 1 above.
    However in step 2, instead of
    sudo niutil -createprop / "/users/username" home "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username"

    I used
    sudo niutil -createprop / "/users/username" home "/Volumes/Users/username"

    I then did 3 and 4.

    Now, when I login I can see all my 'username' files & folders in /Volumes/Users/username but it does not recognise that it is the 'home' folder. They all just have normal folderr icons.

    I still have a 'username' in /Users/username which has a bunch of empty folders (Desktop, Documents, Library, Movies, Music, & Pictures) The Desktop that appears as background on login is empty, so it is the empty Desktop folder in /Users/username, not the one I want in /Volumes/Users/username.

    :eek:..... Help please ??
  7. John89 macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2008
    I was thinking of doing this too...sticking it onto my Express Card SSD, but I hear this can cause problems when you get an OS update from apple?

    Has anybody that has done this had any trouble?
  8. aaronvogel macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010

    I'm working in 10.6 and looking to do this with just my Downloads folder. Can anyone tell me if this will still work? And if so, I presume the commands would be:

    sudo ditto -rsrc "/Users/username/Downloads" "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username/Downloads"

    sudo niutil -createprop / "/users/username/Downloads" ?? WHAT HERE ?? "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username/Downloads"

    sudo rm -dr "/Users/username/Downloads"

    sudo ln -s "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username/Downloads" "/Users/username/Downloads"

    But that just seems too easy....

Share This Page