Moving the Users Folder in El Capitan


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 5, 2015
Evening guys

long time reader, first time poster.

Its been baffling me all day this issue so you'll have to excuse me if this has been posted before.

Right to give you a brief background.

I have a MBP (13 inch, mid 2012). I've recently upgraded the memory to 16Gb and i've also removed the CD Drive. This has been replaced with the 500Gb HDD that came with the machine and in the HDD place i've installed a 60Gb Intel 520 SSD.

This as you can imagine is being used as the startup HDD and the 500Gb as the storage area.

As I say i've been at this all day and for the life of me i cannot get the relocation of the Users directory to work correctly.

Whenever I start these pet projects of mine i always try and do as much research as possible to save bother people in forums for what seems like a simple solution. I've seen the many guides about copying across the Users folder from the SSD to the HDD, then right clicking the Account in Users and Groups, and then changing the location so that it points to the HDD, but it just doesn't seem to work properly.

I seem to get errors. For example I can't install Google Chrome whilst logged in as that user - permissions issue. I've tried looking at permissions and setting them correctly but to no avail.

Oh this has been clean installed - is there any way of allocating drives during the install process (dare i say it, like Windows)?

Again I apologise if this has been posted before but its driving me potty!!



macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2006
Did you specify the user home directory by going into System Pref... Users & Groups... and right click on the user in question and edit the home directory location. Mine resides on an external drive.

Best of luck to you.


macrumors member
Nov 13, 2012
Western NY
Leave the Users folder on the SSD. Ideally, also leave an admin account on the SSD, in case your HDD fails so you still have a means of logging in. Finally, don't move the "Shared" folder. Only move the user folder of the particular user(s) you want to move.

I used to do this but with my latest reinstall I've stopped and kept all my users based on the SSD. I then created symlinks within the Documents, Pictures, etc. folders to parallel copies on my HDD. If you keep your user folder on the SSD, you'll gain the slight but noticeable speed benefit of having your User Library folder on the SSD.
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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 5, 2015
Oh my word, why on earth didn't i go the SymLink route earlier. That is so much easier. So i've left my home drive on the SSD and SymLink'd Documents, Music, Movies, Downloads and Pictures to the mechanical Hard Drive.

Thanks you so much!!!