optimizing boot drive

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mightypants, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. mightypants macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    I'm looking to optimize my 2008 Mac Pro by creating a bare-bones boot drive and having all my user data, etc. on other drives. I currently have 3 internal drives which I originally set up to meet my needs for music and audio production:

    Drive #1: system, applications, and most of the standard user content
    Drive #2: music and video files, and audio project files (Logic Pro files, etc.)
    Drive #3: virtual instrument sample files

    This is a fairly common setup in the audio/music production industry and my audio apps have been running very well with it. I'd like to shuffle things around to improve overall system performance. My understanding is that getting everything other than system and application files off the boot drive will speed things up, so I'm planning to move a whole mess of stuff from Drive #1 to Drive #2.

    So my question is, what needs to stay on the boot drive and what can go? I'm planning to move the content of my Documents and Sites folders, as well as my iPhoto library at the very least (my Music and Movies are already on Drive 2). I know I need to keep Applications and Utilities on the boot drive, what else? Probably everything at the root level of the drive except for Users, right? Is there anything else I should know about before I make this change? I'm considering buying an SSD and using that for the boot, still not sure whether or not I have the cash to spend.

  2. cvaldes macrumors 68040

    Dec 14, 2006
    somewhere else
    You should move your entire user directory to a second drive, not just select folders. When running many applications, your computer will read/write to the Library folder in your home directory. Things like preferences, cache, etc. for applications like Safari, etc.

    This also makes backing up your stuff easier. I keep all user accounts on the second drive of my Mac mini. Only the operating system and apps reside on the boot drive (which has been replaced by an SSD).

    When I run Time Machine, it backs up everything on the second drive; I don't even bother backing up my boot drive anymore. If the SSD dies, I'd have to rebuild from scratch, but I'm okay with that.

    If you had any need/desire to run a different version of OS X (let's say Snow Leopard), you could install the OS on another drive, boot from that, and all of your stuff would be on the second drive.
  3. mightypants thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    Thanks for the response.

    Would it be problematic for me to move ALL the subfolders under my user account, rather than to move the user folder itself? I already moved the Music and Movies folders independently when I set the system up for music production and I'd like to keep consistent with that setup if it won't be detrimental to performance. Some other follow-up questions:

    1. Will applications automatically know where to look for my new user > Library folder, or will I need to find a way to point them there?

    2. Can I move my user > Desktop folder? I would think that is hardwired to the boot drive.
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    1. Make a full bootable backup before attempting anything.

    2. If you're going to experiment (and you probably should test it before committing to it), create a completely new user account, and experiment on its home folder, sub-folders, etc. It's far better to have a disposable don't-care account than to end up posting a "Please help, I've screwed up all my data" message when things go wrong.

    Personally, I'm not sure you'll see much in performance gains. I'd be surprised if you got even a 15% improvement, or anywhere near it. I, for one, wouldn't be messing around with my data for a paltry 15%. YMMV.
  5. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    Any suggestions on how to do this? can you just drag 'n' drop your users folder to the 2nd drive?

    I ask because my internal 1TB drive on my 2009 iMac is completely full with about 750GB being taken up by my users folder. Offloading everything to my external 4GB hard drive would be preferable.

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