Problem with Symlinks for Moving Mail Data Folders to an External Drive

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by LBattis, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. LBattis macrumors newbie

    LBattis

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #1
    I am using the Terminal App in El Capitan 10.11.6

    I have moved my, "Mail" and "Mail Downloads" Folders to the following locations:
    /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail
    /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail Downloads

    From the following location in the Terminal I have tried creating Symlinks:
    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$
    i.e. Folder="Library" User="Fathom"

    I have tried the following commands with the attendant results YET in each case, the Apple Mail application puts the data into the Mail Folder (hypothetically a symlink) on my, "Macintosh HD" (local drive).
    As for my, "Mail Directory" folder, I have yet to get any positive result:

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail/ /Users/Fathom/Library/Mail
    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ (Symlink appears in "Users/Fathom/Library)

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail Downloads/ /Users/Fathom/Library/Mail Downloads
    ln: Downloads: No such file or directory

    -------------

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail ~/Library/Mail
    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ (Symlink appears in "Users/Fathom/Library)

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail Downloads ~/Library/Mail Downloads
    ln: Downloads: No such file or directory

    -------------

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail/. ~/Library/Mail
    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ (Symlink appears in "Users/Fathom/Library)

    Laurens-MacBook-Pro:Library Fathom$ ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail Directory/. ~/Library/Mail Directory
    ln: Directory: No such file or directory

    -------------

    I'm at a loss, I appear to be placing a valid symlink for the "Mail" folder using three different syntax. Appearances are deceiving as the Apple Mail File is still writing its data to the Macintosh HD using the "symlink" for a parent folder.

    As for the "Mail Directory" I suspect the 'space' in the folder's name is thwarting the Link command. I also suspect I would get the same result of misplaced data it it were operational. I'm less worried about this as I understand that the "Mail Downloads" folder is a repository for temporary files and may be cleared periodically without negative results. I would be nice-to have, but not need-to-have.

    How do I solve this dilemma?
     
  2. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    The Mail Downloads folder has not been used by Mail since Snow Leopard.

    Moving items in the User's Library to an external drive is not advised.

    If you need space there are other files like the iPhoto Library and/or Photos Library and the iTunes Library to an external drive. Hold Option key when launching the apps and select the library folder on the external drive.
     
  3. LBattis thread starter macrumors newbie

    LBattis

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #3
    Thank you for your prompt reply, Sadly this doesn't work as an option for me as the amount of data I wish to load into Apple Mail from my external mail accounts, Google, Yahoo, &c., exceeds the size of my local drive. This is what's motivating me to make this move.
     
  4. Sko macrumors 6502

    Sko

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    I'm not sure I understand your problem correctly, but you are right that the space in "Mail Directory" disrupts the command. A space must be preceded with a backslash \

    ln -s /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail\ Downloads ~/Library/Mail\ Downloads
     
  5. LBattis thread starter macrumors newbie

    LBattis

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #5
    "A space must be preceded with a backslash \ (alt-shift-7)" Understood, I'll keep this in mind in the future with commands in Terminal.
    As for my problem, It would appear that the Apple Mail Program is disregarding my symlink. I am looking for a syntax that will make the program behave correctly when it encounters a low-level pointer to another drive for data storage. In this case the location of the data repository is: /Volumes/ST-Cuda-4T/AppleMail/Mail Downloads - which is a path to a folder on an external drive named, "ST-Cuda-4T"
     
  6. LBattis thread starter macrumors newbie

    LBattis

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #6
    It turns out that there is a different approach to the problem which has solved my dilemma:

    Hello LBattis,
    Nothing in a hidden folder is user accessible. Even if it works in some situations in some years, it may fail at any time.
    If you don't have enough hard disk space for your mail, then you need a new hard disk. Mail doesn't take up that much storage. If you are low enough to the point that this would make a difference, you just need a new disk.
    If you aren't able to replace your hard disk, the next best option is to move your entire home directory to the external drive. Then, you can go into System Preferences > Users & Groups > (your account) > right-click or control-click > Advanced, and change the home directory location to your external drive.

    I implemented this solution as follows:

    1. Check Backup (Time Machine) of home directory.
    2. Move the entire home directory to the external drive. Copy the user folder from the, “Users” folder at the root level of your hard drive to a folder in the external hard drive. Enter username and password to authorize this.
    3. Open System Preferences to Users & Groups and create a new administrator’s account. Why? If the external hard drive goes kablooey and the internal hard drive lacks a user folder, you won’t be able to boot that drive into a fully functioning account. With that extra account, you can do a recovery.
    4. Still in Users & Groups right-click or control-click on the user who’s home directory has been moved. Change the home directory location to the new location on the external drive.
    5. Reboot the computer.
    6. Delete the original user folder on the Macintosh HD.
    7. Test system. Focus on the Mail application.
     

Share This Page