safe to move home folder to optibay disk?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mulo, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #1
    simply, what are the risks associated with moving my home folder off my boot drive and onto the drive in my optibay?
     
  2. apd macrumors member

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    Mar 8, 2011
    #2
    There shouldn't be any. I run an optibay with an SSD in it as the boot drive. That has all applications and BootCamp partition. All docs on HDD in the main bay (to preserve the Sudden Motion Sensor). Works a treat.
     
  3. terzinator macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #3
    What's the best way to do this?

    I want to move "home" (all data, movies, photos, music, etc...) from my 128GB SSD to the 750GB optibay HDD...

    So, just option+drag the users folder to the new drive? (To move instead of copy?)

    I figure it could be that easy, but just thought I'd check. ;)
     
  4. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

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    #4
    No, it is not that easy. You need to update the local Directory Service with the location of the home directory.

    In regards to issues, you may have some, specifically with things that are using absolute paths. The best way to do this is to start with your home directory in the right location the first time you log in.
     
  5. terzinator macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #5
    well, I found this article:

    http://chris.pirillo.com/how-to-move-the-home-folder-in-os-x-and-why/

    Which says this, in a nutshell...

    Drag the users folder to the new drive... (So you copy it over.) It will show up, but not with the "home" icon.

    then go into system preferences > accounts

    control+click on the account you want to move. This will reveal an "advanced options" button. Select it.

    Where it says "Home Folder," browse to the new location on the new HDD.

    Restart.

    It will now show up with the "home" icon.

    (and then you can delete the old one.)
     
  6. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    #6
    There is one risk. If you remove the optibay drive and forget to set your home folder back to your main /volume drive then you cannot boot back into your login. It will kick you out saying blah blah is not found and you get kicked to your login screen but keeps failing to login. So then you'll have to put back in your optibay drive, let it login and then change the account home folder back to the main drive. I've ran into this once or twice lol, but I've remembered now to switch the home folder back if I am going to remove optibay or the hdd for whatever reason.

    I've swapped storage drives, taken in for warranty so I had to remove optibay, etc which are reasons why I ran into this issue. Also renaming the optibay drive different name while it's set as home will cause this issue. So yeah...
    ---
    The easiest way in making your home folder to optibay and leaving the SSD as your OS and applications is going to sys pref>account>click the lock, pw> right click your account and change home folder directory to your storage optibay.

    This will allow the home folder stuff, like documents, movies, music to automatically be created onto the optibay but when you install applications, they'll install into your applications folder on your SSD which is what I like since that helps with load times etc. And just drag the other install dmg's to the correct applications folder on SSD.
     
  7. terzinator macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #7
    OK, I did it... seems to work just fine, but here's a question...

    The reason to do this is because the 128GB SSD is too small to hold all the movies, music, photos, etc...

    But I wonder if I really need to move the home folder. The apps in question (iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, etc...) generally just need to know where the library is, right? And that can be anywhere. Doesn't have to be in the home folder.

    So, is it more advantageous to keep the HOME folder where it is, on the SSD/boot drive, and just put the DATA itself on the HDD? I'd assume that other apps use the info in the HOME folder (preferences and whatnot), so if the home folder is on the HDD, then the machine is always going to be having to access the HDD.

    But if only the DATA is there, the machine only accesses the HDD when it needs to grab the data. Right?

    Is that anything?
     
  8. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    #8
    You're pretty much right, some applications will allow you to automatically pull stuff from where you want, as in a data/storage location. I do it because it makes everything flow. Rather than having the 2nd drive with a folder full of files even if you organize it, the OS likes to go to where your home folder is and it keeps things cleaner IMO.
    But yeah if you wanted you could just create folders yourself on the 2nd HDD and point things there. The benefit of officially changing the home folder, as I am kind of repeating myself, is that now there's an official home folder on the 2nd HDD so most applications will store data files there. For example, Steam will download your games directly to your home folder drive, aka the storage drive. But if you don't mind it, then yeah just tell iMovie or iTunes where to go.

    I'm probably paranoid too, but this also helps keeping writes down on the SSD, as I just use it to load applications and the OS and most of the writing is done to the HDD, especially any background stuff. But again, most applications, like web browsers you can change the download folder to a specific folder on your optibay. But I just let the applications handle themselves, which is almost always via Home folder, which makes it easier for me.
     
  9. terzinator macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #9
    Thanks, aznguyen... so just to clarify: You DID move your home folder to the HDD, right?

    And then, you just have to be make sure you move that off if/when you replace or reformat that drive.

    I'm still torn on the best way to do this. (I'd like to decide before copying all 200+GB of my music/photos/movies over.)

    I guess I'm fine if "most" of the applications need to put their data on the SSD (if that's where the home folder is...) Yeah, music/movies/photos will need to go to the big HDD right away, If I need more space for the other apps, I can create a separate archive on the 750GB for it.

    I don't game, so I'm not worried about space for that.

    I might have to do a poll!
     
  10. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    Minnesota
    #10
    I'm two days away from doing the same. I had the whole home folder on a separate HDD in my Mac Pro, but with the SSD I'll be putting in my laptop, I will not move the home folder. The home folder contains tons of library info that is accessed often by the OS so I want that to remain on the SSD. If all that stuff were to go on an HDD it would mitigate the speed advantage you get from the SSD. The bulk of my stuff is in my itunes library (music, movies, tv shows) and pictures. I am going to put those two things on the HDD.
     
  11. mulo thread starter macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #11
    Terzinator, I did it for several reasons.
    firstly because of media files, movies photos music, but with my usage also my ~/Library gets really big, and there is no way i can nor want to relocate and make symbolic links for all those files. (its currently 23GB)
     
  12. terzinator macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #12
    man, I'm totally on the fence about this. And there are good arguments from both sides!

    I have Win7 using 60GB of my 128GB SSD... So I definitely need the space on the HDD for the big media stuff. But does it cause more issues if the home folder is on a different drive than the boot?

    I understand the issues if you replace the HDD, that you need to move the home folder BEFORE you replace the HDD, or you won't be able to log in again.

    So, I feel like I should put the HOME folder back to the original spot on the HDD, and then just point relevant apps to the big media library on the 750GB HDD. I have enough space on the SSD for documents and whatnot. It's really just the big media files that are the issue.

    I'd like to make a decision soon, before I copy all my media!
     
  13. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    Aug 24, 2007
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    #13
    I had the home folder on a separate HDD in my Mac Pro for years and never experienced a single issue. I haven't heard of anybody experiencing any issues with it either. If that's what you want to do, do it and don't worry about any problems, because there really aren't any.

    But that was for two HDDs. Like I said before, there is quite a bit of stuff in the home folder that the boot drive will access pretty regularly. So if you put a bunch of that stuff on the HDD, you're kind of missing out on the benefit of having an SSD.
     
  14. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 1, 2010
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    Alabama
    #14
    I've been following this thread closely as I'm about to do this procedure myself. Moving the entire HOME folder seems like a much easier solution then trying to pick and choose what will be on the 2nd HDD - just my perception. So how much does having the entire HOME folder take away from the performance of the SSD? A little? a lot?

    I've broke open my computer a few times and I can get around in it, but I'm still in the learning process when it comes to configuring a 2 hard drive set up.

    Sorry to hijack - just wanted to ask, and maybe ask for a "step-by-step" how to set up a 2 HDD system without moving the HOME folder
     
  15. diveganesh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #15
    my 17" early 2011 MBP has two internal drives: an 128Gb SSD and a 750Gb HDD.

    my home folder (along with apps+osx) is on the SSD and pics, music and videos are on the HDD.

    for those apps that assume default locations for data, i use a combination of folder "aliases" and symbolic links (no real reason why both really) so that they can find their data and for the rest i just point them to the folders on the HDD.

    this way it's easy for me to decide what i want (and can have) on the SSD and what bits need to stay on the HDD. it's fairly straightforward to set up.

    if however you do create the entire primary user directory on the HDD, you might want to create another (unused) user with the user directory on the SSD...this might make things easier if the HDD dies on you.

    hope this helps.
     
  16. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    #16
    I don't think it takes away from the SSD speeds at all from my experience. Apps load fast as hell since all the apps are on the SSD, boots super fast. Other than that, music, movies don't need the SSD's speed to play. If I wanted to work with huge files in photoshop or something then I could just save it on the SSD. I have my school work folder saved on the SSD, for quick loading powerpoints and stuff. But iMovie I have the files on the HDD since I have large files. But yeah I prefer it this way and rather not deal with symbolic links.
     
  17. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

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    Alabama
    #17
    this is what I don't get. I don't understand creating aliases and symbolic links.... also how do I know what apps automatically look for data and what other ones need to be directed?

    I know my FCS needs to be directed, which I have it pointed to an external HD. My itunes, I see where I can direct that app, but I didn't see the same option for iphoto.

    I get this is probably basic stuff for most people, but not for me.

    thanks
     
  18. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #18
    It's definitely easier to just move the home folder off the SSD, as you've indicated. And that's great that you haven't noticed any of the slowdowns that I bring up. It's encouraging. I am only speculating on them anyhow, so any first hand experience trumps what I am saying.
     
  19. Djlild7hina macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 28, 2009
    #19
    I did this with my macbook pro and works like a charm! although i started with a fresh install of osx and transferred all my files over to my hdd previously. put the ssd in the optibay and my 1.5tb in the old hard drive bay and then changed my user directory
     
  20. terzinator macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #20
    Well, I decided to keep the HOME directory on the SSD, and then just put the media files on the 750GB HDD.

    Since preferences and caches are stored in the Home folder, I figure I'd rather keep it all together to make the most of the speed of the SSD.

    But I'm guessing any speed differences are negligible.
     
  21. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #21
    I know this is an older thread per se but how has everything been working for everyone so far? I just went with storing my movie/video files, photo's and any CS4 saves on my HDD and left the SSD in my iMac alone to keep things altogether App wise.
     

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