Splitting users away from the OS

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
429
81
I am not sure if I am making problems for myself to now need to fix. A common practice inside of Windows environment was to split your applications and data away from the Windows OS itself. It was more from a side of being easier to re-install the OS without looking everything that you had on the computer.

I know that Apple does allow this. If you go into your user profile under advanced, you can select to move your /users/username directory tree to a new location.

I have an iMac that I am moving over to Mojave. I don't have a huge SSD drive inside the iMac, but do have loads of storage capability external through a OWC Thunderbolt 2 four bay enclosure. I have put inside several SSD drives that until now I had just used to load Windows, use to backup onto. But as 1TB ssd's are now around the $120 mark, why am I living with trying to fit myself into a 256gb internal drive in the mac. I should be able to give myself loads of drive space external.

I gave it a try and found that several of the apps that I use broke just by having the users pointing to a different volume. Is this a so far out there thing that complaining to the developers is just mad?
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
471
161
US
I would assume that theoretically it should work... The system is in charge of telling programs where home is and it does not matter which hardware or volume it is located on.

However, placing home on external drive, which may not be available or ready at log in time, is asking for major trouble.... And if it gets disconnected, it will crash system.

Easier way I use is to use links from home to other volumes locations. Keep homes of users on main drive and, if needed, link locations from other volumes to appropriate place in home folder. That is how I setup my family if there is not enough space on main drive. Works just fine and no one complains.

Which applications failed?
 
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roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
429
81
Please let me know how to setup these links?

I was told that bit about volumes all need to be there for everything to work. It's an iMac on a desktop, so if a drive is not available on boot then I likely have a more serious problem to deal with. (IE drive failure). It's not a network drive but a physical attached storage so latency shouldn't be a problem.

So far I am haveing issues with iMazing2 .. their backup of network attached iphone/ipad doens't work if your home is located anywhere other than where the OS is installed. Also Firefox keeps speratically loosing access to thier add-ons. I just switched to a different web browser. My UPS montoring software for some reason won't record the power usage on the computer.. but it does detect a power outage and handles auto shutdown and rebooting fine. But most apps seem to work fine.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,241
6,094
You want the following on your Mac OS boot drive:
- The OS (of course)
- Applications
- Home (user) folders*

* These can be "basic" folders, and you can keep your actual "data libraries" (such as movies, music and pictures) on another volume.
But the OS expects to find your home folder on the "main OS volume".
Trying to move it -- without knowing EXACTLY what you're doing -- is an invitation to disaster.
 

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
429
81
The problem is the integration with location and the OS. The mac defines a location for the home folder and then assumes that all the directories all fall in the same location. Sure you can save files anywhere, but then you are forced to take the time each and every time to change to a different location. So.. for example, The OS will create a Download directory and all the web browsers for some reason use that folder to download to. I guess you can dig through the settings inside each app and point it to a different location. But what about the Desktop? Again, it's sort of a magic folder that contains all the files that are placed on the desktop. This can fill up, and although we shouldn't use the desktop as a storage bin, it easily gets stuff put there as it's in your face there. I have a friend who when working on an illustration project for a client had a full 45gb of files all on his desktop. This is all file space that in my case I simply don't really have. Likewise, the default save location for saving documents is the documents directory. Again, sure you can point to a different location but then it's shifting back to a ton of work to keep overridining the defaults and pointing somewhere else.

The operating system has a function inside of the Users/Groups where you can click the unlock and then with a right click on your user, select Advanced. There you can define where the home directory is. This can be defined as any volume location you'd like, and if a developer makes the OS call for the home, it will be given the correct location.

Its clear that this isn't how everyone writes code, so I am looking for a better solution.