September 2, 2010

Moving OS X /Users to a separate partition

After considering the Alternatives for separating the OS X users' home directories, I decided to use a separate partition.
In this post, I'll explain in detail how to use a separate partition ("Volume" in Mac OS X parlance) for /Users.

While the actual procedure is not difficult, it involves several steps.
  • First, we'll rename /Users to /UsersOld, and we'll create a new /Users directory that will serve as the mount-point for our new partition
  • Then we have to edit the /etc/fstab to instruct OS X to automatically mount (that is, make it accessible) the new partition on /Users
  • Afterward, we'll "move" the contents of our /UsersOld folder into its new place.
  • Lastly, we might want to tweak the set-up a bit to make it look, as much as possible, as a regular installation


Mac OS X, being a Unix system, has the almighty 'root' user. However, on OS X Snow Leopard, it's disabled by default.
As we'll be using the 'root' account for this procedure, check Apple's support article on 'root' if yours is not enabled.


Throughout the rest of this guide, we'll also be using the Terminal.
I'll be marking the commands to be typed in bold, as follows:
# echo you type this you type this #

Getting Ready

  • Make sure all your users (if any) are logged-out
  • Login as 'root'
  • Launch the Terminal

Renaming the /Users directory

Now we'll move our current /Users folder aside, so we can set-up a new one for our mount-point.
# mv /Users /UsersOld #

Setting up the new /Users mount-point

We'll now prepare the new /Users Mount-Point.
This is as simple as creating a Folder, and setting correct ownership and permissions.
# mkdir /Users # chown root:admin /Users # chmod 755 /Users #

Identifying the Partition

Mac OS X identifies each partition by a UUID (Universal Unique Identifier).
We'll need the UUID to instruct OS X to automatically mount the partition in the next step, so let's gather it.
  • Open Disk Utility
  • Find the partition you wish to use as '/Users', right-click it and select 'Information' (or hit CmdKeyi)
  • Select the value of 'Universal Unique Identifier', and copy it (CmdKeyc)
  • Close the information window
  • If the partition is mounted, right-click on it, and 'Unmount' it

Setting up auto-mounting of /Users

It's time to instruct Mac OS X how to mount our new /Users partition.
Being a Unix-based system, this can be done by editing the /etc/fstab file.
  • Before editing this file, it might be wise to save a backup of the original one.
    # touch /etc/fstab # cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.orig #
  • Launch TextEdit (or, if you are familiar with the vi text editor, you can use vifs)
    # open -a TextEdit /etc/fstab #
  • The TextEdit window opens (probably with an empty file if you haven't already edited it)
  • Make sure it's in plain text format (if not, select from the Format menu the "Make Plain Text" option)
  • Append the following line at the end of the file:
    UUID=TheValueYouCopiedAbove /Users hfs auto

    After editing, your file should look similar to:
    UUID=84BA91DE-C37F-F13D-B5C9-FECA5184DEB7 /Users hfs auto
  • Save the file and Quit TextEdit

Mounting the new /Users for the first time

At this stage, our /etc/fstab file is ready, and, on the next boot, Mac OS X should be able to automatically mount our /Users partition.
Let's verify that it can be mounted, as expected, on /Users.
  • In Disk Utility, find the partition you designated for '/Users', right-click it and select 'mount'
  • The new /Users Volume should appear in Finder (and in the Desktop if you selected that in your Finder's Preferences)

As we want to keep the same level of permissions as we had before the move, we'll make sure file ownership is preserved.
  • In Finder, locate the 'Users' Volume, right-click on it and select 'Get Info' (or hit CmdKeyi)
  • Verify that the 'Ignore ownership on this volume' is NOT checked.
If you prefer, this can also be done from the Terminal, as follows:
# diskutil enableOwnership /Users #

Moving the home directories contents to the new /Users partition

With our partition mounted, and permissions properly set, it's time to move all users' home directories to the new partition
Note that depending on the size of your users' home directories, the 'mv' command below might take quite a while to complete
# mv /UsersOld/* /UsersOld/.[^.]* /Users/ # rmdir /UsersOld #

We can now reboot and verify the /Users is correctly mounted !
At this time, all our users home directories are in the new partition, and as we instructed OS X to mount it automatically (via the /etc/fstab file), it should be accessible just as before.
... But don't uncork the champagne yet !

Final tweaks

You wouldn't notice it's been relocated, except for a couple of details:
  1. The familiar Users folder icon has been replaced by a disk icon,
  2. If you've set your finder preferences to show the hard disks on the desktop, /Users is also shown there.

We can fix these two easily:

Fixing the icon

Fixing the icon is as simple as Fixing the Orange HardDisk Icons, however, instead of using the Internal.icns file, we'll be using the UsersFolderIcon.icns file found in /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/

If you prefer, this can also be done from the Terminal, as follows:
# cp /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/UsersFolderIcon.icns /Users/.VolumeIcon.icns #

Hiding the /Users icon

If you don't want the Users Volume to appear as a separate one (eg. on the Desktop, or finder's sidebar), we'll append an option to the line we added in /etc/fstab.
The option is nobrowse, and we'll add it immediately after auto, separated by a comma.
  • Launch TextEdit (or, if you are familiar with the vi text editor, you can use vifs)
    # open -a TextEdit /etc/fstab #
  • The TextEdit window opens with contents similar to this:
    UUID=84BA91DE-C37F-F13D-B5C9-FECA5184DEB7 /Users hfs auto
  • Change auto so it reads auto,nobrowse, as follows:
    UUID=84BA91DE-C37F-F13D-B5C9-FECA5184DEB7 /Users hfs auto,nobrowse
  • Save the file and Quit TextEdit
On the next reboot (actually, on the next mount), the Users icon will no longer appear on the Desktop or in Finder as a separate disk.

Caveats (Update 15-Nov-2010):
There are a couple of side-effects to hiding the /Users folder that make this a less-than-optimal solution:
  • Browsing /Users over the network is complicated
  • It will be hidden in the Time Machine "space" interface too, so it's tricky to restore files or folders.
    Showing hidden files is a way around this, but it clutters all Finder windows, and restores the /Users desktop icon (Defeating the purpose of nobrowse).
Given these two limitations I stopped using the nobrowse option.
I can live with that /Users icon on my Desktop !

Now... Where's that champagne !

253 comments:

  1. @Lnx2Mac

    This is the best guide about this topic, ever.
    Your Linux knowledge is invaluable :)

    Thank you!

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  2. @Anonymous: Thanks for your feedback !

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  3. Thanks for another awesome post! I backed up my new Hackintosh after moving /Users to another partition and now I feel like I can finally play with my new system. I wouldn't have gotten through it all without all your posts! Cheers~

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  4. @domokun304: Glad you liked it !
    Was it hard following this ?
    Any comments/pitfalls ?

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  5. First, thank you so much for all of your hard work on putting together such a great system and making everything work so well. I've followed your and tonymac's instructions to the letter, and I've got quite a nice hackintosh running just beautifully!

    I followed your instructions to put /Users on a separate partition, but I did not find fstab; instead, I found fstab.hd with the following text:

    IGNORE THIS FILE.
    This file does nothing, contains no useful data, and might go away in
    future releases. Do not depend on this file or its contents.

    So I created fstab with the code you indicated, and as far as I can tell /Users is working great. The lines written into fstab.hd do concern me that this functionality could be removed in the future. I hope you can take just a moment and answer a question or two.

    If something happens to my OS/Application only partition, and I restore that from an image, what will happen to the /Users partition? I created an image just after I got OS 10.6.4 installed with no other changes to it other than what it took using Multibeast to make it work.

    I'd like to put some flavor of Linux on a separate disk that I have, but I'm not sure which works the best with this configuration; do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks again for all your efforts and making it available for the rest of us!

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  6. @Matthew: Thanks for your comment !
    I'm glad you find my guides helpful !

    Indeed, /etc/fstab might not exist in your disk.

    I was also worried at first that the fstab functionality might go away, due to the message in fstab.hd, but I believe it's not the case... /etc/fstab is referred to in many man pages.

    The /etc/fstab.hd (along with /etc/fstab.rd and /etc/fstab.sd) seems to be an ancient file from the 10.0 era...

    Nevertheless, if (and when) that happens, it'll be possible (it is today) and easy to mount the partition via a launchd agent.

    If you choose to restore only your OS/Application partition from an image, your /Users partition should remain untouched...
    But check that with your imaging software !
    You'd then just have to setup again the mount-point, and edit the fstab.
    Obviously, no need to move your data around.

    As for a Linux distro, I personally love the stability and ease of maintenance of Debian.
    But if your are new to Linux/Unix, you might want to start with an easier one like Ubuntu (a Debian derivative).
    Also, consider using it under VirtualBox, so you don't have to dual-boot.

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  7. Very nice writeup!

    What are some good backup strategies for this type of setup?

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  8. @Anonymous: Glad you liked it !

    I keep an image of the OS partition on a "Cold Spare" (i.e. normally unplugged) internal HDD, and rely on TimeMachine to backup to an external drive.

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  9. Noob question: Can the new /Users be on a separate harddisk as opposed to a separate partition? Do the instructions need to be modified in any way to accomplish this?

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  10. @Anonymous: Yes, definitely !
    These rules apply to a separate partition, which might be on the same or a different hard-drive than the OS.

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  11. hey lnx2mac when i get to the step cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.orig i get the message that no such file or directory is found, i try to open with the next step in TextEditor without luck as well, any suggestions? how do i revert back at this point or move foward...Jack

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  12. User migration -- would this work?

    Setup my new osx86 system with the default user in its usual place. I then copy my Users files from my old PowerMac to an external drive and connect it to the osx86 box.

    Now I perform these steps to move the Users to a separate partition, but instead of moving /UsersOld, I would move my /Users from the external drive, right?

    But, since I'm moving Users that were created on a different system, would that create a problem with the User ID's?

    For instance, I currently have three users. My new osx86 install will only have one known user-- the default one. When I move my Users volume to the new system, how will it know about the additional users?

    That's my concern at this point. Thanks for all your help!

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  13. @JCx2: Thanks for your comment !
    The reason for the error messages you received is that the /etc/fstab doesn't exist in your system.

    I added to that step the "touch /etc/fstab"
    command, which will create the file if it doesn't exist.

    You'll be able to move forward now...
    Sorry for the confusion.

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  14. @Anonymous: Yes, that would work, but keep in mind that you'll still have to move /Users (with the default user) aside.

    As for User IDs, you are right it might create issues, whether you move the /Users or not.

    I'd start by recreating the users in your new system, then copy the users' files (to /Users or the new partition, your choice), and fix ownership and permissions of the files.

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  15. The part that says how to change the icon didn't work to me... So I opened the icns file with Preview app and copied the first image, and then pasted the clipboard in the icon that is displayed under Get Info of the Users dir. This works, but is not the best approach, since it will use just the image you copied and not the whole set of icons from the icns file. That's why if you do that and then you zoom out the icons in the Finder, you will notice that the Users icon is not as detailed as the other ones.

    Anybody with a good tutorial on how to use the icns file?

    Thanks!
    Martin

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  16. @Martin: The reason copying the icon doesn't always work is because Finder caches whether a custom icon is assigned or not... And the "cp" doesn't change these settings.

    You have 2 options:
    1) Give it some time, log out and log back in, or even reboot and see if it works.
    2) Assign a custom icon with Preview, and then issue the "cp" command, overwriting the icon.
    Finder should happily use it (with all the available resolutions in the icns file).
    If it doesn't show up immediately, try logging out and in again.
    Just tested this, and it worked.

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  17. OK. This is really cool. I successfully moved my default user (me!) to my new partition. But, somehow, I managed to screw up the other users by deleting them after I moved them. I was so frustrated after deleting the data, that I stupidly deleted the user, too (from Accounts)!

    Not to be discouraged, I figured this would be a good time to test Migration Assistant! So, I connected my BACKUP DRIVE and successfully migrated the user data for the second user.

    Just thought I would share my experience with others. :)

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  18. iMac:~ root# mv /Users /UsersOld
    iMac:~ root# mkdir /Users
    iMac:~ root# chown root:admin /Users
    iMac:~ root# chmod 755 /Users
    iMac:~ root# touch /etc/fstab
    iMac:~ root# cp /etc/fstab etc/fstab.orig
    cp: etc/fstab.orig: No such file or directory
    iMac:~ root# open -a TextEdit /etc/fstab

    ... and the fstab document is empty —nothing to append.

    Please respond to this post and in the best layman's terms advise me on how to put this system back to rights —if not, how to get out of this ditch.

    Thank you.

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  19. @Anonymous (On Sep 16): Was something in the guide that caused you to delete the users' data ?
    Glad to see Migration assistant worked for you.
    Thanks for sharing !

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  20. @Anonymous (On Sep 17): You missed the slash before /etc/fstab.orig...
    Regarding editing the /etc/fstab, it's possible that this file is empty... And probable too, if you didn't modify it.

    I'll add a note to make it clear for other readers.
    Thanks !

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  21. Somehow, Spotlight doesn't work on /Users anymore. Can't fix it with mdutil:
    $ sudo mdutil -i on /Users
    /Users:
    Indexing and searching disabled.

    $ sudo mdutil -E /Users
    /Users:
    Indexing and searching disabled.

    I even tried adding the volume to spotlight->privacy and removing it afterwards. Did not help.

    Any ideas?

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  22. Solution (at least for me): After removing the "nobrowse"-option from /etc/fstab, Spotlight happily indexes the volume again.


    Another hint: You can use "sudo vifs" to edit /etc/fstab - if you are familiar with vi, THE standard *nix text editor, that is.

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  23. @Anonymous: After you commented, I checked and indeed Spotlight didn't work on /Users.
    It seems you are right, and it's related to the nobrowse option.
    I switched to hiding the /Users volume with "SetFile -a V" instead.

    As for vifs:
    1) I mentioned it in the post, but without sudo (as you are logged-in as root)
    2) That's exactly what I used
    3) You might like MacVim

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  24. Thanks for your verification. Nevertheless, this behavior of the "nobrowse" option seems pretty strange to me, given the "mount" manpage is just stating that "the mount point should not be visible via the GUI"...
    I just pulled the /Users volume icon out of the Finder sidebar as I want to retain access to the folder via Finder.

    I had overlooked that you mentioned vifs in your post, sorry about that.

    Yeah, I really like MacVim. Thanks for the hint, I really didn't know that app! (vi FTW! :)

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  25. @Anonymous: Indeed. The effect of "nobrowse" on Spotlight surprised me too...
    I can live without it on finder, as it can always be accessed with Cmd-Shift-G /Users.

    vi rules !

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  26. Hey,
    I successfully created a separate partition for Users a while back and noticed recently that CD/DVD automount no longer works. If I boot up with the iboot disk and then select my installed OS, DVDs mount fine. Could creating an /etc/fstab file for /Users be the root of the problem or is it more likely to be unrelated?
    Thanks in advance~

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  27. @domokun304:
    I'd say it's unrelated, as on my rig, I'm using this method (obviously), and have no issues whatsoever with automounting...

    What other kexts do you have in /Extra ?

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  28. What about just moving the original user folder to another hard drive and just setting a softlink to it?

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  29. @cr4nky: I mentioned this in Alternatives for separating the OS X users' home directories...

    While the softlink approach will work in most cases, the end-result will be less reliable.

    But if you consider the steps to be taken for this, you'll see it's mainly identical to the ones above...

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  30. This is a great article. It allows me to do exactly what I wanted to do. However, it has royally screwed up my backup system.

    Time machine no longer allows me to browse my home directory in its "space" interface. Luckily it does backup the files, so they can be recovered by browsing the backup database in Finder or Terminal, but that's not near as convenient.

    Also, I had use SuperDuper to backup my entire computer to an external drive once a week. A limitation of SuperDuper forces me to partition the external drive to backup this new multi-drive setup, meaning one partition may fill up while the other still has empty space. SuperDuper can only backup one drive at a time, and it can only backup to another dedicated partition or disk image. Annoying. SuperDuper needs to get more flexible, or I may be leaving it behind. rsync anyone?

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  31. In a Sept. 6th post you comment

    >>>

    I was also worried at first that the fstab functionality might go away, due to the message in fstab.hd, but I believe it's not the case... /etc/fstab is referred to in many man pages.

    The /etc/fstab.hd (along with /etc/fstab.rd and /etc/fstab.sd) seems to be an ancient file from the 10.0 era...

    Nevertheless, if (and when) that happens, it'll be possible (it is today) and easy to mount the partition via a launchd agent.

    >>>

    This seems to imply that you know a way to mount a /Users partition or disk at boot time using lanuchd. If this is true, I would really appreciate it if you would post the procedure. Thanks.

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  32. Just wondering, is anyone else having the problem with Time Machine that I described above? Upon further inspection, it does not seem to be backing up new files in /Users since its very first backup. Maybe I just need to re-initialize TM?

    One more small, probably irrelevant, detail: while the article mentions using a different *partition* I have mounted an entirely separate *drive* at /Users. Here's the df output:

    Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/disk0s2 233Gi 25Gi 207Gi 11% /
    devfs 114Ki 114Ki 0Bi 100% /dev
    /dev/disk2s2 1.4Ti 200Gi 1.2Ti 15% /Users
    /dev/disk1s2 1.4Ti 1.0Ti 388Gi 73% /Volumes/Archive
    map -hosts 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /net
    map auto_home 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /home

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  33. @Daniel: I've been testing this...
    Puzzled, I contacted Michael Peay (see his great I learned all about Time (Machine) so you don’t have to post).

    Even with his guidance, still couldn't see /Users in the TimeMachine "Space" interface...

    Then it struck me !
    /Users is probably hidden for you (it was for me)...
    So, first of all I did:
    $ sudo SetFile -a v /Users
    $ killall Finder
    These two commands will make /Users visible, so upon next TimeMachine backup, it will be shown.

    Good, but... What about the old backups ?
    TimeMachine relies on the same defaults as Finder, so we can:
    $ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
    $ killall Finder
    Now all hidden files are visible (in Finder and in TimeMachine).
    If you prefer a more friendly method for this, check out the hidden files widget.

    Hope this helps !
    Lnx2Mac

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  34. @dems: A good example on how to do this can be found in Scott Wallace's Automatic mounting of SSH filesystems in OS X post.

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  35. @Lnx2Mac: Thanks for the link. Sorry I wasn't able to be of more help. Sure, OS X is Unix so all sorts of interesting setups should be doable, but they certainly optimize for the "mass market" setup. It'll be interest to see if 10.7 makes things better (or worse).

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  36. @Lnx2Mac: Thanks for the follow-up. I have not had my /Users dir (drive) hidden with SetFile -a V. I like having it visible when I browse in Finder.

    To remove it from the Finder sidebar just drag the Users drive out of the sidebar (poof). To remove it from the desktop (along with all other non-removable drives) uncheck "Hard Disks" under "Show these items on the desktop" in Finder preferences.

    So... I verified that it is not hidden with GetFileInfo, but that has not fixed my issue. I can navigate to older revisions on the Users drive, albeit in a very round-about way:

    1. Enter Time Machine
    2. Click on my Desktop (for example). Note: TM shows no history for Desktop at this point. Well, it does show the history for a brief moment before all of the history goes blank, making it look like I have no TM backups of Desktop.
    3. Navigate to the main (system) hard drive. Note: older TM backups appear.
    4. Click on an older backup on the main (system) hard drive.
    5. Navigate to the Users drive. Viola! older backups seem to be visible.

    While the backups seem to be there, this is an inconvenient way to navigate them, and I'd like it to just work the way it's supposed to.

    Any other ideas? If not, I may wipe out my TM history and start over.

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  37. @Daniel: Yes, I know how to remove items from sidebar and Desktop, but I like having my drive icons there.

    As for TimeMachine, the reason it doesn't appear there is because backups are done on a "volume level".
    So, when not mounted, /Users shows next to your main drive (as you found out).
    Actually this makes sense, as you could be mounting this volume on different mount-points across reboots.
    But I agree that in this case it's a bit awkward.

    Please report back if you find a better alternative.

    Thanks,
    Lnx2Mac

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  38. this article looks awesome, I've been using sym links for a while, but not just for the user folder. Occassionally OS updates screw up with sym links, I really want to try this out when I am back home after the holidays.

    My setup is a bit more intricate though, the user folder is on its own partition, on a separate disk from the boot drive (its a mac pro with 4x2 TB drives and 2x40GB SSD drives. One SSD is set up with OS X, 2x 2TB drives are linked for the user folder, and the others are split into many partitions for various things, such as Documents having its own partition as well as different Applications types having different categories. I may take out the application categories, but this method looks really nice for the users. Is there any reason it wouldn't work for moving around other default locations by replacing /Users in all the code with /Applications or /Documents? I'm really looking forward to trying to mess this around on my computer at home, it looks really nice.

    Let me know on thoughts, I'm not that Unix savvy but if I have instructions I can follow them with no problem. This instruction looks pretty easy to follow, can't wait to use my other computers extra space as a guinea pig to try it out.

    -JD

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  39. @Jacob: Thanks for your comment !
    This method should work for other folders as well !

    Good Luck !
    Lnx2Mac

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  40. Just wanted to pass on this information for anybody considering just doing the symlink method for /Users to a separate volume.

    When I got my back I created a Users volume, moved away the original /Users directory, and created a /Users symlink to my Users volume. For months this was working fine.

    However, a couple of days ago, I discovered that my Address Book had no history under Time Machine. That is I could only see the "current" front window, I couldn't go back in history and all of the windows behind the front were blank. After a few days of scouring the web to find out what was going on, I was beginning to suspect it has something to do with having my Users on a different volume and having a symlink in /Users pointing to it. And yes, this was the culprit.

    (NOTE: I expect that the original process that the author of this thread describes shouldn't have this issue so if you haven't decided on a course of action then the automount process to /Users may be the simplest solution. This is for someone who really wants to pursue the symlink path)

    I ended up fixing my AddressBook issue by telling OSX to change my home directory location. I did this via "dscl" in a shell. I don't know too much about this command so one should do a bit of reading up on it to make sure this syntax is right for your particular version and your particular situation. Here is what I did: (I did this under a different account as I wasn't sure about changing this in an account I was logged into)

    #first make sure I have the right keyword, replace UNAME with your account name
    % dscl localhost -read /Local/Default/Users/UNAME

    This returns
    NFSHomeDirectory: /Users/UNAME

    #now change to change it to the Users' partition:
    % sudo localhost -change /Local/Default/Users/UNAME /Users/UNAME /Volumes/Users/UNAME

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  41. I followed your instructions to the T, but have noticed little quirks with permissions. I cannot repair permissions on /Volumes/Users but if I repair permissions on the boot drive that links to /Users, does it repair /Users as well? How can I test it?

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  42. @Douglas: Disk Utility verifies/repairs permissions only for Application or System files on a System Volume.

    As it doesn’t verify/repair permissions of your users' home directories and documents, it doesn't matter where /Users is.

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  43. Would it be more beneficial to keep the user library on the SSD? Seems there could be some issues if that weren't the case?

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  44. @Anonymous: Actually, one of the purposes of this is moving the "Storage hungry" /Users off the SSD.

    Which "issues" you suspect ?

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  45. Thanks for the reply....would there be any noticable performance decrease by not having the user library on the local drive? After pouring over many forums about the best way to set up the SSD with a secondary drive, i've seen suggestions that there could be quirky issues as well as a performance hit for not keeping the user library on the SSD. Sound plausible?

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  46. @Anonymous: There won't be an increase when accessing user data, but certainly not a decrease...

    In a near future, we'll all be just using huge SSDs, but, at the moment, we have to find the right balance between Storage Capacity / Speed / Cost.

    Having the system and applications on an SSD provides a huge speedup.
    While using an HDD for user data (home directory, etc.) provides fast access at reasonable prices.

    I don't know which "quirky issues" you've read about, but I can guess some of these might be attributed to other, "less clean", methods (I described some in this post) for moving the user's home directory.

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  47. Hadn't realized that User permissions aren't touched by Repair permissions.
    After looking around, I found a simple tip:


    1) boot from your Snow Leopard install CD.
    2) Choose your language.
    3) When the menubar appears, select Utilities->Reset Password.
    4) In the window that appears, select your boot volume from the list at the top.
    5) In the popup button below the volume list, select your user from the list.
    6) Click the "Reset" button at the bottom of the window. This will reset the privs back to their default settings.
    7) Repeat Steps 5 & 6 for every user on your machine who has this problem (except root).

    User permissions reset to default values.

    @ Lnx2mac: Question, does it make sense to move the swap file to another drive in order to extend the life of an SSD? If so, may I suggest doing a guide on how. I've found lots of info out there about it, but you really seem to know your doo-doo.

    Kudos,
    Douglas

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  48. @Douglas: The user permissions can also be handled with a bit of work on the terminal (chown and chmod).

    Thanks for your suggestion on writing about moving the swap file. Will look into it.

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  49. It works, but I receive something like this in my log file very often:

    Dec 15 05:55:05 macpro com.apple.autofsd[84]: automount: Mount for UUID=9B8279B7-5B8A-3642-A4D1-9E8B52A37325 has no path for the directory to mount

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  50. @Ryan: It's a harmless message (i.e. You can safely ignore it).
    The source is automount, which doesn't support UUID or LABEL in /etc/fstab.

    It could be avoided if using the device name (e.g. disk0s4) but the advantages of using UUID are worth this little "inconvenience".

    ReplyDelete
  51. about me: total n00b to osx86. big fan in just 2-3 hours spent on your
    blog today.
    Had a friend build my second hackintosh in 3 years but I know very
    little myself.

    My hardware:
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R
    Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz
    COOLER MASTER Silent Pro PS 850W
    COOLER MASTER HAF 932 ATX Full Tower case
    COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU
    Cooler
    4x2GB G. Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600
    SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5
    Intel X25-M 120GB SSD
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM

    My question (combined based on 2-3 of your posts):

    My current drive setup

    120 SSD - OSX ("Hack Pro")
    1TB hhd (2 partitions)
    - 293GB for Windows 7
    - remaining formatted as HFS for "Mac Data"

    Having read your post about separating /Users onto a different
    partition, I want to give that a shot but was wondering if you can
    recommend a more efficient partition scheme before I proceed.

    further details:

    I don't need a separate "data" partition for win7 as it really only
    serves two functions (light gaming and using MacDrive in osx kp
    emergencies) so don't want to dedicate more than one partition to win7.

    In osx, I do download a lot of large media files to watch so would
    prefer to keep those separate from my user data as you alluded to.

    also, i don't mind spending a bit more to get 1 or 2 more drives if
    needed. Given that I don't have hackintosh expertise, I want as fool
    proof a partition scheme/backup system as possible. The hack is less
    than 2 weeks old so no backup yet but I have a 320 GB external I was
    going to partition in 2 to use for a osx clone / time machine
    respectively.

    sorry for writing a novel for a comment but given how helpful you seem
    to be I thought I'd give it a shot. any feedback is appreciated.

    FQ

    ReplyDelete
  52. @FQ: First of all, thanks for your comment !

    As for partitioning scheme, one thing you might want to consider is your backup policy...
    Will the 320GB be enough to backup your crucial user data from the 700GB+ partition ?
    I guess you don't plan backing up the downloaded media files...

    As you are willing to buy more disks, I'd take the 320GB (from the external enclosure) and use it as the Win7 drive.
    Then just buy a 1TB or 2TB for Time Machine.
    This will give you complete separation/independence of OSes (always a good thing, IMO), a bigger drive for "Mac Data", and enough storage for backups.

    Good Luck !
    Lnx2Mac

    ReplyDelete
  53. tnx for the quick reply.
    My post was more a result of reading your and Alec's conversation within
    "Multiple Partitions on OS X - Pros and Cons" I wanted to try to get on
    that "same page"

    So i was wondering if repartitioning would make sense. i.e.

    120 gb ssd retains osx
    1tb WD "black" repartioned into:
    - 220gb win7os + data
    - 320gb Users
    - 60gb Downloads*
    - 200gb Scratch1 (for downloads and such i wish to keep)
    - 200gb Scratch2 (for the little i dabble in iMovie/FCP editting)

    purchase a Western Digital Green 1TB to partition exactly like and
    backup the above "Black"

    External 320gb
    - 120gb for osx bootable image
    - 200gb for data to retain its portability

    *reason I wanted a smaller partiion dedicated for downloads is bc i read
    doing a lot of file decompression/extraction leads to performance loss
    on the drive. Am i right in wanting ot keep a separate partition to do
    my dl's/extractions this way every once in a while i can use disk util
    to erase the partition assuming it will improve any lost performance.

    thanks again,
    fq

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  54. @FQ: Personally I prefer (where possible) to have each OS on its own drive... But as Win7 is your "secondary/gaming" OS, the scheme above should work OK.

    Don't you plan on using Time Machine for backups ?
    If so, you don't need to partition the "Green" exactly like the "Black" (You'll still have to find a scheme for backing up Win7).

    Using a separate partition for your Downloads is good for the reasons you mention.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Lnx2Mac,
    I follow your instruction but Users partition cannnot be mounted to /Users path, it is always mounted at /Volumes/Users and following error message is shown in console:

    automount: Mount for UUID=.... has no path for the directory to mount

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  56. @Nguyen: Do you have a /Users directory ? Is it empty ? Compare the UUID you get from Disk Utility with the one in your /etc/fstab.

    The error in console is harmless.

    ReplyDelete
  57. is this the same thing http://chris.pirillo.com/how-to-move-the-home-folder-in-os-x-and-why/

    ReplyDelete
  58. @jd_guthrie: No. What Chris posted is similar to what I posted as Option 1 in Alternatives for separating the OS X users'
    home directories
    .
    In that post, you can read what I don't like about that option.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Ahh. The funny thing is that I read both of your blogs on this subject a few weeks ago and completely forgot about that. It seems like very route has its drawbacks. I'll experiment with options 1 & 3. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Seems interesting, but enabling root through the GUI is a bad idea. Better to do sudo -i from the terminal; this is like logging in as root only from the terminal. Once you close the terminal session, no more need to login as root.

    ReplyDelete
  61. @Greg: Thanks for your comment !

    Coming from a long Unix/Linux background, I'd also prefer to be able to do this on the text console...

    sudo'ing from a Terminal is, unfortunately, not the same, as there are many user processes (Finder, Terminal) running... So, moving the user's homedir in this case (sudo) could be actually worse...

    When I originally did this, I used sudo (See this post), but it's much more complicated than the procedure I posted above, and with not big benefits anyway.

    It's good practice to keep the Admin's (or root's) homedir in the system volume.
    And, as we want to move the whole /Users hierarchy, that means the Admin's homedir will also be moved.
    On the other hand, root's home is under /var.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Great for one machine but what about the Shared folder in OSX's default Users directory? If I'm using a shared drive as my Users directory then won't OSX have issues writing to the Shared folder that would then be used by multiple users on multiple systems at the same time? Isn't this a root folder that would need to stay put on the local drive or does the system not really write any necessary data to this directory and it could live on a shared directory being used by everyone at the same time?

    ReplyDelete
  63. @Anonymous: The idea is not to move /Users to a shared drive, but to a separate one in the same machine.
    As the Shared folder is located in /Users/Shared, it will be moved along with /Users. OSX should have no issues writing to it, both from a single system, and from multiple ones.

    Regarding the question if /Users/Shared should be left on the local drive, there's no such requirement that I'm aware of.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I have been running my system using the method you describe here for 2 months now. I have been really pleased, except for one cosmetic issue:

    In Finder windows my User icons /Documents, /Movie, /Music are displayed as generic white documents. (see: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5330867/icons.png)

    If I replace the icons, the new icon is displayed for that session, but as soon as I log out or reboot, it's back to white only.

    Is there any way to fix this? Or do I just need to learn to let go?

    ReplyDelete
  65. @patito: The generic icons issue is unrelated to this. It has been reported on real Macs (i.e. not hacks), even without having separated /Users.

    I saw it in one of my installations, and what I did was assign a custom icon, and then delete it (so that the original one is restored).

    Apparently, something similar can be done by deleting the .DS_Store files.

    You can read more about this in More icon troubles for Snow Leopard users | MacFixIt (One of the comments mentions Refresh Finder, an AppleScript which might help too).

    Good Luck !
    Lnx2Mac

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hi,

    First of all, thank you so much for this great tutorial!

    I followed the steps, and everything seems to be okay, but I did something slightly different (I think...) to what the tutorial is aiming for:

    I selected a hard drive that only has one partition and already has stuff on it and used that same partition to be the partition to which /Users is moved to.

    To be clear, my drives are set up as follows:

    1) SSD 60GB (1 partition) with OS X and Apps
    2) RAID-0 1TB (1 partition) - two 500GB drives in software raid, as a scratch disk
    3) 1TB (1 partition) for media/backup/other

    I moved /users to number 3), a 1TB drive that only has one partition. I didn't create a new partition for /Users, but instead installed it onto the existing one.

    The result is that in Finder when I click on the /Users (which appears in the directory of the SSD drive), I see everything in the 1TB drive along with the 'me' house icon and contents. When I click on the 1TB drive, I see the same thing. So the /Users disk icon is only seen in the directory of the SSD drive, and clicking on it takes me to the 1TB drive.

    The disk icon for /Users never appeared in the list of devices in Finder (it wouldn't have appeared on the desktop as I have that option enabled). I'm guessing that this is because I'm using a partition that already exists and didn't make a new one.

    I just want to make sure that what I've done isn't going to cause any problems - do you see any reason why it might?

    ReplyDelete
  67. @Anonymous: Mounting your drive #3 on /Users means to make its contents accessible via /Users (instead of something like /Volumes/MyVol3).

    So, let's say you had a directory media/ on it, and you moved me/ to that partition, you'll see them as /Users/media/ and /Users/me/.

    The 1TB drive icon is the /Users icon you mention that never appeared in Finder.

    As for potential problems, the one I can see is that if you create a user named 'media', its home directory will be on /Users/media, which is your already existing directory.
    Other than that, there should be no problems with this.
    You might want to consider moving your media/backups/other under /Users/Shared...

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thank you very much for such a clear and concise reply! I understand what I've done now, and I'm relieved to hear that it shouldn't cause any problems.

    I don't think I'll be creating a user named 'media', but thanks for the heads-up.

    I'm assuming that moving the other content on my drive #3 under /Users/Shared is just to keep things tidy rather than to prevent any foreseeable problems. Either way that's what I've done.

    Thank you once again.

    ReplyDelete
  69. back again.

    installed win7 on a separate 500GB drive
    OSX is still on the SSD
    repartitioned the 1TB into 6 partitions
    Users, Downloads, Media, FCP1, FCP2, Scratch

    My question before I pull the trigger in moving to the Users partition..

    If I run out of space on partition Users, and want to move to a different partition or different drive all together, is the process easy? Have you done it before?

    Do i just move to that new partition or would there be a need/way to reverse engineer back to the original Users directory and then re do all the steps to move to a newly desired partition.

    appreciate your feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  70. @Anonymous: Indeed, moving the other content to /Users/Shared is just to keep things tidy.

    ReplyDelete
  71. @FQ: Yes, the process is very easy and similar to what I've described in this post.
    You could create a /Users2 mount-point, add it to the /etc/fstab file, move the content to the new drive (mounted on /Users2), and then fix the /etc/fstab (reverting the /Users and /Users2 mount points).
    Finally, you'd get rid of the extra /Users2 mount point (and corresponding /etc/fstab entry).
    Really easy!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi, Lnx2Mac!

    Thank you for this nice tutorial!

    About the harmless messages:
    Mount for UUID=blah-blah has no path for the directory to mount

    Modifying only the /etc/fstab is the brave old UN*X way, this not enough in OS X. There is a file: /etc/auto_master which is the map for autofsd, the mount-everything-daemon in OS X. Insert this line:
    /Users -fstab
    in the /etc/auto_master file to inform autofsd: the /Users folder is a mount point, and details about disk slice to mount, and other options is in the /etc/fstab file. This not just eliminates the annoying log messages, makes a smoother, faster boot process.

    HTH,
    Aventuba

    ReplyDelete
  73. @Aventuba: Thanks for your comment and great tip !
    Will test this and update the post accordingly.
    Cheers,
    Lnx2Mac

    ReplyDelete
  74. Hi, great stuff. Just got a working X58 system up and running with an SSD I intend to use as a boot and application drive. I have a 2TB HDD which I intend to use for everything else. I think your arrangement makes the most sense.
    However, in TextEdit, I try to save the UUID=xxxxxxxxxxxx /Users hfs auto but get the following:
    The document "fstab" could not be saved. You don't have permission. To view or change permissions, select the item in the Finder and choose File > Get Info.
    Not sure where to go from here. Any advice?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hi, great stuff.
    OK, I'm stuck. Upon trying to save from the TextEdit program, I get the following:
    The document "fstab" could not be saved. You don't have permission. To view or change permissions, select the item in the Finder and choose File > Get Info.
    Not sure where to go with this next. Any advice. I'm very much a noob but have a working X58 Hackintosh going. Would hate to have to start over.

    ReplyDelete
  76. It works with "UUID=[uuid] /Users hfs rw,auto" in /etc/fstab, but see:
    "GetMasterBlock: Error 2 opening UUID=[same uuid]..." in verbose mode.

    ReplyDelete
  77. @KobayashiMaru1701: I believe you missed the Login as 'root' part, otherwise you would not get the permissions problem.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Thanks for putting this together. It was very smooth and easy to follow and I no longer have my user directories on my SSD drive. :)

    Question: I would like to place my Users in a subdirectory called users. This way the user directories will not be in the root of the disk as I have other folders there and would like to keep them separate with out creating a partition.

    Would this be as easy as adding a path after the UUID=TheValueYouCopiedAbove/likehere /Users hfs auto
    when editing the fstab file?

    Thanks,
    AJ

    ReplyDelete
  79. @AJ: Thanks for your comment !
    Regarding your question, unfortunately not.
    As you said, the way I'd recommend is using a separate partition (or keeping the other folders under /Users/shared)

    ReplyDelete
  80. would you consider doing this with a zfs formatted partition or hd?

    ReplyDelete
  81. m@dmac: I'd stick with a GUID partition table.

    In the past I though about using MacFuse to mount a Linux /home under /Users (effectively sharing the homedirs)...

    Could be an interesting experiment... If you do so, please post your experiences... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  82. what folders should be in /users?

    i have performed the steps and have been using it with no problem, but i noticed when i go to /users i have my user folder, shared, and library.

    the library folder only contains a folder called receipts which has a multitude of bom and reciept files for apps i've recently installed.

    what did i do wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  83. Have you noticed any negative side effects with this guide? Any applications respond strangely to having the /users folder on a sep drive? I'm having a really weird problem where I can't drag midi grooves from ezdrmmer or addictive drums into protools like I used to. I can't drag a midi file from finder into protools either. Could having my users folder mounted to another hd be the culprit? If so, can you suggest ways I can troubleshoot the issue?

    ReplyDelete
  84. @Anonymous: The bom files you see are indeed BillOfMaterials for your installed packages.
    I guess you installed some applications just for your user (and not for all, under /Applications), so that could be the reason you see these under /Users.

    ReplyDelete
  85. @Anonymous: Regarding your problems with MIDI files, I doubt it's related to the location of your /Users folder... Could be a permissions issue...

    Unfortunately, I don't use protools...

    You could try copying some of these files to another folder and open from there...

    ReplyDelete
  86. hello lnx2mac! first off thanks for your invaluable contribution to the Hackintosh community! it wouldn't be what it is today without dedicated people like you.

    so here is my total noob question that i was unable to find a sufficient answer to.

    When i try to enable the root user following the instructions on the apple website i get to the directory utility where it says i'm supposed to tick "enable root user" and i don't see that option there.

    there is one thing un-ticked but it's called "active directory". is this the same as root user?

    am i doing something wrong?

    thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  87. ok, i totally figured it out, i was looking in the wrong place for "enable root user". you have to go into the top menu bar and it's under "edit". i was looking for it in the actual window.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hey there lnx2mac,I have enabled root user but when I try to enter "mv /Users /UsersOld" into terminal it responds with permission denied. Do you have any idea of why that would be?

    Also, will following this guide also mean that things saved to the desktop will also be directed to our new drive partition?

    ReplyDelete
  89. Ok, I think I figured it out but the only thing is that the "users" volume does not show up as a mounted icon next to the "snow leopard", "iDisk" & my 2 TB "File Drive" (which is where the new user directories are located).

    However, the user icon does show up under my "snow leopard" drive but seems to be connected to the 2 TB "File Drive" and when I click on the Desktop or Home under places it also says that it is connected to the "File Drive" and shows 2 TB of available space.

    Is this the way that it is supposed to be or did I mess something up? there is also no "Users" icon on the Desktop. can I leave it this way or will this screw things up?

    thanks,

    Gregory

    ReplyDelete
  90. @gmoore: Glad you figured it out... Guess you weren't logged in as root.
    As for the content of "Desktop", yes, that's under your home directory so it will be on your 2TB.

    The "File Drive" is your "Users" icon, as I guess you didn't dedicate the whole partition for it (and the volume name is "File Drive".

    Did you use the 'nobrowse' option ? I stopped using it a while back (see caveats).

    Good Luck !
    Lnx2Mac

    ReplyDelete
  91. Mate, you are a legend! This guide is now bookmarked ;)

    ReplyDelete
  92. Can lion and snow leopard share same /users partition?

    Currently i am using your method to separate my / and /users folder on my macbook pro 5,2. i have / on wintec 96 gb SSD on express slot and /users on internal seagate momentus xt 500 gb. so far its been working great.. just some error messages on verbose boot but, system run fine.

    i want to add partition to wintec 96gb ssd and install lion on it while not loosing my documents and stuff

    so is it possible to share to /users partition? will process be same?
    will there be any lii effects?

    i am willing to let go of trouble installing some apps twice if i can boot two OS off SSD.

    i think there might be some issues with library, preference and plist files but how bad could it be.... i think smart chip enclosed in you cranium will find way around good sir :)

    ReplyDelete
  93. I am having the same Time Machine issue outlined by Daniel above.

    I will try to unhide my /Users as outlined by Lnx2Mac, but I'm pretty sure I didn't hide it in the first place......

    ReplyDelete
  94. @adarkenigma: I still haven't moved to Lion, but I tend to believe the process will be identical.

    As for sharing /Users between SnowLeopard and Lion, I wouldn't recommend it.
    Many files probably changed (mainly under Library, as you stated) and I'm not sure they are backward- and forward-compatible.

    If I had to live with such a dual-OSX setup, I'd dedicate a new partition for the Lion-Users, and access your documents from the "old" SL-Users.

    It might get tricky with iPhoto, Mail, and other apps' content, which probably the "database" format changed.

    What I'd recommend is to keep your Lion-DevPreview /Users separate until you finally make the switch.

    ReplyDelete
  95. @Josh: May be you are using the nobrowse option in /etc/fstab ?
    If so, that would explain it.

    ReplyDelete
  96. My fstab says:

    "IGNORE THIS FILE.
    This file does nothing, contains no useful data, and might go away in
    future releases. Do not depend on this file or its contents."

    Can I still do this???

    ReplyDelete
  97. @Sirus: You are probably confusing the /etc/fstab with the /etc/fstab.hd file (which contains the warning note that you posted).

    ReplyDelete
  98. Hi Lnx2Mac

    I love your guide, very sleek choice for moving /Users

    However, I was wondering if this was also possible when using ExFat as filing system. I initially followed you guide with a partition formatted to ExFat but I ended up working in circles. (Moving /Users to /UsersOld, creating new /Users folder, and moving the data back...)
    After closer inspection it seemed that the etc/fstab setup didn't activate/work. Now I noticed the hfs flag appended to the line, and was wondering if something needed to be changed there as to make it work with a ExFat partition. Now I'm now Unix expert and very new to mac so I was hoping you could help me,

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  99. @RlndVt: I wouldn't recommend using Fat (or anything other than hfs), as you want a file system that supports all OS X permissions and extended attributes.

    ReplyDelete
  100. @Lnx2Mac

    Maybe you can help me with problems I've got with HFS. I'm dual booting (win7) and when trying to acces the data on /Users/ I get blocked by lack of rights. Now I don't want to try anything stupid or rational (like forcing ownership) out of fear that I will get locked out on the Mac side. What could I best do?

    ReplyDelete
  101. @RlndVt: Is this when trying to access from Win7?
    If so, unfortunately, can't help you, as I don't use Windows.

    ReplyDelete
  102. @Lnx2Mac
    Yes it is.
    Thanks a lot anyway, I'm keeping this page bookmarked!

    ReplyDelete
  103. Hi Lnx2Mac, first of all, thank you very much for this guide and all the other stuff. Now, I have a problem with saving my documents from Pages or other apps. Anytime I want to save a document I'm working with, a message appears saying that it couldn't find the location of the file, that I have to specify the location, so I "save as" with the same name and location, and of course there's a new advice "there is another document with the same name, do you want to replace it?" and I click Yes and that's it, it's saved. But this is annoying, as I save my documents several times while I am working.

    I dont have this problem if I save the document in the original "System" partition. Do you know how can I fix it?

    Diego

    ReplyDelete
  104. @Diego: Can you verify you followed the instructions exactly ?
    Did you do any changes to this ?
    Does the /etc/fstab file look as it should ?
    Did you alter file permissions ?
    Using Finder, are you able to copy and modify files in your home directory ?

    ReplyDelete
  105. @Lnx2Mac, thank you for your answer! Yes, I followed all the steps as indicated and the /etc/fstab file looks as it should. There's a thing although, while I was moving the /UsersOld to /Users I had a problem so it stopped while it was copying the Library folder. I then checked the files that were copyied and continued with the rest, but after that I realized that several the preferences of several apps were reset to the defaults, so I think there was a problem there... do you think that this might be the problem?

    I can modify the files from the Finder, and if I save as, I have no problem neither.

    Diego

    ReplyDelete
  106. I have just checked, and if I login as another user I have the same problem.

    ReplyDelete
  107. @Diego: Drop me an email, and maybe we can IM to see how to solve this.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Hello again Lnx2Mac

    I have few questions, hope you can answer them :fingers crossed:

    Off topic

    I have been using OS X lion for quite some time now... it's just too blue for me and mission control doesn't show minimized windows.
    it's really snappy and all but until someone makes GUI mod of some kind, I am moving back to Snow Leopard.

    On topic

    A] I have been using “/Users hfs rw,auto” options of fstab
    I think which yields in “mount_hfs: -o aut: option not supported” at verbose boot
    I dont have error like others mentioned except for “no path for the directory to mount” in console log.

    should I use other options on fstab file?
    will it fix this error?

    B] I was curious about “Aventuba” suggestion and I followed his method
    by adding line in /etc/auto_master and I still get console error

    here is how my auto_master looks like

    # Automounter master map
    #
    +auto_master # Use directory service
    /net -hosts -nobrowse,hidefromfinder,nosuid
    /home auto_home -nobrowse,hidefromfinder
    /Users -fstab
    /Network/Servers -fstab
    /- -static

    any suggestions?

    C] as "Daniel" said it messes up backup system... I don't use time machine
    but I use superduper... how would restore from backup work?
    I create weekly backup dmg image.. will it know to restore Users files to put on it's appropriate partition?

    Can you suggest any other backup methods?

    D] finally, what to do with remaining space on my ssd at max I use 12 gb
    how can I utilize extra space for good?

    well D] is unimportant though I am curious about you suggestions


    will be much obliged sir

    ReplyDelete
  109. @adarkenigma:Thanks for posting back!

    A] Is it possible that you have a typo on your /etc/fstab ?...
    Make sure it contains auto and not aut.

    B] I also tried Aventuba's suggestion but found that the error seems to be generated by the /Network/Servers and /- maps.
    Unless I remove these (which I rather don't), I still get the error.

    C] I don't use superduper, but have no issues with TimeMachine.
    I use TimeMachine for File-level backup, and Clonezilla for Disk-level backup (images).

    D] You could repartition your SSD, and have a "Production" and a "Testing" partition.
    That way, you could test Software and/or OS upgrades on your "Testing" partition before risking damaging your production installation.

    ReplyDelete
  110. thanks for getting back so quickly

    yes my fstab file has “/Users hfs rw,auto”
    not just aut anyways, not that big a deal.

    I am more interested in your backup suggestion does clonezilla does back up of entire disk to dmg? just like superduper. how do you restore two partition from one dmg?

    I might be deviating from main subject of post here

    what about testing partition?
    but is it possible to make mirror partition of my main system
    so I can use back up or testing partition to test software?

    Somethings that automates the process of mirroring?

    Would you be making another post about such process?

    regardless you have been much helpful so far and hopefully in future too
    I much appreciate your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  111. @adarkenigma: Try just with "auto", it's R/W by default...
    Also, are you using UUID, right ?

    As for backup, I currently use Clonezilla to image on my NAS.
    Optionally, I can create/burn a set of ISO images.
    To restore, I just boot with the Clonezilla CD, and select the NAS mounted image.

    As for the Testing partition, you could even mirror your partition with Disk Utility.
    I don't automate this, as I want to have an "always known to be working copy"... No point in mirroring a damaged system ;)

    As for posting about this, yeah, that's a good idea. Adding to my queue ;)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Hello, first of all I wanted to thank you for this guide, it has been very helpful.

    Secondly would this work if you were to create disk images of both partitions and restore them to multiple machines (iMacs, Mac Pros, etc)?

    ReplyDelete
  113. @Chris Pike: It should be possible, but I'm not sure how different the /System and /Library folders are between models...

    ReplyDelete
  114. I would setup OS X on our newest piece of Apple hardware use the 10.6.8 combo updater to get everything up to date. Then I would use your guide to separate the Users folder to a new partition and create a disk image of both partitions.

    Both these partitions would be restored to the rest of the Macs I have in our building with the outcome being that we would only need to wipe and re-image the Macintosh HD (OS) partition in the future with the user keeping their data in tact.

    Would the UUID cause any issues if I were to do this?

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  115. @Chris Pike: That's a good plan, but if you want to be on the safe side, I'd image the "System" partition of each model separately (or try to find diffs on a clean install between two models).

    Don't think the UUID would cause issues. But that's pure speculation as I haven't tried this ;)

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  116. Thanks for this great blog!! Like you, I migrated to OSX from Linux. I am in the process of performing a clean install of Lion on my iMac and wanted to create a separate partition for my OS and Apps and put everything else on a second data partition. I will be following your steps above for moving my Users directory to the second partition.

    BTW - is it possible to designate that the Users directory be placed on a different partition during a clean installation?

    ReplyDelete
  117. @galactica-actual: Glad you like my blog !

    I don't think it's possible to perform an install with /Users on a separate partition, but luckily you won't have much data to move over to the 2nd partition upon install.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Hey sir what a great tuto, really thank you for your aknowledge

    I've just got two questions if you can be so kind and aswer them would be great

    What about if the system is in Spanish
    At that point the Users folder it's called Usarios
    Should we rename all the words in your steps, instead of "Users" To "Usuarios". Wont be any problem if we do so??

    And the second one is,

    Why after changing the place of the folder my finder preferences are not being save??

    Than you in advance

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  119. Should this work just as well on Lion? I used this method some time ago with SL Server and it worked great, using a RAID volume for the Users. Trying to replicate this on a new Lion Server build, I seem to be running into difficulty. After editing the stab file as instructed in the guide, my selected partition does not show the Users. Instead, the volume appears on the OS volume and the Users folder has disappeared. Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

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  120. These instructions were perfect Lnx2Mac!! I performed clean installs of Lion on both my iMac and Macbook Pro. I did not create any other user accounts until after moving /Users to my data partition. Once I had the new Users volume mounted, I created my additional user accounts and all the home folders were placed in the new volume as if it was the default Users folder. Its nice having only my OS and Apps on their own partition now. Thanks for providing these easy to follow instructions.

    I wanted to mention one observation I had during the process. Prior to moving the Users folder to my data partition I noticed the following permissions on the Users folder:

    system: Read & Write
    admin: Read only
    everyone: Read only

    After moving the Users folder to my data partition I noticed the following permissions on the new /Users volume.

    system: Read & Write
    admin: Read & Write
    everyone: Read only

    Should admin have kept the same permission of "Read only" like it was on the Users folder before moving to its own partition? Thanks.

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  121. @ij0nathan: Thanks for your comment !

    I don't know if in a Spanish system the /Users directory is renamed as /Usarios, or if that's just a Finder presentation (while the real folder still being called /Users).
    I believe that would be the case, and if so, you should follow the guide using "/Users".

    As for the finder preferences, these should be saved anyway...

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  122. @Anonymous: I still haven't migrated to Lion, but I know people that followed this on Lion have no issues... (See also galactica-actual's comment).

    I don't think this could be related to a Lion Server issue... Will appreciate if you could recheck that you followed this guide to the tee.

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  123. @galactica-actual: Glad it worked for you !

    Regarding the /Users' permissions, are you sure you didn't forget to "chmod 755 /Users" ?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Yes, I performed "chmod 755 /Users" as described in the step "SETTING UP THE NEW /USERS MOUNT-POINT." I did that on both my Macbook Pro and iMac. Can I leave the permissions as is or should I change the permissions back to match the original Users folder?

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  125. @galactica-actual: Leaving permissions as they are (775), means members of group 'admin' will be able to write on /Users.

    It's your call, but I'd still issue "chmod 755 /Users".

    ReplyDelete
  126. I am also using this technique since November 2010 on my iMac 27 inches with two hard disks (SSD + SATA).

    Any one here was able to successfully upgrade to Lion while having this setup in place?

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  127. hello again.. i have ran into problem while following this on lion final version. everything works as it should but once you disable root account and then readable it. it no loner accepts password.. even after you change it.. also on recovery boot . i am unable to rest it.
    it tells me i don't have sufficient permission to edit this disk.

    have any suggestions?

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  128. @adarkenigma: Are you running as root ?

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  129. This worked awesome. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Sorry Lnx2Mac i didn't think you would get back to me so quickly

    i think i wasn't clear enough on what i was trying to explain.

    So here i go again

    once i active root account from Directory Utility.
    i log in as root in order to move User directory to new partition.
    After the process of moving is done, i log back into my actual account and disable it root user. thereafter for whatever reason(s) if i re-enable root account, it will no longer accept my password or even new one after i change it via Directory Utility again.

    i can't even reset it with "restpassword" command on recovery boot (command + R at boot)

    so i tried install several other ways. i did clean install of Snow Leopard and upgraded to Lion same result.
    i did clean install of Lion without Snow Leopard, same result.

    I can safely assume that it isn't caused by your process, it seem to be bug in OS X Lion. i even got hold of combo update of Lion 10.7.2 but that also doesn't solve the problem. main root account can't be accessed once you disable it.

    i have tried it on regular HDD and SSD. i figured that might have something to do with it, since i don't have actual SSD just express card SSD. but its all the same.

    now i just hope someone else with Lion can replicate this issue so i don't feel left out :(

    so is there any other way to achieve this without enabling root account?
    i know you already said its actually more difficult.

    but i was wondering can it be achieved with single user boot?
    with "dsenableroot" command?
    i mean one would have to print those command out or maybe write it down on paper first get UUID and all, but do you think it can work?

    i am willing to test it out if you can provide me with proper commands
    i am an ignoramus when it comes to commands and stuff i use to be windows guy. (sad laugh)

    anyways i finally decided to move to Lion since "LionPulse Alpha 1" is out on deviantART.

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  131. Hi there,

    thanks for the great blog. I am running OS X Lion and I have used your method to move my Users folder onto a separate drive and partition on my MBP. However I think I may have done something wrong?

    Everything works as expected the only oddity is that there is no actual folder called Users anymore. Basically in my new disk/partition (which is called DataVol) I have my user account name folder (Home directory) and a Shared folder but they are not inside a Users folder like they used to be.

    However if I search for /Users in Spotlight or Go to Folder it opens up my DataVol partition (with my Home folder and Shared folder).

    If I use Get Info on the DataVol Volume, under Name & Extension it does say Users though.

    I'm confused and am not sure what I've done wrong, if anything... Any ideas?

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  132. Hey man, your posts are awesome! Exactly what I need!
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  133. @adarkenigma: Sorry it took long to get back to you.

    Indeed there seems to be an issue reenabling root account on OS X Lion, and totally unrelated to this process.
    See: http://discussions.apple.com/thread/3216546 for a description and potential solution/workaround.

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  134. thank for workaround man... you the best :)

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  135. @Anonymous:
    You have done nothing wrong.

    Actually, there is a /Users folder on your main disk/partition, and it serves as an "anchor" (mountpoint in Unix parlance) for your DataVol partition.
    That's why the content you see on it is just your home folder and the Shared folder.

    Think of it as a mapping. Whenever you access /Users/somefolder/somefile, the OS "knows" to look for the somefolder/somefile under your DataVol partition.

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  136. @Guimin Lin: I'm glad you like it !

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  137. I just tested restoring my OS partition by booting into the new Recovery Partition in Lion and using Disk Utility there to import a back up DMG of my OS partition. It went smoothly and I really like this new Recovery Partition in Lion as it is much more convenient than booting from the installation DVD for restore purposes.

    I noticed that after restoring my OS partition, my main user account had a question mark in the dock for an application (Fusion) that I had installed after making my back up DMG. Is this because the dock info for that user is still in my Users partition? Thanks.

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  138. Re my DataVol partition, thanks Lnx2Mac, I think I've got it now. It didn't feel like I had done anything wrong (though I am like a trained monkey when it comes to executing these terminal commands!).

    I was tempted to rename DataVol to Users as it gives me this option if I right click on the icon but I was not sure if that would impact on the mountpoint setup I created using your technique, so I have left it as is at the moment. With this mapping if I change the name would the OS still know where to look I wonder?

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  139. @galactica-actual: Could be. Please check that your /etc/fstab is correct (with the /Users mountpoint directive), and that it has actually been mounted after the recovery.
    Please report back your findings.

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  140. @Anonymous: You can safely rename your DataVol to Users, as the procedure I described above uses the UUID of the Volume, not its name.

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  141. My etc/fstab file looks the same as before recovery. There is only one entry.

    UUID=MyUUIDValueCopied /Users hfs auto

    When I check info on my data partition, under Name & Extension it says "Users." Disk Utility shows data partition is mounted. I am navigating home directory like before. So everything is good right?

    The question mark in the dock after recovery must have been due to dock info stored on Users directory on data partition which was untouched during recovery. Since I installed the application (Fusion) after making back up DMG, after recovery the dock was looking for Fusion which did not exist on back up DMG. I deleted the question mark, re-installed Fusion, and then added back to my dock. All seems good now.

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  142. I tested Lion by first upgrading before going back and performing a clean install. I noticed that when upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion, when I launched Mail after upgrading, Lion said it had to upgrade Mail DB.

    What happens if a Snow Leopard image is restored to OS partition and then try to use Mail given that Mail DB was upgraded on Lion?

    When restoring to a different OS (i.e. Snow Leopard), is it best to also have made a back up DMG of data partition due to version differences with some applications (i.e. Mail) and restore the data image too?

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  143. @galactica-actual: As Apple has upgraded many applications (and probably changed format for their DBs), I wouldn't share a /Users between Lion and Snow.

    As for backing up, I'm always for it ;)

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  144. Thanks. I have a question on upgrading after one follows this tutorial. So when upgrading to the next major release after Lion, is it best to do a clean install again, follow this tutorial to move Users to separate partition, and then import backed up file data onto Users partition, rather then keeping Users partition as is for next release?

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  145. @galactica-actual: For major OS X upgrades, I always do a clean install (unlike on my Debian GNU/Linux systems).

    If you follow my posts, you probably know that I consider backups critical, regardless of software upgrades.

    One of the advantages of keeping /Users separate is that you save restoring it on a clean reinstall - you can just upgrade/install without affecting your /Users.

    So, after a clean install, you only have to setup the mount-point and fix your /etc/fstab.

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  146. I definitely see the advantage for having the OS on its own partition.

    Okay, so "sharing a /Users between Lion and Snow" is out of the question. But when performing a clean install of a major release, I can just keep my current /Users even though the data was tied to the previous OS version of an Application (i.e. Mail and Mail DB on Snow then going to Lion)?

    You don't do a clean install on major releases on Linux? I use SUSE ( OpenSUSE and SLES), and I have always performed a clean install when upgrading to next major release ( i.e SLES10 to SLES11). What about the impact of filesystem changes (i.e. ext3 on SLES10 to ext4 on SLES11)? Thanks.

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  147. @galactica-actual: The sensible solution for this is to have the apps "upgrade" the format of the files upon execution... And I believe this is what normally happens.

    As for clean installs on Linux, I've been using Debian since Slink (Y2K)... However, on most of my installations, I track 'SID' (Debian unstable).

    I had my laptop/desktop installation since around September 2000, and 'migrated' it over the course of the years as I changed machines, without reinstalling...

    Ohhh... the beauty of Debian... ;)

    As for filesystem changes, it was as easy as adding a new disk, mkfs, and rsync onto it.

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  148. "The sensible solution for this is to have the apps "upgrade" the format of the files upon execution... And I believe this is what normally happens."

    I see. That is why after files are upgraded to Lion you advised against sharing the Lion /Users back to Snow Leopard. I finally moved my Snow Leopard iTunes folder to my Lion \Users partition, and upon launching iTunes everything went smoothly. So if iTunes files needed to be upgraded, they must have done so at iTunes launch.

    Is Debian the only Linux distro you don't' have to worry about clean installations? Could I do the same thing with my OpenSUSE and SLES installations?

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  149. I am the "go to guy" for Mac support for close friends and family. I have a half dozen or so upgrades to perform. I am contemplating setting up all their machines with a separate /Users partition like you have outlined here. Do you think I should do that or just keep this setup on my machine? Thanks.

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  150. I've got a question:

    I'm thinking about putting my system on a ssd and move the users folder to a second drive, to speed up my environment.
    But whenever mac os x opens an app, it uses the Users/Library and so wouldn't it affect performances on applications launches since the second drive is slower?

    Thanks for the guide

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  151. @galactica-actual: Don't know about OpenSUSE and SLES...
    I wouldn't say that Debian is the only one, but...
    For a while, I had Ubuntu (a Debian derivative), on my kids' PCs, and I've experienced many cases of failed upgrades...

    So, for sure Debian is not the only one... It's just the one that works best for me!

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  152. @Anonymous: The Users/Library preferences used are usually much smaller than the Applications that use them, so the impact is not that significant (Though it exists).

    But can you afford using only SSDs ?

    This method provides (besides the other benefits I posted about) a good balance of cost/performance/storage-capacity.

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  153. How do you re-sync the Users partition after restoring an image of the hard drive partition that contains the original Users folder?

    I have two images of my hard drive partition that I created. The first image I created was my hard drive partition state prior to this tutorial. It is a clean install of Lion, default applications, and only an Admin user. The second image is my hard drive partition state after this tutorial plus one additional user and some additional applications.

    I restored my original hard drive partition and then performed the following steps after setting up my root user again and logging in as the root user.

    1.) mv /Users /UsersOld (so as to not confuse the system with Users partition that already exists)

    2.) touch /etc/fstab (my original hard drive partition state does not have a fstab file)
    cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.orig

    3.) I then copied the mount information for the Users partition from my backed up fstab file (hard drive state with separate Users partition).

    4.) I rebooted and logged in as my Admin user. I noticed that my Users partition was not mounted so I mounted it via Disk Utility.

    My question now is how do I get my other user on my User partition to display in the Users & Groups section of System Preferences and the login screen? At this point I am reluctant to re-create the user because I do not want a duplicate user home folder to get created on my Users partition.

    The reason I am doing this is because I wanted to revert back to a fresh installation of Lion with the default Lion applications. I do not have an image of my hard drive partition state after your tutorial with only the default Lion applications. What I should have done was followed your tutorial and then made an image before installing any additional applications. So the only way for me to go back to a clean install of Lion is to restore my hard drive image state with the original Users folder. Hopefully this is not too complicated to achieve.

    Thanks.

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  154. Hi, following your tutorial it was all easy ... but my plan was to restore a timemachine backup to this new configuration.
    Is there a way to preserve the configuration and do a restore from a configuration with only one disk?

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  155. I have been experimenting with restoring an image of a clean installation of Lion back to my OS partition (Thanks to this tutorial that is very fast and easy now). My clean install lacks the Root user so I enabled the Root user again and performed the following steps as Root.

    I moved the default Users folder aside and will remove it later after I mount my /Users partition:

    mv /Users /UsersOld

    Since I am using the same machine and same /Users partition I went right to the step to fix the /etc/fstab and rebooted.

    (My clean image lacks a /etc/fstab so I followed the "touch" step above and then added the UUID for my /Users partition.)

    Upon rebooting I noticed that if I log into the Root user account and try to re-mount the /Users partition in Disk Utility I get an error that says:

    "Mount Failed" and then tells me "The disk 'mbp-data' could not be mounted. Try running First Aid on the disk and then retry mounting."

    I did not run First Aid because I know there is nothing wrong with the /Users partition so I canceled and logged out of the Root user account. I then logged into my Admin account and I was able to mount the /Users partition in Disk Utility.

    I tested this a few more times by re-installing the clean Lion image. Each time I was unable to re-mount my /Users partition in Disk Utility when logged in to the Root User account. I was able to mount my /Users in Disk Utility only when logged in as my Admin account. Is this the way it should be? Thanks.

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  156. I may have answered one of my previous questions about how to add the user accounts back to a clean install on the OS partition to match the user accounts on the /Users partition (in the scenario where the /Users partition has many more User accounts than the clean install). It looks like it is as simple as going into Users & Groups of System Preferences and adding them. Right? Then when the message displays: "Users folder already contains a folder with the same account name as the home folder for this account" simply click "Use Existing Folder."  I did notice a spinning beach ball for a few seconds but then it completed and the user was added.

    I performed the aforementioned steps after fixing /etc/fstab.

    I was curious to see what would happen if I added the user accounts in Users & Groups of System Preferences before fixing /etc/fstab and something goofy happened. After fixing /etc/fstab I rebooted and logged into the Admin account to mount the /Users partition in Disk Utility. As soon as /Users was mounted, a lot of folders (i.e. "sandbox", "httpd", "file", "languid", "cups", and many more) covered the Admin's desktop.  I take it this is not when to add user accounts back to the OS? I sent you an email with a screen shot. Thanks.

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  157. I figured out why I was not able to mount the /Users partition while logged in as Root after doing a OS restore. I skipped the step above of making a Users folder again after I moved the original Users to UsersOld. I did not think I had to make Users again since I had already created the /Users partition the first time through. After following above steps by creating Users folder again, setting ownership and permissions, I was able to mount in Disk Utility without the "Mount Failed" error while logged into Root account. Thanks!

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  158. @galactica-actual: To re-sync the /Users partition after restoring an image of the system volume, I do the following:

    1) Restore system image,
    2) ONLY if it doesn't contain the user accounts definitions (along with their /Users folders) and the external /Users is not mounted: => Create all needed users,
    3) Move the throw-away /Users aside (e.g. to /UsersOld),
    4) Setup the /Users mountpoint, fix fstab, mount partition, etc.
    IMPORTANT: Skip the "Moving the home directories contents to the new /Users partition" section !

    Hope this answers your question.

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  159. I had a follow up to my permissions issue with /Users permissions set to 775. For some reason after mounting /Users in Disk Utility the permissions get set to 775 even though the Users folder is set to 755 from your instructions above. I tested it twice and both times when I start with Users folder set to 755 after mounting the permissions then get set to 775 for some reason. Not sure if this is a Lion bug. Anyways I just chmod /Users back to 755 after mounting. Thanks!

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  160. @rko: Depends on how you do the restore...
    If it's via the installation DVD, then you'd want to manually configure the separate /Users at that point (which can get tricky if you don't feel at home in the Terminal)...

    A better alternative is to do a partial restore (i.e. only system without /Users).

    And ultimately, what you can do is restore to the initial configuration, reapply this procedure to move /Users away, and then create a new backup.
    With this, timemachine will keep separate backups of each volume, and the system volume will preserve the /etc/fstab configuration.

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  161. @galactica-actual: I see no reason why root would not be able to mount it... Do the logs reveal anything ?

    Also, are you able to mount it as root before setting up the /etc/fstab ? This should effectively mount it under /Volumes/mbp-data...

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  162. @galactica-actual: All these folders ("sandbox", "httpd", "file", "languid", "cups", and the others I saw in the email you sent me) seem to be coming from /usr/share...
    Is it possible that the /Users volume was not mounted in the right place ?
    Or maybe the account's homedir is not properly set ?

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  163. "@galactica-actual: To re-sync the /Users partition after restoring an image of the system volume, I do the following:

1) Restore system image,
2) ONLY if it doesn't contain the user accounts definitions (along with their /Users folders) and the external /Users is not mounted: => Create all needed users,
3) Move the throw-away /Users aside (e.g. to /UsersOld),
4) Setup the /Users mountpoint, fix fstab, mount partition, etc.
IMPORTANT: Skip the "Moving the home directories contents to the new /Users partition" section!

    

Hope this answers your question."

    Yes. I followed above steps and they worked perfectly. Restoring is easy as pie thanks to your tutorial. Thanks again!!

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  164. @galactica-actual: Glad it helped !

    ReplyDelete
  165. I have a Snow Leopard machine with one partition I want to prepare for a clean install of Lion with a seperate OS partition and Users partiion.

    When converting a single partition machine to separate Users and OS partitions, is it best to do a Time Machine of current Users to a back up device and then restore Time Machine to the newly separated /Users partition? Or use the mv command logged in as root to move Users to back up device to then move back after creating /Users partition? Thanks.

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  166. @galactica-actual: I use Time Machine a lot (mainly for my /Users hierarchy).

    However, Time Machine doesn't backup some expendable files (mainly caches).

    This is OK for an eventual restore, but when moving /Users, I'd rather have an intact copy of its contents.
    Hence my recommendation to use mv.

    In any case, don't forget to verify that the 'Ignore ownership on this volume' is NOT checked on every volume you plan using (eg. your backup device).

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  167. In any case, don't forget to verify that the 'Ignore ownership on this volume' is NOT checked on every volume you plan using (eg. your backup device).


    I noticed that "Ignore ownership on this volume" is checked by default on my external backup device. Is this checkbox typically checked by default on external devices? What problems will arise if this is left checked? Thanks.

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  168. @galactica-actual: The problem is that all files on that volume will be accessible by all users (even those under a different user's homedir).

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  169. Thanks Lnx2Mac, your guide worked perfectly. My Hack is sporting a new SSD, and it all went off without a hitch, thanks to you!

    Cheers!

    - Coolz

    ReplyDelete
  170. Hi,

    I tried re-naming the display name of my /Users partition by clicking in the name portion of the disk icon on my desktop. Currently the display name is "MBP-Data." When I click on "Get Info", the "Name and Extension" is "Users." I am not able to change the display name to "Users." It only allows me to use "USERS" with all letters in upper case. Is there a reason why the display name of the disk cannot be the same as the "Name and Extension" shown in "Get Info"? Thanks.

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  171. @galactica-actual: Have you tried unmounting the volume first? You'll have to do this as root, or you won't be able to unmount it as it's busy.

    ReplyDelete
  172. I tried unmounting it as root but then there was no way to re-name it in Disk Utility while it was unmounted. Then I tried re-naming it (still logged in as root) while it was mounted and again I could give it any name except "Users."

    I am going to see what happens when I create a partition from scratch and give the partition the name "Users" and then mount to mount point "Users."

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  173. @galactica-actual: Please keep us posted on your progress.

    ReplyDelete
  174. I've successfully followed this guide, but for some reason I'm not able to rename my partition to "Users" through clicking in Finder or through Disk Utility. Is there any reason for this? It is listed as "Untitled" in Finder yet in its info panel it says "Users" under "Name & Extension".

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  175. This is a great write-up, I followed it several months back and it works great. One question though: Why not go with the option of going into the Accounts control panel, right click on the user name, and select "Advanced options". From there, you can manually set the home directory path. Is there anything about that GUI approach that is half-baked?

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  176. @idee: I see no reason why you should not be able to rename the partition.
    As unrelated as this sounds, you might want to try to change its icon (thru the Info panel, not via command-line), as this could be sometimes due to Finder's cache not refreshing.

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  177. @Anonymous: Thanks for your feedback !
    As for not using the Accounts control panel option, I briefly discussed this under "Option 1" of the Alternatives for separating the OS X users' home directories post.

    ReplyDelete
  178. Thanks Lnx2Mac. I have another question...if I wanted to move the home directory for a second time to another hard drive, would it be a case of following this guide again, or would it be sufficient to simply change the UUID to the new drive?

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  179. @idee: Yes, very similar.
    Obviously, you won't have to create the mount point or rename /Users.
    Just move the content to the new volume (can be done while still mounted under /Volumes), unmount it, and fix the UUID in /etc/fstab.

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  180. @galactica-actual & @idee:
    While helping a friend do this, I "got lucky" and wasn't able to rename the volume to "Users" (but it would accept any other name), as it happened to you.
    It seems that while the volume was being mounted by fstab, it disabled this.
    So, what I did to fix this was:
    - Logged in as root,
    - Unmounted the /Users,
    - Commented out the UUID line in /etc/fstab (by prefixing it with a #),
    - Successfully renamed it to Users,
    - Uncommented the UUID line,
    - Remounted /Users.
    Presto !... All fixed !

    Hope this procedure works out for you.

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  181. This worked but I had to add some extra steps due to not being able to rename /Users while it was unmounted ( the disk icon disappeared in Finder and on my Desktop plus /Users was also greyed out in Disk Utility).

    Here is what I did.

    - Logged in as root,

    - Unmounted the /Users,

    - Commented out the UUID line in /etc/fstab (by prefixing it with a #),

    (I added these steps)
    - Remounted /Users (I was not able to rename while /Users was unmounted)
    - Successfully renamed it to Users
    - Unmounted /Users after rename.

    - Uncommented UUID line.
    - Remounted /Users

    Thanks again for sharing this tip!

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  182. @galactica-actual: You are right, that's an oversight on my part while commenting back. :(

    Thanks for spotting it and reporting back !

    ReplyDelete
  183. I got this error

    root# mv /UsersOld/* /UsersOld/.[^.]* /Users/
    mv: /UsersOld/username/Library/Application Support/Ubiquity/ubiquity.socket: Operation not supported on socket
    mv: /bin/cp: terminated with 1 (non-zero) status

    ???

    That's happened on two separate computers with Lion installed

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  184. @Lahmy88: The ubiquity.socket is a special file used by iCloud and can't be moved with these instructions.
    However, you can delete that file (rm /UsersOld/username/Library/Application Support/Ubiquity/ubiquity.socket) and it will be recreated next time.
    Don't forget to resume the mv operation after deleting the ubiquity.socket file

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  185. Good write up. I am contemplating this same setup, but with a different starting point. I have my original HDD with system, apps, and users. I want to move the system and apps over to a new SSD, leaving users on the HDD.

    My thought was to use a series of "mv" commands to move everything except the /users folder from HDD so SSD. Then start at the top of these instructions.

    Is this the best way?

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  186. Thanks for the updates on the "ubiquity.socket" file. This is good to know. Thus far I have not dealt with moving a Lion installed /Users directory, just Snow Leopard /Users (during upgrading family and friends to Lion).

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  187. @Mikey: I'd rather use cloning software for migrating to the SSD, and then use my guide.

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  188. Came across the ubuiquity.socket file issue today and have a couple questions?

    1. Did this just become an issue with OSX 10.7.2?

    2. In your reply to Lahmy88 above.

    You said:"Don't forget to resume the mv operation after deleting the ubiquity.socket file"

    I noticed that after I saw the error message regarding the ubiquity.socket file my "mv" command did not cease, it finished moving the user folder. What do you mean by "resume the mv operation?" Is it supposed to cease at the ubiquity.socket error message?

    3. Going forward, it seems it is now necessary to have an extra step to remove the ubiquity.socket file for each user before moving /Users, right?

    Thanks

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  189. Hello, I tried this and I have a problem. I'll try to decribe what happens.
    When I (re)boot my hackintosh (10.7.2) it loads my account, but it shows only the default desktop and dock and it doesn't connect my account to my home folder. I fix this by logging out and then logging back in. Is there a way to make this work without logging in and out every time I boot the machine? Please help. Thanks in advance.

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  190. Thank you for the excellent blog/work. I'm having a problem: I was able to move the users when I first built my hack in Snow Leopard with no issues. I recently upgraded to Lion. I began having issues with the HDD that the users partition is on, so after backing up the Users folder, I formatted and partitioned the HDD with the intention of re-installing the users using your method. After I logged in as 'root', and typed the move users command this is the result:
    mv: rename /Users to /UsersOld: Permission denied
    AdamsMacPro:~ adamsfamily$
    What am I doing wrong? I'm kinda freaking out a bit. Thanks,

    Terry

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  191. @all: Sorry for the late replies... Too much work and too little sleep lately :(

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  192. @galactica-actual: Yes, the ubiquity.socket issue is new to 10.7.2 due to the introduction of iCloud.

    In principle, mv should finish moving everything except for those, but you can never be too careful ;)
    In any case, verify the everything was moved, except for the ubiquity.socket files.

    I agree that removing these is a good measure to have a "clean" procedure.

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  193. @Nebojsa: It should work without issues.
    Please make sure you correctly edited the /etc/fstab file.

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  194. @maoule: Is this on a clean install?
    If not, it's possible that your /Users was already moved to a separate partition, so you shouldn't need to do the move again.
    Sorry for not being around while you were freaking out ;)

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  195. Thanks Lnx, no it wasn't a clean install and my users was moved to another drive as it was too big for the SSD. I found and used this from fredmiranda:
    "Go to "system preferences", "accounts", unlock to make changes, then right-click on your account name for "advanced options". In the dialog box that pops up, change the "Home directory" entry to point to the new location on the hard disk. Do not change any other settings.
    I usually copy my "users" directory over to the hard disk first, then change the pointer and reboot. After I am sure I am running on the hard disk entry (you will see a little "house" icon when you look at that directory with finder, I then simply delete the original copy on the SSD."
    It got me where I wanted to be as far as I can tell. Please, if you have any thoughts as to future problems that may occur with this setup, let me know.

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  196. Hi,

    Thank you for the very detailed tuto. I am considering doing so in order to install a SSD in my Mac Mini.
    But I am not a terminal expert, so I wanted to get your view on how I intend to proceed.
    The current situation is : 1 500gb hard disk, standard Lion install, with both system and users. Only 120 gb free approx. Users should remain on the HDD, whereas I intended to put the system onto a 120 gb SSD.

    Before reading your tuto, I intended to do the following :
    1. Create a new partition on my HDD, for Users data
    2. moving Users folders onto this new partition, while iteratively increasing its size, as the "free" 120gb is not enough to put all Users folders at once
    3. duplicating the remaining "System" from the HDD towards the SSD, installed in a external Firewire case, using Carbon Copy Cloner
    4. installing the SSD into the macmini (after testing I could boot from the SSD installed in the external firewaire case)
    5. then setting up the new mount point and mounting it for the first time;
    6. deleting the remaining system on the HDD and deleting this initial partition to get the full disk space to the Users partition.

    Sounds probably complex. Main question is, when moving the Users folders from 1 partition to the other on the HDD, will the ownership and permissions directly be ok, or should I enter some terminal commands before ?

    After reading you tuto, I think it could be easier to do so :
    1. renaming the /USERS directory, setting the new mountpoint and automounting exactly as in your tuto (but will it work as the partition UUID will be in fact the system one ?)
    2. copying the OSX system onto the SSD (but I don't know if I can use Carbon Copy Cloner for this, as I will want actually not to copy the full disk content, only the system part, and not the UsersOld part. How to be sure it will also copy the Lion recovery partition ?
    3. installing the SSD into the mac mini
    4. then moving the home directories to the new /Users folder (but it will actually be on the same partition)
    5. Deleting the unused system on the HDD.

    This last procedure will save me the hassle of moving all my Users one by one to a smaller partition on my current HDD, while increasing the partition after each move, but I am not so sure it will work on the mounting point definition in the fstab (which I could do after cloning the system onto the SSD and having rebooted on the SSD as a alternative) and on how to "clone partially" my current hard disk.

    Thanks for your insight...

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  197. Followed your guide on two MacBooks mounted with OSX 10.7.2. It works perfectly. Thanks for your perfectly written piece of work!!

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  198. I just used this method on a black Macbook, your method worked great. thank you very much! This protects all of my user directory files nicely in the event of OS failure. I can just reinstall the OS and setup the fstab...everything back to normal again.
    (I do this on Ubuntu and Linux Mint too.)
    Great Post!

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  199. Aaaaahhhh confused :)

    1) I have a 2Tb Western Digi Drive (1Partition) with Lion 10.7.2 This was my main drive, it still has my users/life on this.

    2) Just bought a Corsair Force GT and i want this as my Boot Drive which links to my 2Tb Users/Applications folders. This SSD currently has a clean install of 10.7.2

    I know theres only a couple of commands above but which drive should they be run on for me?

    I know you've been busy lately and I appreciate all that you've contributed to the scene so any help is welcome.

    Thanks
    Pool

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