View Full Version : Moving /Users

02-14-2002, 07:33 PM
I read in another article that the user folder can be relocated to another partition, which would be great because I installed X on a partition too small to use for application/document storage.

I read what I could at O'Reilly: NetInfo Manager Tutorial (http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2002/02/08/netinfo.html)

Thank You.

02-15-2002, 12:23 AM
No. What you should do is enable your ROOT account and copy the folder while you're logged in as Root. To enable ROOT:

1) open the application NetInfo Manager located in the Utilites folder inside your Applications folder.

2) Click on the button with the lock and enter your password to authenticate yourself.

3) In the menu choose Domain:Security:Authenticate and then Domain:Security:Enable Root User. You will be prompted to enter a password for the user root.

4) Logout from the Apple menu and login as root with the new password.

You should now be able to copy your default Home directory and proceed with the remaining steps on that page.

Now, if you're connected to the net via a continuous connection such a cable or DSL and don't have a router/firewall, you will likely want to go back to NetInfo Manager and disable the ROOT account again. This prevents others from being able to login remotely and really screw up your system...

03-01-2002, 07:44 AM
BTW, user accounts with a UID lower than some number (500?) will not be displayed as icons in the loginwindow, if you have the loginwindow set to use the "button" mode.

Ergo, you won't see root in the loginwindow.

03-01-2002, 08:49 AM
This is one of the simplest write up on how to move /Users to another partition or drive.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
How and why to move your home directory to a different partition

Moving your home directory to a separate partition can be very beneficial: if you ever need to reinstall OS X, you can simply format the OS X partition, reinstall OS X, and be up and running in less than an hour without having to spend time backing up your personal files. This entire task can be done with a few commands in the Terminal, and that is easier than explaining how to do more tasks in the Finder and NetInfo Manager. Type the following into the Terminal, substituting your username for "username" and the name of the other partition for "OtherPartition":

sudo ditto -rsrc /Users /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users
sudo niutil -createprop / /users/username home /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users/username
sudo rm -dr /Users
sudo ln -s /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users /Users

Don't use the rm -dr command on the Users directory until you're sure the new one is working OK. You may want to log out/back in to check this. http://www.bombich.com/mactips/homedir.html

03-07-2002, 10:11 AM
OK so now I've copied, with CCC, my Users folder to a seperate partition on a different drive and reassigned my X system to the copy. The system appears to be using the new folder properly. Can I discard the my orphaned User folder or should I keep that around??

CCC is AWESOME!!!...saved me many hours -

Also, with my X apps/Users on one drive and my system on another- X.1.3 absolutely rocks for speed...twice as fast as a one-drive setup. Plus, I'm accessing the 'Classic environment' from a third drive altogether - OS9 is starting to look antiquated!

I did it!

As far as I can tell, most if not all prefs preserved..I did notice Mail needed admin permission to retrieve mail, that's the only thing I've noticed that was different after reboot. In fact at first, I thought I had not been successful until I compared the icons of the folders inside my new home folder with those of the old...The new home sub-folders had the system's custom icons whereas the the old home sub-folders no longer did.

It was a simple case of me neglecting to indicate the full path of the new home folder.... : /Volumes/volumename/users/gmidd

Previously, I had it pointing to the new volume but not the new home inside of the new users: /Volumes/volumename

Well I'll tell ya, that one's been buggin me for months...


04-30-2002, 11:09 PM

Your User folder is not protected by root permissions so you will have no problem backing it up. You need a method that gets all the invisible files though.

I am more than happy, enthusiastic is the right word, with SwitchBack (a shareware sync utility). This program is so easy to use.

I designated my volumes/Local/users/Ricks hard drive as the 'to be copied' and an empty drive as my backup, set it for 1:00 each night, asked SwitchBack to sleep my computer when finished and it's done. Every morning I check my backup for currency and forget it. (I also selected NOT to reverse sync since I want a clean backup, not a drive that is ever in use)

SwitchBack is great.

The other thing I did last weekend was create a Symbolic Link for the root Applications folder, I called it 'root Applications' and placed it in my Local Applications folder. I have been wondering how to handle having 2 Applications folder and disliked navigating back and forth. All my applications that I install are in the directory above my User folder, this makes them available to all users to install or use. All the applications that the OS installer places on disk I left at root with root permissions.

My Symbolic link makes it look like the root applications are in the User applications folder, cool. By using a symbolic link I can even change system folders and I still have all the applications linked since the symbolic link points to the root (or /) directory which is wherever the current system folder resides. New system installed with upgraded applications and utilities, no problem, the link automatically points to them.

SwitchBack is a utility program that synchronizes two folders, so that both folders have a copy of the most recent version of their files. The two folders can reside on the same volume, on two different volumes, or indeed on two different computers connected by a network.

It has been designed principally for those people with two computers (especially desktop and PowerBook) who need to ensure that they have the most recent version of their documents available to them.

What's New:
Version 3.8.1:
Can now exclude based on more than one character (eg '.cache').
Can disable data loss warning when swapping source and destination folders.
Removed setting specifying maximum activity log size of 20 Mb.
Rearranged preferences dialog.
Fixed crashing bug when suspending application in Panther and later.
Fixed increased processor use during dialog idle time.
Various drawing bugs fixed.
Replaced script dictionary.

Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
SwitchBack (http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/3784) at www.macupdate.com


05-15-2002, 12:40 PM
I would go back and take a look at Bombich's article:

Then check what shows in NetInfo Manager. /Users can end up in strange places and results with a single typo. SNAX and Omni DiskSweeper both make it easy to have a GUI to navigate through directories and find hidden files or folders, securely delete, copy, move, or open a file with root permission if need be.

For an excellent description of how to move user accounts, with photos, I highly recommend Damien's "Moving Users" (http://www.macmeisters.com/~Damien/moveusers/) description.

08-24-2002, 11:30 AM
This (http://www.macworld.com/2002/10/features/install.html) has a good rundown on the archive bit.

08-24-2002, 01:21 PM
Some errata here and there...

In the MacWorld article, after describing moving files from the Preserved Systems folder to the new live environment, it says:

>During this process, if you attempt to move something and get an error that
>you don't have the right privileges, you can use the Finder's Get Info command
>to change them.

That doesn't sound good to me. If you log into the desktop as root, you'll be able to move things around while keeping the permissions intact. If you're getting comfy in Terminal, you can either log in as root and use ditto -rsrcFork or log in not as root and use sudo ditto -rsrcFork to copy rather than move, still without wrecking permissions.

Remember that it's /private/var, not /.private/var.

And it's ditto -rsrcFork, not ditto rsrcFork.

Just bein' picky,

[This message has been edited by Jazzbo (edited 24 August 2002).]

08-24-2002, 01:29 PM
Y'know, Boots, since you're gettin' so good at fstab work, you might take your /Volumes/vname/Users volume, comment it out of /etc/fstab, and *then* do an Achive-and-Install with the Installer and the new 10.2 system having no idea whatsoever that you use that volume in that way.

Inspect without having your Users volume mounted on /Users, then once you're satisfied, edit the new fstab to mount /Volumes/vname/Users right over the top of the existing /Users directory.


08-25-2002, 01:53 PM
OK, I think I get what you're saying Jazz: the installer- not finding any particular users at the existing /Users- 'llmake a home at default (/Users) and with my home commented out of the fstab prior, I'll check out the system with a new temporary home at /Users/home, and then simply comment right back into that /etc/fstab to change it to/Volumes/vname/Users...
So I'll open /etc/fstab in pico as root, correct? Which etc/fstab; I've got 3: fstab.hd, fstab.rd, and fstab.sd?

This will be my very first /etc/fstab edit- I'm glad you have so much confidence in me!
I'm still getting ready to do this install, probably tomorrow or Tuesday..

08-25-2002, 02:20 PM
Okay, and here's another way to do it.

After the basic checkout of the new system...

Log in at Desktop as root (that's very important). In Terminal:

# Move the root-disk's /Users out of the way
mv /User /Users.old

# Set a symlink /Users to point to the real one
ln -s /Volumes/vname/Users /
Note that "vname" is the name of that disk.

Log out, log back in as yourself. The advantage to this approach is that you don't need to toy with /etc/fstab files at all. This is how the (still in testing, darn it) linkUsers applet will do it.

Yet another way, avoiding /etc/fstab work, is to log in as root and use NetInfo Manager to set your home directory to /Volumes/vname/Users/username. This approach sets the table longer-term for a multi-host environment with automounted home directories coming from an NFS server. If that's Greek to you, keep an eye on the Users and Groups topic here in OSX General: I'm headed that direction in a few more articles.


08-25-2002, 05:02 PM
I'm gonna try for the jugular with /etc/fstab.

Might as well learn it now cause if I do netinfo, from what I currently understand, I'll have to log back into the various users, I think, and repoint them from there, I guess

- I don't really understand yet at all, how or if I could work with the netinfo files to do all the users at the same time, other than logging into each individual user's desktop......

sure seems like the long way around...with /Vol../vname/Users/users already existent....but I guess there's more ways than one to skin a cat-

I take it the NFS server thing would be applicable if I was serving this computer with another.. (I don't know squat about servers yet)

Thankyou Jazzbo again, for your help and patience!

This is very exciting and I hope to get back with a detailed report after getting things squared away.

08-25-2002, 05:17 PM
So, Boots, before you do the fstab thang, take a look in NetInfo Manager. Since the disk's already there as /Volumes/vname...

Select the 'users' directory and tag the padlock in the lower left corner to enable changes. Then select a user. Scroll down to 'home', click a couple of times to getthe path selected (listed as "/Users/username"), and prepend /Volumes/vname to it. Move to the next user. When you Save, the new data go live.

Can't hurt to try it, 'cause you can always go back and undo the changes.

Log out. Log in as a relocated user, voila!


08-26-2002, 11:02 AM
Well I'll be danged- best darn installer yet:

Chose archive and install to a 4G boot volume.....not enough room "you need 20 more mb".....unchecked all the localized files and various printer drivers, gained 600mb.......made sure to check 'preserve user and network settings'.....installed in less than 20 minutes.......


It preserved Users at /Volumes/volname/Users!!!! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
Didn't have to do anything special...

Had to reinstall tablet driver and a few other minor items...

And btw, its definitely faster...

Eudora 5 works fine-
Magic Menu of Stuffit Deluxe crashes on open-
Font Reserve works fine-
Silk maintained-
TinkerTool: current installer won't work-
As expected, RetroRun (pid 666- gee, nice number!) crashes-
SwitchBack appears to run fine-
Some Norton stuff to pull over from old system-

[This message has been edited by Boots (edited 26 August 2002).]

04-30-2004, 06:41 AM
Time to re-visit an old friend....

In the course of some recent testing, I needed once again to operate in 'advanced' mode, and mv ~/Users to my other internal drive:

Last login: Mon Apr 26 17:35:25 on console
Welcome to Darwin!
FAIs-Computer:~ myusername$ mkdir /Volumes/TheBoss/Users
FAIs-Computer:~ myusername$ ditto -rsrcFork /Users /Volumes/TheBoss/Users
ditto: /Users/myusername/Documents/ FAI/ bkupFromEasellai/.Trashes: Permission denied
ditto: /Users/myusername/Library/Preferences/com.micromat.TechToolPro4.plist: Permission denied
ditto: /Users/myusername/Library/Preferences/EStrOSX.plist: Permission denied
ditto: /Users/myusername/Library/Preferences/IM_Installer.plist: Permission denied
FAIs-Computer:~ myusername$

No su, no root login- just plain 'ole Terminal from admin user.
Then a quick trip to NetInfo Manager.app....

For me, this was the best, easiest, and least problematic move of Users to date.

Despite the TTP4 and ExpressStripe references above, no problems with either.

The only blips:

SoftRAID.app wouldn't open the first time I tried. Second time, it opened and required me to re-install the SoftRAID driver for my SCSI setup. Once done, it worked perfectly.
Cocktail reverted to demo mode requiring my reg number again. No big deal.

I think we've established- correct me if I'm wrong, it is not a good idea to do this logged in as root, contrary to what we had previously thought. Totally screws the permissions....

I'm still on the fence about moving my third-party apps from /Applications to the new User volume. It almost seems like the best way to do this is install them first at default location, then copy 'em over...if only to avoid installer problems with some of them. Just musing.

Use a symbolic link for applications, and *most* (but not all, like MS) will look in the new location.

07-30-2004, 03:38 AM

couple of threads here (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?p=69235#post69235) and here (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18582) which might be of use.


07-30-2004, 11:02 AM
Hi Momo,

A few weeks back I just did what you're doing. You'll probably notice a speed improvement in loads, etc. with the SeriTek. It will make a good boot drive.

It sounds like you are running OS 9? I think the threads biggles pointed out may have been about the user directory in OSX. That is where X auto stores a lot of the files generated by applications. It can get quite large, depending on the applications you run. A few iMovies will eat up a lot of drive space. Ricks point, in the other thread, was to keep a mirror on the second drive of what you have going on the other (or others). From the applications you are running, sounds like you're really doing some actual work. You are wise to get some back-up system set up. A drive doesn't always signal when it goes.

Partitioning does help seek times, if you are having waits in loading apps or files. In that sense you may wish to par down the range the drive has to look to find something, but mirroring your data is the important thing. It sounds like you had a plan to boot and run off the Serial. I did that too because of the speed increase and partitioned the new drive to reflect the same partitions in the old set up so I could keep track of things better.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Incidently, watch it if you wind up putting that drive in the front bay, those serial power connectors are pretty easy to break if you bend them much, and it can get a little cramped in the front there. I wound up sticking it in the middle.


07-30-2004, 11:22 AM
momo Look here. http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18533

07-31-2004, 04:45 AM
ok, is it better to go the netinfo manager root...or do the move of user directory via terminal?...is one easier? more reliable?...

again, many thanks for all the responses...

07-31-2004, 09:39 AM
on the link to the bombich page, i think it was tz that wrote that the two lines, one that starts sudo niutil...and the second that starts sudo rm -dr...should both be on one line...is this right?...the bombich site lists it like i copied it here below with a back slash after the word home and a space for the first one and just another line for the last...thanks...m...sorry to be anal about this...just want to do it right the first time...

sudo ditto -rsrcFork /Users /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users

sudo niutil -createprop / /users/username home \

Don't go on until you're sure the new User directories are working OK. You should log out/back in to check this.* The rm -dr command will remove the original Users Directory.

here is what tz's page looked like...

sudo ditto -rsrc /Users /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users
* [Ed. 'ditto' is the heart of CarbonCopy Cloner]

(the next two lines should both go on one line)
sudo niutil -createprop / /users/username home /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users/username

sudo rm -dr /Users
sudo ln -s /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users /Users

Don't use the rm -dr command on the Users directory until you're sure the new one is working OK. You may want to log out/back in to check this.

sudo rm -dr /Users
sudo ln -s /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users /Users

08-02-2004, 08:02 AM
For (your own) security purposes, responses to password prompts when you're on a Terminal aren't printed back.

Just type it in and hit Return and you should be fine.


08-03-2004, 08:40 AM
ok, ok...so maybe i'll try the NetInfo Manager route...and maybe wait a couple days to see if jazzbo comes through with some sort of guide and software to do this and make sure all the proper connections are made in the process...

oh, and i bought The Missing Manual for Panther, while i was getting info from Rick on the drive i bought and the pci card he suggested the book, man, i gotta write and thank him, it's already saved me hours and hours of searching and grief wading through all these new OS X programs...


08-03-2004, 12:00 PM
Missing Manaul should be Required reading and come with every copy of OS X! Running OS X Panther (O'Reilly) gets used a lot, too. :o

08-03-2004, 01:09 PM

Sorry about that. Forgot I was in on this thread. :p

Here's an oldie but goodie on modifying the path to your Home directory with NetInfo Manager:


It's no doubt in one of the other threads. But I'm in seriously lazy mode now, so I didn't verify. That replaces the 2d step in the Bombich method -- the 'sudo niutil -createprop...'

Just so I finally put it down, in a nutshell, here's my method. Big thanks go to Mike Bombich for posting the original steps (and an email for explaining to me early on what did what), and Ari Vuolo from Apple Forums for indicating that the modification to the NetInfo database may not be required. [Edit 08/04/2004: And thanks to Jazzbo for suggestions on my original step #3* (see below); suggestions now incorporated.]
1. Make a backup of the Users directory (use CCC, mv, whatever you like).

2. sudo ditto -rsrc /Users "/Volumes/OtherPartition/Users"

3. sudo mv -f /Users /Users.old

4. sudo ln -s "/Volumes/OtherPartition/Users" /Users

5. If /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users isn't on the motherboard and I'm running 10.3.x, then I activate the hidden option for autodiskmount. The tip can be found at macosxhints (http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031103155828117).

6. Then the new setup gets tested (logins and logouts, etc.) to make sure all is o.k.

7. Once it's certain that everything o.k., the original directory (renamed Users.old) on the boot volume gets deleted with:
sudo rm -dr /Users.old
Step #3 renames the current /Users directory (on the boot volume) to /Users.OLD. Kept there just in case while testing the system. [Paragraph added 08/04/2004: Jazzbo's very helpful modification to the original steps I posted.]

You'll note in steps #2 and #4 I added quotes around the path to new Users directory, i.e. "/Volumes/OtherPartition/Users". I did this just in case, the partition name has spaces it in, otherwise the command won't get parsed as you want to it. I learned my lesson from iTunes installer, no spaces in the names of volumes.

Truth be told I actually just name my partition 'Users', rather than have a directory called 'Users' on another partition. So my Users 'directory' just is a partitiion/volume called 'Users'. In that case, I actually use (skipping step #1):
2. sudo ditto -rsrc /Users /Volumes/Users

3. sudo mv -f /Users /Users.old

4. sudo ln -s /Volumes/Users /Users

5. If /Volumes/OtherPartition/Users isn't on the motherboard and I'm running 10.3.x, then I activate the hidden option for autodiskmount. The tip can be found at macosxhints (http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031103155828117).

6. Then the new setup gets tested (logins and logouts, etc.) to make sure all is o.k.

7. Once it's certain that everything o.k., the original directory (renamed Users.old) on the boot volume gets deleted with:
sudo rm -dr /Users.old
*Edit 08/04/2004:

NOTE: Jazzbo in a later post (http://showpost.php?p=69418&postcount=18) suggests doing the Users directory move while logged in as root, rather than with a regular admin account. While GUI-logged in as root, the 'sudo' in the above steps is not needed.

Step #3 (in lists of steps) was modified in light of Jazzbo's later comments . The old version had just 'sudo rm -dr /Users' -- this gives context to Jazzbo's later post. Additional steps #6 and 7 added, given his suggestions and given the change to step #3.

08-03-2004, 01:25 PM

MacDevCenter on using NetInfo Manager

08-03-2004, 07:15 PM
I am working on a script-inside-an-applet to do this (drag-n-drop the destination volume from Finder, check-box if you want an Applications directory next to Users on the destination, punch the "Go" button). Got a bug with the Interface Builder template for the applet, so I'm waiting for a colleague to reconstruct the template for me before I can get down to the actual script.

It'll have a Help document attached to it, too, and that may take more time to write than the script that actually does the work!

Eric: I'd recommend instead of "3. sudo rm -dr /Users", "3. sudo mv -f /Users /Users.OLD" with a note to come back and remove it after the migration is totally successful.

I've also found that it's immensely safer to move the contents of /Users when you're logged in (at the Desktop) as root, rather than as one of the userids within /Users. At that point, you don't need to call on sudo, and you don't have to worry about files being open or modified in the old structure during or after the copy. That can really get you in the old seat-o-the-pants, as Rick and I found out cloning Laurie's home directory when she had the Mail app running on the source machine during the copy. (Took me awhile in Terminal to figure out and repair the problems.)


08-03-2004, 10:52 PM

Thanks for the tips.

I'd recommend instead of "3. sudo rm -dr /Users", "3. sudo mv -f /Users /Users.OLD" with a note to come back and remove it after the migration is totally successful.I was trying to cut the steps down to their core, which was probably a bad thing. Packed into the idea in step #1 with the 'backup' is just this sort of mv -- I mentioned it too briefly in parentheses. But if you 'mv' at the outset (as I tend to do), that requires modifying the subsequent steps.

In any case you're right, so rather than redo a set of steps, which might confuse, I'll get in there and edit the original post. Let me know if they look o.k.

I've also found that it's immensely safer to move the contents of /Users when you're logged in (at the Desktop) as root, rather than as one of the userids within /Users. At that point...you don't have to worry about files being open or modified in the old structure during or after the copy.Ah ha! That's what the problem is. I've sometimes done the move as root, and sometimes not. I had occasion where thinks have been locked or with folders not marked executable. So logging in as root looks good.

But I still end-up having to tweak the permissions anyway after the move.

08-05-2004, 06:26 PM

I use a QS 733 and mostly a basic home user - not to much fancy - a simple effective setup. No it's not necessary to to move your /users. I don't. Take your time and get used to OS X and then start tweaking and playing more. What many people here do and are encouraging you to do is separate your "System and applications" from your "data files". The best method is using two drives on separate busses. A backup plan is a must. I use three drives. I only use OS 9 to play 1 game and emergency boot drive. I never run classic. I have purchased all OS X software.

My three drives.

1. Boot drive 10.3.4. A 120 GB SATA Seagate on a Seritek host card 2 partitions. The first is about 15 GB and contains my System and Apps only the remainder is backup.

My drive 2 and 3 are on the internal stock ATA/66 bus.

2. A 40 GB with 2 partitions the first is about 8 GB with OS 9 and some OS 9 apps. The remainder of that drive is my "primary data" that I backup to the 120 GBer.

3. 60 GB drive with three partitions. First 20 GB for OS X 10.3.3 and applications it's another backup drive built almost exact as my 120 GBer. A small 900 MB partition for downloads burn CD' from? - I built it a long time ago doing what your doing now. I really never knew what I was going to do with that - it's worked out fine. The third partition is about 37 GB and stores only my mp3 data for iTunes music and is backed up to the 120 GBer.

Knowing what I know now... I would built the 40 and 60 GB drives different (partition sizes) now but until I outgrow them they are effective.

Having System and Applications on one partition and data on another but on the same drive is NOT separating the data/System. Your drive heads are running all over the HD.

08-12-2004, 02:23 AM

used netinfo and instructions in the Missing Manual, pg.372, to move my home directory to a partition so it would be separated from the partition where i keep my OS and apps...man, scarey...

it's like it no longer was part of the OS...all my prefs went back to the way the OS was right out of the box, and my newly moved home directory was bare, nothing that i'd saved in there until now moved with it...

happily, i just undid what i typed into netinfo and everything is back the way i had it...whew...what a test drive, my heart rate must have shot up a hundred beats...

i guess this method won't work for what i want to do, any suggestions?

...perhaps it's the bombich way or bust, if i use terminal and things get crazy is there a way to undo what i type in?...m

08-12-2004, 03:27 AM

I have a feeling we should keep this together with the old thread. But I'm such a bad moderator, I'm afraid of hosing your post if I try. :( I'll leave it to one of the experienced types.

I'm not familiar with the Pogue Missing Manual technique; I don't own the book.

But from what you described, it sounds like the initial copying of Users/Home directory to the new partition failed. If nothing got transferred, then after your changes in NetInfo, once you log in it's as if you have a blank or brand new Home directory.

Question, when you logged in after modifying with NetInfo (when you had the default look), where was your active Home directory? That is, which Home directory showed the home icon? If it was the (failed) copy on the partition, then that's good. At least we know you're doing things right in NetInfo.

Note: When you enter the path in NetInfo Manager, it's really important to get the syntax right. Case (upper/lower) matters, e.g. it's /Volumes not /volumes. Some processes and apps won't care about the case, but some apps will kicking up error messages. In the past I had problems with Cocoa apps when the syntax to my moved path wasn't correct.

After you tried to copy the User/Home directory, did you take a quick peak inside to see if your stuff was there?

I'd say try this again. Sounds like the breakdown is happening at the copying stage. If you want verification first. Tell us how you're copying the Users/Home directory to the new partition.

(One good thing comes out of this, at least you're learning the importance of keeping the original around and how to undo things if you ever wanna put it back.)

08-12-2004, 04:39 AM

Believe it or not, I have my "home directory" at top level, not in some "Users" folder with "shortname" which would require


but as /Volumes/TZ_Home
and that is what is entered in NetInfo Manager for home directory path.

Save the changes with command + S.
Update this copy of NetInfo
Log back in.

When you are booted, type Command + H to open the home folder. I like to have a custom toolbar that lets you see where a folder is nested. If you are at some place like

Mac OS X/Volumes/

It didn't make it. It is easy to make a mistake. But easier to use NetInfo to make the change.

When you copied files, and you can do most of it in Finder, did you copy your home Library only?
Did you do a Get Info on the volume in question and uncheck "Ignore Permissions?"

08-12-2004, 06:34 AM
HOW did you move your files?

I can't find in your story anything to point to why, or, where that is.

to change permissions easily, Batchmod (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/mac/12057) should be on everyone's hard drive utilities.

Product Description:
BatChmod is a Cocoa utility for manipulating file and folder privileges in Mac OS X (10.1 recommended). It allows the manipulation of ownership as well as the privileges associated to the Owner, Group or others. Here are some of the characteristics of BatChmod:
It's simple and elegant
It allows one to change any specific privilege or ownership without affecting the others (ie, changing the group without affecting the owner, or adding or removing a specific privilege without affecting all the others)
It can recursively affect enclosed folders
It's basically a mix of the Unix commands chown, chgrp and chmod...
it can Force Empty the Trash

grab a copy of OmniDiskSweeper (http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnidisksweeper/)

This makes it easy to navigate hidden folders and directories in such cases.
Usually it is a typo. Sometimes a disk drive doesn't get mounted.

There is directory "/Volumes" that should only have mount points. In your case, your 'fake' home directory is probably there AND I always had to go in and nuke the fake home directory or it would always be wrong. Which would also reside on your startup volume.

OS X Utility Library (http://www.macfixit.com/staticpages/index.php?page=20021025143249142)

08-12-2004, 06:47 AM
A word of caution on this, if your plan is to have the entire partition, 'freedom' be your Home directory -- which is what you've done. You'll note that your username momo is not identical to the name of your Home directory, which you've set as freedom. You'll note that by default your username and Home directory are identical. I'm not 100% sure this matters, but a Unix guru I know mentioned that non-identical names could break some shellscripts. Jazzbo though will need to weigh in on this.

08-12-2004, 08:24 AM
If there is a problem, most likely your "home directory" is on the root volume you boot from (mine is "Mac OS X") in the Volumes (hidden) subfolder, rather than on the hard drive volume it should be (if there is a problem with a drive mounting or a typo in the home directory path.

look in /Volumes and nuke what you see in "/Volumes" (use Terminal, Finder, Path Finder or OmniDiskSweeper) to remove the duplicate files and problem Library.

New home directory path: /Volumes/volname/Users/account-name
(I've seen entire drives, 40GB worth, in there taking up space).

From the Finder type Command + Shift + G
in the search field type /Volumes
type Command + 2 (list view)
open each folder to see what is inside

08-13-2004, 05:59 PM
That line: My Name-Computer:-momo$ is called "prompt-string 1", and that is the "shell" -- the program running your Terminal session -- letting you know it's ready for you to enter commands (like mkdir /Volumes/freedom/Users).

Just start typing right after it.


08-14-2004, 10:24 AM

Cool, a near canonical version of Jazzbo's direction.

I noticed unlike say Mike Bombich's method (which I used as the basis for mine) that you don't create a soft link /Users targeted at the new/moved Users directory on the other partition.

I asked Bombich about the necessity of the soft-link, given that one your and his method you change the path of the Home directory (or directories) in the NetInfo database. He wrote that although not strictly speaking necessary, it could help in those occasional cases when applications don't consult the database (like they should), and when some apps/installers complain if there's no /Users directory. The link helps out in the occasionaly problematic cases.

Way back at 10.1.x I encountered an app (can't remember which) that kicked up some errors or crashed without the soft link even though I had changed the path to home directory in the NetInfo database. But once I created the soft link, all was good.

(Of course with my method posted here (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showpost.php?p=69402&postcount=17), the soft link is necessary because I don't even touch the NetInfo database.)

08-14-2004, 11:47 AM
If you go into the Accounts preference panel to create an additional account after moving /Users, if the symlink is in place, the new user's home directory will be completely and correctly constructed by the Accounts utilities, on the other volume. All you need to do is to hop into NetInfo to update the new account's home directory path. Oh yeah, duh! Yet another reason for symlink. Who the heck wants to go through this again everytime a new account is created? A very good point.

BTW, I can verify that when you have the symlink in place, new accounts are automatically created in the other volume; that's what I see all the time. Of course, the symlink is all that I use (save the autodiskmount trick in 10.3.x). I don't even bother modifying the NetInfo database after moving or creating accounts. All accounts have the default /Users/username as their paths to home directories; the softlink seems to be enough to keep things working fine -- as far as I can tell. :D

08-14-2004, 12:27 PM
Part MacDevCenter, part "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual" - how to successfully place your home directory on an external portable or removeable drive.

08-14-2004, 01:23 PM

11-04-2004, 01:15 AM
I think I'd like to go for the best possible set up if it's not too difficult to do. Does this mean I partition both drives or do i have to buy another one for back ups?
Yes, it's on a seperate bus. I loaded it on to the lower ATA66 bus.
Photos are stored in iPhoto but i edit with photo impressions if necess. Only iMovie for video, I don't do enough to justify another program. Haven't got the hang of it really yet and it was grindingly slow on my old imac.

11-04-2004, 01:58 AM
That sounds do able. How do I assign system and applications to the drive i want? Is there an advantage to partitioning? After I do it, will I get the option whenever I save something to choose the partition I want?
I thought i had the FW800 but I think I have the dual boot - I've never used OS9 ever - but have a couple of rarely used classic applications. Does this mean I can get away with not installing the OS9 drivers?
Thanks for your help. I'm going to leave this 'til the weekend and will try to pick up another drive tomorrow. can't believe I managed with an imac and now could have 3 hard drives!

11-04-2004, 12:33 PM
Some ideas:

Create an Emergency CD using BootCD that has Disk Warrior and other utilities you might need (Norton won't run from CD though TechTool Pro 4 will). See this thread about BootCD/DVD (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19115)

Create a DVD image and burn to DVD so you have one or two - one "clean" copy is excellent, and one of your "working" system. Make sure to do so before upgrading to 10.3.6 when it comes out in the near future (before the end of the year, maybe Thanksgiving).

You can also make sure to store and save any download updates, installers etc somewhere and back those up to CD and DVD. Same with home folder ~/Library with all your mail and preferences, another of Documents.

Two or three partitions may make sense. Scratch. An area to store just DVD image files. I tried creating partitions for each home subfolder (Documents, Movies, etc). Nothing but a mess. Some of those need 10GB and others need different sizes.

You can be sure that sometimes you have to experiment and try things in order to learn and get the feel. We can guide or help with how to use the tools, but in the end, trying something gives you the experience to tune your system to your needs. I can tell you that your MDD runs better with 1.75GB RAM, Serial ATA drive(s), but it has almost always been trial and error based on what I knew at the time.

11-04-2004, 03:15 PM
Go to the Apple Menu. Select "Mac OS X Software" for the Combined updater, what I call stand alone which works for any/all Macs. Even though you can save the download as part of software update, it is not the same, and Apple now uses a smaller "smarter" updater that is suppose to be what your system needs.

A smart updater might have been 28MB. The stand alone might be 40MB. The combined update, that will be 80MB or more, can take a system from 10.3.0 to current level (and is 300MB uncompressed).

Then there is QuickTimeX, ATI Displays, Java, Security, etc. etc.

Use Software Update for smaller security updates (though not everyone is happy with those).

There is a thread "Mac OS X 10.3.5 Update" (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18296) with tips on backup, repair, run Disk Warrior (http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/index.html) as most problems are pre-existing problems, and not caused in all cases by the updater.

11-05-2004, 05:21 AM
Try not to partition to much.
Now have no idea what to do. Should I do this or only if I decide to get serious about video?

I feel at a serious disadvantage not being on the same tme zone as you guys, I had a night out (it was Guy Fawkes here) and now you're all in bed!

A 3rd drive would be nice - not necessary.
Well, unles it's necessary I'm not keen to by.

I figured this cmputer would take me years to out grow.

I use it a lot but not for demanding stuff but on the very few ocassions I have the video was so slow, it made me buy the power mac, otherwise the imac was adequate.

Rick had advised me to get the RAM and a second drive, so I though that was it. Frankly I can't see yself getting anywhere near capacity on these two drives but if there is a real advantage with a 3rd drive I'll do it.

Whew, I have a bit to get thru, hope I understand it all


11-05-2004, 05:32 AM
Some ideas:

Create an Emergency CD using BootCD that has Disk Warrior and other utilities you might need (Norton won't run from CD though TechTool Pro 4 will). I don't know what any of these things are - I had been backing up by burning dvds, but don't know how or what bootcd or techtool pro are. Sorry.


Sorry to throw so much at you so quickly.

Techtool Pro is from MicroMat and compliments Alsoft Disk Warrior. Both are useful and essential utilities. BootCD lets you create a CD to use in emergencies or for maintenance to repair your disks.

maybe thanksgiving - we don't have that in NZ - everyday is thaks giving - just kidding, we don't have it though, late Nov for you guys huh?

I've now got 1.528GB of Ram and the extra drive (which I don't think I'm using yet cause I don't know how to best set it up)


11-05-2004, 05:47 AM
Thanks Randy, I was getting lost out there. Please can someone tell me what a simple girl, wanting a simple, but faster system should do - I'm not rying to recreate the univerise here, I know bugger all about my macs capabilities and just want it to be a bit faster and gruntier. (assuming I don't get a 3rd drive)


11-05-2004, 06:00 AM
In Help & FAQ OS X utilities (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16277) and in "how to create a bootable CD/DVD" you will find information on programs. Any of which can also be found on Version Tracker or MacUpdate.

I just helped someone improve their system, following the same basic steps and outline we recommend.

Upgrade the memory to at least 1.5GB. Backup. Isolate the OS/Apps to one drive. Have a scratch/editing drive. Put the user data, home folder, media, on a separate drive.

Backups to CD, DVD, and FireWire.

A bootable CD BootCD (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showpost.php?p=73345&postcount=3) is nice to have for emergencies. TechTool Pro www.micromat.com (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showpost.php?p=73346&postcount=4) is the 'new' Norton/Symantec and second or in addition to Disk Warrior (which we see help so often and well it gets rated 5* and 'essential.'

When it comes to editing video, having the right setup can cut hours to a project. iMovie & iDVD video editing (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18764) and Creating Slideshow iDVD (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19022)

There is also in the Missing Manual Series: iLife: iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, and OS X Panther (http://www.missingmanuals.com/)

As for partitions and some of the ideas: if you have been backing up, and it works (test it once to make sure) that is all that matters.

The new drive would be nice to use though ;)

Under your optical drive bays is the ATA/66 drive cage.
having two optical drives is helpful. If it didn't come with a DVD burner ("SuperDrive") adding one means you can do DVDs (4.4GB vs 650MB). Costs $100. You can boot from one optical drive and still access the 2nd.

If you wanted, you could have Serial ATA drives at some point.

On the right are two more drives in the ATA/100 cage and where the original drive was.

For now, there should be a single drive on each side.
System where it is. And the 2nd drive we want to use. So the easiest way is to copy the /Users folder and then tell NetInfo Manager that Users is now in a new location.

Ideal setup:

Serial controller.
10K 74GB Raptor for system
10K 74GB Raptor for editing/scratch
two ATA drives for storing media, user data, backup.

Or, you could leave it as is, and have the system where it is and copy/move /Users to your new drive, and use the pair of Serial ATA drives (save money and get 160-300GB drives) and use them as a 'scratch.'

11-05-2004, 06:09 AM

I do a lot of scanning. I can now use VueScan. There are a couple options and preferences: set how much memory to try to use for preview and for scans. I upped it from defaults of 80 and 160, to 200 and 300. And to release memory after each scan. Now the scans are faster. But I didn't realize that until now. After buying more RAM, VueScan only now supports more USB2 scanners, and monitoring system activity helped me pinpoint where and what was slow - or might be improved.

Some of the "Guides To Improving Performance," one for general storage, (http://www.macgurus.com/guides/storageaccelguide.php) another for PhotoShop Optimization (http://www.macgurus.com/guides/photoshopguide.php) are really helpful and apply to almost anyone.

Might need one for setting up the drives, not sure, and also for RAID.

Outside of the CPU (dual 1.25) and memory (2GB max), disk drives are always the slowest component and easy to upgrade to improve performance.

Faster drives. Even larger drives which have data packed more tightly are faster. Having more drives. One "job" for each. And to take a pair of identical drives that normally do 55MBsec, and boost it in a RAID configuration to 110MB/sec. (A pair of SATA drives could deliver 120-135MB/sec).

Reading and writing to/from the SAME drive is inherently VERY slow. And if a disk drive has to do 3-4 things it is moving around all the time. (dual traction on cars helped on the drag strip and some of it can be applied here). Sometimes though, you really need full "four-wheel" drive performance. And that is where not only is the OS and /Users on separate drives, but editing and video are also.

11-05-2004, 07:09 AM

mine is pig-latin, also the motto of the Whitehorse Star newspaper (that's Whitehorse, Yukon Territory).

There is a middle course in all things, so don't let the bastards grind you down. :D

I agree with Randy, subscribe to the KISS principle, but build in a bit of future-proofing too when you configure your drives to allow for some expansion of both your work practices and your knowledge of Mac's. I guarantee that if you hang around here for any length of time then you'll learn more about your Mac than you ever thought possible! Then you'll be wanting to do a bit of this, a bit of that, saying to yourself, why didn't I set things up right in the first place? Those guys... what were they thinking?

When you've decided on the number of drives, much specific advice will follow from all and sundry, let's hope we can Keep It Simple.

I can recommend a UK source for drives from whom I recently bought two SATA Barracudas with fast delivery, and no problems. A Seagate ST3160023A 160GB 7200rpm 8mb Cache Barracuda 7200.7 Plus - OEM is £61.22 inc.VAT, and I think that's a very good price. I'd love to buy from the 'Gurus' Store more than I do, but what with shipping and H.M. Customs and Excise hitting us for VAT and Duty, well... If you're interested, drop me an e-mail. I don't want to post the URL here on principle, these guys have a business to run, but I'm sure Rick'll forgive us if we Limies stick together from time to time. Rick, you will, wontcha?


11-05-2004, 10:29 AM
I've now got 1.528GB of Ram and the extra drive (which I don't think I'm using yet cause I don't know how to best set it up)

One of the nice things about OS X is that there really is not anything to configure; plug it in and the OS handles using it for you. There are a couple exceptions, but for most general computing it is plug and play. So you can probably scratch that off the list.

Did I miss it, or did you already say how much data (docs, files, pics, etc.) do you have? Or more specifically, how much room do you need to store it and back it up? And how do you expect it to grow in size?

11-05-2004, 10:35 AM

Lets just try setting you up with your current hardware as best we can. At a latter point you can add a drive if needed.

You have 2 busses in the MDD.
Keep them on separate buss.
You will put 1 drive set to Master on each bus.
(Edit: use Cable Select - CS - on MDDs; was already installed on the ATA/66 bus from Rick's guidance)

To partition a drive simply means cutting it into smaller pieces - each will act like it's own drive in many ways.

If you open Disk Utility in the Applications folder -> Utilities -> Disk Utilities - you will see a partition tab.

Create a partition at least 20+ GB or more if your planning writing to DVD 30GB. This will be your main OS or boot drive. On the other drive we can create a smaller OS and working data area. Backing up to the Seagate.


11-05-2004, 04:42 PM
When a drive is first installed, you have to Erase or use Partition to make it HFS Extended (Journaling) before you can use it. If it is used for scratch or media, you may want to use HFS Extended but without Journaling (good idea to leave it enabled for the boot drive and for /Users as those can't be repaired with Disk Utility unless you boot from another system drive).

After that, it is available for use.

Click on the drive on the desktop.
Do a Get Info (Command + I) and "Show Details" and then uncheck "Ignore Ownership" on the drive.
Go back into Disk Utility (still open)
Click on the original 80GB OEM Seagate drive.
Click on the Restore tab.
Drag the new drive volume (160GB Seagate) to Target.
Click on Restore.

You now have your your system and all files on the new drive.
Go to First Aid in Disk Utility and Verify the drive and Permissions.
Make sure that there are no errors or problems.
Disk Utility may need to be run more than once if there were errors.

Go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk.
Select the new drive to boot from and make sure it works.

Your old drive is now your "backup" and continue to use and enjoy the new drive. It should be faster etc. Or go back to the original if you want.

Before I use a drive for work, I break it in and just play with it for a week. I format it a couple times (erase, partition, format, initialize, can all almost be used to mean the same thing or interchangeably).

No mention was made to putting jumpers on the drive to set it to "Cable Select" which is what the MDD uses.
If there is only one drive, it uses the black end connector.
Connect the power cable.
Installing a drive is covered in the Apple Customer Installable parts pdf (CIP) (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=26259) under Support area for your PowerMac G4 MDD. Along with RAM.

G4 MDD Service Manual (http://www.whoopis.com/computer_repair/PowerMac_G4_mirror.pdf)

I feel more comfortable when I have a manual next to me to walk me through everything. And to that end there is a list of books I list that help with OS X but primarily the "Missing Manual." Wish we sold copies.

11-07-2004, 06:15 AM
A book should have a section on NetInfo Manager. If not, the book isn't worth having. Would be nice to have a screenshot and post/paste that but I don't have dotMac account (was getting 100s of spam a day thanks to someone that allowed real email address to be harvested off Apple Discussions by anyone.

I had the same fears and sweaty palms but I hoped that in the Move Users FAQ there is:

launch NIM.
Click on the "Users" in the center column.
click on the "shortname" of the user to modify.
on the bottom list, click on "home."
Change the default entry which is "/Users/shortname" to -

Logout and login.

11-07-2004, 07:39 AM

I was writing this up and had to leave. In the meantime, looks like TZ filled in the details. Though it repeats the same instruction, hopefully between the two you'll be able to do what you need to do.

Take a look at this screen shot:

<img class="attach" src="attachment.php?attachmentid=44&amp;stc=1" border="0" alt="" /></pre>

That's a screen shot of NetInfo Manager, right at the point where you would enter the new path -- the path to your moved Home directory.

I did a few things to get there:
1. Click on the lock to authenticate (use administrators name and password)

In the top half, you'll see the 3 columns (it's very much like column view in the Finder). In the screen shot note that some items in those columns are gray -- that reflects that I clicked once (or highlighted them). So let's do that:

2. In the first column, select (click once) / if it isn't already.

3. In the second column, select users. The 3d column should now display the contents of users.

4. In the 3d column, find the name your users account. In my screen shot the name of the user (or account) is called 'test'; so that's why that is selected.

Once you select the name of your account, the bottom half of the NetInfo window should display the settings for that account. The one you're interest in is 6 items down: the one called home under 'Property' heading.

5. Double-click to the right under 'Value' heading. That should put you in exactly the same spot as my screen shot.

At this point you want to pick up the last two lines of TZ's instructions:
Change the default path /Users/shortname /Users/test in my screen shot] to the new path:
Pay attention to the case (upper- and lowercase in the above) -- the path is case-senstive.

Just to be clear. Two items (the ones in italics) need to be replaced in new path, /Volumes/vol_name/Users/shortname.
A. Replace [i]vol_name with the real name of the other volume -- the new volume where you 'moved' (put a copy of) the Users directory.

B. Replace shortname with the shortname of your account, it will be the same as your home directory.

Then login and logout as TZ suggested.