What would you guys suggest as the migration strategy for this?

I have a 320GB HDD currently and will be adding an 80gb SSD. I'd like to keep my /Users folder on the HDD and move everything else to the SSD and boot from the SSD.

I'd prefer not to reinstall leopard to do this since I've installed so many programs (.apps and terminal/macPorts installs) and it would take me days to get back up and running. It would be great if I could copy everything except the /Users data to the SSD. Then boot from the SSD and mount the HDD as /Users. I have a feeling that the Mac won't like this at all though.

The other concern I have is when I do all of this how do I ensure that all of my "~/Application Data" will still point to the right location and that I won't be completely hosing all of my preferences etc?


====== Update:

Oh and I have seen How to make the Users Directory a different partition in Snow Leopard? but I can't just copy everything to the SSD first so I'm still unsure of how best to get there.


How it went: This went much smoother than I thought it would. Performance is incredible. Went from 3:30 for a login (opening a ton of apps mind you) to about 30 seconds. Quicksilver pops up immediately (if you use qs you realize how awesome that is). I get duplicates for some programs in the open with... dialog.

The biggest thing I'd say to watch out for is this. I had an account that was fileVaulted and wanted to leave it on the HD. This worked fine but some programs Application support files broke because it was looking for /Volumes/HDD/Users/. I originally had my files in /Volumes/HDD/ and this threw some of those off. Once I moved it I had my history and preferences back for those apps.

  1. Make a full backup and turn off auto login for your account
  2. Create a 2nd admin user for purposes of changing the path once you are booted into the SSD.
  3. Create a custom copy script in SuperDuper!
  4. Allow the user to select the script in the first tab. Include the script "Backup - all files.dset" in the second tab. On the third tab set an ignore for /Users/yourusername
  5. In SuperDuper! use this script to copy from the HD to the SSD. It will leave all data on the HD, and copy everything but your user folder to the SSD.
  6. Change the boot drive to be the SSD in System Preferences.
  7. Boot into the SSD, login to the account you created in step 2, and follow knweiss's advice from the page you linked to. You'll be right clicking on your account to change the path to point to the user folder on the HD.
  8. Reboot and login.

Be aware that you'll have a /Users folder on your SSD which will have /Shared in it, and new users will be created on the SSD unless you specify otherwise.

Once you are done you should delete everything on the HD except of course /Users/yourusername

Don't change the name of the HD in the finder or it will break the link to your User folder unless you edit the link again in Accounts. You can change the drive name before you start, but pick something you'll want to stick with.


I like ridogi's answer but I also found this link (http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/183009930041) in case any body else wants to do this. I like the idea of symlinking everything IN /Users/yourusername to the HDD but leaving stuff like Library on the SSD.

Looks like it could also prevent any app developer from doing some strange voodoo to hit the /Users on the bootdrive.

  • 2
    There are tons of ways to do this and that link looks good. Personally I'd move just my iTunes and Aperture libraries to a larger 2nd HD and leave the rest of my user folder on the SSD. Those two are easy to move and take up 90% of my user folder, plus I would be able to take advantage of the SSD's speed even more.
    – ridogi
    Dec 7 '09 at 2:51
  • Yeah... My biggest problems are my code bases (not sure I want to have a lot of larger files that go through a lot of write/delete cycles), iTunes, movies, and VMs (those being the biggest disk killers). Though you're right once you get those massive media and VM files out of the way 80 GB is plenty big. Oh and I've passed 15 points now so I can upvote you answer as well as accept it! Dec 7 '09 at 19:38
  • I also like the idea of having some of those smaller files still on the SSD (especially preference files and the like) to get that speed bump there as well. Appreciate the thoughts and organization, ridogi. Dec 7 '09 at 19:43
  • You're welcome. I think having ~/Library on the SSD would be beneficial. My method could of course be modified by using multiple ignores in the SuperDuper script instead of the entire user folder. That way you could leave iTunes and the VMs behind on the HD, so symlinking is not necessary if you want the end result of the above arstechnica article but doesn't want to use symlinks. You of course then don't need to point the user folder at the HD. Pointing the iTunes library at the proper place is just a matter of holding option while starting iTunes.
    – ridogi
    Dec 10 '09 at 3:55

I know this wasn't your original question, but after your migration, you mentioned that you have duplicate entries in the "Open With..." menu.

Here's how to fix that.

Rebuild your LaunchServices database

  • Cool thanks. I've been too busy to look I to this since it's a pretty minor issue. Dec 24 '09 at 16:00

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