In OS X there are some benefits to moving your folder to another hard drive. Here is how to do this, along with some alternative options to consider.
The home folder in OS X is the default location where your account's settings and data are stored. By default your home folder is located in the Users directory at the root of the main boot drive, will be named the same as your account's short username, and will have a house icon when you are logged into your account.
Having the home directory located on the main boot volume is a convenient option for quick and easy setup; however, there may be instances where you would like to have it on a separate partition, or better yet on a secondary hard drive altogether.
If you have decided you would like to migrate your home folder to a secondary hard drive, the process is actually quite simple. Your home folder is just a collection of files and folders owned by your user account, which you have complete control over, so to migrate it just follow these steps.
After you have made these changes, click "OK" and then log out of your account. Then log back in and your account should load from its location on the secondary hard drive. If all goes well then you should see no difference in behavior. However, if something does go awry then you can log in to the secondary administrator account and edit your account in the same way to revert the home directory back to its original default location.
After logging in to your account successfully, you can then go back to the Users directory on your boot drive and remove the old home folder in there if you would like.
While moving your home folder is easy to do and has its benefits, do keep in mind that there are a few potential drawbacks. For one, secondary drives and volumes are not as protected as your main drive. They can easily be formatted and also set so permissions are ignored, which will allow your home folder to be easily browsed by other accounts on the system and thereby potentially compromise the security of your data on a multiuser setup; however, the impact of this would depend on who you allow access to your computer.
While moving your home folder to a new drive might seem like the only way to quickly access a larger secondary drive through your home directory, there are some alternative setups that will perform the same functions. One easy option is to just mirror the home folder directories (Music, Movies, Documents, and so on) to a directory on the secondary drive, and then create aliases to these folders within the respective folders in your account.
This setup will still use the account's library contents (application preferences and settings) from the main boot drive, while allowing you to easily access the external drive through the aliases so you can store your data and documents. The one drawback to this setup is that some programs will need to be configured to access the external drive instead of the original home folder. For instance, Safari's default downloads folder will need to be changed to point to the secondary drive, and you will need to set the location of your iTunes or iPhoto libraries to point to their locations on the external drive as well, but once these changes are done then everything should work properly.
Do you have a custom or unique home folder setup that has its benefits? If so, let us know about it below in the comments.
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