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Re: Possible to relocate home folders to another volume?

atebit
Tutor

Possible to relocate home folders to another volume?

I am currently running flex raid with two volumes. I would like to relocate the home folders to the other volume. I know that if I use the Destroy function on the volume with the home folder, it will automatically be moved to the other volume before the first volume is destroyed.

Is there a way to move the home folder between volumes without also destroying the source volume? I guess I could just manually copy it, but I don’t know if the home folder has some special significance to OS6 such that just a manual copy might not preserve its functionality. Since OS6 knows to relocate this specific folder as part of a Destroy, seems like there may be something special about it.
Message 1 of 4
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Possible to relocate home folders to another volume?

Personally, I recommend people avoid the use of the built-in home folders and just create user-specific folders on their own unless an extensive user base makes that unwieldy.  They can't have the same name as the user (including you can't just change upper/lower case), but it's easy to just create Johns_share instead of John.  This gives you far more control and also allows a user access both locally and via ReadyCloud if you give "both users" the proper access.

 

But if you do want to continue using them, when you EXPORT the primary volume, the remaining volume becomes the primarily one, so the home folders (but not their contents) will be migrated, and re-importing the old primary will not change that.  Any content still in the home folders on the original volume will actually still be there, it just won't be accessible. So data migration requires backup, deletion of data in the old home folders, and restoration in the new.  If you have Time Machine backups, they will be especially hard (if not impossible) to migrate data from.

 

This will also migrate the apps folder and is supposed to migrate the apps themselves, but I have done some experiments where that didn't happen.  If you run apps and it's an option, removing the apps and re-installing after migration of the folder is probably best, though I do have a post available on how to manually migrate them via SSH.  Since the remainder of the OS is in RAID on all volumes, that's not affected.

 

I am sure it is possible to migrate them via SSH as well, but I've not done it.  There are hidden files and folders as well as mounts you would need to get right.

 

EXPORT is accomplished via the volume gear icon.  Once that is done, each actual user folder will not be created until the user logs in (or you log in for them) or you use mkhomedir_helper via SSH.  Import is accomplished by simply installing the volume with the power off and powering up.  The OS and swap partitions will need to re-sync, but that's quick.

 

Note that once EXPORTED, you cannot simply re-install the old primary as a primary volume, so making a backup before you start this process is a must, just in case something goes wrong.

Message 2 of 4
atebit
Tutor

Re: Possible to relocate home folders to another volume?

Well the primary (only?) way I was planning to leverage the home folders was for maintaining separate Time Machine sparsebundles. From what I’ve read in the SW manual that feature’s only possible by using the home folder?

Worst case at this point think I can delete the user accounts & re-create them on the other volume later. I was more concerned about options down the road when that might not be so good of an option. 🙂
Message 3 of 4
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Possible to relocate home folders to another volume?

While home folders are the normal way to have separate Time Machine backups for users, I believe it is possible to create them on any Samba share. (See How-use-time-machine-backup-your-mac-windows-shared-folder.) I'm not a Mac user, so have not tried this.

 

Deleting and re-creating user accounts will not change where the user folders are located.  They are always located on the primary volume -- you have no control over that. 

 

I think I now understand that what you want is not just to move the home folders, but to spread them over the two volumes.  There is no way built into the OS to do that.  And since they are BTRFS sub-volumes, not just folders, going in via SSH and replacing some with a hard link to a folder on another volume or changing their mount point will not look the same to the OS, so likely won't work properly.  The only way you are going to spread users' shares for Time Machine over more than one volume is to use standard shares you create yourself, not the built-in home folders.

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