13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 27, 2010 1:36 PM by PWH
mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
New iMac with SSD and HDD.
Question: What is the best way to get the SDD setup for my User folder when the User folder is too large for the SSD.

1) I used Setup Assistant on new iMac and told it to copy just my Settings and Applications
2) I am currently in process of copying other folders containing various data from the old iMac to the new iMac HDD via firewire.

What I then need to do is get the data from my home folder on the old iMac to the new iMac. I'm wondering how to go about it.
1) I'm thinking of copying the individual folders from the old iMac to the new iMac HDD
2) I need iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Lightroom, etc to know where this data is stored.

iMac core 4 i7, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (53,550 points)
    Your best bet is to only put the OS and Apps on the SSD and put data files on the HD. I'd recommend not using the Setup Assistant as it will try and put everything on the SSD. Depending on how much info you have it may not fit. I'd recommend manually reinstalling your Apps and then setting up the old Mac in Target mode and dragging and dropping data onto the new Mac's HD. Once you have moved the files then you can tell each app where the data is located. Most will be extremely easy other (like iTunes) slightly more challenging but still pretty simple.


  • mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
    To confirm, are you saying that in the end the home folder on the SSD will be empty for documents, pictures, movies and music and those home folders will be on the HDD?
    Time Machine will still backup Calendar, Contacts, iTunes, etc and they can be restored like before?
  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (53,550 points)
    To confirm, are you saying that in the end the home folder on the SSD will be empty for documents, pictures, movies and music and those home folders will be on the HDD?


    Time Machine will still backup Calendar, Contacts, iTunes, etc and they can be restored like before?

    Yes it should be fine.
  • mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
    I ran into a few problems when manually copying the "Users" folder from the old computer to the new computer. The copy stopped without error when it got to the Pictures folder.

    I changed a setting on my account that I saw in another thread where I could point to my user folder that i had put on the HDD. After a restart the desktop looked just like the old computer.
    I then launched iTunes. It gave an error related to permissions.

    I called apple support and when I talked to a non tier 1 support person he said that the OS and applications are not supposed to be installed on the SSD. Somewhere I'd read that is what was supposed to happen. He had me erase the SSD and HDD, reinstall the OS on the HDD. I've now started over with the Migration Assistant. When that is done I'm supposed to the use the DVD with the applications and let it reinstall anything new on this model that I did not already have.
    At that time I'll check everything out.

    Then I'll have to see how I can utilize the SSD. I'm hoping Lightroom and all the photos I've got in it can be moved to the SSD.
  • mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
    I got my issue resolved with Apple tech support. These are the basic steps as I remember. The issue was the user folder was too big for the SSD and Migration wants to put the user folder on the same drive as the OS. I had, at one try, dragged the user folder to the HDD while the OS was on the SSD, but there were various problems, such as permissions and iTunes wouldn't give me the opportunity to tell it where the library was

    1) Erased both the HDD and the SSD
    2) Installed the OS on the HDD
    3) Use Migration assistant to copy my data from old iMac to new iMac. User folder is now on the HDD
    4) Created a new user with Admin capability
    5) Can't remember exactly but setup a password for "Root" user and logged in as this user
    6) Dragged the User folder to the desktop
    7) Deleted my user
    8) Created my user
    9) Dragged the User folder from the desktop to the user folder

    There were 3 different calls to Apple Support and only the last call got it right. The above I believe is the order but I'm not 100% correct.

    To me the issue is there was a missing Getting Started to explain the proper sequence when your user folder is larger than the SSD.

    As of right now, I think it was a mistake to have ordered the SSD. I have to read up on how I can utilize it. Maybe just get my photos onto it and then all processing with those will be quicker?
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,410 points)
    I think that tech support is giving you the wrong answer.

    If you install the OS and Apps on the SSD, and you data on your HDD, your Mac will fly. I do not have an SSD, but I have my data on a separate HDD and there are no permissions issues. You just have to move the iTunes library and the iPhoto library, etc. to the secondary drive correctly regardless of what type it is.

    I would set up the new iMac with HDD and SDD entirely by hand. Folks seem to be lazy and want everything easy. But this is something new, and it needs to be done with purpose correctly. There is not a way the Migration Assistant can migrate an account automatically spread over two drives and do it intelligently.


  • JaimieV Level 2 (490 points)
    David.Austin.Allen wrote:
    I think that tech support is giving you the wrong answer.

    Seconded. The OS and apps and anything you want to be really fast should be on the SSD.
  • mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
    I did originally drag and drop my User folder to the HDD but that caused issues.

    Are you being too simplified in your comments? For example, are you describing that your user folder is on the HDD with the OS but you moved your Pictures and Movies and Music folders to another HDD? Did you just drag and drop them?
    After you moved them did you delete all data from the first HDD?
    I was unable to launch iTunes from the SSD to be able to tell it where to find the iTunes library.

    I'm convinced with this setup that you can't just throw out simple answers.

    I appreciate you wanting to help, but what is important to anyone is step by step instructions.

    I would love to get the OS and applications to the SSD and keep all the data on the HDD.

  • dhooper1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Yikes! Putting the OS and Apps on the HDD defeats the (expensive) purpose...

    I need to setup an iMac with SSD and HDD (arrives tomorrow) and my old mac has too much data for the SSD.

    I'm going to do it by hand. In fact, I'm going to document my steps so that I'll be able to rebuild the mac if ever needed. I'll post my steps and results when completed.

    Essentially, I plan to setup the new iMac with standard default configuration. Then change the home folder to the HDD and manually copy files from old mac.

    This looks like a good article:

    Another article refers to using an "über copy command" instead of drag and drop:

    Hope this process works...
  • trout4u Level 1 (0 points)

    No, the tech told you wrong, period. Are you sure it was an Apple rep who told you that nonsense? You want you data on your HDD and your OS and Apps on your ssd.

    You didn't make a mistake by ordering the SSD. Its a rocket if you do it like I said....like everyone on here said. I have the same set up and it just fly's. It's very late and I need to get to bed but if you want me to write out a sequence and some directions, I will. Tomorrow.

    Let me know.

    Steven. Seattle

    <Edited by Host>
  • mrhoni Level 1 (5 points)
    Yep, that's the direction the tech pushed me.

    However I decided I didn't want to keep it that way, so I installed the OS and created my home folder on the SSD and kept the data on the HDD. iTunes and iPhoto were easy to point to the data after moving the libraries from the SSD to the HDD. IMovie was a little more difficult to have it see my existing projects and imported clips
  • trout4u Level 1 (0 points)
    Well it sounds like your in business then. I included my email address but it was "edited by host". It was late and I souldnt have made it pulic anyway. Good on Apple

    I'm glad you got it up and running the right way.

  • PWH Level 1 (40 points)
    I have a 128gb ssd installed in my mac pro. Here's how I set it up:

    OS installed on SSD
    User data located on separate 2gb HD however I did not move my home folder.

    iPhoto and itunes data is easy to move via preferences in each program.

    Documents, Mail, Downloads, Safari favourites, Desktop, Pictures, Movies folders need to be relocated but the way I accomplished this is to create aliases within the home folder to point to the folders on the HD.

    Here is the code I used in Terminal to accomplish this:

    sudo cp -r Documents /Volumes/"Master Data HD 2"/Users/Paul
    sudo rm -rf Documents
    sudo ln -s /Volumes/"Master Data HD 2"/Users/Paul/Documents Documents

    You then repeat this for the Mail folder in your Library folder, your Downloads folder, Pictures, Movies etc.

    Now all your data is on your HD. Your home folder is intact on the SSD with the symbolic links to your documents, mail etc folders on the HD.