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How Do I Set Up a New Mac With a Home Directory On an External Hard Drive?

I got a new Mac Mini and the internal SSD is not that large (256 GB). I want to have multiple users in my family with their own profiles and so I want to set it up with my “Home Directory” on an external drive. And we might put each profile’s “Home Directory” on the external because we all have lots of data.

Can you tell me how or do a video tutorial on how to do this? I’d like to set it up this way from the beginning because I’ve had trouble moving the home directory after it has been set up with a profile.

And yes, I did use Carbon Copy to move the whole “Home Directory” including the Library.

Thanks for your help!

I think I answered this but the internal drive is not large enough to store all the data of each family member and it would be better preserve all of our information together in each of our Home Directories. And also, presumably, I could upgrade our to our next Mac just moving my Home Directory to another Mac.
Marty Vondrell

Comments: 4 Responses to “How Do I Set Up a New Mac With a Home Directory On an External Hard Drive?”

    3 years ago

    You can't. The Home folder goes in the Users folder. And the Users folder is on the main system drive.

    Sounds like the problem is that you didn't get an internal drive large enough for your needs. Remember that for next time. For now, just store extra data on your external drive as you like. Or, use iCloud Drive to store more files than you have space for on your internal. Both good options.

    When you move to a new Mac, Migration Assistant will take care of your Home folder moving over, so no need to worry about that. Of course if you use iCloud Drive for all of your files that's a non-issue

    Marty Vondrell
    3 years ago

    Thanks Gary, that's interesting. I have heard at least two "experts" say that you could move the "Home directory" to an external drive. I'm wondering if a secondary Home directory can be put on an external drive?

    Or maybe it needs to be a separate internal drive. Would that work?

    3 years ago

    Marty: Well, if you really want to, you can. There is an expert setting for it in System Preferences, Users & Groups. But it is a pretty risk way to get what you want. If your only problem is lack of space, just simply store some things on the external drive. Keep it simple and normal.

    Marty Vondrell
    3 years ago

    Good advice! Thanks Gary, I appreciate your help!

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