Before you begin this process, make sure you have a current backup, using whatever method is your favorite. I'm going to clone my current startup drive, which still contains my home folder, to an external bootable drive. That way I can easily restore everything to how it was before I started this process, if necessary.
Once your backup is complete, follow these steps:
- Using the Finder, navigate to your startup drive's /Users folder. For most people, this will probably be /Macintosh HD/Users. In the Users folder, you'll find your home folder, easily identified by the house icon.
- Select the home folder and drag it to its new destination on another drive. Because you're using a different drive for the destination, the Mac OS will copy the data rather than move it, which means the original data will remain in its current location. We'll delete the original home folder later after we have verified that everything is working.
- Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.
- In the Accounts preference pane or the Users & Groups (OS X Lion and later), click the lock icon in the bottom left corner, then provide an administrator name and password.
- From the list of user accounts, right-click on the account whose home folder you moved, and select Advanced Options from the pop-up menu. Warning:Do not make any changes to the Advanced Options, except for those noted here. Doing so can cause quite a few unforeseen problems that could lead to data loss or the need to reinstall the OS.
- In the Advanced Options sheet, click the Choose button, located to the right of the Home directory field.
- Navigate to the location you moved your home folder to, select the new home folder, and click OK.
- Click OK to dismiss the Advanced Options sheet, and then close System Preferences.
- Restart your Mac, and it will use the home folder in the new location.
Verify That Your New Home Folder Location Is Functioning
- Once your Mac restarts, navigate to the location of your new home folder. The new home folder should now display the house icon.
- Launch TextEdit, located at /Applications.
- Create a test TextEdit file by typing a few words and then saving the document. In the dropdown Save sheet, select your new home folder as the location to store the test document. Give the test document a name, and click Save.
- Open a Finder window, and navigate to your new home folder.
- Open the home folder and examine the folder's content. You should see the test document you just created.
- Open a Finder window, and navigate to the old location for your home folder. This home folder should still be listed by name, but it should no longer have the house icon.