I moved my Home folder to a separate partition called 'Data HD' and would like to move it back to /Macintosh HD.

One of the main reasons is that with the home folder in 'Data HD' some apps would treat it as '/Volumes/Data HD/Users/UserName'. The space character between Data and HD can sometimes cause issues. I've also encountered issues where 'Data HD' becomes 'Data HD 1' after a forced reboot.

I would like to ask about the best method to

  1. Backup existing items in '/Volumes/Data HD'
  2. Repartition the hard drive so there's only one single partition left
  3. Copy '/Volumes/Data HD/Users' back into 'Macintosh HD'

If I need to do this via single-user mode, what are the proper commands?

I'm running OS X Mavericks. Currently, there's a symlink on 'Macintosh HD' pointing to /Users on 'Data HD'.

1 Answer 1


Here's what I would do:

  1. Backup your full disk (all partitions) to an external disk using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.
  2. Copy your home folder back to the main partition (to /Users) using "Paste Exactly": in Finder, go to your home folder on /Volumes/Data HD, select Edit → Copy from the menu, go to /Users (still in Finder), open the Edit menu, hold down the Command, Option and Shift modifier keys, and select "Paste Exactly".
  3. Go to System Preferences and open the "Users & Groups" preferences
  4. Unlock using the lock-icon in the bottom left
  5. Right-click the user account of which you're moving the home folder
  6. Choose "Advanced Options…"
  7. Change the user's home directory using the "Choose…" button and point it to the copy you just made in /Users
  8. Reboot your computer

Extra check:

  1. Rename old the user folder in /Volumes/Data HD so that you are sure OS X cannot find it anymore
  2. Reboot your computer
  3. Make sure that everything still works

If everything still works, you can go to Disk Utility, delete the partition corresponding to /Volumes/Data HD, and then resize the main partition to use the entire harddisk. All this is done by selecting the disk on the left-hand side in Disk Utility (so the main entry that is listed above the two partitions, not the partition itself), and then selecting the "Partition" tab. Select the partition you want to delete, click the 'minus' button, click Apply. Then resize the first partition by dragging its bottom border down to cover the entire drive and click Apply again.

For more information and/or alternatives, please refer to this post: https://discussions.apple.com/message/23510349#23510349.

  • In step 2, how would you suggest that I copy the contents from /Volumes/Data HD/Users back into /Users? I don't think it's possible as /Users is actually a symlink to /Volumes/Data HD/Users. Doing that means it's copying onto itself.
    – XCool
    Nov 10, 2013 at 3:20
  • Ah, I missed that part, sorry. So OS X still thinks your home is in /Users, correct? In that case, I would probably first use the procedure in steps 3 - 8 to change the official user home folder to the one in /Volumes/Data HD/Users. After rebooting, you should not need the symlink anymore. You can remove it, replace it with a real folder, and then execute the steps above from step 2. This is all assuming that your user is the only one in the /Volumes/Data HD/Users folder, by the way...
    – Stefan
    Nov 14, 2013 at 14:44

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