I installed Lion on a new disk today and let the migration assistant move users, applications and stuff from my internal disk to the SSD connected via FW800. So far everything works great.

Because I have a pretty large photos and audio library, I want to leave my user's home directory on the old Volume and have OS and Applications on the other disk.

To achieve this I opened up Terminal.app, sudo'd and entered the following command:

cd /Users
mv mwidmann mwidmann_
ln -s /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Users/mwidmann .
chown -R mwidmann:mwidmann mwidmann

So far so good.

In finder the home folder was replaced with mwidmann_, but I removed that item from the sidebar and added the new one instead. Same goes for documents, downloads, pictures, videos, music. Other items I added there, worked like before.

Why I feel that I'm missing something is because the nice sidebar and dock icons for these "special" folders aren't showing up.

There must be an additional thing that tells Lion that THIS is my home folder and it is in /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Users/mwidmann and nowhere else.

Any Ideas?

2 Answers 2


You could also go System Preferences > Users & Group, right click on your username, click Advanced Options, and set the path of your Home directory. I also feel it's a more "robust" solution, because it's "endorsed" by Apple.

  • Cool! I wasn't able to find this menu as it only shows when the lock is unlocked and I always forget about it.
    – mwidmann
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 15:25
  • Does this copy all files/folders in the existing directory to the new location? If not, What's the likeliness of moving the home directory screwing something up on the machine? Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 19:32

Nevermind, I found the solution!

I had to restart the computer and re-set the shortcuts and now it's working like I want it to. All the icons are showing up like I wanted.

So it really seems to be enough to just move the folder, set a link, set the correct permissions and that's it.

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