I have two disks in my MBP. One is small SSD for the OS and applications, and the other is slow HDD for my HOME folder, downloads and stuff like that.

I have Time Machine set up. Everything seems to be backed up smoothly. I have changed location of my user dir in the Settings -> Users&Groups. Also I have created a symlink /Users/sergio that points to /Volumes/MacintoshHD/Users/sergio (where actual data lives).

I tried restoring from this backup, the user gets created in the process, but I can't login. Probably because it's another machine which has only one disk.

What I was expecting (I don't know why) is that restoration process would walk that symlink in /Users and "dereference" my user dir onto system disk. Apparently, it doesn't do that.

Did anyone try restoring a backup with similar setup? Is it even possible? If it isn't, I might as well stop backing up :)


Time Machine backs up symbolic links, it does not follow them. The operating system would not restore correctly otherwise.

Time Machine will back up multiple volumes, if you allow it to do so in Options. However, I believe you need to restore them separately. If you were to restore both volumes in the same configuration as the original, then it should work. Linking anything through /Volumes is a bit fragile, so you might need to adjust the symlink after restoring both volumes.

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I understand that you restored but can't log in under your user. Do any other users work? If you can start in Single User Mode and then mount the hard drive

/sbin/mount -uw /

to allow access to the drive. After than perform these commands:

touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

shutdown -r now

This will restart the computer and then let you go through Setup Assistant. Use Setup Assistant to create a temporary admin account (username:John; password: Doe, etc). Once that is finished you can then use Time Machine to attempt to restore the home folder from the other drive. Place it in the single hard drive of the new computer or recreate the symbolic link again.

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  • There are no other users. Only my user and Guest. (trying your suggestion) – Sergio Tulentsev Apr 27 '12 at 9:49

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