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Partitioning a mac


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 02:07 PM

One book says that Apple encourages users to put all their files in the home folder. According to what else I've read so far it seems like a good idea to use separate partitions for the os and for personal files. Then you can reinstall the os if necessary w/out affecting your files. For a pc that's a real consideration.

FileVault only seems to offer the option of encrypting the home folder, so that wouldn't be available for the files on a separate partition. FileVault wouldn't work for me anyway, since I don't want to encrypt all my files and I want to be able to access them from a pc.

With my PCs partitioning made regular maintenance [running chkdsk and disk defragmenter], the necessary regular viral and anti-malware scans, searches and backups easier. I haven't come across a chapter on mac maintenance or GUID partition table checks yet, so I don't if there are regular maintenance chores on a mac.

Any opinions on the pros/cons of putting ones files on a separate partition?
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 Buddyme2

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:25 PM

One book says that Apple encourages users to put all their files in the home folder. According to what else I've read so far it seems like a good idea to use separate partitions for the os and for personal files. Then you can reinstall the os if necessary w/out affecting your files. For a pc that's a real consideration.


I don't know if partitioning the startup disk is beneficial or not. I have a firewire external drive that I use SuperDuper! to clone my startup disk to. If something happens to my startup disk I can boot from the external and keep on working. If something ever happens to your startup disk your OS and files might be lost.

With my PCs partitioning made regular maintenance [running chkdsk and disk defragmenter], the necessary regular viral and anti-malware scans, searches and backups easier. I haven't come across a chapter on mac maintenance or GUID partition table checks yet, so I don't if there are regular maintenance chores on a mac.

Any opinions on the pros/cons of putting ones files on a separate partition?


A couple links below to start you off. DiskWarrior is a must have program if anything happens to your Macs startup disk. I usually use AppleJack once in a while and Repair Permissions after updating software along with rebooting my Mac for maintenance. I also check my startup disk with Disk Utility to verify that it is working fine.

About disk optimization with Mac OS X
Five Mac maintenance myths

Edited by Buddyme2, 20 August 2010 - 02:56 PM.


#3 MaryBet82

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:18 PM

Thanks Buddyme for the links. I can't get firefox to open the "About disk optimization with Mac OS X" link but I read the others. I read about Single User Mode yesterday so Applejack made sense. The maintenance myths article was very helpful. I have lots more reading to do before I get a better idea of what does what and why but the mac so far doesn't seem to require the regular maintenance tasks that a pc does.

The idea of putting my personal files on a separate partition is that I can reformat/reinstall the os on the os boot partition w/out affecting my files. It's definitely a good idea with a pc since Windows is a pretty unstable os IMO [at least win2k & xp] and despite Last Known Good Configuration, System Restore, Recovery Console and the repair function on the install CD you still end up reinstalling on any given day. And despite routers, firewalls, antivirus, antimalware and "safe computing" one can still get a virus that suddenly takes over one's computer and requires a reformat/reinstall on any given day.

You lose your personal files w/ a reinstall if they are in the same partition as the os. I guess that's because the My Documents folder is tied to the user id and all folders have their ACL numbers etc and that all changes w/ a reinstall. So I expect a mac reinstall would wipe out the home folder and any folders created by the user. I'm not expecting to have to reinstall my mac os on any given day, tho.

Files on a separate partition of one's internal hdd are still at risk if the GUID partition table or the HD itself goes bad, so regular BUs are still required. I found the MFT of a pc was stable - never had one of those go bad. I expect the GUID table is too or mac's wouldn't be stable.

I like as much redundancy as I can get w/ backing up my personal data. I've had an ext HDD w/ my personal files suddenly die when I was in the middle of a reformat/reinstall, so I also back up to optical media. I've got an ext HDD ready to BU my mac when I can figure out how to set it up. I want to partition it to include a bootable mac partition and a partition to clone my personal files to. So I took note of Superduper!

I'm assuming mac programs will let me save to another partition. iWork lets me navigate the options currently in Finder, but w/ text editor I haven't been able to get to the folders in Documents -just Documents itself. It seems I can only save to the places & devices listed in Finder's sidebar. Weird. I'm hoping that Finder will let me add a folder on the 2nd partition to its sidebar. Finder Preferences doesn't list volumes,tho, and there's no option to navigate to a folder to add it. I should be able to put the folder on the dock for quick access if I can't have it on the Finder sidebar.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#4 Buddyme2

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:58 PM

Try the link now.
Reformatting and installing OS X is a very last step when something happens to OS X. 98% of the time troubleshooting a problem is fixed without a re-install if one takes the time and trouble in running some troubleshooting steps.
An Archive and Install should keep your files intact while only installing the OS files.
You can save files to anywhere on your Mac, not just the sidebar.

From Finder Help

Saving documents you create
When you create a new document or change an existing one, youíll want to save your work. Itís a good idea to save documents regularly as you work.
To save a document:
Choose File > Save.
Enter a name for the document.
Choose where you want to save the document.
You can choose a folder from the Where pop-up menu, or click the downward-pointing triangle and browse through the folders on your computer.
The Documents folder in your home folder is a good place to keep your work. You can also create a new folder to store all the files for a particular project. To create a new folder, click New Folder.
Set any other available options.
Some applications let you specify other options, such as the format of the file or whether to show the filename extension.
Click Save.
To save a copy of an existing document:
Choose File > Save As and give the new document a different name from the original.

Using the Save As command lets you save different versions of a document, so you have your original and a working draft.

To quickly move to a location in the Save dialog:
To move to your home folder, press Command-Shift-H.
To move to the desktop, press Command-Shift-D.
To move to your iDisk, press Command-Shift-I.
Click a location in the sidebar (at the left side of any Finder window).
Search for a folder by entering its name in the search field. (After entering text in the search field, you can select where to search for the folder.)
Drag a folder from the desktop or a Finder window to the Save dialog.
Press Command-Shift-G or the Slash key ( / ), and then enter the path to the folder.

You can also save across two Finder windows.
IDK if this will work but try opening a Finder window > choose the partition you created > create and name a folder > drag and drop the folder to the sidebar. And yes you can create a shortcut of the folder on the Dock, just drag and drop it to the righ tside of the line that's on the Dock.




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