Can I move my /home to a new partition?

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Can I move my /home to a new partition?

Postby mig_akira on Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:05 pm

Hey everyone!

I was testing a few distros, and I was astonished by Mint. I installed it in a partition with only 10GB, because I would mantain Windows in dual boot. But it's been a month now, and I haven't use Windows not even once. So I wanna take the next step, and remove Windows Vista from my computer.

But there is a problem. 110GB are still in a NTFS partition. I made a backup of them already, so I'm ready to format the partition in EXT3. But my /home is in the / partition, so is there a way to move my /home to a new /home partition? And make all links, etc., to automatically recognize the new /home partition? Or that is only possible by reinstalling linux mint?

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Re: Can I move my /home to a new partition?

Postby eeezzzeee on Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:19 pm

Someone with more knowledge than me will probably have a better solution for you, but one thing you could consider would be to use gparted (I think thats what its called, I'm not at my computer) and just format the NTFS partition to an EXT3 partition. You already have Mint setup on your computer so you wouldn't need to reinstall anything, you may be left with 2 home partitions in different places though. I had that happen to me when I first started playing with Mint, but I never worried about it enough to figure out how to change it, I just dealt with it until I installed Elyssa.
I would wait a day or two before you try that though, someone one here may have a better answer for you.
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Re: Can I move my /home to a new partition?

Postby kirsch92 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:30 am

You could format that partition ext3 and call it something else, and then symlink to it from you home folder, which I did with the help of Fred, as seen here:

Or the Mint Wiki has a tutorial for moving your home folder here:

I haven't used it, but I assume it works :wink:
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Re: Can I move my /home to a new partition?

Postby ubuntudummy on Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:40 am


do i understand it right, you want to format the NTFS partition and use it as /home?

I'm not an expert but this should work:
(I assume your NTFS partition is /dev/sda1 - if not replace it with the actual one)
1)Format the NTFS partition in ext3 - (sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda3)
2)mount the partition (sudo mount /dev/sda3 /mnt)
4)go into single user mode to make sure all files in home are closed (sudo init 1)
4)copy the current data from your /home folder to the fresh partition (sudo cp -ax /home/* /mnt)
5)unmount the partition (sudo umount /mnt)
6)edit /etc/fstab (sudo pico /etc/fstab) and add a linke like this:
/dev/sda1 /home ext3 defaults 1 2
save and close (ctrl+x)
7) reboot (sudo reboot)
after rebooting you can check that the partition is mounted under /home by entering sudo mount - there should be an entry like /dev/sda1 on /home type ext3....

You probably also want to remove Windows from the Grub menu.
sudo pico /boot/grub/menu.lst
then comment out or delete everything that comes after ### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST
press ctrl+x to save and exit.

You might want to consider to split the partition and instead of mounting the whole 110G as home and use 1 partition for /usr and one for /home.

Hope it helps :)
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Re: Can I move my /home to a new partition?

Postby DSpencer on Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:57 pm

There is no big deal moving your '/home' subdirectory to another partition.
I have usually placed user files in the more traditional 'usr/local/users' subdirectory, a throwback to my older Solaris (and earlier linux days).
Then I symlink ('ln -s') the new subdirectory to the subdirectory '/home'.
You probably won't want to use the whole 110G for '/home' (unless you really like to download movies or such) so I would partition it into a few chunks.
You may find that your initial setup didn't allow for much headroom and so you may also want to establish new mount points for other subdirectories as well. If I have enough partitions available (with my multi-boot setups the current 15 limit is a pain) then I give '/', '/usr', '/var', '/tmp' and '/usr/local' their own partitions. Use 'df -h' to find out how your space is holding up (your '/home' is in '/' so it's probably eating up a lot).
Once you have created a new partition to become the new 'home' you have to temporarily mount that new partition to copy the contents of '/home' over (make sure to copy with 'cp -rp' to get all subdirectories and maintain file ownership and permissions). You will have to copy the '.' files over separately (no wild cards), as I recall, otherwise you will get a lot more files than you planned on.
In fact, if you have installed a good file manager ('krusader' is installed by default and it should do) I would recommend it to minimize problems.
The other alternative (as another poster has mentioned) is to actually mount the new 'home' partition at the mount point '/home', which requires editing the '/etc/fstab' file and adding a new line. This isn't as complicated as it might appear. You must be careful when editing 'fstab', but study the other entries in it and you will see what you should do.
You will need a reboot to get finish the process.
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