Naming your partitions

Beware: This post was published 3 years ago and its content may be outdated.

I’ve been playing with different names for partitions on Mac OS X and I’ve found two interesting things:

Spaces in the name

Avoid spaces in the name. At all costs. Some make script are not properly written and don’t work when the partition where the file is located contains a space. Usually the output is something like: HD/Users/sumolari/script.c  not found. OS X uses as default name for system’s partition Macintosh HD. You can easily scape the space using: Macintosh\ HD when writing paths in shell, but some developers don’t worry about that and their scripts just don’t compile. I’ve found this with npm modules that use native code (for instance, ZMQ), as well as Ruby gems (Berkshelf was one of them).

Time Machine

Some months ago I added a solid state disk to my MacBook. I use the typical setup for SSD+HD: I installed OS X in my SSD and moved my user folder to the HD. I enabled Time Machine and I didn’t receive any complain from it, so I kept using it as before.

A few days ago I replaced my HD and when I reinstalled OS X I tried to restore my Time Machine backup. It couldn’t restore my user’s home folder because it was located on a different partition than the system. I was worried but as soon as I logged in my not-restored account (which I moved again to the HD) I run Time Machine and it allowed me to restore all the documents that where there.

Not as clean as a checkbox during OS X installation, but definitively more convenient than losing the files or having to backing them up in other disk before formatting the partition.

Target disk mode

I’ve an iMac and a MacBook. Both of them had only two partitions: SSD and HD. SSD had only OS X and some applications installed and HD had my user account. I started my MacBook in target disk mode and then booted the iMac using MacBook’s SSD partition as boot partition. OS X loaded my user account from iMac’s HD partition, so I had the home folder of my user in the iMac but the applications that were installed on my MacBook. Pretty weird. I finally renamed the partitions to be different on each computer.