Move /home directory to another partition or drive

2 minute read

I always manage to fill up my /home folder with all kinds of unknown things and the act will make the whole system starved of space. Moving home to another partition is a rational solution for me.

This guide assume that you already have a free partition ready to be used as home.

Essentially it includes two tasks:

  • Task 1: Copy old data from /home directory to the new partition.
  • Task 2: Edit fstab to mount the new partition to /home directory at boot.

1. Copy data to new partition

Two steps:

  • 1.1 Mount the new partition at a temporary mount point, “/media/newhome/”
  • 1.2 Copy data from “old” home to the new partition.

1.1 Mount the new partition partition

Find the name of partition you want to mount:



sda                 232.9G 
├─sda1 ntfs   OS      132G 
├─sda2 ntfs           852M 
├─sda3                  1K 
├─sda4 ext4          49.9G      #<==  Now I know its name (sda4)
├─sda5 ext4          28.3G /              
└─sda6 swap           1.5G [SWAP]

Find its UUID

sudo blkid


/dev/sda1: LABEL="OS" UUID="E8787A43787A1114" TYPE="ntfs" PARTUUID="67174a59-01"
/dev/sda2: UUID="F4448D05448CCBB4" TYPE="ntfs" PARTUUID="67174a59-02"
/dev/sda4: UUID="9c1dcc82-c8f5-4038-8198-81c99e73e3f6" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="67174a59-04" # <==
/dev/sda5: UUID="79894d91-4dd0-4e4f-a5ec-12b95efb0b82" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="67174a59-05"
/dev/sda6: UUID="72cb4892-2ada-4ae2-ba2c-8df7531bf617" TYPE="swap" PARTUUID="67174a59-06"

Create a temporary mount point (a mount point is simply a directory):

mkdir /media/newhome/

Finally, mount it:

sudo mount /dev/sda4 /media/newhome/

1.2 Copy data from old home to new home

I use rsync because I am more proficient with it than cp for preserving file parameters (I know that cp can do it though, just do not know how).

sudo rsync -av -A -X /home/* /media/newhome/
  • -av -A -X: to preserve everything (permission, time, owner…)

1.3 Delete or move the old home

You have two choices here, delete or move the old home. Either way will work.

  • Option 1 - Delete the old home.
rm -rf /home/*
  • Option 2 - Move the old home. A backup at hand is always nice, so you could make a copy of it.
sudo mv /home /home.bk

And recreate the /home mount point.

sudo mkdir /home

2. Mount the new home

2.1 Manually mount for test

I find this step unnecessary but I show it here anyways in case you are curious.

You can test the new home by manually mounting it after you delete/ move the old home.

Remember that we have mounted the /dev/sdb4 to the newhome folder to copy data in step 1, so we have to unmount it first.

sudo umount /dev/sdb4

Then, mount it to /home directory.

sudo mount /dev/sdb4 /home/ 

2.2 Make the mount permanent in fstab

Open fstab using nano.

sudo nano /etc/fstab

add this entry:

UUID=9c1dcc82-c8f5-4038-8198-81c99e73e3f6   /home   ext4   defaults   0   2

Reboot and the new partition will be in use as /home.

3. Move home folder/partition to another drive

It is the same procedure. Just copy data and mount the new drive to /home.




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