If you have a Beige G3, Wallstreet Powerbook or an original iMac with a hard drive larger than 8GB, you will have run across an interesting problem if you've tried to install OS X on it. Specifically, there is an unusual restriction on these machines, requiring you to repartition your hard drive so that the partition that you are installing OS X into is a.) the first partition on the hard drive and b.) smaller than 8GB.
So, depending on the size drive you installed, and your preferred partitioning sceme, you will likely wind up with drives looking something like this:
|As you can see, there's a lot of space on that "extra" partition that is going to waste...|
At first this doesn't sound so bad. OS X doesn't take up all that much space, but once you start adding applications, and one or more Users worth of pictures, Quicktime Movies, mp3s, and other documents, you'll soon start feeling the pinch. Sure, you can assign all your applications to save to folders on the remaining partition, but that has to be done with each user, and each application. Not only is it time-consuming, its not really "natural" feeling - and not very Mac-like.
I found myself in just such a situation with my Wallstreet PowerBook after I added a 40GB drive to it. I figured there had to be a way to utilize the space on the "leftover" partition in a more transparent fashion. I remembered a trick that allowed a user to share the desktop folder between OS X and OS9 by use of aliases. If that was possible, surely it could be done with the rest of the folders! After much trial and error (and, of course, careful backing up of my system) I was able to distill the process down to something that did what I wanted to and did it well. Here is the result of that distillation:
For our example, we're going to switch over the folder for Choo-Choo Bear.
To aid in assigning permissions later, you should grant the user you're changing Administrator access. While logged in via a current Administrator account, highlight the user in the Accounts preference pane (as above) and click Edit. Check the "Allow user to administer this computer" button and click OK.
As always, when moving around files, its always a good idea to make backups of the irreplaceable ones. A good backup will save a lot of heartache should something go awry.
It will be located in the Users folder on the drive you boot into OS X from. In the example below, the OS X boot drive is named "PB OS X" and the account I want to switch is called "choochoobear"
For ease of organization, I recommend a similar name as your original users file.
In the example above, I have named the new folder "CCB"
Copy the following folders from your user folder to the new one you just created: Documents, Movies, Music, Pictures, Public, Shared, and Sites. The easiest way to copy them to the new partition is to simply drag them over. Since you are switching partitoins, copies will be made rather than moving the originals.
(NOTE: While it is also possible to put the Desktop folder on the "extra" partition, this is not recommended, as it can cause problems with some applications - such as Software Update - when saving files to the Desktop)
Once the appropriate folders have been copied over, move the original folders in the user folder to another folder elsewhere on the hard drive.
In the example above, I created a folder called "old folders" on the root level of the hard drive and moved them there.
The easiest way to do this is to select all the folders and drag them to the user folder, holding down the command and option keys as you do so.
The home folder sees the aliases and follows the data path just like regular folders. You will notice that on these folders, the regular Home folder icons have been changed to a generic folder alias icon. You lose the pretty icons, but you gain considerable functionality in return. Seems like an even trade.
Once you have verified that all the data is accessible, you can then delete the temporary folder containing the original folders.
For added security, you can select your newly-made data folder, Get Info on it, and set the Ownership and permission settings to resemble those below.
Once they are set, click the "Apply to enclosed items" button and agree to the dialog that pops up. Now, other users using the same machine with different accounts will not be able to access this folder.
However, this is not completely secure, as any user with Administrator privileges can change ownership and permissions. The best way around that is to limit those users on your machine with Administrator access. (You can turn off Administration privileges by unchecking the "Allow user to administer this computer" box that you checked in Step 1.