moving /home [Solved - Corrected HowTo]

Chuck Harding cdharding at
Mon Dec 5 22:53:50 UTC 2005

In the spirit of the Perl motto, "There's always another way to do 
things.", how about as root:
cd /home
find . -print | cpio -pdlmuv /mnt/mynewhome

gets every file without breaking a sweat and keeps the 
ownership/attributes/mod time/soft-links

Jeff Vian wrote:
> On Tue, 2005-12-06 at 00:41 +0500, Sergey wrote:
>> Claude
>> This is a prolix but a valid step-by-step instruction. You may want to publish 
>> it in a faq.
>> One note: your command 'cp -a/home/* /mnt/mynewhome' would not copy 
>> the /home/.* entries. I don't really think there are chances such entries 
>> exist, however having such a job to do you've got to ensure.
> You are correct *if* there were any .xxx entries in /home.  I have never
> seen any there, only within the users actual home directory
> (/home/user), and the command he gives will handle all of those. It is
> important when doing something like this to make sure all the
> possibilities are covered so another way to do it and verify everything
> was copied could be:
> # cp -a /home/* /home/.[!.]* <dest/directory>
> In this command it explicitly asks for anything beginning with a '.',
> but since both '.' and '..' match they need to be excluded, thus the
> [!.] (not dot) part. For clarity read up on regexps.
> Tim's recommendation is (I believe) actually a better command.
> # cd /home
> # cp -a . <dest/directory>
> This form of the command will handle even the .xxx files in the current
> directory properly.
>> I've written a similar instruction, without any comments though. However 
>> reading the next few commands makes it easier to understand, for some people.
>> Make sure /mnt/home does not exist.
>> # mkdir /mnt/home
>> # mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/home2
>> # cp -a /home /mnt
>> # umount /mnt/home
>> # mount --move /mnt/home /home
>> # rmdir /mnt/home
>> # sed "s|/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00|/dev/sda1|" /etc/fstab >/etc/fstab- && \
>> # mv -f /etc/fstab- /etc/fstab
>> No whatever file editing is needed.
>> That is it
>> Make sure no errors produced after each command has run.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Claude Jones <claude_jones at>
>> To: For users of Fedora Core releases <fedora-list at>
>> Subject: Re: moving /home [Solved - Corrected HowTo]
>> Date: Monday 05 December 2005 19:44
>>> I apologize for this dual-post, but the first contained a serious error:
>>> On Sun December 4 2005 9:47 am, Claude Jones wrote:
>>>> I would like to move my home directory to a new 300GB SATA drive - I edit
>>>> video, so I need lots of space.
>>>> I've installed the hardware, and using qtparted I've formatted it as ext3
>>>> - in qtparted it appears as sda1
>>>> My current mounts:
>>>> /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol02 on / type ext3 (rw)
>>>> /dev/proc on /proc type proc (rw)
>>>> /dev/sys on /sys type sysfs (rw)
>>>> /dev/devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
>>>> /dev/hdb1 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
>>>> /dev/shm on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
>>>> /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00 on /home type ext3 (rw)
>>>> /dev/hda1 on /mnt/windows type ntfs (ro,umask=0222,gid=100)
>>>> none on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw)
>>>> /proc on /var/named/chroot/proc type none (rw,bind)
>>>> sunrpc on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw)
>>>> I'm caught in a circular logic trap and I can't figure out what to do
>>>> next. I've read the mount and fstab man pages, and googled this issue, but
>>>> I'm missing something. What would be the next step?
>>> The long thread that followed this original query for help was the result of
>>> my having to overcome many years of experience administering Windows based
>>> file systems. I won't attempt to write a dissertation on the differences
>>> between Linux and Windows file systems and media organization, but, in the
>>> hope that it may be of use, here are the steps that worked.
>>> 1) Install new drive:
>>> After physical installation and a reboot, I opened qtparted (Linux
>>> partitioning/formatting tool) - qtparted recognized the drive immediately as
>>> sda.  I created a single partition on my new drive and formatted it as ext3.
>>> 2) Create a temporary mount point:
>>> I created a new directory in /mnt calling it "mynewhome"
>>> 3) Boot into runlevel 1:
>>> Restart the computer and at the first Fedora splash screen press the letter
>>> 'a' on keyboard. This halts the boot process and brings up the kernel line.
>>> At the end of that line type '1' (the number one without quotes), and press
>>> the enter key - this boots the machine into runlevel 1 or single user mode.
>>> 4) Mount drive to new directory:
>>> When the prompt comes up, mount the new drive to the directory previously
>>> created in /mnt (step 2 above)
>>> 'mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/mynewhome'
>>> (the '1' is added to 'sda' to indicate the first partition on drive sda -
>>> even though there is only one partition on the drive, this is the syntax
>>> that must be used, else the command will fail)
>>> 5) Copy the contents of current home folder to the new drive:
>>> 'cp -a/home/* /mnt/mynewhome'
>>> (this step is important to get right - it takes all the contents of the
>>> current /home and copies them to the root of the new drive, sda1, now
>>> mounted as /mnt/mynewhome - you want everything BELOW /home to be
>>> transferred to this new location - also, when copying the contents of /home
>>> to the new location, you want all the attributes of the files preserved
>>> which is what the '-a' option to the 'cp' command does - read the 'man cp'
>>> pages for details of this command)
>>> 6) Edit the fstab file:
>>> This file is read at boot time by your system, and mounts your drives to the
>>> correct locations in your directory structure.
>>> There are a limited number of text editors available at the command line. I
>>> use 'joe':
>>> 'joe /etc/fstab'
>>> This opens the file in text editing mode. Find the line that contains the
>>> mount for the current /home - on my system it looked like this:
>>> /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00   /home  ext3    defaults   1 2
>>> Comment this line by adding a '#' to front of it.
>>> Now, add the line that will mount your new home - mine looked liked this:
>>> /dev/sda1          /home        ext3      defaults      1 2
>>> If you use the 'joe' editor to to do this, then 'ctl-k' followed by 's' will
>>> ask you if you want to save the file; pressing 'enter' will save. 'ctl-k'
>>> followed by 'q' will exit joe.
>>> 7) Reboot - if you got it all right, your machine should boot normally, but
>>> using the new /home. If you made a mistake, you haven't altered anything
>>> irreparably. You can revert the edited 'fstab' file to its prior state
>>> easily, and be back where you started. All your old /home files will still
>>> be there...
>>> After this has all run in a stable fashion for a few days, I will then
>>> tackle how to eliminate the logical volume group 00, and take that space
>>> and add it my logical volume group 01, which is where my '/' (the rest of
>>> the file system) is mounted.
>>> Hope this of future help to someone, and thanks to all who helped me to
>>> figure this out.
>>> --
>>> Claude Jones
>>> Bluemont, VA, USA

-= Charles D. (Chuck) Harding <cdharding at> =-
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