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Whereas I have my OS (in this case, Elementary OS Freya) installed on my non-partitioned internal hard drive, I have an external hard drive with /Documents, /Downloads, /Movies etc. where I store all my data.

Now because of this set up, the /Home sub-folders, such as /Documents, /Downloads, /Movies etc. are redundant (one set on the internal hard drive under /Home and one set on the external hard drive).

What I would like to do is map / link the /Home sub-folders to their matching external twins, so the OS will naturally store / retrieve data there.

How can I achieve that?

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Quoting an answer by esmail at askubuntu, this should work the same on elementary OS too:

I'm currently storing the sub-folders of my home (e.g. ~/Documents, ~/Music) on an NTFS filesystem and it appears to be working fine a few months in.

As an example, here's how to host your ~/Documents in your Windows profile folders on an NTFS partition:

  1. First make sure you have the NTFS partition set to automount so it's accessible to the system each boot.
  2. Move any files that might have accumulated in ~/Documents over to the NTFS partition (e.g. mv ~/Documents/* /mnt/winblows/Users/Username/Documents/).

Make sure to back up your data before and / or try a dry-run before working with your actual data. Better safe than sorry.

  1. Now delete the ~/Documents directory and create a link to that NTFS folder in its place named Documents (e.g. ln -s mnt/winblows/Users/Username/Documents Documents).

You need to run the ln -s command while your current working directory is ~.

Note: You might have to make ensure your ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs is in sync with the folder locations you've chosen (I did). See this answer for more details. Also, be careful to note the actual locations of your Windows user profile directories as these vary from version to version.

My note: I had a similar setup for some time where I linked certain config folders to the Windows partition so that for example Pidgin and Thunderbird shared the same config in dual boot. The linking worked great, but as the program versions are often different for Windows and Linux sometimes the configs where messed up.

  • Good point, but I believe it should work the same if it is ext or btrfs or Reiser. He'd only have to watch out more for permissions. – quassy Apr 24 '15 at 23:03

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