How do I move the location of my mac Music and Movies folders?
December 17, 2007 9:29 AM   Subscribe

How do I turn "Movies" and "Music" folders in my Mac home folder into aliases?

I've just bought a shiny new mac mini I want to use as a media center. Lovely though it is, the hard drive is a little small for my needs I've got a 500GB USB hard drive attached to it which I want to use to store all my media files. Is there a way I can keep my home folder on the internal hard-drive, but convert the Music and Movies folders to point to the external hard drive?
I've currently created aliases to the external hard drive inside the folders, but it's just not as elegant. Many thanks in advance.
posted by hydrophobic to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not on my Mac at the moment, so can't test this, but can you hit Cmd - I and look at the properties, then modify the address the folder points to?
posted by Happy Dave at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2007

I was going to suggest symlinks, but I just looked at the Movies folder and it's an OS X System folder, which means modifying it can get hairy. I have the same situation with external drives and an alias in the internal Movie folder, and when I go to play a movie in Front Row it's just one extra click.
posted by Mr. Banana Grabber at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2007

I used a little terminal-fu, as Mr. Banana Grabber came close to suggesting...

For this, you'll want to open up Terminal (in Applications/Utilities), and be extra-careful. Don't type or copy/paste the $ from the instructions.

First, we remove the (empty, right?) Movies folder in your Home folder:
$ rm -r ~/Movies

Then, we need replace it with a symlink to a folder on the external. In my case, the external is called "Metaverse" and it has a "Movies" folder in it.

$ ln -s /Volumes/Metaverse/Movies ~/Movies

One thing you can do to make it easier is to type "ln -s " (with the trailing space), and then drop the folder from the external drive into the Terminal window, and it will insert the path for you. Then, you just have to add "~/Movies" to the end.

It works great, and I've been using it this way for several months.
posted by frijole at 10:50 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

iTunes will let you change the location of your music folder in the prefs (look under Advanced). As long as your movies and TV shows are catalogued in iTunes, they'll move as well, since iTunes doesn't use the ~/Movies folder.
posted by mkultra at 10:50 AM on December 17, 2007

Also, you could consider simply creating a "stack" next to the trash bin on the dock (assuming you're using Leopard.)

You create the movie folder of your dreams, then simply drag it to the stack space on the dock near the trash can.

This bypasses the whole finder --> Movies system. The only problem is that the stacks display whatever is the top file, which can be less than ideal visually. Fortunately, I have a solution for that.

Stacks Overlays give you these cool little drawer-type files that you drop into the folder you're turning into a stack. As long as it's the first file, it will create the effect of putting the other files in a drawer. Also, you get different drawer files with different graphics on them. And one is a filmstrip pictogram.

Again, this is only if you're running Leopard. But since you just bought the computer, I'm assuming you are.

As for music, I second the notion of simply telling iTunes to keep your music on the external HDD. You don't want to browse through music files in the finder. iTunes does a far better job of it.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2007

Sorry, better link to the drawer icons here.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 12:04 PM on December 17, 2007

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