My whole Ubuntu installation including /home is located in an ext4 partition on an SSD drive. I'm going to move archives and document files (which are almost all inside the home folder) to an external HDD drive with ext4 partition format.

doing that will solve both the space issue and wearing level of the SSD problem. There's already a guide on how to move the whole /home directory to a new partition, but the thing is I have some application related files inside home, like android SDK, Gradle build system files, Android Studio data folder (which includes plugins, configs, etc). These kind of data are mostly as hidden folders inside home directory. The whole concept of migrating to an SSD is the higher speed of accessing and running programs; by moving those files which are required by applications back to HDD, the advantage would be lost I think.

So I thought it's rational to just symlink that kind of folders wich comprise absolute document files (like Music, Videos, Pictures, Documents, DropBox) to the external HDD partition and leave all other config folders inside the /home folder on the SSD. This way I'd have still the concern about the .ecryptfs folder which occupies a huge space on the SSD since I have encrypted my home on Ubuntu. Would this Symlink method also move the size of the .ecryptfs folder to the HDD?

Do you confirm this workaround or suggest an entirely different scenario?


  • 3
    If you make links to things in your home to outside, those will not be encrypted - so your ecryptfs size will decrease, and the HDD would be unaffected. You can also go the other way: move to HDD, keep SDK stuff on SDD, and symlink it.
    – muru
    Jun 8, 2016 at 19:59
  • @muru Thanks, So the encryption remains only in the case of moving whole /home to a new partition? About the SDK symlink, How does this affect performance, making OS referring to HDD first, then redirect back to the SDD? Jun 8, 2016 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


This approach are fine. I suggest you also consider these issues:

SSD technology and IO wearing

Depending on technology of your SSD, you have also to pay attention on IO rate of some applications. High IO could decrease the life of some devices. If was the case, these files would be better linked to HDD. I believe this approach is not only for the /home but also /var and swap area

OS or Application Restrictions

On my last PC, I installed the OS on SSD and configured parts with more IO (swap area, /var and /home) to HDD. It seemed to be the ideal setting until some important applications began to fail. Ubuntu AppArmor resource was blocking output data of some applications to /var mounted on another partition. So this could be more a problem than an advantage if the user do not know how to set this restrictions.

  • 2
    I've found a curious article about SSD wearing issue: "Work doesn’t kill solid state drives, but age does, according to Google study". (Digital Trends)
    – gwarah
    Jun 9, 2016 at 16:08
  • Thanks.My SSD is Samsung 850 EVO -250 GB regarding the IO wearing you mentioned. About the age killing SSD, I somehow tend to follow this theory instead of being obsessed about writing on SSDs.As I read on different sources;nowadays SSDs would endure enough so the user wouldn't get concern about the life time.The 850 EVO with 2,000,000 hrs MTBF is one of the many that proofs the idea.After all,although the life time and reliability of the SSD is important to me,But performance is the key point which made me upgrade from HDD to SDD. Best practice in this trade off is what I'm seeking for. Jun 11, 2016 at 20:45
  • I follow your approach but not ye sure about /home in SSD, especially in case of games and applications which require a heavier processing. One more issue: the swap area also is in SSD? Did you use default recommendation swap=2 x memory ram?
    – gwarah
    Jun 12, 2016 at 20:46
  • about games and applications, Since I'm really tired of slow performance of my system back to HDD days, I'd keep them on SSD if it really boosts the speed. ||| Yes my swap is on SSD because of the big differential comparing the speed of SSD and HDD. I didn't get much RAM (currently 6GB); If I had much maybe I even ignore the swap but now that I'd need that; I set a 2GB RAM as I don't need hibernation (due to fast boot on SSD even without the hibernation). It's based on sqr(RAM) formula and the example scenario table here Jun 14, 2016 at 22:28

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