Installing Scrivener on a volume other than OS volume?

Technical problems require me to bring my MacBook Pro to a Genius Bar for diagnosis. One way or the other, an erase of the Macintosh HD volume and a reinstall of the OS will be required, to shake out all the gremlins. (It’s a long story…) All of my data and apps will be erased. I will have to restore my data, and reinstall all of my apps.

In future, I’m thinking of keeping my user folder on a separate volume (i.e., a separate partition on the hard drive). If an erase and reinstall are again required, my data would not be erased. I’d still have to restore my apps, but my data would preserved on a separate volume.

I imagine that Scrivener (or any app, for that matter) would be able to open files no matter where they are stored.

But, I’m also thinking that it would be even better to keep my apps separate, too. If an erase and reinstall is again required, I wouldn’t have to reinstall my apps or data, because only the volume containing the operating system would be affected by an erase/reinstall.

The idea is that two volumes would be on the hard drive:

  • the volume, “Macintosh HD” would contain only Mac OS.
  • the volume, “Apps & Data” would contain, well, all of my apps, and all user folders for all accounts on the machine.

I’m just starting to try to figure out if this is feasible. Can Scrivener function properly if installed on a volume separate from where the operating system is installed?

Hope this makes sense. Thanks.

Haven’t tried it myself, but it sounds like someone here installed it on a USB drive with success, so I’d think you’d be fine.

Why not use SuperDuper (or something similar) to clone everything to an external drive? Then you can restore it in chunks or all at once, as the situation decrees.


I use SuperDuper to maintain a bootable clone so that I can roll everything back (OS, apps, and data) in case an OS update is problematic. SD is great for this purpose.

But, the thinking behind this idea of segregating the OS from everything else is to minimize the effort of recovering apps and data after an OS erase-and-reinstall. (I can’t restore incrementally from my Time Machine backups, because they were rendered useless during this incident.)

Further research into this idea has yielded a range of opinions, from “Great idea!” to “Fraught with danger.” Unless it’s supported by Apple, I’ll drop it, and look into using either SD or Chronosync to maintain incremental backups of my data. This seems to be the most practical, and supported, compromise.

I suppose that I could store my data with one of the cloud providers, but for many reasons, I do not like this idea.

Thanks for the ideas and link.