MacBook Air Owners: How to Save HD Space

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by clayj, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    OK, obviously no one has one of these yet. But when you get one, you may want to consider making your first action reinstalling OS X from the DVD that comes with the MacBook Air. Why? It's simple.

    For those of you who don't know, OS X comes with a lot of extra stuff you may not ever need. Specifically, I'm talking about foreign language support and preloaded printer drivers: Between these two things, an extra 6 GB or so of hard drive space is used. Normally, that's not worth worrying about, but with only 64 GB or 80 GB of disk space in the machine, you're talking about losing up to 10% of your drive capacity on stuff you may never, ever need.

    So if you reinstall OS X right away and customize the installation, you can choose not to install all those extra language support files and printer drivers, and reclaim a healthy chunk of your hard drive in the process. It'll take a little time to reinstall the OS, but your hard drive will thank you later.

    [NOTE: If anyone gets an MBA before I do, which seems likely at this point, and confirms that the language support files and printer drivers are already NOT installed on the MBA, please note such in this thread and we can have the thread deleted.]
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    I think this is sage advice for all notebook users! I am hopefully getting a macbook soon so i think i may well be following this advice myself!

    I never knew that the print drivers took up so much space! crazy-ness, just plain crazy...i guess it's a side effect of the whole "mac just works" thing. If they weren't installed at the beginning...they just wouldn't work :D
  3. macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    My thoughts are that you really don't need to put much on your MBA if you have another Mac at home with broadband and .Mac you can take advantage of the Back to My Mac browsing and Screen Sharing to control your home machine or grab files from it. As long as you have a wifi signal where you are that is.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Definitely get rid of the iBloat. That'll save you at least 3 gigs, maybe more.
  5. Guest


    Jan 14, 2008
    Boston, MA
    iLife users may also want to consider deselecting iMovie and iDVD from the installation, as there's not much pro video to be had on a compact notebook. You can also look into XSlimmer, which lets you save space by removing the extra language support and PowerPC architectures that take up extra space.
  6. macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    And while you are at it, it would probably be wise to uninstall your web browser and mail as well as the finder. ;)
  7. macrumors member

    May 26, 2007
    For those of you who want a more "portable" solution, Gizmodo has a small story on the new small 1.8" external Western Digital Drives. They are pretty small so you can carry them with you anywhere and at $200 for the 320 Gb model, the price is not bad.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    Especially since there's no optical drive or Firewire :p Dunno why they'd even install those apps.
  9. macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    If you don't get the external superdrive, be sure to delete iDVD ;)
  10. macrumors regular

    May 11, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I am going to use my MacBook Air the way Apple intended.

    I have my iMac here setup with sharing and I am going to connect to it via Wifi or EVDO to access files/projects.

    Being a web designer/programmer I live by the internet anyway. :)
  11. macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    Garageband eats up a lot of space too, along with iDVD so if those won't be used might as well not put them on there either. you can trim down the install by quite a bit actually by going through a reinstall off the bat
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Trashing the ms office and iworks demos (if they are installed), is also a good thing to do to recover space.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2003
    As an aside, I totally agree.

    However I have a mac mini at work, a Mac Pro at home and a Macbook Pro on the go and I've yet to see back to my Mac work between 2 different networks.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    Easy on the printer drivers, if you delete rather than reinstall. Google for instructions. There are some files weaved in there OS X needs for its print architecture, hard to tell what they are, and if you delete them you can smack printing. But 1.5GB saved, at least.

    I'd really agree on iDVD -- themes -- and GarageBand -- instruments and loops -- too. If you're running any kind of super-light, even hotel-room quality audio recording or production kit, you're at least in the MacBook line, and the Air is out. I can't imagine you can't keep the bulk of your iPhoto library off there, too. Or carry none of it. So you can whack iPhoto if that's the case. Mobile graphics guys won't be using this. Nor will film people. iMovie can go, too.

    Really, you're looking at iTunes if you want to carry your music on it. But if you have any kind of decent iPod or iPhone, there's really no point.

    iWork, unless you absolutely need it, ditch. Try Mellel for word processing for about $50 and maybe Mariner's spreadsheet product, if you need a spreadsheet at all.

    Real MS Word may be a total necessity for some people, but I should think a lot of you can ditch the rest of the Office suite.

  15. macrumors 65816

    Jan 29, 2008
    Graphics people can sure use it, so I don't think thats a fair assessment. Graphics should look good with the LED backlit display, and the power is more than adequate for Photoshop and other heavier tasks (I know, I used to have a computer with exactly those specs - 1.6Ghz C2D 2GB RAM - from Dell and it was quite speedy for graphics tasks).

    I agree though that iMovie and iDVD can go. If you don't do much audio editing or any Garage band can go too. If you don't see yourself making websites, iWeb can go bye bye also.

    Isn't there a way to get rid of individual applications AFTER they've been installed? Or get rid of extra printer drivers and such without having to resort to a format? Cause personally I would prefer to use it the way it was intended and then if and only if I really need extra space start trashing stuff.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2007
    Office 2008 has lots of extra language support that can be unchecked when you do a custom install. You probably will not need Messenger so don't install that, and for me entourage is just a waste of space.
  17. macrumors member


    Jan 31, 2008
    Apex, NC
    And certainly something akin to AppZapper should be able to handle the removal of select applications if you plan to keep most everything and avoid a reinstall.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2008

    I've never done a fresh install of OS X. Can somebody give me a quick walkthrough (or link to one) of how to wipe the HDD and do a fresh install of 10.5?

    I've searched the Guides page on macrumors to no avail. Many thanks!
  19. macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2005
    This is pretty much the first thing I did with the Air. Popped the installer DVD into my Mac Pro and formatted. Overall, it was surprisingly fast given that it was doing it all over the wireless network.

    Put in the DVD. Select "Install Mac OS X." On the MacBook Air, the computer will reboot and you will get a gray screen. Hold down the option key. Use whatever method you're using to access the DVD. Installer will start. Go through the first few steps until you have the Mac OS Menu. There should be a Utilities menu with Disk Utility. Select it, and format the drive as you would in regular Disk Utility. Proceed with install, but on the last screen before starting the installation, click the "Customize" button. Get rid of the bloat.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    How long did it take to install? I assume this was on an "n" network?

    I'm debating whether I want to pick up a superdrive for things like this (installing OS, restoring from backup). But if the speed isn't bad on wireless, I might skip that.

    I have an "n" network.
  21. macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    I'd definitely not store media (movie, songs) on the hard drive, and Xslimmer sounds like a winner (yay lipo!). Contemplating language removal, and printer driver removal, but running a quick check of my MacBook's HD, my home folder is the largest hog. I'm starting there first :)

    Definitely going to trash the silly apps too. Half of iLife has limited use on the road on a machine with no optical drive.
  22. macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2007
    couple of questions with the reinstalling of leopard and doing a customization to save space.

    i first tried to do this remotely but to no avail. when I got to the part where it has you select your wireless network...well for some reason mine isn't listed, but it is listed when I connect to the internet? what's up with that?

    so then I manually type in my networks name and password... and It continuously searches for it... but never finds it!

    anyone have any ideas as to why I can't connect remotely? but I can connect to the network to access the internet?

    so then about saving all the unneeded items. I also bought the external optical drive. and went ahead and tried a customized install... but ... it is very limited on what you can delete or not delete?

    for instance, I do not want garageband, but if I don't install that then I don't install iDVD which I want. So can I install it and then delete it at later time? like right now!!!

    lastly, my questions is with the printer files. What exactly is the consequence of deleting it? In my wireless network I have a hp printer, so I would want to keep the hp pinter file right?

    and then if I would delete all of the other printer files (samsung,canon, etc), does that mean if I am ever in someone else's network I couldn't use their wireless printer if it is some name that i deleted?

    sorry for the length. I'm just really bummed that my remote disk is not working the way it should. I really hope it is not faulty!!!

    thanks in advance
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    OS X Reinstall

    I just ran the reinstall as suggested get rid of the "extras". It has ejected the disk but just keeps calculating the installation. Never asked for disc 2. Any suggestions?
  24. macrumors 68020


    Apr 1, 2005
    Maybe I will be going over some old ground and maybe adding something new but if I can summarise my space saving methods:

    • XSlimmer. This can be used to strip applications down to universal binaries and save a load of space.
    • Monolingual. This is similar to XSlimmer but it removes all the excessive language files and some printer drives.
    • AppDelete. This little application is a bit like remove applications in Windows. It not only deletes the application but also all the associated files. As mentioned with iMovie and iDVD you get a load of extras which are not automatically deleted when you trash the application, this little tool gets rid of thE extras and saves you a bucket-load of space.

    I think that is about it for now.
  25. macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    I used Monolingual and got back 3.2GB, a great free application.

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