Disappearing hard drive space...any ideas?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HXGuy, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #1
    So some reason, which drives me insane, my hard drive (boot drive) runs out of space every time I use the computer.

    Let me explain...if I reboot the computer, it shows ~21GB available. I open some programs, start doing some work, and it starts to go down. By the end of the day, I'm down to under 1GB and a lot of the times I get warning about being out of memory and I have to restart the computer to free up space on the hard drive.

    I don't know if I have some settings all screwed up or if it's a virus or what.
    It's a Mac Pro with 16GB of RAM, 120GB SSD boot drive and a 2TB internal HDD for storage.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    If you're wondering what "Other" category in the Lion storage tab is about, this may help explain:
    For space issues not explained by the above, there are a few things you can try, some of which may or may not apply:
    Here are a few resolutions found by others with the same question:
     
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    It could be your sleep image.
     
  4. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #4
    Thank you for the quick reply.

    I actually brought this issue up back in March on the OSX sub-forum and found out about Disk Inventory, which I ran, and found that Mail was using a very large about of space on the Hard Drive (boot). I then moved the Mail contents to the storage drive and created a shortcut on the boot drive which I thought would fix the problem.

    That did fix the problem of Mail taking up too much space on the boot drive, but it didn't fix the problem of something taking up GBs and GBs of space and then releasing those GBs once I restart the computer.

    ----------

    Reading about the sleep image, it sounds like it deals with RAM and not the actual hard drive.

    I am having a problem where I am running out of hard drive space, not RAM.
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #5
  6. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
    It saves the contents of the RAM to the hard drive when it sleeps. So if you have 16GB of RAM then your sleep image will take up 16GB of hard drive space when the computer sleeps. And the sleep image stays from the first time the computer is slept after a restart until the computer is restarted.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    Check Console.app to see if there are any indications. It could be a runaway process filling a log file.

    It's not a virus, since no Mac OS X viruses exist in the wild and no existing trojan exhibits those symptoms.

    Mac Virus/Malware FAQ
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    In addition to the sleep image problem as mentioned above, do you use Time Machine for backups?
     
  9. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #9
    I tried to copy/paste the command into Terminal and it said "No such file or directory"

    The computer is never set to "sleep" so that is probably why it's not finding a sleep image I'm guessing?

    ----------

    Yes but Time Machine is on a separate internal HDD>
     
  10. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #10
    Try putting your computer to sleep and then waking it up.
     
  11. HXGuy, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012

    HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #11
    I ran DaisyDisk and here is what I found...

    [​IMG]

    A huge part is being taken up by "private". I reset the computer, which reduced "private" from 17.6GB to 1.8GB.

    [​IMG]

    By double clicking on the "private", it took me deeper and deeper into where the files are located until I got to the end.

    What are these files? Can they be deleted?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. theSeb, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #12
    I see. Time Machine creates local backups if the TM hard drive is disconnected, but that's obviously not the case here.

    /private is an important directory in OS X and I wouldn't go messing about with it. It also happens to be where your sleep image is stored (/private/var/vm/sleepimage if I recall correctly), which will explain why it's gone down in size. I wouldn't be deleting anything else out of there, apart from truncating logs in /private/var/log if they've gotten too big.

    There are other locations for logs such as /Library/Logs and ~/Library/Logs that you could check.

    To truncate a file simply type in Terminal

    Code:
    > ~/Librart/Logs/whatever.log
    
    The > is the important bit.

    Or run the maintenance scripts in Terminal

    Code:
    sudo periodic weekly
    sudo periodic daily
    sudo periodic monthly
    
    Double check that the scripts ran:

    Code:
    ls -al /var/log/*.out
    
    The output should be like this:

    Code:
    -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  316511 12 Jul 00:04 /var/log/daily.out
    -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel    1848 12 Jul 00:04 /var/log/monthly.out
    -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel    4313 12 Jul 00:04 /var/log/weekly.out
    
    And the date time should match when you've just done it.
     
  13. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #13
  14. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #14
    The reason private went down when you restarted was because of the sleep image, it will go back up as soon as your computer goes to sleep just FYI.
     
  15. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #15
    The computer never goes to sleep, it's disabled.
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    Or you can use Maintidget to see when the scripts last ran, or to force them to run. They'll run automatically, anyway.
     
  17. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #17
    Now I am really stumped.

    I restarted the computer and ran a usual task that I may normally do, in this case, taking a QuarkXpress document and exporting it as an EPS and then taking the EPS files and running them through Adobe Distiller to create PDF files for printing.

    Prior to starting the process, I had 18.4GB available on the SSD (boot) and the "private" folder was relatively small, as you can see here:

    [​IMG]

    After the process, my available memory on the SSD was down to 12.2GB and the "private" folder looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    For some reason, the "folders" folder got huge. If I keep clicking on it, it takes me deeper into it, revealing more folders, until it dead ends with information that I have no idea what it is.

    I kept clicking on the folder and it took me deeper into each file until it dead ended with a bunch of crap that I have no idea what it is.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Any ideas? I'm totally confused as to what is going on.
     
  18. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #18
    The private folder also contains your swap file for your virtual memory. It will increase and decrease in size as necessary.

    ----------

    Indeed, they do run automatically, but if you want to clear up space now, they are good to run.

    Apps schmapps. Using the terminal makes me feel like big man :)
     
  19. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #19
    So after doing some more digging, it seems that the "folders" folder in "private" is used as the scratch disk for QuarkXpress and Distiller, which is why it gets so bloated every time I run a big file through those programs. Unfortunately there is no way to change the location of the scratch disk. Options would be to install those programs on the 2TB HDD and run them off there, or free up space on the SSD boot drive.

    I'm trying the SSD boot drive route first and will see how it works out. There was one file in the "Downloads" folder which was 21GB (actually a folder itself, not file) and it contained 1,541,000 files in that folder. It's been deleting it for the past 30+ minutes and still only 2/3 done. Crazy.
     
  20. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #20
    You're better off freeing up space on the boot drive by moving user files, as some apps have problems running or updating if they're not in the /Applications folder.
     
  21. BenClement1978, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

    BenClement1978 macrumors member

    BenClement1978

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location:
    Antwerp Belgium
    #21
    If you use iTunes Match, iTunes will store played songs (ones that are not in your iTunes Library but on iCloud) I think they are deleted in a few days.

    User Folder/Library/Caches/com.apple.itunes/Playcash and so on... files are not named just numbered.

    So loosing space could also happen like this if you play some music the whole day.
     

Share This Page