Disappearing HDD space?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by e93to, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. e93to macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    I noticed my 10gb of my iMac's HDD space disappeared over the past couple of days. I know that there were 588gb remaining on my HDD space before. Then yesterday, I noticed the free space shrunk down to 583. And now today there is 579 remaining! I did add some files to my computers, but they were songs that were probably 50mb at most. I looked at backup snapshot, Library/Cache folder, Mail folder, iTunes folder, MobileSync folder, etc., but I found nothing out of ordinary. I repaired permissions as well. However, when I ran Disk Inventory X, I noticed files in /private/var/vm are 8.5gb. Do these files (sleep image, swap files, etc) have anything to do with what I am experiencing?

    My iMac is on 10.8.5

    Thanks
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    The "sleepimage" file is related to the amount of RAM that you have in your iMac. That file will be constant, and does not contribute to a _change_ in storage used.
    The swap files will go away if you simply restart.

    An app like "OmniDiskSweeper" can scan your drive, and show you where you have large files. If the files are caches - and located in a Caches folder, you can safely delete those files at any time. Your system will make new ones as it needs them.

    Do you use Time Machine, and do you leave the Time Machine external backup attached to your iMac?
     
  3. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #3
    Thanks for reply.

    I checked Caches folder, and and there was nothing unusual. And yes, I use an external drive for Time Machine, and I don't leave it attached.
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    Time Machine keeps track of files that you need to backup, on your hard drive.
    You should also see "Backups" in the Storage tab (from your About This Mac info window
    Plug in your Time Machine backup drive, then give Time Machine some time to complete the backup to the external.
    You might need to restart, also.
    If the space is taken by the on-drive backup file, then you should get the space back after doing that.
     
  5. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    Prior to posting this thread, I did a backup with Time Machine. This didn't do anything. And like I said in my first post, the backup snap shot was zero.
     
  6. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #6
    Well, i tried everything at this point - PRAM reset, repair permissions in recovery mode, safe boot, AHT, Onyx, reindex Spotlight, examined files/folders that could have been used/accessed past 3 days or so. Now free space is down to 578!
     
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #7
    You have not "tried everything" yet. :D
    How much space is used by your Caches folder? That's the Caches folder in YOUR home folder/Library folder.
    (Not the Caches folder in either the /System/Library, or the /Library folder at the root of your hard drive.

    You can find out where that space is going. Run OmniDiskSweeper.

    You may simply have an out of control process. I have seen that happen where an error gets reported to the Console, and will record multiple identical errors many times a second, and filling up a hard drive within a few days, and it's all error messages listed in the console. You can also monitor your Activity Monitor, which can show you which processes take up a lot of processor time, or use a lot of memory, or write to your hard drive excessively.

    Here's a thread that may point you in another direction - http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/free-space-disappeared-in-mountain-lion.1513421/
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Even if you have backed up, Time Machine still keeps a copy of recently changed and deleted files in a hidden folder that uses space.

    Run the command below in Terminal to show how much space that folder is using and let us know.

    Code:
    sudo du -hs /.MobileBackups
     
  9. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
    Yeah, I looked at Cache folders in both home and system. Again, nothing unusual. I didn't mention in my previous post, but I monitored Console and Activity Monitor for unusual messages/errors, but again nothing out of ordinary.

    Does OmniDiskSweeper show real-time progress/history of which files of any sizes have been written in any locations? I already have Disk Inventory X, and from what I've read, it seems to do the same thing.

    I already checked that post (and many other posts and YouTube videos). It didn't do the trick.
     
  10. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #10
    Ran the command, but it said no such directory exists..
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #11
    So you turned off Time Machine then? Or you disabled those local snapshots from Terminal? Because with Time Machine on there would always be some space used by that /.Mobilebackups folder.

    Try this command that will show all the base folders and size used in GB. That may point the way. This command will show some hidden and system files that apps like OmniDisksweeper won't.

    Code:
    sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /
     
  12. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    Yeah, I have Time Machine set as "off" (never left it as "on"). And I re-enabled the snapshot after doing the disable trick in the other thread. I believe the system default is "on" even though Time Machine is "off"?

    I'll run that command, and see if there are any unusual files/folders.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Ahhh... that explains it. If you turn TM off it wipes that Mobilebackups folder and it will stay gone on its own. You don't really need to run the command to reenable. If you just turn TM off then back on it will reenable the local snapshots.
     
  14. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #14
    Thanks. Then I guess this issue is not Time Machine/backup-related.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Nope... you turned it off and that folder does not exist, so that's not it. What can happen is sometimes files can get stuck in there and the folder won't empty, and that is what I was looking for, but that is not the issue here.
     
  16. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #16
    You can use terminal commands to find out where space is being used.
    This article can help you out on that.
    The best hint on how to use it, is to remember that it only shows the folders in the directory that you are currently viewing - so you need to navigate to the directory that you want to view, with a cd command for the folder path.
     
  17. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
  18. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #18
    Ran the commands, but I didn't find any abnormally large files/folders.
     
  19. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #19
    But, you are losing space somewhere. So, something is "abnormal", for you, anyway. You just haven't identified it yet. It can take some experimenting, looking though different folders, and that can take some time.

    Be sure to start that dl process from the root of the hard drive, and not just your user folder. Then, you can change the path, so you work your way down through the folders that use the most space.
    You can ALSO do this same check in a few days to see what has changed.

    Plus, your drive space is not close to critically low, yet - so, keep an eye out on the folders that are your largest storage. In a week or two, check again to see what has changed (and what still seems "normal" )
     
  20. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #20
    I think I looked at every folder possible in both home and system folders. I checked every invisible file in every path. I've even booted into my clone drive (created on Dec 23) to compare file sizes. And… well… everything perfectly matches… The only difference is 6 - 10gb of remaining storage.

    Restarted the computer yesterday, and the free space was back to 584. Now it's down at 580.

    My next step is to check Activity Monitor and Console when free storage drops. But I guess this will be quite difficult to do since I can't always keep my eye on free space.

    Thanks for all your input so far. I really appreciate it
     
  21. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    #21
    I came across this post by @maflynn concerning a different matter but it might help you to track down what's using your space :

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-to-reduce-other-storage-in-ios.1947637/#post-22415988
     
  22. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #22
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #23
    I think it will be something like

    Code:
    sudo /Applications/DiskInventoryX.app/Contents/MacOS/DiskInventoryX
    You may need to adjust the spelling or upper/lowercase to match what's in our application folder
     
  24. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #24
    Thanks!
     
  25. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #25
    Well, even Apple Support has no clue where that missing storage could have gone. A representative remote-controlled my iMac for more than half an hour, but he said there is nothing wrong with my computer.
     

Share This Page