Disappearing memory

Discussion in 'macOS' started by saligakonimo, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. saligakonimo macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    I have been running out of hard drive space and have deleted a whole bunch of files... even deleted all the languages i didn't need from all my applications... about a week ago i freed up around 2GB.... but without saving and downloading anything my free space is now 70MB!! All I have been doing is watching streamed videos and I notice this reduces the drive space as I'm watching it!! Even opening firefox and some websites drops my memory by 0.1MB. I can't find anywhere where temporary files might be so i can delete them.

    I never used to have this problem but I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I now use wireless internet through a phone provider and a USB modem rather than my previous WiFi via cable broadband.

    Can anybody shed some light on what is stealing my memory when browsing?

  2. bblrsn1234 macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2009
    oh that happened to me too once.
    Go check your trash can. Empty it and it might help!
  3. dashcs macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2009
    What OS you running?

    Also if you dont have alot of RAM,your computer uses the hard drive free space.
  4. saligakonimo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    I'm running Os X 10.5

    I have cleared my trash can

    I was wondering if it had to do with RAM however I would have thought that if it was this, when I shut the computer down it should give me back the memory it used. BUt it doesn't.

    I wonder if it has something to do with streaming video, does it save it somewhere and doesn't delete it.

    It's incredibly frustrating not knowing where this memory is going.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Check out your crash logs and alsoswsp size. Reboot and see if that helps - rebooting will remove and reset the VM file usage
  6. dashcs macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2009
    U wanna know where that information is stored?

    On the finder menu bar
    Click on GO --> Go to Folder
    Type /private

    I would check the size of the log folder inside var if its over 5 GB,you can delete it.
    Everything inside here,is at your discretion.
  7. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    No, don't delete EVERYTHING inside /private, only the /private/var/log folder. There are some extremely important things in /private, including the dslocal database, all the .conf files, the sudoers file, and others. Meaning your Mac will not boot if you trash the whole thing.
  8. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    He didn't say to delete everything in /private. Granted, it could have been worded better.
  9. saligakonimo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    Thank you for the suggestion. I will keep checking this folder.

    Is there a log folder that is specifically for streaming or for the browser? Or is this it?

    Thanks again
  10. saligakonimo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    I deleted everything in the log folder which created for me about 1G

    but surprise, surprise, all that memory is gone again... I have no idea what's taking it up... so frustrating
  11. bblrsn1234 macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2009
  12. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    It's Apple's swap/virtual memory storage that eats it up. My MBP has been doing that for a LONG time. I finally kicked it by replacing the 120 GB drive with a 320.

    Realistically, the things you can do are:

    1) Avoid running a lot of Apps simultaneously, as that increases the need for swap space. Also, see if you can determine which apps are the most serious memory hogs. I know on my MPB, Paralells and DreamWeaver were my top two, with Safari (with a bunch of windows & tabs open) a close third. Quit out of what you're not using at the moment, although, if you're already down to the last few MBs, you'll need to restart to regain that drive space.

    1a) DON'T switch back and forth between apps more than you need to. I've noted a correlation between my impatience on this, and faster disappearance of HD space, but that could be just me...

    2) put your HD on a serious diet. Toss all that stuff you haven't opened in a year. If you really must keep it all, buy an external HDD to keep it on, or archive it to CD or DVD.

    3) Max out your Mac's physical RAM, if it isn't already maxed out. My MBP has it's max of 3GB installed, and I would still get the "running out of disk space" message when the swap file grew too large. Keeping at least 4 or 5 GB (!) free usually prevented this from happening.

    4) get yourself a clean-up utility. This past weekend, I migrated from a 120 GB HDD (filled) and 10.5.<latest> to a 320 GB and 10.6.2. I used OnyX, a freeware tool to do a lot of the clean up. Mostly, it's just a pretty interface for the UNIX tools built in to OS X, but it does the job. As I worked through these tools, I saw my HDD's (the 120) free space grow by about a gig and a half. Just make sure you get the right version for your OS! The download link on Apple/s site (http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/onyx.html) gets you the 10.6 version, which will NOT work in 10.5. You need to get the 10.5 version from the software vendor's site.

    BTW - did you know that there are automated jobs that your Mac runs to do a lot of this maintenance? There are, and those of us who frequently sleep our Macs overnight don't always see the benefits of them. OnyX can help you out with those!

    5) If you run Photoshop, or any other program that edits large files, see if you can put the apps swap files on an external drive, if you have one. That can be a huge help.

    6) If you use Mobile Me, and have a local, live copy of your iDisk on your Mac, consider not doing that. You'll get up to 10 GB back (the size of the used part on your Mobile Me iDisk) right there.

    7) Check to see what is running as soon as you log in. Go to System Prefs - users, and check out the user you usually log in as.

    So, the bottom line is, anything you can do to free up HD space, improve the physical memory of your Mac, and reduce how many things you're doing at the same time on the Mac all will help you avoid the vanishing HD space.

    Good luck!


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