Free up space without getting into the OS


macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 22, 2008
Hi there, I'm having a bit of a hard time here, my mum's laptop is full to the max! and it's so full that the OS doesn't even load so I can clear some of the stuff. It's a MBA 11 inch and the SSD is embedded so I can take it out and do a clean up, I also thought about loading the machine using a external OS and try and clean it up that way. Does anyone have any ideas how else this can be sorted?

Thanks in advance.


macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
If you have another Mac and a Thunderbolt cable to connect the two together, you can boot your mother's Macbook Air in Target Disk Mode.

This way, you can access the drive of the MBA on the other Mac, just like an external drive, without having to remove it. Then you can clean up your files and when you're done, eject the drive front he other mac and reboot the MBA as normal.


macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
I recommend starting from an external HDD and saving the files you need and then reformatting the internal drive. Also, if you feel your Mum's SSD is to small you can replace it:

And with this method your old drive goes into an enclosure to be reused as an external USB 3.0 drive.

I put one in my 2012 MBA.

Most experts seem to agree that SSDs shouldn't be filled to more than 75% of capacity, but my rule of thumb is between 60 to 70%.

Last edited:


macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
Down by the river
I use Carbon Copy Cloner to create bootable USB images of my internal, boot from the CCC image and mount the internal if I've got issues.
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