Ghost files

tlsubterfuge

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 27, 2014
2
0
United States & France
Hey all. So I'm attempting to free up some hard drive space and, naturally, I figured I'd get rid of some applications I don't use anymore—namely games that take up a lot of space.

So, of course, I dragged the applications to the trash and they immediately disappeared in the Applications folder of course, but also from the Trash folder (i.e., I can't "Empty Trash" because there's nothing there to empty). Also, there are no longer files left in my Libraries.

The problem is, no space has actually been freed from my hard drive. A cursory search of all my files shows that these files don't exist anywhere, but my hard drive still reflects a level with the files still on there.

Also, it appears that no files are staying in my trash folder. It's almost as if the files are going to my trash folder but are not being displayed and, therefore, not able to be permanently deleted. So maybe it's a problem with that?

So, I have ghost applications. But I don't believe in ghosts, damnit.
Any help is appreciated!

MacBook Pro, 3.06Ghz 2010 build 12F45
OSX 10.8.5
500GB HD (with only 540MB left)
 
Last edited:

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,421
770
So, of course, I dragged the applications to the trash and they immediately disappeared in the Applications folder of course, but also from the Trash folder (i.e., I can't "Empty Trash" because there's nothing there to empty). Also, there are no longer files left in my Libraries.

The problem is, no space has actually been freed from my hard drive. A cursory search of all my files shows that these files don't exist anywhere, but my hard drive still reflects a level with the files still on there.
The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:
This may also be useful: Freeing up drive space in Mac OS X
 

tlsubterfuge

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 27, 2014
2
0
United States & France
Ok, so my hunch about the trash folder was correct... or to the best of my understanding, anyway.

I used Maverick Cache Cleaner to force empty the trash, and that seems to have done it. All I can gather is that somehow the files were located in my Trash folder, but did not display so there was no way for me to see that they were there or to empty it. Obviously, without emptying (i.e., permanently deleting), they couldn't be moved from my hard drive.

My intuition correct? Any way to fix this so I don't have to force empty anytime I delete a file?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,421
770
Ok, so my hunch about the trash folder was correct... or to the best of my understanding, anyway.

I used Maverick Cache Cleaner to force empty the trash, and that seems to have done it. All I can gather is that somehow the files were located in my Trash folder, but did not display so there was no way for me to see that they were there or to empty it. Obviously, without emptying (i.e., permanently deleting), they couldn't be moved from my hard drive.

My intuition correct? Any way to fix this so I don't have to force empty anytime I delete a file?
You shouldn't have to force empty the Trash, even if it contains hidden files. Without more troubleshooting, it's hard to determine what's going on with your system.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,302
10,025
California
The problem is, no space has actually been freed from my hard drive. A cursory search of all my files shows that these files don't exist anywhere, but my hard drive still reflects a level with the files still on there.
Do you happen to have Time Machine turned on? If you do, when you delete files they stay on the disk in a hidden /.Mobilebackups folder. You can read a bit about it here. This might explain why when you delete files the disk space used looks the same.

It is odd though that you deleted files and they did not show in trash. Did you just delete then normally in Finder?
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,863
698
Hawaii, USA
I'm thinking along Weaselboy's line of thought. You say that you dragged and dropped the files to the trash, but that they didn't show up in the trash. Are you sure that you made it to the trash, and didn't lift off while over another window? It's possible that you accidentally moved the files to somewhere else on your drive. Try doing a Spotlight search for them just to be sure that they're not elsewhere.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
Do you happen to have Time Machine turned on? If you do, when you delete files they stay on the disk in a hidden /.Mobilebackups folder. You can read a bit about it here. This might explain why when you delete files the disk space used looks the same.

It is odd though that you deleted files and they did not show in trash. Did you just delete then normally in Finder?
I've had trouble with an external time machine disk and deleting backups! :p
I put backup folders in the trash, then I empty the trash. Trash takes forever to empty, and when it gets to zero, it is not over, it goes PAST ZERO into the negative numbers. After a while i have -25,000 files deleted and counting.

Another weird thing that happened when I tried to do this was after failing to empty the trash, I looked in the trash and saw all the old backups in there! Old backups that I thought I deleted! :eek:

To fix it I just erased the volume with disk utility. Took ~5 seconds.
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,863
698
Hawaii, USA
I've had trouble with an external time machine disk and deleting backups! :p
I put backup folders in the trash, then I empty the trash. Trash takes forever to empty, and when it gets to zero, it is not over, it goes PAST ZERO into the negative numbers. After a while i have -25,000 files deleted and counting.

Another weird thing that happened when I tried to do this was after failing to empty the trash, I looked in the trash and saw all the old backups in there! Old backups that I thought I deleted! :eek:

To fix it I just erased the volume with disk utility. Took ~5 seconds.
Two things to note:

1) If you put a file from an external disk (including a USB drive) into the trash and then disconnect that disk without emptying the trash, your trash will appear empty. When you reconnect the drive, the trash will appear full again.

2) Counting into the negative numbers sounds a bit fishy... if your drive ever gets disconnected improperly, whether because someone unplugged it without ejecting it first or because there was a power outage, use Disk Utility to repair the disk. Occasionally there's some minor corruption in the file system, minor enough that OS X won't complain about the disk but that can still cause problems and weird behavior, possibly like what you observed.
 
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