Going INSANE. PLEASE HELP - screwed up disk space problem Apple isn't aware of

Discussion in 'macOS' started by CristobalHuet, May 1, 2010.

  1. CristobalHuet macrumors 65816

    CristobalHuet

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal
    #1
    Oh boy, here we go.

    Here's my setup: (10.6.3)
    Partition 1 - OS X (440GB)
    Partition 2 - Windows XP (60 GB)
    TOTAL: 500 GB

    Sunday night, almost a week ago, I had just about 40-80GB of free HD space. I'm putting in an interval because I was ripping some DVDs and some space was taken up.

    Fast forward to Monday morning: I wake my Mac from sleep and what do I see? How about "zero KB available" in Finder and a warning telling me my startup disk is full.

    I panic. I restart the computer, log back in, and I have 1GB of free space left according to Finder. Yep, 1 measly gigabyte.
    I shut off the Mac, get to class, and get back home. I reset my PRAM, NVRAM, launch in safe boot, create a new user to see if problem persists...and nothing, no dice, still displaying 1GB.

    Safe Boot doesn't fluctuate, tells me I have 1.5GB and it stays there.

    Only now, it's fluctuating.

    Goes from 1GB to 700, to 800, to 900, and back down to 700.

    Currently at 440MB.

    I run both OmniDiskSweeper and Disk Inventory X. BOTH tell me the same thing: that 360GB is in use on my HD. WHICH IS WHAT OS X SHOULD BE TELLING ME INSTEAD OF 700-1GB.

    I call AppleCare. I get transferred to a senior technician who tells me that this is the first time they hear of my problem, of my fluctuating/disappearing HD space. We talk for a couple of hours to no avail, she gives me a number and a case ID to reach her back. I keep trying, but she's always busy.

    Now I'm coming to you.

    Today, I launch Parallels, just a hunch...tells me I need to free up more HD space to run my BootCamp VM. I quit Parallels, and go check out Finder...I now have 133MB free, down from 440MB.

    15 seconds later...I'm back at 440.

    I launch Activity Monitor, and a whopping 215GB of Virtual Memory is in use. I quit all programs and log back in. Same thing.

    What the hell should I do now? I can't backup with SuperDuper because the space is constantly fluctuating and it's always re-evaluating my files as a result. I now have no backup and my most important files (class notes/papers) stored on Dropbox.

    Is there an issue with my system's VM? Is my HD dying? Should I bail ship and take this to a Genius?

    Please please help.. :(

    EDIT: now I'm down to 400, and back to 408. I HAVE NOTHING THAT IS DOWNLOADING.
     
  2. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #2
    Yes, maybe, we don't know.

    Those apps would need to be run as root to measure everything... did either ask for a password?

    What do you see inside the folder /private/var/vm ? [use the Go menu]

    As far as troubleshooting in a forum goes, Terminal.app is our friend:

    sudo du -hx -d1 /

    That measures your boot volume (ignoring mounted disks and shares). Scan that list for something that looks too large... then run the command again, adjusting the path so as to drill deeper in that direction.

    You might also want to navigate to /Volumes with Finder's go menu and make sure that Finder only sees aliases in there (use list view and add the 'Kind' column). Anything other than an alias there is usually a problem.

    Typically, some software is misbehaving and filling up a log file. Or maybe some backup program has gone loco, and is writing directly into /Volumes (into a folder on disk).
     
  3. Ice Cream Man macrumors member

    Ice Cream Man

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    Earth
    #3
    Use OnyX to clear caches, and run scripts... Use Drive 10? reinstall OSX. :apple:
     
  4. CristobalHuet thread starter macrumors 65816

    CristobalHuet

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal
    #4
    God I am such an idiot. I completely forgot to check out the /Volumes folder...and look at that, seems SuperDuper effed up and was making a clone of my Mac HD...onto itself rather the external HD I assigned it to. :D :rolleyes:

    That explains why there was no fluctuating in safe boot (SD was disabled).The folder I found in /Volumes was 43GB and I just trashed the bugger.

    Inside /private/var/vm, I see three swapfiles, for a total of 268MB. Sounds about normal, I'd assume? Using Terminal with your command, Spotlight's index was 320MB. I trashed it and forced it to rebuild just in case. Indexing again as we speak.

    OmniDiskSweeper did not ask for my password, although it might have when I first run it on Monday. Looking at what it scans, it indeed does not scan the hidden directories (such as the Spotlight index folder which requires root authorization)...gave me 361GB used, Finder tells me 390GB is used. OmniDiskSweeper says my Mac partition is 400GB, when Finder says (correctly) it's 434. Odd.

    Thanks for your help, though I'm not sure why OmniDiskSweeper says I've got 34GB less capacity than Finder. Who cares.

    :D

    @IceCreamMan
    I used OnyX earlier on today, thanks for the suggestion though!
     
  5. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #5
    im going insane too!!

    hey,

    i have been having th same problem of fluctuating disk space an is in dire need of help! i have been searching online for solutions but cant seem to find any. i wanna try to use th solution proposed here but cant seem to understand. can someone please help me explain it in layman's term?

    i used to have 30 over gb and now it decreased to 500 MB in a day without no reason!!! i restarted it and it fluctuates from 140 mb to 9gb! It is constantly fluctuating without me doing anything and i am freaking out! I did not download anything except for a few uni assignments and thats it.

    anw, i am using a mac os x 10.5.8 for almost three years now. its running on a 2.2 ghz intel core 2 duo. my RAM is 2gb 667 mhz dd32 sdram.

    :confused:
     

    Attached Files:

  6. fehhkk macrumors 6502a

    fehhkk

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #6
    Have you run disk utility to check your OSX partitions?
     
  7. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #7
    yup. i dont run any other accounts or partitions in my comp. i even did th verify disk permission/ verify disk and there seem to be 'no problem' with my disk.

    help! ;(
     
  8. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #8
    First off, you probably don't have a problem worth freaking out about. You might have a disk issue, but there are other things to do before assuming that.

    Second, some variation from day to day is natural. Virtual memory expands and contracts, a log can get enormous because one piece of software is cranky, etc. Worrying too much about hard disk space can be a waste of time. If, however, it falls too low and you don't know why ... well, maybe it's time to be concerned.

    Do you have Onyx? If you have a comfortable amount of room on your HD, I'd d/l it and unpack it. (If you're concerned about the amount of hard disk space you have, you should be able to d/l it to a thumb drive, unpack it and run it from the thumb drive with little problem.)

    Onyx will want to verify your hard disk before it does too much. Let it.

    Assuming that goes OK, click on the "Cleaning" icon and go through clearing out the caches. I'd follow its defaults with the exception of the "Logs" tab. There's a chance, although slight, that there could be some log information useful in trouble shooting your problems.

    Let us know what you find out.

    mt
     
  9. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #9
    The blue command in post #2 is still a good method (especially for communicating current sizes in a forum), but it is aimed at the boot HD. It seems at least one pic you posted has something to do with Time Machine... which is definitely not going to be on the boot volume.

    If you need some guidance on the Terminal part, i can elaborate some:
    1. launch Terminal.app which lives in the /Applications/Utilities folder
      (one way to do that is by using Spotlight: type command-space to call up Spotlight's search field, and type term. Chances are that Terminal will be the item highlighted, so just press return... if not, just click Terminal in the list).

    2. copy the blue command in post #2 and paste it into the terminal window, and hit return.

    3. a Password: prompt will appear. Type your password and hit return (nothing you type at that point will be echoed onto the screen, except the return).

    4. if this is the first time sudo has been called by this user, a small warning appears advising one on proper conduct... don't panic. Read it and hit return once more.

    5. now the disk usage command (du) will go about its task of taking measurements... which is normally time consuming. Just wait... eventually the answers will be displayed followed by a new $ prompt awaiting the next command.
    So then just copy the text and save it somewhere (preferably in a post here), and look at what it says. If for example we see 300 gigs used in the folder /private, that might be suspicious... so we would then reiterate the process, pointing the command at that folder:

    sudo du -hx -d1 /private

    ...which might tell us that the folder /private/var is 299 gigs, so we'd proceed to target /private/var in the next run... and so forth, until we find our bloated item.

    Admittedly, this is a tedious approach. I haven't looked at the GUI options recently. I seem to recall one called Baseline which does request a password so as to do a complete and thorough inspection. Perhaps OmniDiskSweeper or WhatSize or JDiskReport or GrandPerspective (etc., etc.) also offer that sort of "run-as-root" feature... idunno.

    --

    Edit: the Time Machine database is a maze of hard links (both the file and directory varieties), and thus can a) be extremely (!!!) time consuming, and b) depending on where the measurement is taken (and with which tool) provide misleading results. Sorting out this type of issue inside a Time Machine backup can be slightly tricky.

    So: on which disk is your problem located?

    Perhaps running this command can give us useful data...

    df -h
     
  10. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #10
    @mysterytramp I downloaded OnyX last night and tried to run it but it keep crashing and asking me to relaunch. I tried to redownload + install at least twenty times, so i dont think its ever gonna work. please see attachment.


    for the terminal part, do you think i should back up everything first before trying to fix it? if i forgo with that, is everything going to be wiped out?

    @Hal Itosis. it is my internal disk HD tt is fluctuating, not my time machine? i know this is prolly a really bimbo question but does boot = reboot, which is wiping everything? sorry you keep on having to answer all these noob questions.

    just an update, it fluctuate to 38 gb now.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #11
    Do you have SuperDuper installed? (even if you think you're not running it)
     
  12. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #12
    Your screen shot shows you have Onyx 2.1.5b1 -- that's a Snow Leopard only version.

    Here's the link to the Leopard version.

    mt
     
  13. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #13
    Well spotted. Hope it helps. (I use Onyx myself, and am not sure how it would help. It could make things worse if used improperly).
     
  14. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #14
    The commands posted thus far don't fix anything nor wipe anything out. They simply gather information.


    I asked you first? ;)

    That's fine... so, start with the command in post #2 whenever you're ready.
    Also run df -h as suggested in post #9.


    The way i was using the word "boot" meant the disk that contains the system from which the machine is currently operating. [i don't understand the question perhaps.]



    EDIT [OFF-TOPIC]: back in Leopard i wrote a little script called jnk that measures developer kruft...
    Code:
    $[COLOR="Blue"] jnk /Volumes/OnyX\ 2.1.5b1/OnyX.app[/COLOR]
    got junk: /Volumes/OnyX 2.1.5b1/[B]OnyX[/B].app
    
    number of [COLOR="Magenta"]designable.nib[/COLOR] items found: 34
    36056K total
    
    found: 34 items, wasting 35.2 megabytes of disk space.
    a difference of 56.5% compared to the original 62.3MB
    
    Holy Moly... 35 megs of useless junk in an app which weighs in at only 63 megs?! :eek:
    Doesn't appear that the author has quite captured the "spirit" of Snow Leopard yet. :)
    [but then neither has iWeb.app]
     
  15. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #15
    Your hard drive is used for storing stuff about open programs.. not just RAM. Obviously, if you use up all your RAM, then you'll have even more hard drive space being used for paging. If you run your Virtual Machine, that'll use up even more hard drive space when it runs.

    40-80GBs down to 1GB is nothing when you are ripping DVDs.

    I don't see the issue here at all - just delete stuff and free up space. You should always have 10% of your drive free anyway.
     
  16. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #16
    Hey again! I finally had time after heaps assignments + finals. Super sorry for late reply.

    I run the Terminal thing and this is what it came out with. (see attachment)

    More script is popping up as I type so I guess Ill just wait and see whats takin up so much space.

    My disk space is at a very lowww 122 mb! And I feel like dying now.

    Do you think reformating everything will solve my prob?

    ;(

    I will attach a screen grab after th scan is complete cos I have absolutely no idea what the script means.

    Thanks heaps.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #17
    Why attach megabytes worths of graphic files when the text itself can be copied right out of the terminal window??? :confused: It's so much easier to copy/paste text, and much less wasteful (ironically).

    Pluswhich... now (instead of copy/paste), I need to type out the problem line by hand :
    Code:
    [COLOR="Magenta"]
    17G	/.Spotlight-V100
    [/COLOR]
    I would say 17 gigs is likely way too large for a Spotlight index.

    Theoretically, this command should clear it out:
    Code:
    [COLOR="Blue"]
    sudo mdutil -E /
    [/COLOR]
    And then a new index will be rebuilt (over time), hopefully much smaller (about one gig, or less?).

    If sudo mdutil -E / does not knock out the old index, let us know.

    EDIT:

    I'd also say that 66 gigs for a user folder is pretty hefty, but only you would know if that's too much. Have you got tons of music and video files? Or maybe a virtual disk image for Windows something?

    Or could it be an abandoned FileVault image?

    66 gigs is huge for the /Users folder... but only those particular users themselves would know if that size sounds right or ridiculous.

    As suggested in my previous posts, one could run the same command with any desired target:
    Code:
    [COLOR="Blue"]
    sudo du -hx -d1 /Users
    [/COLOR]
    ... in order to home in on the area(s) where waste resides.



    EDIT#2:

    PS... due to the way those graphic attachments were used (instead of simply copy/pasting text), we never got to see these three folders on your Mac:
    Code:
    3.8G	/Applications
    3.9M	/bin
      0B	/cores
    
    [those are from my machine]
     
  18. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #18
    I have no idea what I need to do next. This is too confusing for me :confused:

    Anw, I just copy paste th terminal script.




    sudo du -hx -d1 /




    Last login: Wed Feb 17 16:54:49 on console
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$ sudo du -hx -d1 /
    1.2M /.fseventsd
    17G /.Spotlight-V100
    0B /.Trashes
    0B /.vol









    4.2G /Applications
    7.5M /bin
    0B /cores
    512B /dev
    1.0K /home

    7.4G /Library
    1.0K /net
    0B /Network
    10G /private
    5.2M /sbin
    4.4G /System
    66G /Users
    1.1G /usr
    12K /Volumes
    111G /
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
     
  19. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #19
    Okay thanks... the /Apps folder seems normal enough.

    If it were my Mac then, i would focus on these folders:
    Code:
     17G	/.Spotlight-V100
     66G	/Users
    
    ...though, i do find it odd that these items also appear to be double their normal size as well:
    Code:
    7.5M	/bin
     10G	/private
    5.2M	/sbin
    1.1G	/usr
    
    So, for the /.Spotlight-V100 folder... run that sudo mdutil -E / command i gave earlier, and let about a half-hour or so go by while a new index gets built.

    In the meantime, ponder whether 66 gigs for a /Users folder sounds reasonable to you. [my questions about music, videos, Windows disk images, and FileVault users weren't for my own amusement. We can go looking for large files in userland... but it's still up to those users to know whether or not reality jibes with expectations. If you have no music, no videos or no Windows disk images, then i'd say 66 gigs sounds like a problem... perhaps.]

    EDIT:

    Please note that both posts 9 and 14 also requested this command:
    Code:
    [COLOR="Blue"]
    df -h
    [/COLOR]
     
  20. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #20
    Thanks ;)

    I am going insane. Just as I about to run the terminal script, my disk space popped to 18.31 GB.

    I calculated my user files and yes, it is 66 GB. So thats not it.

    What I am not sure about is spotlight. I am not too sure which folder this is thus not able to check. Tried to search it, ironically with spotlight, but cant find the folder. Is spotlight the searching program itself? :confused:

    Also, I dont know where to find the folder or app for;

    7.5M /bin
    10G /private
    5.2M /sbin
    1.1G /usr

    Heres th script;


    Last login: Wed Feb 17 16:54:49 on console
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$ sudo du -hx -d1 /
    1.3M /.fseventsd
    8.0K /.Spotlight-V100
    0B /.Trashes
    0B /.vol
    4.2G /Applications
    7.5M /bin
    0B /cores
    512B /dev
    1.0K /home

    7.4G /Library
    1.0K /net
    0B /Network
    10G /private
    5.2M /sbin
    4.4G /System
    65G /Users
    1.1G /usr
    60K /Volumes
    93G /
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$




    And also, the script for df -h



    df -h
    Last login: Wed Feb 17 16:54:49 on console
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$ df -h
    Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/disk0s2 111Gi 93Gi 18Gi 84% /
    devfs 113Ki 113Ki 0Bi 100% /dev
    fdesc 1.0Ki 1.0Ki 0Bi 100% /dev
    map -hosts 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /net
    map auto_home 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /home
    /dev/disk1s0s2 23Mi 23Mi 2.0Ki 100% /Volumes/3MobileBroadband
    /dev/disk2s1 931Gi 157Gi 774Gi 17% /Volumes/INSYIRAH TB
    /dev/disk3s1 298Gi 286Gi 12Gi 97% /Volumes/INSYIRAH
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$
     
  21. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #21
    Great... that simplifies matters.


    No... it's well hidden in Finder (deliberately rendered invisible). There are ways to make it visible... but access will still be limited. We can rely on sudo du to correctly calculate its size.

    Here's mine, for comparison:
    sudo du -hx -d1 /.Spotlight-V100
    Password:
    491M /.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1
    491M /.Spotlight-V100



    Those are also hidden (and contain some areas where access is also limited), but we can use Finder to navigate there via the Go menu --> Go to Folder... feature. For example, if we type ⌘⇧G in Finder and then enter /usr in the text field, we will arrive inside that folder. [all that stuff has been hidden for a simple reason: we almost never need to "go" there.]



    Okay great... the Spotlight index did get zapped. It should grow to a few hundred megs very quickly... maybe around a gigabyte for extremely "interesting" disks. But 17 gigs is just too strange. There was probably a glitch or some corrupted data somewhere.




    Hmm, two /dev items listed? Strange... i've never seen that before (no idea what to make of it). Yes, even at 84% now, your boot volume is a bit full... as is that last INSYIRAH volume (97%).

    idunno, i would say this: remove any files you don't really need... and maybe run DiskWarrior (or at least Apple's Disk Utility) to make sure the disk structures are all in order.
     
  22. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #22
    Sorry about the confusion for this script;

    /dev/disk1s0s2 23Mi 23Mi 2.0Ki 100% /Volumes/3MobileBroadband
    /dev/disk2s1 931Gi 157Gi 774Gi 17% /Volumes/INSYIRAH TB
    /dev/disk3s1 298Gi 286Gi 12Gi 97% /Volumes/INSYIRAH

    Both INSYIRAH and INSYIRAH TB is my back up external hd.

    I ran sudo du -hx -d1 /.Spotlight-V100 again this morning and it came up with the same thing. My disk space has been maintaining 18.2 GB since last night.

    Last login: Wed Feb 17 16:54:49 on console
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$ sudo du -hx -d1 /.Spotlight-V100
    Password:
    8.0K /.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1
    8.0K /.Spotlight-V100
    insyirah-abdullahs-macbook-2:~ Insyirah$


    So what you are trying to say is, there might be a corrupted data that is eating up my spotlight folder and no way of fixing it?

    Should I reformat everything?
     
  23. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #23
    Sorry I'm too late to help you go insane.

    (How'd I miss that title before?) ;)
     
  24. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    #24
    No... i seem to recall saying something about DiskWarrior and linking to an Apple kbdoc on Disk Utility (or fsck), in case DiskWarrior isn't in your tool chest yet.


    No comment (yet).



    Hmm, looks like Spotlight didn't resume its indexing.

    So here then is what i'd suggest...
    1. first, check all disks using one of the tools mentioned above.

    2. once step 1 is complete and that part is all hunky-dory, then resume indexing the boot HD with:

      sudo mdutil -i on /
    At that point, Spotlight will get real busy for about an hour... afterwhich things should settle down.
     
  25. isabellahiri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #25
    Yet another bimbo question;

    I checked my disk utility (Im on a student budget, cant afford diskwarrior) and I think everything is running well. Im not too sure how to check th apple kbdoc thing?
     

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