Hard disk space & dropbox

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
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France
I bought this iMac a year ago (first time with mac other than iphone/ipad etc) so that I could have a simpler access to my 25000 photos and 35-40 hours of home video. I recently upgraded my dropbox storage to 1tb to lighten the load on the mac but now it's saying it can't sync to dropbox because the mac is too full...

Does anyone have any solutions other than getting a bigger mac...
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
A bit more info:
The mac has 999GB used space out of 1tb and 742GB of the used space is classed as 'Other'.

I checked my Dropbox, which should have pretty much everything the mac has but it's showing only 178GB used out of the 1.1 tb available.

I discovered that he 'other' folder contains text files but I find it hard to understand that the text files I have use that much space, the majority of my files are on dropbox.

Why does dropbox want to sync to mac when the original idea was the other way around - I save files I want straight to dropbox???

I hate not understanding how it works... if anyone can enlighten me I'd be eternally grateful.
 

rkaufmann87

macrumors 68000
Dec 17, 2009
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Folsom, CA
I bought this iMac a year ago (first time with mac other than iphone/ipad etc) so that I could have a simpler access to my 25000 photos and 35-40 hours of home video. I recently upgraded my dropbox storage to 1tb to lighten the load on the mac but now it's saying it can't sync to dropbox because the mac is too full...

Does anyone have any solutions other than getting a bigger mac...

Why not simply get an external HD and move your photo library to that. Many photography buffs and professionals do that. What tends to take up the most space for most users is media such as music, movies and photos. Moving those large libraries to EHDs lightens the load on the internal HD and should not reduce performance.
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
Thanks for your suggestion, but I have noticed the 'other' folder is huge and am hoping to find a way to reduce that one. I have a back up disk connected already and want my photos folder on dropbox.
Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 16.58.59.png

see what I mean?

I will definitely consider doing that though.
Maybe the 99€ dropbox upgrade wasn't the thing to do...
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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Two issues I see...

First is Dropbox is by default a sync service, so it won't save you drive space. Anything you put in the local Dropbox folder gets synced to Dropbox servers, but it is still on your drive using space. What you could do is say put your photos in the DB Photos folder then after they have synced go to the DB settings an use secretive sync to turn off sync for that folder only. Then you could delete the images form the Photos folder and they would still be on the Dropbox servers.

With that said, I would never do this because it leaves you only copy of the photos with Dropbox and no backup. I guess if you first backed them up to an external drive then set this up, that would be okay.

The second issue is you can just ignore that Other readout. It is completely screwed up on Yosemite. You can run the command below to reindex Spotlight and it will correct that readout, but you can expect it to get corrupted again.

Code:
sudo mdutil -E /
Aside from the Other issue, do you have so much data in there that the 1TB disk would be almost full?
 

Sarah L

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Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
Thanks for clearing the dropbox thing up, Weaselboy - I should have realised that a 'sync' service won't save on hard drive space - doh!

I can't see what the heck could be in the 'other' section?? I haven't done much with pages/numbers etc - the bulk of that kind of stuff is in dropbox (which is far from full). Unless the 'contacts' & 'calendars' take an unreasonable amount of space I can't imagine what can be eating over 700GB...

When you say to 'run the command' that you give to correct the 'other' readout - does that mean the readout is wrong and the disk is not really full, just thinks it is?

Also, umm, at risk of sounding silly - how do I 'run the command'??
 
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Weaselboy

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Thanks for clearing the dropbox thing up, Weaselboy - I should have realised that a 'sync' service won't save on hard drive space - doh!

I can't see what the heck could be in the 'other' section?? I haven't done much with pages/numbers etc - the bulk of that kind of stuff is in dropbox (which is far from full). Unless the 'contacts' & 'calendars' take an unreasonable amount of space I can't imagine what can be eating over 700GB...

When you say to 'run the command' that you give to correct the 'other' readout - does that mean the readout is wrong and the disk is not really full, just thinks it is?

Also, umm, at risk of sounding silly - how do I 'run the command'??
I am sorry I was not more clear (I get in a hurry typing sometimes :(). Go the the /Applications/Utilities folder and launch Terminal. Then paste in that command and enter. That will reindex Spotlight and make that storage space readout correct. It takes a few minutes to complete the reindex.

Once that is done the Other section should be correct. Other is everything that is not listed in one of the other categories there.

Even with the index messed up, the total would still be correct, so you have something else going on.

Do you think you have enough personal data in there to fill the drive?

You can run this Terminal command to show each base folder and space used by each. Try that and post the results up here so we can have a look.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /
 

Weaselboy

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Yes... that's fine. Something in your Users folder is taking a lot of space (893GB). Change the command to the one below to drill down and see what is in the users folder taking space.

You can alter the command if you need to to look further by changing the end part to ~/Documents for example to see the documents folder.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
It occurred to me today that it might be mailboxes?
I had always looked at email from my browser (and not gone though outlook etc etc) before I got a mac. Does mac keep mail available offline? If so, my problem is there, I haven't deleted any mail since 2005!!
If that is the problem, is there any way to tell the mac not to keep it for offline reading?

I will try your new code. Thanks Weaselboy.
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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It occurred to me today that it might be mailboxes?
I had always looked at email from my browser (and not gone though outlook etc etc) before I got a mac. Does mac keep mail available offline? If so, my problem is there, I haven't deleted any mail since 2005!!
If that is the problem, is there any way to tell the mac not to keep it for offline reading?

I will try your new code. Thanks Weaselboy.
What app are you using to read mail? Are you using the OS X Mail app? If you are, depending on the type of mail service you use (like IMAP or Gmail), yes it would mirror all the mail locally.

This command would tell you how much space the OS X Mail app is using.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/Library/Mail
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
I use the OS X mail app, yes.
This is what the readout says:
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 22.42.52.png

18 doesn't seem like too big a number ?...

The other code you gave me gave this:
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 22.54.43.png

So it looks like movies are using a lot of space - would that be the ones I've created through editing then? If I save those onto a separate hard drive it may solve my problem?

I can't tell you how great it is to have someone help me understand this, Weaselboy. Thank you so much for your time.
 

Weaselboy

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So it looks like movies are using a lot of space - would that be the ones I've created through editing then? If I save those onto a separate hard drive it may solve my problem?

I can't tell you how great it is to have someone help me understand this, Weaselboy. Thank you so much for your time.
Okay... so its not Mail. Yeah looks like Movies is killing you there. Yes, you could just move those to an external drive to solve the problem.

Just be sure you are also backing up the external drive somewhere since this would be your only copy of the movies files now.

Glad to help.
 

RAWandVITAL

macrumors member
May 8, 2013
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15
Just a few suggestions.... I also have a crapload of photographs. I recently signed up for Google Photos which has an infinite/endless amount of server space for your photographs. Why not sync all of your photos on google photos so you have access to them on your iMac/iPhone or whatever other device that you have. You can easily download the Google Photos app on your phone and also download the desktop version on your iMac... That would take care of your storage space.

As for the videos, do you need them available on every device while you're out and about or is it a matter of just backing them up to have them? If so I would get an external harddrive like others have mentioned in the thread. You can get cheap 2 or 3TB harddrives for under 100 bucks.

Here's one I found on a deal site.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236630
Just add PQS160996 during checkout to bring the price down to 89 bucks.

That should take care of your video storage. Once you transfer all of your videos to the external and sync and store all of your photographs to Google Photos then you can delete them from your iMac and free up some storage.

Hope that helps you on your quest. Goodluck!
 

Dirtyharry50

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May 17, 2012
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Considering photos tend to be precious and irreplaceable if lost you really need redundant backup of them to be safe. Ideally, this means at least backed up with Time Machine to an external drive locally and again to the cloud in one way or another. However, as you have just found out most of the cloud storage services just sync to local storage and do not offer a way to move the stuff off your startup drive completely. Of course, while highly recommended in general a Time Machine backup doesn't help here when what you want is to offload the stuff from the startup drive.

I would be wary of trusting any cloud solution with data I value that highly. Nothing is perfect and if they ever screw up somehow it could be really painful. So it is a lot better to have both cloud and an external drive backup to insure against loss.

I forget now but I think I bookmarked this site to check out later because they allow you to just upload stuff rather than sync it. They let you selectively do that also and other stuff but the key thing is they do allow just uploading I believe. Anyway, here's the site if you want to investigate further which I've not had time for yet:

https://www.opendrive.com/opendrive-for-mac

It's free to try it out and see how it works.

Personally, I'd like to setup something myself for certain data where I keep a backup on an external drive but also in the cloud somewhere like open drive that doesn't require it to be synced and using space on my startup drive. I still keep another external drive hooked up just for Time Machine for everything on the startup drive but for excess stuff I value but don't want on it all the time, that's the solution I hope to setup also. This would probably be ideal for you as well by the sounds of things.

Currently I do have a bunch of stuff offloaded to an external drive but I don't feel comfortable at all with it not being backed up somewhere else too and offsite via the cloud is ideal for this. After all, if somebody waltzes in here and walks off with my iMac, they will probably grab the connected devices too including the backup drives. So much for my backups, photos, rare music, etc. I have some key stuff in iCloud now but not all of it and that is nowhere near good enough considering I value this stuff. I need to get on the stick and take care of this myself.
 
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Sarah L

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Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
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France
My WD My Book Duo (2 x 2To) arrived yesterday. I had to reformat to OS X (googled how to) but it's up and running now. Set to RAID 1 , which, if I've understood correctly, means that all data will be saved simultaneously on both drives.

I unplugged my time machine backup drive and put it in a drawer elsewhere for safe-keeping, so have a copy of everything should things go wrong!

I googled how to move my iMovie library to the external drive. The Apple site said to drag & drop from the finder window but this seems to have only copied the file, not moved it to free up space on the internal drive.
I'm guessing I now have to delete the original file stored on the mac if someone could confirm that for me?
 

ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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Just a few suggestions.... I also have a crapload of photographs. I recently signed up for Google Photos which has an infinite/endless amount of server space for your photographs. Why not sync all of your photos on google photos so you have access to them on your iMac/iPhone or whatever other device that you have. You can easily download the Google Photos app on your phone and also download the desktop version on your iMac... That would take care of your storage space.
Or use iCloud Photos because it's better integrated into your Mac and iPhone. If you choose "Optimize Mac storage" in Preferences, it will upload all your photos to the cloud and keep small preview versions on your local machine. It balances what it keeps on your hard drive based on how much space is available.

On my Mac Mini, which has a big hard drive attached, I have it set to keep all photos on my Mac, so everything is always right there -- but on my much smaller Macbook Air and on my iPhone, I have it set as above, to just download things as I click on them. The net effect is that even on my phone, I can go back through my 14,000-odd photos and see any one I like, but I'm also not storing 14,000-odd photos on my Mac.
 
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ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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The second issue is you can just ignore that Other readout. It is completely screwed up on Yosemite. You can run the command below to reindex Spotlight and it will correct that readout, but you can expect it to get corrupted again.

Code:
sudo mdutil -E /
Weaselboy, why would you, as an experienced Mac user, direct someone with no knowledge of Terminal to start typing in commands without knowing what they do? There are probably dozens of user-friendly utilities out there, free and paid, which would show Sarah visually what is using the most space on her drive. This is pretty irresponsible, IMO.
 
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ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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I bought this iMac a year ago (first time with mac other than iphone/ipad etc) so that I could have a simpler access to my 25000 photos and 35-40 hours of home video. I recently upgraded my dropbox storage to 1tb to lighten the load on the mac but now it's saying it can't sync to dropbox because the mac is too full...

Does anyone have any solutions other than getting a bigger mac...
For evaluating what's taking up the most space on your drive I would recommend skipping the Terminal and using a more intuititve and safe interface. I've heard good things about Daisy Disk, and OmniDiskSweeper is out there and free (and I'm sure there are lots of others out there as well). Mucking about in Terminal, if you're not careful, can do serious damage to your computer's hard drive.
 

Weaselboy

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Weaselboy, why would you, as an experienced Mac user, direct someone with no knowledge of Terminal to start typing in commands without knowing what they do? There are probably dozens of user-friendly utilities out there, free and paid, which would show Sarah visually what is using the most space on her drive. This is pretty irresponsible, IMO.
I have no idea what you are on about and you can just save your condescending lecture for someone else. I explained what each command does and we got the OP fixed up just fine.

I prefer using the Terminal commands because they show ALL hidden and system files unlike those GUI utilities you mentioned. For example, sometimes Time Machine's local snapshots gets messed up and files get stuck in the hidden folder /.MobileBackups.trash. OmniDiskSweeper does not show that folder and won't help solve the problem.

There is a way to run OmniDiskSweeper as sudo to see those folders (command below), but then you are back in Terminal anyway... so I just find it easier for users to copy paste the commands and results back and forth here on the forums.

Code:
sudo /Applications/OmniDiskSweeper.app/Contents/MacOS/OmniDiskSweeper
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
Thanks, I've now deleted the iMovies library folder that was on the internal drive and also emptied the trash having checked that I can open the folder that's stored on the external drive.
This is what the drive space looks like now, the 'other' folder is still pretty hefty and I need to look at the 'photos' folder again to make sure it's on the external drive (doesn't look like it is though I was pretty sure I'd moved it, it took an hour):
Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 22.07.05.png
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
I just looked at the photo library in finder to see if there were two copies and I could delete the one on the mac (to keep it just on the external drive but it now looks like this:


Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 22.29.05.png


There are now two folders but I'm not sure I should delete the 'migrated' one?
What are your thoughts?

(the 'migrated' file screenshot is below)
 

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Weaselboy

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I just looked at the photo library in finder to see if there were two copies and I could delete the one on the mac (to keep it just on the external drive but it now looks like this:


View attachment 589619

There are now two folders but I'm not sure I should delete the 'migrated' one?
What are your thoughts?

(the 'migrated' file screenshot is below)
It looks like you converted your iPhoto library to a Photos library. As long as you have checked and all the photos made the trip over to the new library, then yes it is safe to delete the old iPhoto library.

That said, the iPhoto library is not really using any space like it appears to be. OS X is using "hard links" in both the Photos and iPhoto library to point to the same photo images on the disk without duplicating them. There is an article here that explains how it works.

I would not rely on that Storage graphic too much for what types of data you have. It just not seem to work very well. For example I have an 8GB Photos library and right now that Storage readout shows I have 1.2GB of photos.
 

Sarah L

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2014
38
2
France
Hi again,
Thanks Weaselboy, it all seems to be working fine - I think the 'migrated' library was created when iPhoto moved over to Photos - everything seems to be saving to the right place anyway.

Now that I have my photos library and my imovie library in the (mirrored) external drive (2x2tb WD MyBook Duo) I was wondering if I can also use the same drive as time machine for all the other bits & bobs I have on the mac?

Do I need to 'partition' the external drive? or can I just set it to be time machine and trust it not to overwrite my photos & movies when it gets full?

(I intend putting my itunes library on there too)
 
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