Help: Transferring 450GB into 128GB SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by eidrunner247, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. eidrunner247, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    eidrunner247 macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2006
    Members -

    I'm upgrading my 2008 Macbook to a (2011) Macbook Air with a 128GB Hard Drive.

    I had 450Gb used of my 500Gb HHD. Question is: what the heck do you throw away to get everything to fit?

    I suspect my situation isn't unique, but I can't find an easier solution than "buying an external hard drive" (I do have a 1TB Time Capsule already).

    Here is what I have done:

    1) I have thrown away all my movies and tv shows from iTunes (I can get them from the cloud anyway)

    2) I dumped a bunch of old iMovie projects

    3) Emptied the trash in iPhoto

    4) Emptied trash


    I'm down to 130Gb full right now currently on my Macbook. As for what is taking up the majority of the of the space the culprits are: iPhoto, iTunes

    iPhoto Library is 42GB --- but... I have like 2 minute home videos that take up 500mb a pop! WTF?! How can I pair those down? I don't even know how to find all the videos I have in my library...
    iTunes is 18GB

    Also - what's the best way I should approach this? I can back up and then use time machine to restore into the MBA. Or, should I start fresh with the MBA and just transfer over what I need?

    Looking in my system, I have a bunch of things that just take up space (iOS 9, printer drivers for printers I don't have anymore, ummm... "Library Folder" --> the printer drivers themselves are 1.43Gb. Granted, not a lot with 500GB hard drive, but with 128Gb, it adds up quick.
  2. catalyst07 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2013

    You can buy a 1tb external hard drive for $50 and keep all your stuff...
  3. willgreene99 macrumors regular


    Dec 16, 2010
    If you want to keep as much stuff with you at all times, which I would not recommend, then you will need to upgrade your internal SSD for a larger one.

    I replaced the stock Apple SSD with one from OWC that had 480GB which was enough for my needs. Sounds like that might be a tight for you though unless you trimmed down the files a bit.

    The installation is not too difficult and can be done in less than an hour.

    It also depends if the cost is justified by having the ability to take it all with you.
  4. Ichabod., Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    Ichabod. macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2012
    There's sometimes a lot of hidden stuff that takes up room on a HD, adding it all up.

    I suggesting using a program like Disk Inventory X ( to search through your HD to clear out unnecessary stuff (old games, caches, 10GB of old Google Chrome installs,etc)

    I'm not sure if it can make a huge dent in 450 GB, but every little bit helps.

    I store most of my media on an external drive which also helps a lot.
  5. eidrunner247 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2006
    You've nailed the issue. And thanks for the suggestion. I edited my original post to be hopefully a bit clear. I've gotten rid of 300GB so far. My MacBook only has 130Gb of space used.

    What is the best way to transfer all of my files? I suppose the only things I really care about are iTunes, iPhoto and some miscellaneous software that I can reinstall - like office or iLife.

    I could restore from a back up, but I'm concerned about bringing over all my old archaic files. I almost feel as it's better to start afresh.
  6. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    I would start afresh. Who knows what kind of junk files one can accumulate in 5 years' time. To transfer files over, I'd just invest in an external hard drive, or make one yourself using sata drives and an enclosure with a USB cord. Or access your time capsule as a hard drive and move files onto there and back.
  7. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    You should look at the top of the MBA forums, where there are stickied posts about using servers or storing stuff on line, etc.

    Most people would do fine with some sort of NAS solution. I hear great things about the Synology Disk stations (I have a Buffalo Cloudstor, and would not recommend that...). I have a 1.5 TB network drive (actually, two drives; they are mirrored so I always have a back up) that I dump the large files/old files I don't need anymore, and keep my MBA drive de-gunked. I can access this drive anywhere I have WiFi access (but with my home upload speeds so pitiful, I don't bother with big files).

    I really don't think you need a new drive. Yeah, it is convenient, but a) you don't need it, and b) you would be better off with the Apple drive, not the OWC drive, in my opinion.
  8. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Is it a 13 inch model? If so, grab one of these, and you've doubled your storage space. Problem solved?
  9. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Horrible suggestion!

    I think the $100 128gb sd card is a horrible buy, considering you can get 128gb more SSD space from Apple for $200 (upgrade to 256gb model), which not only blows sd card speed to another dimension, but is twice as fast as the 128gb SSD model.

    And of course it is built-in, which means you don't have to worry about losing it, or it getting damaged.

    Do NOT buy the $100 128gb sd card. I can see it making sense if you're already maxed out at 512Gb and want more flash storage.

    Otherwise, either bump up the SSD, or get an external passport harddrive. for $100 you will get 1.5TB from WD.
  10. eidrunner247 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2006
    I don't know that I would call it a "horrible" suggestion, but I agree that it wouldn't be optimal. I'm trying to avoid putting more money into the MBA. I paid $600 for it a couple days ago which I think was a very good deal.

    Really, for storage issues, most "problems" can be fixed by throwing more money at it (an upgrade here and there).

    I don't think there is a magic bullet for my situation. I agree with an earlier poster just to start afresh and drag what I need over.

    This is what I have done - and I've managed to still maintain about 50 gigs free. It's quite refreshing having managed to delete a bunch of old data/files. And going to an SSD. Whoa. It's great. Apps open and close on the fly. I was waiting for this. It's as good as everyone says it is.
  11. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    yea you're completely right. Horrible isn't the right word to use. It's not optimum indeed.

    I like to exaggerate a little bit to scare people from making bad choices :p

    I would still recommend you drop $50 on a 500gb storage. But if you don't even want to add that $50 just yet, I'd recommend getting on dropbox.

    You can basically get 50gb free space if your follow a few simple steps that they will list out for you. That should help you out.
  12. 1BadMac macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2010
    You can check out an app called JpegMini. It reduces the size of .jpg's using a special algorithm that is unnoticeable. I've used it for a while and it works as advertised. Had a 20GB iPhoto / Aperture database that is down to 6.8GB. Photos as all resolutions look just like the original and print just as well.

    Now, for your videos, you might consider re-encoding them to something smaller / lesser quality, depending on what they are. I noticed at one point I had captured some video on my iPhone 5 and it was in 1080P FullHD. For what I was doing, that was overkill. I used Kigo Video Converter and knocked it down to something more reasonable and it reduced the size by like 80%. YMMV - depending on the video and what quality you are looking to live with.

    That said, all of the recommendations for an external drive or NAS would be the way to go. With an AIR, you almost always need something like this if you have large amounts of data. I actually keep my iTunes media folder on my NAS as well. When I travel, I copy over the media folder to the Air.


    You might also consider disabling hibernate mode. Depending on the model of air, you are likely using 4 - 8gb for that:

    Set sleep mode in shell:
    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

    Remove the image:
    sudo rm /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Create a blanked file:
    sudo touch /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Make file immutable:
    sudo chflags uchg /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Additionally, running a program like Monolingual and / or Xslimmer will address removing additional / older PowerPc remnants.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Personally, if I were trying to fit 450GB of data into a 128GB SSD, I'd look to an external drive instead of deleting data. I think that may come back to haunt you down the road.

    Secondly, is choosing the right computer if you have so much data, perhaps a MBA with 128GB drive wasn't the best fitting computer. That's water over the bridge now, but consider it for the future.

    Also consider a NAS instead of an external drive.
  14. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    To find the videos in iPhoto, make a smart playlist which is set up as "Photo" "Is" "Movie". That will show all the videos you have.

    To make them smaller, open them in Quicktime and Export to 720p, 480p, or even smaller.

    Don't forget that if you deleted items in iPhoto they are still in your library until you empty iPhoto's trash.

    If you are keeping your MacBook don't worry about moving everything over, just start fresh and copy things when you need them. You have your TC backup when you need things, but external drives are cheap, I would buy one and use CarbonCopyCloner to make a bootable backup of your drive. If your TC goes down, you'll be glad you did.
  15. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    my thoughts as well.. lots of wonderful suggestions from people in here giving you ideas on how to trim down that are probably good practice for us all, but i imagine quite a bit of that data is stuff you would otherwise keep if you didn't "have" to get rid of it.

    i know you've edited to say you've cropped a lot of it down, but i want to throw my hat in with the external HD people. it really is a great choice these days and very affordable.

    i recently bought a 2 TB My Passport on Amazon for $116. it really is only about the size of a passport and as thick as a pack of cigarettes. it is fast and near silent and would work great for you. obviously a 1 tb drive would be a good deal cheaper and would work for your stated needs as well

    good luck!
  16. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009

    PLEEEEZ help a buddy out and point out the link to the $116 2TB!

    After realising that MAC cannot write to NTFS, I'm looking for a new passport drive. HELP MEH! :D
  17. beautifulcoder macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    The Republic of Texas
    I have ran into problems with my digital media getting getting to an unmaintainable state which sounds is right where you are. I would resize photos, shrink videos, encode music to a reasonable bitrate, ect., do this and you will find a radical shift in the way to look at hundreds of gigabytes.

    Just a word of warning, iPhoto keeps its own copy of all your photos in a proprietary database somewhere. So if you have 20GB of photos, iPhoto says it is now 40GB and some.
  18. eidrunner247 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2006
    I do carry files on dropbox - and that's been quite beneficial to me. I've kept it for the smaller files. I also use Google Drive. Again, most of this has been for school or work documents, so in all it's less than 2Gb, but it's probably my most important folder.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'm checking it out now. Also, you're right about reencoding the video. It's shocking how much memory a 2 or 3 minute clip can take. iPhoto doesn't say anything me though. Just adds the video and keeps mum on the actual size until I examine my library years later and bring this thread :p

    Great suggestion!

    Thank you for this! *Big* Help!!! I had no idea this was possible. Makes finding all my videos so much easier.

    You are quite right and the external backups are a great suggestion. (aside: I only started backing up files in 2008 when I inadvertently ran over my Powerbook... thankfully only the screen was damaged and I saved all my data. After that, I got the time capsule. Should that go down... another backup is a good idea.)

    In some ways this purging process has been good. I have learned out to parse down files, delete old data, and rely more on the Cloud (87Gb came from Movies in iTunes which I can download whenever or just stream them straight from the AppleTV).

    On the other hand, I have still managed to maintain all of my files. Before I wiped everything, I backed it all up with Time Machine to my Time Capsule. I figure it'll last me quite a while before (if ever) it gets overwritten. Should that ever happen, I suspect I'll be content with that. It'll force me to move forward if anything.

    Still, I have now transferred nearly everything. I installed Mountain Lion on the MBA and used Home Sharing to bring over my iTunes. Some of the apps I've just redownloaded from the internet or the app store. And before I bring over my iPhoto library, I'm going to work on reducing it's size - at least for the videos.

    I suspect other people encounter the same issues I do do - especially considering the size of most hard drives and people coming to an SSD. It's an adjustment.

    I'm floored by the helpfulness of this forum and the many posters on this thread. Many of these comments have helped immensely.
  19. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    looks like the price went up a bit but here you go

    still a great deal at 118 shipped if you ask me!

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