Hundreds of thousands of mystery files and directories

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by stever1888, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. stever1888 Guest

    MacBook (late 2008, unibody) running Lion. Typically used for email, web browsing, managing iTunes library, and managing iPhone and iPad. In the grand scheme of things, it is lightly used. Using 146GB of a 250GB drive, including 8,200 songs. I'm pretty sure I have not done anything to put a virus, etc. on the computer.

    When I run Disk Utility (and SuperDuper), it reports that my hard drive has 590,000 files and 149,000 directories. This boggles my mind. No way this was user generated. I've tried cleaning out the Safari cache without any substantial impact. CCleaner is similarly unhelpful -- it would only get rid of about 5,000 files. I've also noticed that the number of files steadily increases; it was probably around 400,000 a couple months ago.

    My System directory reports 96k files. 46k files in Users. 29k in Library. The hidden usr folder has 29k files.

    I've looked around and simply cannot find where all these files and folders are on the disk. Utilities like Daisy Disk have not been helpful, because they report by space, not by number of files. As best I can tell, all these thousands and thousands of files are very small.

    So, two questions:

    1. Does this ring a bell with anyone and, if so, any ideas as to the cause and solution?

    2. Does anyone know of a good file explorer utility that will help in figuring out where files/folders are by number, as opposed to by size?

    Thanks for your help!

    - Steve
  2. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    You're running Time Machine on the system as well? If so with Lion it keeps local backups of Time Machine by default and you may be seeing those files?
  3. stever1888 thread starter Guest

    Yes, running Time Machine -- and connected to a Time Capsule.
  4. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    ITunes puts lots of things in folders. The OS itself also has tons of directories for everything.
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 10 years ago. You cannot infect your Mac simply by visiting a website, unzipping a file, opening an email attachment or joining a network. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which cannot infect your Mac unless you actively install them, and they can be easily avoided with some basic education, common sense and care in what software you install. Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
    Your OS and applications are responsible for thousands of files, many of them very small. You'll likely never look at most of them, but they're needed.
    You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Some remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. Some of these apps delete caches, which can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

    There's nothing you need to do, as it's quite normal for you to have that many files.
  6. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Yes but i dont think it has half a MILLION directories :D

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