Keep getting "Your startup disk is full"

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hajime, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. hajime, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013

    hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007

    My MBP 2010 has both Mac and Windows partitions. Recently, I tried to use winclone to backup the Windows partition. It failed a few times due to a lack of disk space. I had not used my computer for a week.

    When I tried to use it again, I have a problem. Whenever I reboot my MBP 2010, I get: "Your startup disk is full: You need to make more space available on your startup disk by deleting files". After logging in, only the wallpaper and the arrow cursor icon are shown. Even I have waited for about 20 minutes, the system does not show up. I have rebooted the machine several times. Same problem.

    Sometimes when the login screen showed up, it took about 5-15 seconds for the computer to accept each input character. In other words, hit one key, fireball spinned for about 5-15 seconds, then the computer was ready to accept another key. Then, fireball spinned again for about 5-15 seconds, etc.

    Could you please let me know what to do? Thanks.
  2. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    I tried to delete some files in Mac OS by booting into Windows. Even I tried to delete a file of size 92MB, it says the file is too large, target file cannot be put in the system.

    From Windows, my Mac partition has 135MB/296MB. Don't know why even a small pdf file in Mac OS cannot be deleted from Windows OS.
  3. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    You deleted Mac files while Windows was booted? If so, which file(s) did you delete?

    Are you comfortable using the command line? If so, you can boot your recovery partition (hold the Option key down during boot, select recovery partition & hit the return key), and select Terminal from the Utilities menu.

    My mac disk is named "OSX", so I would "cd /Volumes/OSX/Users/MyUserName" and that would put me into my home directory. Once there I'd do a "du -sk * |sort -rn > DU" and that will create a text file which contains a sorted list (from largest to smallest) of what's currently in my home directory. That would at least provide a place to start with regard to selecting files to delete.

    To view the list, type "more DU".

    $0.02 worth.


    And scratch that suggestion. I just tried it and the "du" executable isn't readily available when the recovery partition is booted.

    Best of luck.
  4. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    No. I haven't deleted any Mac file. I was trying to do it but Windows didn't allow me to. Let's forget about the Windows things for the time being and see what we can do to get back to Mac OS. So far, only the wallpaper and cursor show up. Nothing else. I have rebooted it several times.
  5. Thraun macrumors regular


    Dec 18, 2008
    Abbotsford, BC
    Do you have access to another Mac and Firewire cable? I've found the easiest way is to boot up the full Mac in target disk mode then access the hard drive from the other Mac and delete files from there.
  6. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007

    I don't but if that is the only way, I will try to find another Mac. Is this the only and best way? Is Firewire cable necessary?
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Connect to the PC using target disk mode.

    Try going to

    .... and moving the file "" to the trash. If you can't move it to the trash, just move it somewhere OUT OF the preferences folder.

    Then, reboot the Mac.
    Does that help?
  8. hajime, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007

    Thanks. What is for? Anybody?
  9. FWW macrumors regular


    Mar 29, 2010
    Anchorage, AK
    Having this same issue, once some files can be identified, could you provide the command to delete them?

  10. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    To connect two MacBook Pro via Firewire. What kind of Firewire cable do I need?
  11. Elbert C macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2008
    AK, USA
    Your MBP only has one firewire port, an 800.
  12. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    In the case of USB, the ends are different. I am concerned that a cable to connect a MBP to a firewire device (e.g. hard drive, camcorder) may not work to connect two MBP together.

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