Mac Says Hard Drive is Nearly Full...But It's Not.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Strongbow, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Strongbow macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
    The Symptoms: Recent marked slowdown in startup and general performance in the last two to three weeks--with no abnormal use or abuse or upgrades on my end...

    The Patient: MacBook Pro, 2.16GHz with 2GB 533 DDR2 SDRAM, recently upgraded to Leopard (currently working with 10.5.5) when it released--and it all ran very well with no noticeable slowdowns upon upgrading.

    Attempts to Fix: Repaired permissions, deleted junk files (pics, music, meh); then erased free space, at which point I'm warned that "YOUR HARD DRIVE IS NEARLY FULL...blah blah blah"

    Point: I'm showing 52.98GB free in a 92.84GB hard drive. Full? Not nearly.

    Point II: Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I'm completely open to upgrading components if this is simply a hardware issue, but what gets me is that Leopard was working great: smoothly, nice startup time, etc.--then lately I get this feeling of resistance (and the frequent appearance of the little swirly "I'm busy" anti-hourglass) very often.

    Point III: I *DID* recently get rid of a Windows partition via Boot Camp, but I'm not showing that partition in existence anymore. Could OSX think it's still there somehow?

    I'm hoping that this is a SOFTWARE / User Error issue that I can solve at home--maybe I'm bogged down somewhere in OSX because I need to clean something out?



    P.S.: I'm a former PC guy, so be gentle. *snort* ;-)
  2. trule macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
  3. Strongbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
  4. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    If you only got the "nearly full" message when you erased free space, don't sweat it. The process of erasing free space involves filling up all unused space with a huge file containing zeros, and then removing that file when the drive is full.

    In other words, erasing free space will cause the drive to go from normal usage to full and then automatically back to normal usage.
  5. Strongbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
    Makes sense!

    Any clues as to the sluggish performance of my MBP?
  6. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    Regarding the slowdowns, what does Activity Monitor say?

    Is the CPU usage high?
    Under System Memory, is the "Page outs" large or insignificant compared to "Page ins"?
    Is the "Data read/sec" or "Data written/sec" under Disc Activity of note?

    Have you verified the disk in Disk Utility (in addition to the permissions)?
  7. Strongbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
    Nope, it stays at 80-95% idle when at nothing going on in the background (at least not chronically, anyhow)...

    I'm at 248.37MB in / 96KB (yes, kb) out. Bad thing?

    I don't it is: Data read: 2.50GB / Data Written: 56.46GB

    Yep, verification passed.

    Now what does that all mean to you? ;) (And a big thanks for the replies, by the way!)

  8. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    All good there...

    Good thing. If that's the case when the computer has been in normal use for a while without being rebooted, you have enough RAM for what you do.

    I take it you haven't restarted since you erased free space?

    Below "Data Read" and "Data Written", you should have green and red numbers constantly updating. If you are not doing anything that should be generating disk activity, they should be low on average. Not necessarily zero, but low (with short higher peaks from time to time).

    This is probably not relevant, if you erased free space and used the computer for a while, it sounds reasonable with 2.5/56.46. It is hard to judge absolute numbers since it depends on how the computer is used, but if my computer starts feeling sluggish I immediately check CPU usage, page outs and the red/green current disk activity.

    First of all, you're welcome. Second, unfortunately(?) your computer sounds good to me... ;)

    There are some threads floating around now and then with step by step instructions for speeding and/or cleaning up OS X. Some of the steps are reasonable, some pure superstition and voodoo. I don't recall any specific thread at the moment though. I know OnyX is regularly mentioned, as well as the process of removing/rebuilding caches. I've never bothered since my Leopard is running just fine.

    Good luck!
  9. Strongbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
    Thank you--good to know that my Mac looks healthy.

    I just recently began using it again on a regular basis, as my monster death-machine gaming PC blew a mobo, so I'm probably just oversensitive to the performance slowdown from the monster to my MacBook Pro.

    Thanks again!

  10. gblunt99 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    Emergency Hard Drive Problem!

    After removing a bunch of financial data, I tried to zero out the free space on my internal hard drive--I used the 7-pass version. But it took much longer than the estimates on the progress bar kept saying, and eventually I had to quit Disk Utility before it finished. Now I have a serious problem: I keep getting the message Disk Is Full, and programs are not functioning properly. But there are 60 GB available!

    From what I've read, I made a fatal error by interrupting the zero-out process (the progress bar showed about 1/5 of its length still to go). I've tried rebooting. And verified permissions. I'm thinking best procedure may be to do it over again (the single pass version) and let it finish. Please let me know what to do--this drive is only a year old and it's 100GB. I do have almost everything backed up on an external but I don't want to dupe it to my internal if it isn't necessary. Thanks for any advice.
  11. OneBlueFire macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Manila, Philippines
    Boot from your Leopard Install Disc. Run Disk Utility from there. Repair the Disk. Your HFS table might be corrupted if it can't detect the free space. That usually happens after removing a Windows partition.

    Let me know what happens after.

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