Macbook storage mystery

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by danmacproblem, May 23, 2015.

  1. danmacproblem macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2015

    I have fairly new macbook with OS X 10.9.5 and 120.47 Gb of storage.

    Ever since I've had it I've been struggling to explain what's been accounting for at least 20 Gb of the storage.

    In the "about this mac->more info->storage" section I see the following breakdown...

    7.63 Gb - Audio
    12.73 Gb - Movies
    3.46 Gb - Photos
    12.18 Gb - Apps
    0 Gb - Backups
    82.4 Gb - Other

    (118.4 Gb - leaving me with a couple of Gb free at the moment).

    I then contrast that with the size of the folders in "Macintosh HD"...

    31.35 Gb - Users
    27.41 Gb - Applications
    12.4 Gb - Library
    5.87 Gb - System

    (total of 77.03 Gb)

    I have a couple of questions that I can't answer that I'm really hoping someone can help me with...

    1) where is the missing 40 Gb in terms of what I can see associated to my one (and only) hard drive? Surely the OS isn't 40 Gb?

    2) when I look inside the 31.35 Gb Users folder - it contains 1 user, that contains a Documents folder which is 13.43 Gb (correctly), and then just a bunch of folders a few Megabytes big (e.g. Pictures, Desktop, Downloads etc). So there's almost 20 Gb missing from the Users folder alone.

    I've tried using various storage analyser software but they haven't helped identify the cause of these 2 discrepancies.

    Any ideas at all would be hugely appreciated because I'm continuously running out of space at the moment. Thanks,

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    What happens is that storage screen gets its info from the Spotlight index, and when that index is corrupt the readings are all off.

    Run the command below in Terminal and wait half an hour or so for the Spotlight to reindex and you should see more accurate readings in the that storage screen.

    sudo mdutil -E /
  3. danmacproblem thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2015
    Wow thanks so much - that just freed up 30 Gbs!!!

    I ran the command which returned "Indexing enabled.", waited 30 mins and restarted my machine.

    The only strange behaviour that remains is the disconnect on the Users folder (i.e. it's 31.57 Gb but the only folder of significant size inside it is documents which is 13.43 Gb)

    Any further ideas on that one would be appreciated, but you've already saved the day so thanks again!!
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Run this command in Terminal and it will list all folders in your user folder with GB used to the left. That should help you pin in down.

    You can run it again with ~/Documents for example to drill down on that folder.

    Or you can use something like OmniDiskSweeper to give you a GUI to the same thing.

    sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/
  5. danmacproblem thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2015
    Thanks again, that did the trick - there's a Library folder within the User folder that is hidden by default from the UI - I've unhidden that now and am trawling through it to see how much of the 17Gb I can delete!

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