Mac's hard drive fills up before my eyes - GBs disappear in minutes

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nshady, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. nshady macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #1
    I've had a recurring problem with my MacBook Pro (late 2008 model, 10.8.3). I'll get a 'your hard drive is almost full' message and then, if left unchecked, a 'your hard drive is full' alert. And sure enough, when I open a Finder window I can watch as my space just trickles away to nothing. I used to have 20GB free on my drive - now it hovers at 11 or so and then just disappears.

    Restart restores the space back to 11GB or so but after a few minutes it starts disappearing again. I've run the full gamut of Onyx utilities - SMART is fine, daily/weekly scripts, permissions repair. I've even reinstalled OS X from the recovery partition (it fixed a weird time machine problem that was hanging with huge backups, but not this).

    This is a very frustrating bug and I need some fresh eyes on it. Any ideas what's going on and how to stop it. Feels like a runaway log or cache file but I can't work out what is triggering it. It's like playing Majora's Mask with my laptop - every half an hour I need to save everything and restart or my computer just freezes from lack of memory. Ugh. So please, help?
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
  3. nshady, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013

    nshady thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the fast reply. I have three of those programs already from various attempts to drill down what's filling. Biggest space suck is Users - Music, Pics and the like though there's 15GB of Application Support, predominantly from Opera Mail caches. There's 10GB of Library/Application Support though again that's mostly GarageBand and Logic. There's 7GB in private/var/vm in sleep image.

    Other than that, nothing stands out. I suppose I should restart now and reexamine the disk to see what changes.


    EDIT: and bang, all of sudden, before I could restart, my capacity jumped up from 700MB while typing this message to 9.72GB. Time Machine was running at the time - does that suck space during backups? Spotlight is trying to index as we speak now as well which is weird. Maybe it's indexing the time machine drive?


    EDIT 2: And we're back again. Dropping past 3.3GB free as we speak. Spotlight has finished indexing - perhaps coincidence, perhaps not. Time Machine has resumed with a larger backup, 300MB up from 70MB, but seems innocuous. I ran OmniDiskSweeper again now that we're low again and the sizes are exactly the same. Users, Apps, Library, private, System, usr - all exactly what they were at 10GB free but 7GB has disappeared into the ether.


    EDIT 3: Got down to 500MB, then bounced up to 7GB again. Time Machine has finished cleaning up now too, so might be involved after all. Still trickling away again though even when it's not backing up or even preparing.
     
  4. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #4
    Sounds like Time Machine is saving your back ups locally until they can be written to your Time Capsule. If you search you can find the way to turn off local back ups if you like.
     
  5. nshady thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #5
    Thanks for the thought. The space disappears even when I turn Time Machine off completely though?
     
  6. josh2007 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #6
    Time machine did this to my MBP. There's 162 gigs of duplicate files under "volumes".
     
  7. nshady, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013

    nshady thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #7
    Hi Josh, thanks for chipping in. Could you please elaborate a little more? Going to /Volumes/ reveals my 868GB Time Machine backup and then twelve other locked "Backup of nshady's MacBook Pro" folders. They don't list any sizes though - are you suggesting these are the culprit?

    EDIT: Checked activity monitor and though Spotlight doesn't seem to be indexing (nothing listed beneath the magnifying glass when clicked) it is using 1.23GB of real memory and and 29GB of virtual memory!! Spotlight has gone crazy - must be related, surely? Any idea why, or how to treat it?


    EDIT 2: On reboot, it's at 12.13GB and has ever growing real memory too. I added my whole HD to spotlight privacy to stop it indexing and bang, right back down to 117MB of virtual and 0% CPU. I'll give it a few minutes, maybe a restart, repair permissions, and then will remove it so that it indexes afresh. See if that does anything.

    Oh man, just noticed finder capacity is up at 28GB!! Are you seriously telling me that Spotlight stole 27GB of real disk space for virtual memory!?
     
  8. nshady thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #8
    So, an update.

    I put my whole disk in the Spotlight privacy and regained all my space back up to 27GB. Somewhere else it was advised that I try resetting my ACLs, which I did, but once I reenabled Spotlight indexing on my drive the issue returned and while indexing the space dropped down to 8GB or lower. On reboot, I got back up to 10.5GB though that is now dropping. mds persists at 5-12% CPU and 12.5GB of virtual memory which seems unusual.

    I would prefer not to disable sleepimage because of my aforementioned time machine problems - there were periods where it was trying to copy 7GB backups for no reason and so it would go a good week or more before I could get it to complete a real backup to the Time Capsule. Having a local backup just feels safer.

    Any thoughts on the Spotlight situation?
     

Share This Page