Missing "Available Space" after "Erasing Free Space"

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jenc, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. jenc, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

    jenc macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I was trying to free up hard drive space on my

    Mac 10.5.8 2.2 GHx Intel Core 2 Duo

    I was using "erase free disk space" in the disk utility. I had 30.5 GB of "available space" and no have approx. 6 GB?

    What went wrong? :eek:
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
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  3. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Well, erasing free space should not give you that result, but it also won't increase the available space. It's "free space", which means it's available. Have you done a Restart?
  4. Meyvn macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    'Erase free space' does not actually free up space for you to use, strictly speaking.

    The reason it exists is this:

    When you store a file on your hard drive, it will appear in your folders so you can access it. It has both a physical space where it actually is on the magnetic tape of the drive (or the SSD, as the case may be), and a place in your filesystem, where you can access it.

    When you delete a file, and empty your trash, you are removing it from your filesystem, and increasing the amount of space you can use for other things, but until you replace it with something else down the line, that file you deleted still physically exists on the actual drive itself, even though you can't see it.

    "Erase free space" removes files that are already gone from the physical drive it occupies, permanently. The reason this feature exists, confusing as it is, is primarily to prevent others from accessing your files through data recovery if you're really paranoid. It can also improve the performance of your drive if it's getting bogged down (which shouldn't happen, because OS X is generally pretty good about file management).

    But it won't create any additional usable space you don't already have.

    I know it's confusing, but yeah. That's the situation.

    Still, though, as has been said, it shouldn't have REDUCED the amount of available drive space by any stretch. If you're looking to free up hard drive space, I'd recommend hitting 'get info' on folders where you think large files might be lurking that you don't need anymore. There are also programs out there that can locate the largest files for you, so you can examine them to see if you'd like to get rid of them to free things up. Be careful, though, not to get rid of anything you actually need. Your optimal solution may simply be a larger hard drive.
  5. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    What went wrong is that the process probably got canceled before it was complete.

    The way "Erase free space" works is that a very large file is created that fills the entire drive, and then it is removed. If the process is aborted, that large file can potentially be left undeleted. If that is the case, you should be able to easily find the file with GrandPerspective for example.

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