My HD space fluctuates between 5gb available to 0.1gb available and i don't know why

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Barncore, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Barncore, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018

    Barncore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #1
    I'm running El Capitan 10.11.6 on an iMac 27-inch mid-2011.

    I have an 80gb partition on my mac that i use regularly (my other 920gb partition is 10.6.8 for music production, rarely use) and the HD space has been fluctuating which worries me.

    The other night I had 5gb available. Then out of nowhere my hard drive space started vanishing. I could literally see it going down before my eyes. Eventually it landed at only 13mb available and froze. I lost all my Google Chrome tabs and rebooted. When i rebooted i was back to 5gb. Then last night it happened again (down to 13mb avail) while using Photoshop. I figured it was because of Photoshop and then closed it and restarted. This time when i rebooted, my HD space only went back up to 1.6gb. I reboot again and then it's at only 1gb avail. I call it a night and then turn the computer on this morning and now it's only 0.87gb. What's going on? This never used to happen. Where did my HD space go?

    For what it's worth, i'm currently signed out of iCloud. I'm not sure if i was connected to it at any point but i'm not sure how to check. I also have Time Machine disabled.

    My goal here is to find the cause. I don't necessarily need to solve it, i just need to know WHY, so that i can stop worrying. But i have no idea how to figure this out. So if you guys could please ask me the right questions that can lead to figuring this out then i would be so very grateful!!

    Here's a pic of my system memory in Activity Monitor. I did some googling and noticed that seems to get asked for a lot

    [​IMG]
     
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #2
  3. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #3
    Your computer needs far more free space than you have. This sort of variation in disk usage is totally normal. Log files, caches, virtual memory files are all just some of what will temporarily use your disk space and when no space is available you can have data loss and as you saw, the computer can freeze up.
    The system memory tab in Activity Monitor isn't relevant to your problem– it has little to do with storage on disk and is showing you what's using your computer's RAM. You need to use a utility like OmniDiskSweeper (free) https://www.omnigroup.com/more which will scan your drive and show you what's using your space.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    The OP wrote:
    "The other night I had 5gb available. Then out of nowhere my hard drive space started vanishing. I could literally see it going down before my eyes. Eventually it landed at only 13mb available and froze. I lost all my Google Chrome tabs and rebooted. When i rebooted i was back to 5gb."

    Sounds to me like you have VM swap files and other "temporary" (but invisible) files that are "eating up" the little bit of free space you have left.

    IF you use Time Machine, some of that space could be consumed by "local backups", as well.

    My suggestion:
    INCREASE the size of the "boot partition" from 80gb to, say, 200gb (or even more).
    REDUCE the size of the music production partition.

    Do this, and I predict that things will go MUCH better.

    You can try using Disk Utility to "shrink" the size of the music partition.
    It -might- work (no promises).

    If it DOESN'T work, there are other alternatives that WILL "get the job done" for you.

    IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT
    Make sure that you BACK UP THE DRIVE BEFORE you attempt to resize the partitions.
    This protects you in case things go wrong.

    I -HIGHLY RECOMMEND- using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a bootable cloned backup of your boot partition, and a "second clone" of your music partition. NOTHING will "protect you better". BOTH are FREE to download and use for 30 days.

    If Disk Utility won't resize the partitions, you can do it this way:
    1. Use CCC (or SD) to create bootable backups of the boot partition, and a second clone of the music partition.
    2. BOOT FROM the bootable clone of your boot drive
    3. Use Disk Utility to ERASE (yes, "erase") the ENTIRE INTERNAL DRIVE to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled.
    4. RE-partition the drive. This time give the boot partition 200-250gb of size, and the music partition can use whatever is left.
    5. Use CCC (or SD) to RE-clone the contents of the boot drive BACK TO the boot partition.
    6. Then, re-clone the music partition back to its new partition.

    Do it this way, and I promise 100% success. Guaranteed.
     
  5. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #5
    Wait, you can adjust the size of the partitions? I was under the impression that it's fixed and can't be changed. That's good news.

    Does resizing partitions cause damage or wear and tear to hard drives? I will back up of course, but i just want to know if there are long term risks. If it's a relatively safe procedure then i will definitely do this. The 920gb partition only has 112gb free on it at the moment, but i'm fairly confident i can delete up to 200gb worth of old stuff.

    The problem is, i only have 1 external 1TB HD to back up with. Do i have to choose which partition i back up or can i back them both up on the one hard drive?

    Another question, how do i know which drive is my bootable drive? My 80gb drive is the one that it boots with, and the 920gb drive is the one that i have to hold tab and select in order to boot with it, BUT i'm fairly sure the 920gb was originally the bootable drive before i changed it. Is this a crucial element?

    Thanks so much for your helpful response.
     
  6. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #6
    So i just deleted 6gb worth of stuff, felt pretty happy with myself, and then within minutes my available space went all the way back down to 13mb again. My computer froze and i had to restart it. Now that i've rebooted it's at 833mb available space.
    What's going on? :( I had 5gb free space the other day, then none. Now i freed another 6gb, now none again.
    Is it anything to do with App Store or iCloud? How do i check?

    Very handy little app though. Really helps identify where the heavy loads are.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    What does the SMART status say in the drive utility?
     
  8. cwanja macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    You can resize partitions that are HFS+ (I believe). Resizing it will only "virtually" grant more space to the partition. As far as I am aware (not a hard-drive expert), it does not decrease the life of your drive any.

    As others have mentioned, you need to expand the size of your boot drive. You can find out which drive is being used for boot by going into System Preferences and it will list it there. It is also like the partition that says "Mac OS" granted that can be renamed.

    Also, might not be a good idea to start multiple threads. Confusion will arise. https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-0-1gb-available-and-i-dont-know-why.2133347/
     
  9. Barncore, Aug 27, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018

    Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #9
    It says "verified"
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    OP:

    Here's something to try.
    It will cost you nothing and it won't hurt anything.

    Download "DiskWave" (free, small app):
    DiskWave Homepage

    Open DiskWave.
    Go to the prefs and choose the option to make normally-invisible files visible in DiskWave's window.

    Then, select your hard drive.
    Give it a moment or two.
    You can now see what's eating up your space.

    Tell us what you see.
     
  11. Barncore, Aug 29, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018

    Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #11
    Screenshot attached.

    What am i looking for?
    --- Post Merged, Aug 29, 2018 ---
    Interesting. I found a folder in my user Library section called "Ethereum" that's taking up 2GB. I have NO idea what that is. I don't remember installing it.

    Also, i found a 1GB folder called "Updates" in my hard drive Library section. I don't need anything updated.

    Screenshots of both attached.

    Edit: Ok, turns i installed an Ethereum wallet (cryptocurrency thing). I must've done it a year+ ago and then forgot about it. Probably gonna delete it (might leave it on there and analyse the behavior first).
    Still doesn't explain a lot of the HD fluctuating though.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #12
    So, i deleted the "chaindata" folder for Ethereum, which put my HD space out to 4.5gb. And over the past hour it's gone back down to 3.0gb.

    It seems that whenever i finally create more space it just goes away again...
     
  13. mbosse macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2015
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #13
    Guys,

    I think you all were on the wrong track: the OP asks about disk space, but what is shown and what seems to be the problem here, is memory (RAM) use - has nothing to do with the hard drive. I guess upgrade your RAM with additional RAM sticks nicely and cheaply solves your problem (and yes, Chrome is a memory hog, I'd use a different browser).

    Magnus
     
  14. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #14
    The files in the Updates folder are updates for your operating system which are waiting to be installed.
     
  15. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2013
    Location:
    London United Kingdom.
    #15
    I recommend you first clone Snow Leopard to an external drive and run it from there. It will be USB 2.0 but performance should be acceptable. USB 3.0 caddies are very inexpensive and are backwards compatible. Download Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.7 for cloning the Snow Leopard partition
    https://bombich.com/download

    Next carry out a Time Machine Backup of the El Capitan partition, then format and carry out a fresh installation allocating the whole of the internal drive and apply the Time Machine Backup during the El Capitan installation. During this procedure it my be worth considering replacing El Capitan with High Sierra.
     
  16. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #16
    Is it safe to delete it? I don't want any updates
     
  17. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #17
    Ok, in a bit of trouble here. My boot partition wont load anymore. It gets stuck on bootup, i can't even get to the password screen.

    I've been busy so i haven't been able to dive into backing up anything yet and increasing partition size. I know it will require a full day or 2 to execute. So i've been running a loop of: running out of space, creating space by deleting stuff, the new space evaporating, creating more space, the new space evaporates again. Rinse repeat. Every 1 or 2 gigs of free space i create just evaporates and backs me into a corner.

    So last night i had about 600mb avail or so, and i loaded a software called Logic Pro X (to do some paid work), and then the available space evaporated and went to 13mb avail. So i rebooted, because in the past that has fixed it and sometimes it goes back out to 4gb avail. Still 13mb. So i rebooted again and this time it was zero bytes avail. I rebooted again and again zero bytes. Rebooted again and this time it froze just after i put the password in. I let it sit for about 10-20 minutes but it was still stuck and i, perhaps mistakenly, forced the off button and started it up again. Now it doesn't even get to the password/login screen.

    So basically now i can't access my main boot partition, i can only access my other 920gb partition. Is there anything i can do from that partition to solve this?

    The thing that puzzles me is that i'm only actually using about 60-65gb of data of the 80gb according to DiskWave. So i don't know what keeps hogging the extra space. I guess it's swap files and whatnot but i don't really understand that concept.
     
  18. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #18
    Is it possible to clone 2 partitions onto 1 external hard drive?

    Is it possible to transfer an external cloned HD onto a fresh/empty internal hard drive and it will keep all the settings/licensed/etc? In a similar way to what Time Machine does?

    Just trying to form a strategy
     
  19. Fishrrman, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    Barncore asked:
    "Is it possible to clone 2 partitions onto 1 external hard drive?"

    Yes.

    "Is it possible to transfer an external cloned HD onto a fresh/empty internal hard drive and it will keep all the settings/licensed/etc? In a similar way to what Time Machine does?"

    My prediction is that if you use CarbonCopyCloner (which is FREE to download and use for 30 days), it will work BETTER THAN time machine.
     
  20. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #20
    Sorry for all the questions, but do you think it'd be possible to clone the 80gb partition from my 920gb partition? Or do i have to be logged into the given partition when cloning it?

    Just to update: I've successfully cloned the 920gb partition. Now just gotta try backup the 80gb one before i adjust the partition sizes. But the problem is that every time i log into the 80gb and delete stuff the HD space just shrinks back down to 13mb avail, which makes things hard to work with.
     
  21. cwanja macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #21
    You should be able to clone the partition without being logged into it. But I am no CarbonCopy expert.
     
  22. Barncore, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018

    Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #22
    Ok i managed to delete 2gb more data on the 80gb which allowed me the breathing room to clone it onto an external via CCC.

    SO! Now i have both my partitions backed up. Question...

    On my 80gb partition, it says i've used 77 gb of space on it (i got that info via "get info"), however only 49gb of data was backed up via CCC. That means there's 30gb being occupied on my internal 80gb partition behind the scenes. It seems like it's floating in the ether. What is it? Is it normal? Can i claim it back? Why didn't CCC clone it?
    Just looking for more info on this phenom.

    Here's a pic to show what i mean. Please note the red markers:

    Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 3.24.44 AM.png

    (screen on the right is Omni Disk Sweeper, which tells me my disk has 48gb on it. But my mac says there's 77gb on it. Where is that 30gb hiding?)
     
  23. Barncore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #23
  24. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #24
    Ok. You can resize partitions in Disk Utility if running El Cap. Absolutely back everything up first. Then do it.

    You need more RAM.

    This drive passed Apple's SMART Test and gave tons of problems. There is no way an OE drive in a 2011 is still good—but lots of them are Verified.

    [​IMG]

    Yea, you can spend $99 on TechTool Pro to see that yours will look similarly but save your money and replace that drive with an SSD. They're cheap and easy to install. If you don't want to spend the hour to do it, pay a tech to do it in half that time.
     
  25. mbosse macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2015
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #25
    While I agree that macOs' Disk Utility is a bit 'optimistic' when it comes to assessing a drive's health status, your general statement "no way an OE drive in a 2011 is still good" is certainly not true either. Most of my 'vintage' drives still labour on happily and also pass more stringent drive tests like TechTool Pro or DriveDx.
     

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29 August 20, 2018