running out of room

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by heycal, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. heycal macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    #1
    I have a Mac Air that's a couple of years old. Lately I get message saying something like "start up disk almost full". My computer also seems more sluggish these days. Storage indicates I have about 5 gb of 120 gb still free. Apparently most of my storage is being used by music, at 58 GB, and movies at 11 gb takes up some space too, even though I don't believe I actually have any movies, so not sure what this.

    My questions are as follows:

    1) Should I get my music off my computer, and if so, where do I keep it safe? I have several thousand songs that I've collected from different sources over the years and don't want to risk losing them. I guess they are stored on itunes, and/or google music? I'm not really sure. (I actually don't listen to music all that much if that matters here.)

    2) If I do get my music off my computer, will that make my computer work better?

    I know little about this stuff or computers in general, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #2
    Hmm, few would know where your music stores. But moving them away from your computer is definitely a good practice.

    If they are in iTunes, then there should be a folder inside your home folder, with the name 'iTunes". I don't use Google music so I don't know anything about that one. Sorry.

    Just move them to an external HDD, and keep it with you all the time. I now keep my over 200GB iTunes library with me all the time. It is on an external HDD.
     
  3. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #3
    Thanks. So I should get some sort of external hard drive thing and move my music onto that? I'm guessing this is something I can get at Best Buy.

    Is my computer likely to run better once I make some room on it, or is that probably not related?
     
  4. macs4nw, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016

    macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #4
    You didn't mention if you have your iTunes library (or the rest of your files for that matter) backed-up somewhere. Regardless of whether you move your iTunes folder off your computer or not, if you value your files, backing them up is a must. I recommend you get an external HDD, at the very least twice the size of your Air's storage capacity (Preferably even more, they are so inexpensive these days), and back up ALL your files to that, as well as perhaps to one of the commercially available Cloud services, and do not even think about erasing the iTunes folder from your Air until you have made sure all those files are intact.

    Alternatively, for worry-free automatic hourly back-ups, you could use your Air's TimeMachine to back up to that new HDD. For even more security, you might consider backing up to an additional HDD for off-site storage, in case of fire or theft, and of course update the off-site back up regularly as well. For these Multiple Back ups you need to be running at least Mountain Lion or later. All this can be done through TimeMachine's Multiple back up option.

    Trust me, when it comes to your files, some of which may be irreplaceable, redundancy is a good thing.
     
  5. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #5
    Okay, I will figure out a backup system for music and important files. Assuming I do this successfully, will this likely make my computer run more smoothly than it has been in recent months?
     
  6. kohlson macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #6
    Perhaps the easiet way to make a backup is to buy an inexpensive external disk, usually under $70 that hold more than a TB. Probably better to make sure it's USB 3, but not necessary. Then, reformat it to MacOS using Disk Utility ("partition" and/or "erase"). Now, enable Time Machine, from System Preferences. After awhile, you'll have made a perfectly nice back up, from which you restore some or all of your MBA disk.
    Almost certainly the lack of disk space is causing your Mac to run more slowly. So anything you can free up will help. At a minimum you will want 5%, but perhaps 0% free. If you delete too much, you'll have your time machine backup. Another word of advice - anything that would cause misery if lost should not be stored only on your Mac disk. You want it backed up in one or more other places.
     
  7. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #7
    Thanks. I will back up important things and look forward to a faster computer.
     
  8. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #8
    You have 5gb of free space? That's why you're having performance issues - modern computers create all sorts of temporary files while you're working - these prevent data loss in the case of a crash, and improve performance. If there's insufficient room for temp files, everything slows down. It's a good idea to have about 10% free space (if you have a 500GB drive, 50GB of free space). Right now, you don't even have enough space to download an OS X upgrade (which is 6GB). Before you move that music library (and you may want to do that anyway), clear some space. Here's an article that will help you do that: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH22193

    "Movies" doesn't just mean movies - it means all videos. So if you've transferred videos from your iPhone to your Mac... you have movies. Go into the Photos app or iPhoto (depending on what you use). There's likely a bit of housekeeping you can do there.

    Every time someone says something like "I will back up important things" I shudder. As soon as someone starts deciding what they do and don't need to save... they end up failing to save things they ought to have saved. Just backup your whole computer, using Time Machine. Just do it. If something bad happens to your computer, then you get EVERYTHING back the way it was, not just the "important" stuff. External hard drives are cheap. Instead of taking time to think of what you need to back up, just back it all up. Instead of spending too little time thinking about what you need to back up (and forgetting something important), just back it all up.

    If you're going to spend time doing anything, spend time deciding what you don't need at all. This hasn't been discussed at all in this thread. We don't even know if you've emptied the Trash. Have you gone into the Downloads folder and cleaned house? Have you gone into your browsers and emptied browser caches (Safari > Clear history...). Again, this article will be a big help: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH22193
     
  9. heycal, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016

    heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    #9
    I've already deleted a bunch of things, emptied trash, etc. I'm sure there is more I could do. I will check out that article, which hopefully applies to 10.8 as well. I will also get some backup thing, and investigate this mysterious time machine you folks speak of. Hopefully I can figure it all out.

    Itunes should be the big item. Under "music", I see one folder, "itunes", and it's about 59 GB. I will somehow get that off my computer and that should clear things up.

    Question about deleting things from mailbox as suggested in one of the articles linked to. While I don't see any option for getting rid of all deleted items as article suggested, there are some 37,000 emails messages in there. Are all these emails taking up space on my computer? Since I only use hotmail and yahoo, and tend to look there when I want to find old emails, does that mean what's on my mac is essentially copies of what yahoo and hotmail have stored of mine in the cloud, and thus I could delete them all from mail?
     
  10. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Central CA
    #10
    I would second this, and say that you want *at least* 10% free, and more like 20%. It isn't just temporary files, OS X uses virtual memory extensively, which means it is using several GB on your disk as "memory" and swapping stuff in and out of active RAM.

    If you want to see how your RAM is being used, go into your Applications folder, look in the Utilities folder...the app Activity Monitor will let you look at how much memory you have, how much you are using, and how much "pressure" there is on your RAM.
     
  11. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #11
    Question about deleting things from mailbox as suggested in one of the articles linked to. While I don't see any option for getting rid of all deleted items as article suggested, there are some 37,000 emails messages in there. Are all these emails taking up space on my computer? Since I only use hotmail and yahoo, and tend to look there when I want to find old emails, does that mean what's on my mac is essentially copies of what yahoo and hotmail have stored of mine in the cloud, and thus I could delete them all from mail?
     
  12. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2012
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    Between the coasts
    #12
    Yahoo and Hotmail are IMAP services - what you have on your computer mirrors whatever is stored on the Yahoo and Hotmail servers. This means, anything you delete in Mac Mail will also be deleted from those Yahoo and Hotmail servers.
     
  13. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #13
    There is no good reason to use Mac Mail or Thunderbird for Yahoo and Hotmail when the webmail client doesn't take up room on your computer.

    At the size of your mail messages, you will probably find a few gigabytes are used in your mailbox database file.
     
  14. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #14
    Thanks, folks. I got myself a 1TB storage thing and moved my music onto that, and now have plenty of room. Also experimented with Time Machine, and think I backed it up. But I don't really understand how it works. I guess it will only back things up if I plug the external drive in occasionally and instruct it to back up?
     
  15. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #15
    You can backup whenever it is plugged in, and you can set Time Machine preferences to either backup every hour while plugged in, or just when you want to.
    It is best to just backup when you are using mains power, and not battery.
    Note that Time Machine will take around 2 minutes to start a backup, so it may not be apparent that it's working.
    You can find the date of your last TM backup in the TM system preference panel.
     
  16. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    #16
    Great, thank you. Sounds like something one should do on a regular basis.

    I was actually hoping my computer would run a litte better than it has once I cleared away stuff. I still see that spinning ball thing that says it's stuck or whatever a bit more than I'd like.
     
  17. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
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    #17
    As I have a MBA 2013 i7 , sometimes I see the beachball when I'm down to my last gig of memory, as the mac uses virtual memory from the SSD, you would find that having less space on your mac than virtual memory wants to use will mean that you get beachballs frequently.
    I'd suggest transferring your itunes music off to a USB 3 stick, or if you have the 13" MBA, put it on a SDcard.
    You should find that a 64GB USB3/SDcard will be fine for your music for now, but if your budget can allow it, get a 128GB USB3/SDcard and store your music and movies for a while to come.

    When these are then freed off your SSD (iTunes handles other drives for music libraries well, as do the main video apps like VLC) then you'll find a significant improvement on the time before beachballs appear.
     
  18. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #18
    --- Post Merged, May 7, 2016 ---
    Since transferring a bunch of stuff to 1TB external drive I got from Best Buy (a non USB 3 perhaps? I forgot to look for that while shopping and just got the cheapest one), I now have about 50GB free of storage. That would seem plenty. Or are you talking about something else when you say "memory"?
     
  19. Mrbobb macrumors 601

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    Aug 27, 2012
    #19
    Another thing that should happen is, as heat gets out of hand the CPU clock should slow down automatically. I do no know which OSX util can display instant frequency reading.
     
  20. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #20

    Yes, specifically the ram memory. I have 8GB ram, so it only goes below 1GB when dozens of browser tabs are open.
    That is when Virtual Memory from the SSD kicks in and you see the beachball spin as the permanent storage is used as additional ram, which brings us back to the original posts on why you need to have about 10% of your permanent storage on the SSD free for OS X to use for Virtual Memory.

    You can easily tell if your external drive is USB 3, just by seeing if the inside of the cable plug is blue, that shows it is USB 3. Also another way to tell is that USB 3 is significantly faster than USB 2.
     
  21. Medic311 macrumors 68000

    Medic311

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    #21
    move all media (pictures, videos, music, etc) to a Sandisk MicroSD 200GB card $70 from Best Buy), inserted in a iBlinq flush-mount microSD to SD card adapter ($20 from Amazon) that sits flush with the right side of the Macbook Air. it won't stick out and the end tab is even a silver aluminum that blends in with the body of the Macbook.

    i'm using that in my 2015 Macbook Air 13" 128GB model right now. works like a charm and still stays mounted when i put the Macbook Air to sleep. it frees up internal space
     
  22. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #22

    Yes, this is the best way of doing things if you have a 13" Macbook Air. If you have an 11" Macbook Air, you won't have the SDcard slot to do this though, so you'd need to keep it on USB 3 external drives.
    A final option if you intend to keep the Macbook Air for some years to come, is to get a Thunderbolt external drive, which is even faster than USB 3, and gives you the fastest backups possible.
    These thunderbolt drives give you significantly faster backups than USB 3, and it is also possible to use a thunderbolt drive as a system drive if you want to do something like join Apple's beta testing of the next system update.
     
  23. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #23
    I would upgrade the laptop with a bigger SSD.
     
  24. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #24
    Has this been you actual experience? I know there are expensive thunderbolt drives that are very fast, but the regular ones I have don't show any advantage on thunderbolt. I have several Seagate desktop backup plus drives that snap into either a thunderbolt or USB 3.0 dock. I get about 170MB/sec either way so I don't bother with thunderbolt anymore because I use an external monitor at home with my MBA and don't like having to use the pass-through thunderbolt cable with it.

    BTW, another option (if you have a compatible router) is to use a network drive. The fast 802.11ac wifi on my 2013 MBA gives me over 60 MB/sec writing to a network drive on my Mini. That is about twice as fast as a direct-connected USB 2.0 disk.
     
  25. heycal thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 25, 2013
    #25
    So these days, I now have plenty of room on my computer thanks to your guys guidance. Yet the 'beachball' is showing up just as often, if not more, these days. I'm not positive if this happens across the board on my computer, but it's definitely happening when I'm on the internet, which is 98% of my computer use. (Nothing about my internet connection has changed, if that matters.) Something seems not right -- possible suspects?
     

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