'Startup Disk Almost Full' after RAM upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Peter Franks, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Peter Franks macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Hi, any ideas why upgrading RAM from a 4GB to 8GB on a 2011 MBP starts with this message. 'Startup Disk Almost Full' when there's nearly 10GB left on disk, and previously on a 4GB RAM that only came up when it was at 1GB left of space. Everything else original parts.

    It comes on every time the MBP boots up since the upgrade.
    Plus, the boot up time has almost doubled with 8GB RAM, and 4GB loaded much quicker. Is that stuff that's common on upgrades by any chance?

    Thanks
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    Download and use OmniDiskSweeper. It will provide a sorted list of what's consuming your space.

    What size is your disk?
     
  3. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    It's a 320GB, but why does that only come up since upgrading RAM, when it's not near full, and why does YouTube freeze and not load, when 4GB gave me no problems at all, This is all happening since I've upgraded RAM
    --- Post Merged, Apr 9, 2018 ---
    It's freezing on every YouTube page and when I try to get out of it, and the page closes, the audio from the page is still running. I thought the upgrade was going to be a good thing
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I can't answer that. You need to examine what's consuming the space and acting on that information.
     
  5. Peter Franks, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018

    Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    I wonder if that is relevant to why everything is freezing in all browsers?
    I think I'll put the 4GB back in anyway, none of these problems arose prior, I just assumed stupidly, after watching many videos about 4GB to 8GB it'd be a plus. It's a big mistake.


    EDIT: The 8GB RAM told me there was 9GB of storage left
    the 4GB RAM tells me there is 4GB of storage left.

    And the only time the alert came up was with the 8GB and more storage left.

    OWC I'll wager, it's their RAM cards.

    It boots in half the time the 8GB did as well. Go figure!

    The start up disk full is probably the least of the problems here, It's the fact the machine is slower and freezing with more RAM than it had before. That's the main issue. Why would that happen?
     
  6. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

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    #6
    Your system will allocate disk space to swap memory to disk based on the amount of memory in your system. When you added RAM, the first boot re-allocated space on the boot drive for a larger swap size. Thus, the amount of free disk space is reduced when you add RAM.

    Clean up other stuff on your disk, maybe offload some files to external drives, or just get rid of old stuff. If it is too painful to do in normal boot mode, try booting in safe mode and do the cleanup. Don't forget to empty trash, items in trash remain on your disk but with a flag to remove when trash is emptied.
     
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 604

    whooleytoo

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    #7
    You'd expect after the upgrade, you'd have less disk space. After a RAM upgrade, you need a bigger virtual memory page file which eats in to the space remaining.

    In fact, if you only had 1GB free disk space, and added 4GB RAM, I'd guess what's happening is virtual memory is off (if that's possible?) If that happened, you'd suddenly have more disk space, but have terrible performance.

    If you clear out some disk space (10GB or so) and install the 4GB RAM you should be good (assuming the RAM isn't faulty! :) )
     
  8. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Thanks for your replies

    That's the point, it gave me more space with the 8GB upgrade, but still told me I was running out of space.
    The 4GB showed less space on hard drive.

    I have put the original 4GB back in and it's running smoother and faster than the 8GB, that's what I can't work out. Pics downloaded quicker and programmes opened quicker, but everything would freeze and stop working. For example, in any browser, YouTube wouldn't load, and it hangs when page closed, and you could hear it's audio, but pics wouldn't load. I've never had that trouble with 4GB RAM
    --- Post Merged, Apr 9, 2018 ---
    Is there any danger that this MBP can't cope with 8GB over the standard 4GB.

    Of course the infuriating part about it, is the fact that I've watched countless videos showing people do this with none of the problems I've encountered, ...
     
  9. whooleytoo macrumors 604

    whooleytoo

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    #9
    I THINK the issue is this:

    With most(?) modern operating systems, you need a virtual memory page/swap file that's the same size as the amount of memory you have. If you have 4GB of RAM, you need at least disk space for a 4GB page file. When you upgrade to 8GB RAM, there isn't enough disk space for a 8GB page file. I'm not sure how macOS handles this, but it looks like it maybe disables virtual memory, and gets rid of the page file (which is why you see the amount of available disk space actually increasing). If virtual memory is off, your performance will likely be very, very poor.

    In any case, you definitely will need more disk space soon. See if you can free up 10GB or more and try the RAM upgrade again.
     
  10. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Thanks for that, I presume the age of the MBP, 7 years, shouldn't have any bearing on faster RAM not being able to cope with it?

    It's currently at 4GB of available space with the old RAM sticks back in, and it's only ever alerted disk space to me when it's at 1GB and below. With the 8GB and the freezes, it read as double that yes. If you're right, and the disk space is causing all the freezes then it should be something they tell you to do, clear out, before you insert RAM?
     
  11. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #11
    Your hard drive is too full...
    doubling the RAM to 8GB needs more space. Your clue would be that 4GB leaves 4GB free space, then upgrading to 8GB needs THAT 4GB. So, the system memory space takes all of that. BUT, now there is 9GB reported as free, then your system is not using the memory correctly, "releasing" the 8GB that it needs for memory swap, therefore... you really have only 1GB free space, hence the "startup disk full" message. (Technically not really correct, but I think my explanation is relevant)
    Your hard drive is too full... You need to get some space back. A good goal will be 10% of total space, plus the 8GB of RAM "space. So, I suggest that you should try for 40GB free. (Your 7-year-old hard drive is likely not helping you, being a mechanical device that runs almost constantly. Have you considered swapping out the hard drive for an SSD? That will have a much better result than anything that you do with RAM, even if you upgrade your RAM to the full 16GB your 2011 MBPro can use. Just thought I would mention that. :cool: )

    If you REALLY would like to compare the 2 RAM upgrades, watch your Activity Monitor while using your Mac. The memory tab will show you how your processes and apps use the memory, and the memory pressure graph will show you how your RAM is impacting the system at the time. Green is good. Yellow is a lot of memory use, and Red will indicate that there is a lot of page-out activity, leading to a lot of slow downs, which will be much worse if the hard drive is low on space.
     
  12. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    That makes sense! But surely, I'm not the only one who has had this issue. Nobody has ever mentioned this when upgrading RAM.

    So the YouTube videos on Chrome and other browsers that hang after page closed with audio blaring out when browser closed, but won't play actual video, and won't load the thumbs or the videos, is also related to that? Why did it no do this when I ran to less than 1GB space with the 4GB RAM?

    I'm running on the 4GB RAM at the moment, with around just over 4GB free space with no issues.
    Does this also explain why start up was more than twice as long with more RAM?
     
  13. TheSkywalker77 macrumors 6502a

    TheSkywalker77

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    #13
    I mean I see why it says that. Mine said it at 30GB.
     
  14. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #14
    Yes, (lack of) hard drive space can cause major issues.
    As I said, installing more RAM when the boot drive space is ALREADY an issue will just make things worse --- and there you are!
    Your hard drive is too full... You already need more space. I bet if you watch the memory tab in your Activity Monitor, even with 4GB RAM installed, you will see that there are swap outs, which means that the hard drive is used for memory space, which slows things down dramatically. It gets worse if your hard drive space is low, and you install more memory.

    Your hard drive is too full...

    I hope I am not being redundantly repetitious here: Your hard drive is too full...

    (everything --- likely all of your questions --- would be helped by one simple tip: replace the spinning hard drive with an
    SSD. Of course, you would STILL need to watch the free space. 10% free space is a rule-of-thumb here. But, even swapping would often not be noticeable to you, and the rest of your computer experience would absolutely be noticeably faster than anything else you could do. :cool: )
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #15
    OP:

    You have a 320gb drive.
    Why don't you just "clear out" about 10-15gb of additional free space by throwing some stuff away or moving it to another drive?
     
  16. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #16
    Thanks, I wanted to try the RAM first, before I got into the updating of an SSD, as no doubt you've probably guessed, I'm not the most technical person on these forums. I can't even upgrade RAM properly, let alone formatting a new SSD with OS on it and not ballsing it up. Thank you for your replies, yes, repetition is all good with me, it made me laugh anyway. My untechnical brain couldn't work out why a 4GB RAM runs problem free with the exact same amount of space and the 8GB RAM couldn't, but you've explained yourself well oh wise one. So thank you for that.

    I will. I regularly do. I am forever clearing out to external drives, I have a few, but it's always around the 4 - 7GB available, because it's never really caused a problem before, Only since this RAM upgrade has it been a problem. It might be my imagination, but it definitely gets full up a lot quicker than I believe it should.
     
  17. MSastre macrumors 6502

    MSastre

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    #17
    It is best practice to keep at least 10% free space on any hard drive. With a 320GB drive this would be 32GB left unused.
     
  18. whooleytoo macrumors 604

    whooleytoo

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    #18
    That's kind of a downside of modern computing - pretty much every app is networked, downloading updates, caching files etc. Even if you're not proactively downloading anything, you still see the disk usage creep up. Storage is relatively cheap these days, so developers tend to treat it almost like an infinite resource.

    I know others recommend 10% plus free, I sometimes struggle to keep that much free but I'd definitely do something long before I reached just 1GB free :)
     
  19. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Thanks, I'm as we speak deleting stuff from a 1TB external... Also have a 320 external that is rammed, and a 500 which I use for Time Machine, when I remember to plug it in each month. I've never had that much free on the internal HD, I'm going to aim for 20GB free, and see what occurs when I put the RAM back in. 10% sounds like nothing I know, but, it's a load to me. I bought this MBP in early 2011 just a month or two before they introduced the 500 storage, typically.
     
  20. MSastre, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018

    MSastre macrumors 6502

    MSastre

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    #20
    Extra HDs are relatively inexpensive now and easy to access using a Drive Dock. No excuse for having drives that are too full. I have a dock connected to every desktop, and also available for all laptops we own. Very convenient for keeping a bootable cloned copy of system drive (using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner) for when things go wrong or you want to test an OS update.
     
  21. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Yeh, I know. Fed up of buying them. It’s just a space thing. I have 4 externals. And laptop is not permanently placed so none ever plugged in unless downloading.

    Speaking of CCC, what’s the difference to that and Time Machine? Does CCC copy the OS as well as the files TM backs up?
     
  22. MSastre, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018

    MSastre macrumors 6502

    MSastre

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    #22
    Both SuperDuper and CCC make exact bootable copies of your hard drive, so yes the OS is on it. Much easier and faster to get back after a catastrophe than TM. I have never bothered with TM, but do keep cloned drives going back a few OSs in case I need something that only works with an earlier OS, as well as having an up to date clone of the system I am using. I will use this clone to test major updates, and if all is well after using and testing for at least a week, copy that to my main drive.
     
  23. francisurquhart macrumors newbie

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    Apr 9, 2018
    #23
    What operating system are you running?

    Though, from what I gather High Sierra has changed things somewhat, in previous versions of MacOS and OSX you'd have a Sleep Image equal in the size to the amount of RAM that you had, basically so that the system could restore itself to its running state if you ran out of power while asleep. Your situation sounds exactly like you are running afoul of that.

    So, basically, delete stuff. Also, upgrade to High Sierra. Though, from what I gather, you'd need to delete stuff in order to do that as well anyways.
     
  24. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Ah right, so CCC needs another 500GB external, but you can run the whole OS clone from internal from that when plugged in?

    You're not gonna like it, SL 10.6.8, that's why I need the upgrade in RAM because I want to update to at least Capitan. Then was going to venture into SSD, But if the CCC let's me clone and use the SL externally, then I'm happier to update the OS internally. I'm probably the worst at doing anything in the way of mods to a laptop on this forum.
     
  25. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #25
    OP wrote:
    "Ah right, so CCC needs another 500GB external, but you can run the whole OS clone from internal from that when plugged in?"

    Yes, of course.
    And it will look EXACTLY as your internal drive did (at the time you cloned it).
    You won't be able to tell the difference UNLESS you go to "about this Mac" and check to see from which drive you're booted.

    If you're still using 10.6.8, go here:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html

    You want to download CCC 3.5.7 (scroll down to see it).
    It's COMPLETELY FREE to use, forever.

    I suggest you download it and try it on a spare external drive.
    You won't understand the usefulness of a cloned backup until you've done it.
    It will cost you nothing to try it.
    If you don't like it, just erase the cloned backup and use it for something else.
     

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