Startup Disk Full...but why?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Gamer787, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Gamer787 macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2013
    Ok, I have a 120GB Air, and it is beginning to get full. So I cleared out pretty much everything in my Finder. (Literally, just about 2GB of music and my Apps are the only thing left) No movies, nothing. But I still only have 10GB free.

    How can I clear up some more room? I don't know what else to delete and it's very frustrating.
  2. Stewart21 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    South Yorkshire
    If Time Machine is ON but no external drive is available it stores backups on your local hard drive. Check that first. If you have an external drive, connect it and do a backup. Use Omnidisksweeper to find other big stores of files.
  3. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Wait, what good is a time machine being on your startup disk? If that fails, then you loose your recovery too.
  4. mpantone, Nov 28, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013

    mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    While it's not useful for a complete drive failure, a local Time Machine backup is convenient if you want to revert to an older version of a particular file.

    For some people, having an hourly local backup is useful, a poor/sloppy man's undelete so to speak.

    It does not replace a backup to an external drive. The oft-repeated conventional wisdom from old-school system administrators is that if it's worth backing up, it's worth backing up at least twice. Ideally, at least one backup would be to an offsite location (cloud, physical disc, tape backup once upon a time).

    Since notebook computers often aren't connected to external peripheral drives -- including ones explicitly designated for backup purposes, having a local backup is better than nothing.
  5. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    The time machine backups to local disk is used when the system isn't able to locate the drive normally used by time machine, such as when traveling / disconnected from your home network.
  6. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    for starters, TM backups should always be to an external drive, as someone has already mentioned.

    it's possible that your sleep image is huge, so you can always try this:

    open Terminal (in ‘other’ or Utilities)
    copy and paste each ‘sudo’ command one at a time and hit ‘Enter’
    it’ll ask you for your password the first time.
    if one of the last 2 commands doesn’t work it’s no biggie.
    restart and you should be fine :)

    Set sleep mode in shell:
    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

    Remove the image:

    sudo rm /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Create a blanked file:

    sudo touch /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Make file immutable:

    sudo chflags uchg /private/var/vm/sleepimage
  7. Ripmax2000 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2005
  8. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    An alternative to Disk Inventory X is Omnidisksweeper, my preference as I like numbers instead of colors. :)

    As an aside, have you emptied Trash?
  9. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    That's what I thought. I just don't see the benefit to using disk space (which on an Air is valuable. It should be TM'd on an external drive and accessible remotely if needed.

    My only question to you is, must you type the sudo command by itself or can you jump straight to checking the size of the sleep image?
  10. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    You don't need sudo privileges to do an 'ls' on /var/vm.

    The sleep image is the size of your computer's RAM. An 8GB MacBook Air will have an 8GB sleep image.

    Based on your comment, it doesn't appear that you know what a sleep image is: it's a quick, easily-accessinble disk-based snapshot of what was in main memory at the time of sleep. It's used by the computer for a quick restoration of the computer's status: programs, processes, documents.
  11. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    Just checking, but you did remember to actually empty the Trash bin, right?
  12. Gamer787 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2013
    Yes, trash is emptied. (Duh)

    Storage Breakdown: (According to 'About this Mac' tab)

    Audio: 2.1GB
    Movies: 0GB
    Photos: 266MB
    Apps: 5.6GB
    Backups: 0GB
    Other: 106GB

    I don't understand. Like my files are near empty I dumped everything pretty much.


    Check that, ran DIX and found out it was 70...that's right, 7-0 GB of swapfiles that had piled up. Odd thing is I just rebooted not too long ago. Oh well, problem solved.
  13. Alex8 macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Are you syncing your Iphone to Itunes on this machine?

    If you are you should check whether your Iphone backups are taking the space.

    I found this problem on another 128GB Mac Air before.
  14. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I'm more of a command-line guy. Open a terminal and type:

    $ cd /
    $ du -sg *
    This will show the size in GB of all folders on your startup disk. Mine shows something like this:

    22	Applications
    6	Library
    0	Network
    4	System
    1	User Information
    41	Users
    15	Volumes
    1	bin
    0	cores
    1	dev
    1	etc
    1	home
    1	mach_kernel
    1	net
    1	opt
    5	private
    1	sbin
    1	tmp
    1	usr
    1	var
    Obviously the biggest hog is the users folder. You can cd into that, then repeat the command:

    $ cd Users
    $ du -sg *
    Keep repeating until you found the biggest hog.
  15. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Command line stuff is great - my usage of du is "du -sk * |sort -rn" which provides a sorted list of top disk hogs in the current directory.

    One more plug for omni disk sweeper - I just ran this on one of my boxes and very much like the output. Show me the numbers. ;) You can keep drilling into directories until you find what you're looking for.

    Attached Files:

  16. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    That would show under backups, not other. Correct?
  17. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    No. The only thing that shows up in the purple backups section is Time Machine's local backups. If you have disabled local backups or Time Machine is off, backups will be zero.
  18. geertvn macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2013
    Possibly a hidden library filling up the drive

    I had a similar problem a couple of months ago. The culprit was AdobeRevel, which made backups in a hidden library of all the files I uploaded to the AdobeRevel-cloud. It was really confusing, since the program made a non-hidden library in the images-folder of the user account, and created a hidden library as well. In the program you could deactivate the option to make local copies of all files uploaded. But this option only had effect on the 'visible' library, the files were still backed up in the hidden library - it became really a problem after uploading 50-60GB of pictures to the cloud. (The hidden folder with the backups had to be deleted to free space up again.)

    Took a while to figure this out.

    I think you can make the hidden libraries visible by holding down the option key while browsing the user account folder in finder.
  19. jmiddel macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2010
    Land of Enchantment
    When this happened to me it was Flash, which every time I watched. YouTube vid, would add a 1gig swap file.

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