System HUGE (>650GB)

doc4x5

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 15, 2008
38
4
the great Pacific northwest
I have a 2013 Mac Pro running 10.13.6 High Sierra, 64GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. Today I noticed the system was using >650GB, yes >650GB of storage! I meticulously went through the drive and found nothing to account for such huge usage. I store my photos on outboard hard drives. I googled it and found references mainly to Time Machine, which I do not use.
I suppose I could do a clean install, but that's a huge pain. I have not tried simple reinstallation yet.
Does anyone have a solution for this most vexing problem?
Thanks ahead of time for any help with this.
Eric Brody
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
315
72
I meticulously went through the drive and found nothing to account for such huge usage.
When you say "system" is that specifically the OS? Or are you referring to the entire 1TB which I presume includes user(s) account(s) in addition to the OS?

Can you be more specific about your method for hunting down the space hog(s)?
 

doc4x5

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 15, 2008
38
4
the great Pacific northwest
Thanks for replying. Here's a screenshot of the "storage" from the "about this mac" below the apple menu. It shows the System, at the bottom using 575GB or so, sorry it's hard to see clearly.
Eric
[doublepost=1551583933][/doublepost]Sorry the screenshot did not copy for my last comment. Here it is. You can clearly see the "system" is 515GB!!!
Eric

upload_2019-3-2_19-31-0.png
 

Soba

macrumors regular
May 28, 2003
156
241
Rochester, NY
Whenever I have mystery disk consumption, I run Grand Perspective on the drive. It will create a visual map of all your files on the disk (or of a subdirectory if you don't want it to scan the whole disk). Look for big blobs of the same color and it should provide clues where all your disk space is going.

http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
315
72
Hmm, that System size does seem large, but if you have a large /Applications folder it could be normal.

I'm still wondering what you've done to investigate the actual contents of the System to determine where potential bloat is lurking? Please add that to your next reply.

Also, let's start with the basics:

• In Finder in the left column please click on your main drive. It looks to me like you've named it "Mac Pro boot SSD".

• You should see four folders named

Applications
Library
System
Users

• For each one of those folders, click to highlight, then use the ⌘I keys to Get Info (or use the menu File > Get Info).

• In the Info box that pops up, under the top section named General, record the size of the folder and report it back here.

I'll finish this post by asking are you familiar with apps like DaisyDisk which are great for quickly visualizing storage spaces? For example DaisyDisk has a free trial which includes many useful functions and quite likely can help you quickly zoom in on what's using your disk space. [I have no relationship with that app or developer, I just like using it.]
[doublepost=1551592472][/doublepost]
Whenever I have mystery disk consumption, I run Grand Perspective on the drive. It will create a visual map of all your files on the disk (or of a subdirectory if you don't want it to scan the whole disk). Look for big blobs of the same color and it should provide clues where all your disk space is going.

http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/
Kept getting interrupted typing my previous post -- so I was slow.

Yup, Grand Perspective can get it done, too!
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,985
5,863
Hong Kong
I have a 2013 Mac Pro running 10.13.6 High Sierra, 64GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. Today I noticed the system was using >650GB, yes >650GB of storage! I meticulously went through the drive and found nothing to account for such huge usage. I store my photos on outboard hard drives. I googled it and found references mainly to Time Machine, which I do not use.
I suppose I could do a clean install, but that's a huge pain. I have not tried simple reinstallation yet.
Does anyone have a solution for this most vexing problem?
Thanks ahead of time for any help with this.
Eric Brody
From memory, that number is very inaccurate in APFS HS. I personally wouldn’t worry about “if the system is really that large”. But may be worry more “if the OS itself cannot accurately know how much storage is used (and remaining), will it accidentally overwrite some useful data and cause data corruption”.

In Mojave, that’s getting better, but still need to give the OS a few minutes to compute (and show) the correct system usage. For HFS+, those number can show up almost instantly without error. For APFS, the system may need up to a few minutes to get it right.

I did this check about 2-3 months ago. When open up About my Mac -> Storage. It shows system use something like 250GB, and I leave it open for few minutes, then it reduced to ~70GB.

For HS, this situation is even worst, the OS may not able to get it right no matter how long you keep that window open. That’s one of the reason why I avoid APFS when still with HS.
 

crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
4,582
1,685
Charlotte, NC
I have a 2013 Mac Pro running 10.13.6 High Sierra, 64GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. Today I noticed the system was using >650GB, yes >650GB of storage! I meticulously went through the drive and found nothing to account for such huge usage. I store my photos on outboard hard drives. I googled it and found references mainly to Time Machine, which I do not use.
I suppose I could do a clean install, but that's a huge pain. I have not tried simple reinstallation yet.
Does anyone have a solution for this most vexing problem?
Thanks ahead of time for any help with this.
Eric Brody
Open a terminal session and past on the command below.

Code:
tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
The Terminal will show a list of local snapshots with names like com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-03-01-002010.

To remove a snapshot:

  1. Copy and paste this command: sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots
  2. Type a space and then paste in the date portion of the snapshot.
  3. Press Return, and finally press Return.
Altogether, using the example snapshot above, that looks like:

sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots 2018-03-01-002010

If it deletes properly, you’ll see Delete local snapshot '2018-03-01-002010' in the Terminal as the response.
 

doc4x5

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 15, 2008
38
4
the great Pacific northwest
SOLVED! Thanks to all who replied. Simply put, at first nothing seemed to work; I looked with Omnidisk Sweeper and Grand Perspective. Both were interesting but did not allow me to locate and get rid of whatever was bloating the system. I called and spoke with an Apple rep who also went through all the "standard" stuff to no avail. He ended up suggesting what I should have done from the start, that is to reinstall High Sierra with MacOS Recovery. I just finished that and with bated breath, checked the system to find it is a nice 33GB! Whew. Maybe my experience will help someone else, I hope so.
 

sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
315
72
SOLVED! Thanks to all who replied. Simply put, at first nothing seemed to work; I looked with Omnidisk Sweeper and Grand Perspective. Both were interesting but did not allow me to locate and get rid of whatever was bloating the system. I called and spoke with an Apple rep who also went through all the "standard" stuff to no avail. He ended up suggesting what I should have done from the start, that is to reinstall High Sierra with MacOS Recovery. I just finished that and with bated breath, checked the system to find it is a nice 33GB! Whew. Maybe my experience will help someone else, I hope so.
Glad you got it solved!
 

arkitect

macrumors 603
Sep 5, 2005
5,913
5,482
Bath, United Kingdom
SOLVED! Thanks to all who replied. Simply put, at first nothing seemed to work; I looked with Omnidisk Sweeper and Grand Perspective. Both were interesting but did not allow me to locate and get rid of whatever was bloating the system. I called and spoke with an Apple rep who also went through all the "standard" stuff to no avail. He ended up suggesting what I should have done from the start, that is to reinstall High Sierra with MacOS Recovery. I just finished that and with bated breath, checked the system to find it is a nice 33GB! Whew. Maybe my experience will help someone else, I hope so.
Any reason/idea/speculation why it bloated so badly?
 

doc4x5

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 15, 2008
38
4
the great Pacific northwest
Not quite, a person named Victor, on Luminous Landscape reminded me that it may not be completely solved and indeed the system is growing slowly.

He said..."I think you will find that your 'system' folder will once again gain in size. The culprit is a hidden file/folder for time machine local snapshots. Before the latest OS there was the ability to delete those files/folders but no more. Apple won't allow those files to be tampered with. In reality they play no role in the actual space of your drive as space is automatically allocated as needed. CCC, which is all I use, doesn't clone that file. "

I replied and want to ask here as well.

Victor, I believe you are correct as my system file has been slowly growing inexorably. I do not use time machine and would like to delete it by seem to be unable to do so.

I even googled "delete time machine app" and found only ways to delete backups which, according to my computer, I do not have.

Are you or any of the other smart folks on this forum able to delete the time machine app? I'm perfectly happy with CCC. Does anyone know how to get at and delete these files? Is this issue solved with Mojave?

Eric