System takes up 112 GB of storage!? Need help.

Samurai Shampoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2017
68
1
Hello, hope you are doing good.

I went to About This Mac and checked Storage. It says that the System takes up 112 GB of space on my internal SSD.

I have a 2017 iMac with interal SSD and the latest High Sierra version. I have very little stuff on my computer.
A few big apps but they just take up about 28 GB of space and are not included in System space storage.

I did some video editing for 3 days but nothing crazy. I always have had TimeMachine turned off and don't use any other storage like iCloud.

Now, why does my System use that much space? This can't be normal. The OS surely needs less than 25 GB, right?

Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks in advance.
 

Acanfield28

macrumors newbie
Jun 16, 2018
4
2
This is usually just local snapshots on your HD from a time machine backup. Instead of saving your backups to your external drive, sometimes when it’s not plugged in it will save to your HD. Do a time machine backup on an EMPTY external HD. Then erase the Mac. When you restore from your backup choose “data only”. Takes a while to do but that’s the only solution.
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,204
458
Colorado
One thing that often takes up a lot of space is Time Machine cache. if you have TM enabled but have not run it in a while, run a backup and see if that clears up space.
 

Samurai Shampoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2017
68
1
I have TimeMachine disabled and never had it enabled. So, TimeMachine is out of question I think.
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
561
207
US
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chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,740
1,293
Fort Worth, Texas
Are you using Carbon Copy Cloner for your backups? If you are, the latest version of CCC likewise creates Local Snapshots on your SSD. I found that out the hard way as my drive space was being taken up. CCC allows for turning off that option and will delete the Local Snapshots in the process.
 
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Samurai Shampoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2017
68
1
There were users reporting that their local TM snapshots were being done even when TM was disabled. There are few simple commands (see here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/solution-reclaim-storage-back-from-system.2073174/) which will let you check if the space is taken by TM snapshots or not. Costs few seconds with command line and you will know.
TM is the most common explanation for symptoms you are describing.
Thanks, for the reply. I tried the code listed in the first post. I had one snapshot which was yesterday. Deleted it and freed 10 GB of System Storage. Clicked on another tab and checked Storage again... now it increased and System Storage is at 113 GB. Damn.
Checked for snapshots again but none were listed.

I think it's not Time Machine that ate up all that space.

Are you using Carbon Copy Cloner for your backups? If you are, the latest version of CCC likewise creates Local Snapshots on your SSD. I found that out the hard way as my drive space was being taken up. CCC allows for turning off that option and will delete the Local Snapshots in the process.
Hey, thanks, but I don't use CCC. I acutally don't use any back up service which is why I'm so confused that so much system space is taken.
[doublepost=1529226637][/doublepost]I recently had 2 power outages and Spotlight went pretty crazy from what I've seen in the activity monitor.
Could it be that Spotlight caused some Storage corruption?
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
561
207
US
.... I acutally don't use any back up service which is why I'm so confused that so much system space is taken.
OK, after you spend some time on this forum, you will understand that the best advice ANYONE can give you at this moment is:
STOP!!!! Before you do anything else, get some backup method. TimeMachine, CCC, whatever else. But before you even try to keep "fixing" anything, make sure you have way to get back...
Way too many people come here and cry, that their system/drive/computer is dead, that they did something (insert any of : smart, stupid, accidental...) and now their data are gone and that they have all these (insert: very important work data, memories, pictures, tax records,...) and they must have them back.

All drives fail. All OS systems fail. All computers fail. It is ONLY question of time and luck. Fixing OS (any OS) is dangerous, you can do a lot of damage really quickly. We all did...

After you have working (=TESTED) backup, ideally two independent backups, you can try to fix whatever is wrong with your system, if anything is. But until then it would be ill advised to suggest anything else.

For your information, on my MackBook Pro the system is reported (by "About this Mac") also as 115 - 130Gb, varies a bit (probably local backups). I think the "System" name here is confusing as when I look in detail what is used using Space Gremlin Pro, System itself is only 10Gb, there is 28Gb of "restricted" files Space Gremlin cannot read, there is 31Gb of applications, 13Gb is system Library, something usr and private, etc. Simply, OSX puts under "System" stuff some of us would not consider system (like applications). On the other hand, my own documents data are separated with higher specificity.
If you want to know lot more about what is used and how, get the Space gremlin Pro or similar tool, which will enumerate content of your drive in much higher detail.

Hm, I always wonder about those Airs with 128GB SSDs... How those are doing...
 

Samurai Shampoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2017
68
1
OK, after you spend some time on this forum, you will understand that the best advice ANYONE can give you at this moment is:
STOP!!!! Before you do anything else, get some backup method. TimeMachine, CCC, whatever else. But before you even try to keep "fixing" anything, make sure you have way to get back...
Way too many people come here and cry, that their system/drive/computer is dead, that they did something (insert any of : smart, stupid, accidental...) and now their data are gone and that they have all these (insert: very important work data, memories, pictures, tax records,...) and they must have them back.

All drives fail. All OS systems fail. All computers fail. It is ONLY question of time and luck. Fixing OS (any OS) is dangerous, you can do a lot of damage really quickly. We all did...

After you have working (=TESTED) backup, ideally two independent backups, you can try to fix whatever is wrong with your system, if anything is. But until then it would be ill advised to suggest anything else.

For your information, on my MackBook Pro the system is reported (by "About this Mac") also as 115 - 130Gb, varies a bit (probably local backups). I think the "System" name here is confusing as when I look in detail what is used using Space Gremlin Pro, System itself is only 10Gb, there is 28Gb of "restricted" files Space Gremlin cannot read, there is 31Gb of applications, 13Gb is system Library, something usr and private, etc. Simply, OSX puts under "System" stuff some of us would not consider system (like applications). On the other hand, my own documents data are separated with higher specificity.
If you want to know lot more about what is used and how, get the Space gremlin Pro or similar tool, which will enumerate content of your drive in much higher detail.

Hm, I always wonder about those Airs with 128GB SSDs... How those are doing...
Thanks for the reply. I will start backing up now. But in my Storage bar the Applications space is listed sperately and not included in the System. I don't have many apps and don't even use them that often which makes this whole System storage ordeal even more confusing.
 

jordii

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2008
141
60
Hmm, my system's taking 33gb. Better than Samurai Shampoo's situation, but still excessive.

No CCC, and Time Machine is operating normally.
 
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ignatius345

macrumors 68030
Aug 20, 2015
2,756
3,708
Out of curiousity, I opened up that same panel and saw at first that it said I have 425 GB used by "system" on my iMac. But then a little later, it changed and it went down to 206 GB. My hunch is that that storage bar thing is what's wonky.

Before you go nuts, try DaisyDisk or something and do some math and see what's taking up what space.

You have restarted at some point in all this process, right? Because virtual memory paging files can get HUGE.

edit: in the time I wrote this, my System usage went down again, to 149 GB.

edit 2: waited another minute or two and it went down to 105 GB. Note that in all this my available free space hasn't changed. It's just doing whatever weird calculating it does, I think.
 

MIKX

macrumors 68000
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
In Sierra 10.12.6 on my cMP .. . . 10 Gb . :D . .

Are you using iCloud ? That has similar problems too.

You should send a message to the Beta testing team. . a new High Sierra 10.13.6 Beta has been released.
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
561
207
US
I think people are overthinking the importance and value of this System presentation. I have just had to manipulate large folder - 200Gb large - from external spinning drive. I copied it to SSD, zipped (resulting in 100Gb zip file), deleted the folder on SSD, moved the zip file to different external spinning drive. Now my System (on SSD) shows as 362Gb in this graphical dialog. But SSD drive info shows much less full than this graphics would indicate. The TM snapshot (which includes these data) is temporary and will clean itself out in ~24 hours. And if space is needed TM snapshots will be pruned earlier if system starts running out of space. So, to some degree, who cares what this dialog is telling me? It's not very useful information anyway...
 
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DrBrush

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2016
62
58
Interesting. I wonder what the System is classifying as "System". In Finder I have 9 Gb of System, 36 Gb of Applications, 7 Gb Library and 650 Gb of data in my user folder.

In "About This Mac" I have 38 Gb of Apps (close enough!) but 218 Gb of System and 452 Gb of Documents. Work that one out?!

Wait, the longer I leave my "About This Mac" storage tab open, the System size is dropping... Down to 182 Gb now... And left for an hour drops no further!
 

Samurai Shampoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2017
68
1
Out of curiousity, I opened up that same panel and saw at first that it said I have 425 GB used by "system" on my iMac. But then a little later, it changed and it went down to 206 GB. My hunch is that that storage bar thing is what's wonky.

Before you go nuts, try DaisyDisk or something and do some math and see what's taking up what space.

You have restarted at some point in all this process, right? Because virtual memory paging files can get HUGE.

edit: in the time I wrote this, my System usage went down again, to 149 GB.

edit 2: waited another minute or two and it went down to 105 GB. Note that in all this my available free space hasn't changed. It's just doing whatever weird calculating it does, I think.
restarted many times. it's only going up about 0,3 GB every day.
[doublepost=1529501928][/doublepost]
I think people are overthinking the importance and value of this System presentation. I have just had to manipulate large folder - 200Gb large - from external spinning drive. I copied it to SSD, zipped (resulting in 100Gb zip file), deleted the folder on SSD, moved the zip file to different external spinning drive. Now my System (on SSD) shows as 362Gb in this graphical dialog. But SSD drive info shows much less full than this graphics would indicate. The TM snapshot (which includes these data) is temporary and will clean itself out in ~24 hours. And if space is needed TM snapshots will be pruned earlier if system starts running out of space. So, to some degree, who cares what this dialog is telling me? It's not very useful information anyway...
The things is that it's been like that for multiple days and it's rising steadily, sometimes in big jumps too.
I don't use TM and never used so TM can't be at fault. Already deleted that one default TM snapshot that TM takes every day of the day before (weirdly enough now I don't get these at all anymore).
[doublepost=1529502006][/doublepost]
Interesting. I wonder what the System is classifying as "System". In Finder I have 9 Gb of System, 36 Gb of Applications, 7 Gb Library and 650 Gb of data in my user folder.

In "About This Mac" I have 38 Gb of Apps (close enough!) but 218 Gb of System and 452 Gb of Documents. Work that one out?!

Wait, the longer I leave my "About This Mac" storage tab open, the System size is dropping... Down to 182 Gb now... And left for an hour drops no further!
For me the System Storage is increasing daily... I don't even save anything on the computer.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68030
Aug 20, 2015
2,756
3,708
I think people are overthinking the importance and value of this System presentation. I have just had to manipulate large folder - 200Gb large - from external spinning drive. I copied it to SSD, zipped (resulting in 100Gb zip file), deleted the folder on SSD, moved the zip file to different external spinning drive. Now my System (on SSD) shows as 362Gb in this graphical dialog. But SSD drive info shows much less full than this graphics would indicate. The TM snapshot (which includes these data) is temporary and will clean itself out in ~24 hours. And if space is needed TM snapshots will be pruned earlier if system starts running out of space. So, to some degree, who cares what this dialog is telling me? It's not very useful information anyway...
I ran into a similar issue with the amount of free drive space that was showing on the same Mac but in different user accounts. There was a whole section of "purgeable" data that was different in each one, and I think it had to do with iCloud caching. In the end, I believe it was just sloppiness in the user interface -- particularly where APFS is concerned.
 

Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,590
7,596
New Hampshire, USA
Hello, hope you are doing good.

I went to About This Mac and checked Storage. It says that the System takes up 112 GB of space on my internal SSD.

I have a 2017 iMac with interal SSD and the latest High Sierra version. I have very little stuff on my computer.
A few big apps but they just take up about 28 GB of space and are not included in System space storage.

I did some video editing for 3 days but nothing crazy. I always have had TimeMachine turned off and don't use any other storage like iCloud.

Now, why does my System use that much space? This can't be normal. The OS surely needs less than 25 GB, right?

Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks in advance.
My system shows 225 Gig under About This Mac / Storage. I then clicked the manage button and the usage bar changed to showing iTunes, IOS apps, and photos instead of system with a small sliver that I'm assuming is actual system.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,679
6,856
My stock reply to complaints such as this:

1. STOP using Time Machine. Use something else... ANYTHING else. I prefer a "cloning" utility such as CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

2. DELETE TM local backups -- this alone will save you many gigabytes of space.

3. STOP using Spotlight. Use something else. I recommend "EasyFInd" and "Find Any File".

4. STOP using hibernation mode if it's enabled.
4a. DELETE the sleep image (from hibernation mode) if it exists.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68030
Aug 20, 2015
2,756
3,708
My stock reply to complaints such as this:

1. STOP using Time Machine. Use something else... ANYTHING else. I prefer a "cloning" utility such as CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

2. DELETE TM local backups -- this alone will save you many gigabytes of space.
No. Use both. Time Machine for continuous version backups, CCC for whole-disk bootable backups (preferably kept off-site). I don't know what your logic is here. I use Time Machine on several Macs and have since its introduction. It's saved me on numerous occasions from bad updates, bone-headed deletions, all kinds of stuff. The only tinkering I've done on my iMac is set it to back up twice a day instead of every hour because I got tired of hearing my loud backup drive spin up all the time. Other than that, I like knowing that I've got versions of my files going back a full year.

3. STOP using Spotlight. Use something else. I recommend "EasyFInd" and "Find Any File".

4. STOP using hibernation mode if it's enabled.
4a. DELETE the sleep image (from hibernation mode) if it exists.
LOL. I guess if you're some tinkerer/hobbyist, this is all fine. But for people who would rather use their machines than f with them endlessly, Spotlight is a great tool and I have zero idea what you're getting at with all this deep-level futzing with sleep images.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,679
6,856
ignatius wrote above:
"No. Use both."

The problem with using the recent versions of TM are the repeated "local backups or snapshots" that EAT UP drive space. This was the OP's complaint -- that the space on his drive was being "consumed" by the OS.

I have never used TM and never will, so I'm not sure if it can be done, but -- can local backups and snapshots be permanently disabled?
Are there terminal commands that can do this (disable the snapshots from being created in the first place, so you don't have to delete them later)?

A cloned backup will NEVER use "more space" than the source, UNLESS you deliberately set CarbonCopyCloner to "archive old and changed files". Not sure if SuperDuper can do this.

One problem I've seen about Spotlight is that there are certain kinds of files it will never "find". That's not a problem using something like EasyFind.

I do "use my Macs", often from 8.45am until 12.30am at night. Once I disabled Spotlight, I never needed to fool with it again...
 

Spacewedgie

macrumors newbie
Apr 14, 2019
1
0
Hello, hope you are doing good.

I went to About This Mac and checked Storage. It says that the System takes up 112 GB of space on my internal SSD.

I have a 2017 iMac with interal SSD and the latest High Sierra version. I have very little stuff on my computer.
A few big apps but they just take up about 28 GB of space and are not included in System space storage.

I did some video editing for 3 days but nothing crazy. I always have had TimeMachine turned off and don't use any other storage like iCloud.

Now, why does my System use that much space? This can't be normal. The OS surely needs less than 25 GB, right?

Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks in advance.

I know this is an old post, so I don't know if you ever figured out what was going on here. I just wanted to ask if you were using Premiere Pro CC for your editing. If so the cache files that Adobe creates in your user folder are probably what caused your hard drive space to be taken up in the system section of the storage tab in About this Mac. That was the case for mine. It was reporting over 100gb used, so I started snooping around and found that Adobe had cached almost 90gb of files from edits I had done. When I cleared that out my system section dropped to 28gb used. Hopefully if this doesn't help you at this point, it will help someone else in the future.
 

IsakMacNoob

macrumors newbie
Nov 28, 2019
1
0
Hello, hope you are doing good.

I went to About This Mac and checked Storage. It says that the System takes up 112 GB of space on my internal SSD.

I have a 2017 iMac with interal SSD and the latest High Sierra version. I have very little stuff on my computer.
A few big apps but they just take up about 28 GB of space and are not included in System space storage.

I did some video editing for 3 days but nothing crazy. I always have had TimeMachine turned off and don't use any other storage like iCloud.

Now, why does my System use that much space? This can't be normal. The OS surely needs less than 25 GB, right?

Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks in advance.
Well you see i had this same problem.
But i found out it was an old user that i deleted via users in system preferences but was still there.
I freed 60 gb of space aka a lot.
I went to finder and clicked go pressed computer and went in to users.
Check if there are any that you dont need anymore.
 

Hector Contreras

macrumors newbie
Dec 29, 2019
1
0
There were users reporting that their local TM snapshots were being done even when TM was disabled. There are few simple commands (see here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/solution-reclaim-storage-back-from-system.2073174/) which will let you check if the space is taken by TM snapshots or not. Costs few seconds with command line and you will know.
TM is the most common explanation for symptoms you are describing.

Search here once in a while- This post was so helpful I joined just to say "Thank you"
 
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