"System" taking up 285 GB of space

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,458
10,263
California
Okay. I have a MAJOR issue here. I don't use Time Machine, nor do I even know how to open up Terminal or what that is. Can someone please explain to me in steps how to solve this problem??
Aside from it showing all space used by System, does 32GB free sound about right?
 

smittywit

macrumors newbie
Mar 2, 2018
10
3
Aside from it showing all space used by System, does 32GB free sound about right?
Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.12.55 PM.png


Wow thanks for the fast reply. The System is taking up 613.66 GB of space. I don't belive this is necessary, but I can't figure out how to get rid of the files taking up everything.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
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California
Okay... you will need to run some Terminal commands.

Open your /Applications folder and find Terminal then double click to open it.

Then copy and past this line into the Terminal command line and enter. You will be asked for your login password. Give this command a minute or two to complete. It will show all the base folders and the space used by each. Copy and paste that result here for us to take a look.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,458
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California
I'm new to this. Here is the full list I believe.
Everything looks pretty normal except /Users where you show 603GB. Do you have some large files in the users folders that might account for that?

You could run this to drill down in that users folder a little.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,679
6,856
"Okay. I have a MAJOR issue here. I don't use Time Machine, nor do I even know how to open up Terminal or what that is. Can someone please explain to me in steps how to solve this problem??"

Download DiskWave. It's free:
DiskWave Homepage

Then:
Open it.
Go to preferences and set normally-invisible things to be visible.
Then... just observe.
You'll see what to do next.
 

smittywit

macrumors newbie
Mar 2, 2018
10
3
While talking in this thread I was in another thread asking for help as well, and Thanks to Weaselboy making me run the terminal, that allowed the others such as BLUEDOG314 to figure out and pitch into what the problem was. So I'm going to explain it here and on the other thread so future people won't be lost in the dark. I really hope this helps:

Okay so is for those THAT DON'T USE TIME MACHINE !!!! Cause I didn't at the time of this issue, read the following and this might help.

My initial problem was that the System was taking too much space. OVER 600 GB!!
Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.00.20 PM.png


I was told to go my MAC finder, click on Applications, scroll down to the Utilities Folder and open TERMINAL that's inside. I was met with this:
Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 12.54.10 PM.png

I then popped in the code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /

And the Terminal ask for you to type your login password. Okay look, UNDERSTAND YOU CANT SEE THE PASSWORD JUST TYPE IT. Once you type it YOU MUST WAIT FOR A FEW MINUTES. Mine looked something like.
Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 2.42.48 PM.png


I'm not the programmer or anything, but basically, if you look at Users there's a number that says 603. From what I learned that big number is where the System storage is taking place. I COULD BE WRONG IN EXPLAINING THAT. But that's where my problem was at. This is what the

Where ever your problem is, go to that folder and used COMMAND + I to look up the FILE SIZES and the abnormally large files sizes is typically where that unreported System storage is being used. The box looks like this and the file size amount is in the top right corner.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 1.05.22 PM.png




That's my advice, but I now, I shall completely tell how I fixed MY PROBLEM.

I went to my USERS FOLDER and Click on my home name that says Smitty. Yours will be different of course.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 1.09.02 PM.png


Clicking into that I highlighted all the folders and checked their folder which was COMMAND + I

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 1.11.27 PM.png


I looked and Deleted stuff that was unwanted. But here is the thing. THERE'S A SECRET FOLDER!!!! I was told to type in COMMAND+Shift+G and Search: ~/Library

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 1.15.25 PM.png


THIS IS WHERE THE PROBLEM WAS AT. There was folders such as MAIL. MESSAGES. GOOGLE. SAFARI. These folders held an incredible bulk of the system storage. Now be very careful of what you Delete there because it's a reason why it's a Secret Folder. But I knew to delete those folders because that was ONLINE BASED THINGS. I guess your computer saves information over time when you use Imessage & The Internet. Once I did that I wen't from having 32 GB of free data to 200 GB.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.45.00 PM.png


Now the reason why I still have so much System taking up storage is because I do Music and now I know my music takes up about 250 - 300 GB. You're situation may be different, but I really hope I helped out or at least gave you an idea.
 

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Oleczek

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2018
2
0
While talking in this thread I was in another thread asking for help as well, and Thanks to Weaselboy making me run the terminal, that allowed the others such as BLUEDOG314 to figure out and pitch into what the problem was. So I'm going to explain it here and on the other thread so future people won't be lost in the dark. I really hope this helps:

Okay so is for those THAT DON'T USE TIME MACHINE !!!! Cause I didn't at the time of this issue, read the following and this might help.

My initial problem was that the System was taking too much space. OVER 600 GB!! View attachment 753133

I was told to go my MAC finder, click on Applications, scroll down to the Utilities Folder and open TERMINAL that's inside. I was met with this:
View attachment 753134
I then popped in the code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /

And the Terminal ask for you to type your login password. Okay look, UNDERSTAND YOU CANT SEE THE PASSWORD JUST TYPE IT. Once you type it YOU MUST WAIT FOR A FEW MINUTES. Mine looked something like. View attachment 753135

I'm not the programmer or anything, but basically, if you look at Users there's a number that says 603. From what I learned that big number is where the System storage is taking place. I COULD BE WRONG IN EXPLAINING THAT. But that's where my problem was at. This is what the

Where ever your problem is, go to that folder and used COMMAND + I to look up the FILE SIZES and the abnormally large files sizes is typically where that unreported System storage is being used. The box looks like this and the file size amount is in the top right corner.

View attachment 753138



That's my advice, but I now, I shall completely tell how I fixed MY PROBLEM.

I went to my USERS FOLDER and Click on my home name that says Smitty. Yours will be different of course.

View attachment 753139

Clicking into that I highlighted all the folders and checked their folder which was COMMAND + I

View attachment 753141

I looked and Deleted stuff that was unwanted. But here is the thing. THERE'S A SECRET FOLDER!!!! I was told to type in COMMAND+Shift+G and Search: ~/Library

View attachment 753142

THIS IS WHERE THE PROBLEM WAS AT. There was folders such as MAIL. MESSAGES. GOOGLE. SAFARI. These folders held an incredible bulk of the system storage. Now be very careful of what you Delete there because it's a reason why it's a Secret Folder. But I knew to delete those folders because that was ONLINE BASED THINGS. I guess your computer saves information over time when you use Imessage & The Internet. Once I did that I wen't from having 32 GB of free data to 200 GB.

View attachment 753144

Now the reason why I still have so much System taking up storage is because I do Music and now I know my music takes up about 250 - 300 GB. You're situation may be different, but I really hope I helped out or at least gave you an idea.
Thank you sir! This is exactly where my problems was. Mysterious 300+GB of system data was there.
Freed up 200GB of some redundant video cache data.
Very Happy. Thank you!
 

Captainharry282

macrumors newbie
Mar 17, 2018
1
0
Ok tried the sudo mdutil -E /Library and that gave this.

/Library:

Error: unknown indexing state.

As for the apps folder the largest thing I have in there is MAMP but that takes 18GB.

81GB for personal files in the Users folder doesn't sound right to me. Will do some more digging.
After using the
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g / command, I had 99Gb in my Users Folder, how do I fix this without delteing my users folder??
 

ItWasNotMe

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2012
289
89
I would leave TM on. The way this is supposed to work is those files get purged on their own as the disk starts to get closer to full. Yours probably just piled up because you deleted a bunch of files recently I'm guessing.
What I've just noticed is happening, is that the snapshots on the boot volume include files that I have excluded from my TM Backups. So if I look in the TM backups they are not there, but if I position Finder on an excluded item, then enter Time Machine I have the option to restore items, but not to delete them from the backup.

For example, I exclude the Movies folders on the boot volume from Time Machine, but see the following behaviour:
1. It contains a sub-folder 'BBC iPlayer Downloads', the contents of this are encrypted TV programmes and the corresponding application expires viewing the files (automatically or by manual removal). The TV programme files appear in the snapshots, so when I have viewed them and remove them via the app, the space isn't freed until the file disappears from all the snapshots.
2. I deleted over 1GB of other files from the folder, emptied the trash can, no immediate increase in free space. Same reasoning.

Logic seems to be that if if its on the boot volume and you don't want it backed up, have removed it and confirmed you wanted it removed then for some arbitrary period you can still restore it.

[Edit, got my units wrong]
 
Last edited:
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ItWasNotMe

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2012
289
89
Snapshots including files/folders that are listed as not to be backed-up by Time Machine results in some truly bizarre behaviour.

Example:

I have two Parallels VMs on my boot drive (APFS SSD). These are volatile and I don't want Time Machine to frequently try to copy 30GB and 50GB files so the folder that contains them is in the list of Time Machine exclusions.

Periodically, I use the relevant Parallels function to reclaim space that is not being used. This should give the space being returned and you would expect that the free space on the drive would increase. In reality, for a day or so, the reverse happens and the free space reduces!

Why, well firstly, an unwanted snapshot is held of the VM so the original space is still used and secondly to do the reclaim Parallels has to write new data to compress the VM. Eventually, the old snapshot disappears and the 'unused' space is made free.

Effect is that by reducing the size of the VM from c30GB to c25GB, rather than increasing, the free space on my SSD went down by c5GB for a day and a bit.

Bonkers.
 

rickybloomfield

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2016
9
3
Run this to drill down in the users folder a little more.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/
I'm having similar issues but these commands aren't helping at all. It shows me that have used 286GB, which is totally expected. What isn't expected is that my 512GB SSD is reporting as full with DaisyDisk showing 215GB of "hidden space" and the system storage utility showing 342GB of "System" space used (that I can't find anywhere). I've followed lots of other suggestions related to Time Machine, but running the tmutil listlocalsnapshots command reveals nothing. Any other thoughts?
 

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rickybloomfield

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2016
9
3
Try this command and see what it shows. This is a bit different than the one your quoted.

Code:
sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /
That was the exact command I used initially (I just did it again with the same results):

Code:
0    /.HFS+ Private Directory Data
1    /home
1    /usr
1    /.Spotlight-V100
1    /net
0    /.PKInstallSandboxManager-SystemSoftware
1    /bin
0    /Network
1    /sbin
18    /Library
0    /.Trashes
7    /System
1    /.fseventsd
8    /private
1    /.DocumentRevisions-V100
0    /.vol
229    /Users
25    /Applications
1    /opt
1    /dev
0    /Volumes
0    /.TemporaryItems
0    /cores
286    /
286    total
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,458
10,263
California
So the issue it not the space used, which appears correct, but the System Profile just showing the wrong readout then correct? That gets data from the Spotlight index and if you reindex Spotlight with this command, it should fix that. Give it time to complete.

Code:
sudo mdutil -E /
 

rickybloomfield

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2016
9
3
So the issue it not the space used, which appears correct, but the System Profile just showing the wrong readout then correct? That gets data from the Spotlight index and if you reindex Spotlight with this command, it should fix that. Give it time to complete.

Code:
sudo mdutil -E /
Thanks for the response. The System Profile is correct - I actually only have 10MB free on my SSD, and it is behaving accordingly (apps don't open, I get low memory errors, etc.). The readout I get from the command line is incorrect (saying I've only used 286GB out of my full 512GB). I tried the Spotlight reindexing thing yesterday as well with no luck. This one's a doozy!
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,458
10,263
California
Thanks for the response. The System Profile is correct - I actually only have 10MB free on my SSD, and it is behaving accordingly (apps don't open, I get low memory errors, etc.). The readout I get from the command line is incorrect (saying I've only used 286GB out of my full 512GB). I tried the Spotlight reindexing thing yesterday as well with no luck. This one's a doozy!
You mentioned earlier you turned off Time Machine, but just for kicks run this and see if it finds and deletes any Time Machine local snapshots that are left over.

Code:
tmutil  listlocalsnapshotdates / |grep 20|while read f; do tmutil deletelocalsnapshots $f; done
 

rickybloomfield

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2016
9
3
Thanks again. I ran that a couple of times yesterday as well. I gone through pretty much every forum post I can find on this topic. I think it's an APFS edge case bug and will submit a bug report.
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
375
83
Thanks again. I ran that a couple of times yesterday as well. I gone through pretty much every forum post I can find on this topic. I think it's an APFS edge case bug and will submit a bug report.
To complete the data analysis, try the following terminal command:

Code:
df -h
DS
 

sallysally

macrumors newbie
Apr 5, 2018
1
0
Just have to thank all of you, I just updated to 10.13.4, and went from 150gb of free space to 40gb... As I opened up terminal I thought I'd just run a backup as some mentioned it was a time machine issue... while running the backup my free space dropped back down to what I expected...
 

lilliana1925

macrumors newbie
May 9, 2018
1
0
Hi, I'm struggling with the same issue. I would really appreciate help.

This is what my storage looks like:

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 4.09.44 PM.png

As you can see, 'System' takes up the majority of the space, leaving me with 1GB of free space.

I've tried the sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g ~/ command in Terminal and this what I got:

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 4.12.16 PM.png
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
375
83
Your two big uses are /Applications and /Users. By replacing the last part of the command with one those paths you can get a more detailed look at that area.

I would start with /Applications. Don't include the tilde(~).

DS
 
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