Where is all my disk space going???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Aquaduck04, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Aquaduck04 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #1
    Hello all,

    I've read through the forums and been to speak with my local geniuses, but I am still having trouble with my MBA. I have a 64GB late 2010 model. I've been getting "Your startup disk is almost full" warnings lately (especially when backing up my iPhone). I realize I only really have about 60 GB to occupy. And my disk utility is telling me I've used 57 GB. However, when I go into finder and get info on my main folders, I have 26 GB of Pictures, 7 GB of Music and 3 GB of Application data. The other folders are negligible.

    This only totals 36GB of information used up. What is taking up the other 20GB? I don't have any iPhone backups left on my machine. My trash is empty. What do I do? I know an external hard drive would solve the problem...but I'd rather get to the bottom of what is eating up my hard drive.

    Thanks!
    AQ
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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  3. johnhurley macrumors 6502a

    johnhurley

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    Aug 29, 2011
    #3
    Have you turned time machine local backups off?

    If you do the Apple Icon => About this Mac => More Info => and then click Storage along the top what do you see?

    You should get both a graphical display of what is taking up the storage along with numbers of gb used for each category.
     
  4. Aquaduck04 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #4
    Thanks! I've been looking for a tool like this. Here's my report...

    Audio - 4.7 GB
    Movies - 11.5 GB
    Photos - 5.6 GB
    Apps - 858 MB
    Backups - 0
    Other - 34 GB!!!!

    What is going on with the other?
     
  5. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

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    Jan 5, 2011
    #5
    Porn. :)
     
  6. Aquaduck04 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #6
    I wish! :D
     
  7. fat jez macrumors 68000

    fat jez

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    #7
    Now do what johnhurley suggested again after running the following command in a terminal window:

    sudo tmutil disablelocal

    This will disable local time machine backups.
     
  8. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #8
    Why do people insist on turning off local backups? The system will surrender the space as required, all you are doing is removing a safety feature that may help to recover lost data in the event of a crisis.

    Try OmniDiskSweeper this will help you identify the files that are using the space. OmniDiskSweeper is a Mac OS X utility for quickly finding and deleting big, useless files and making space on your hard disks. OmniDiskSweeper scans your disks and highlights the biggest files, so you can determine what's using up your disk space. It's a fast, easy way to find things that are hogging your drive and clear them out so you've got room for the stuff you really need ;)
     
  9. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #9
  10. johnhurley macrumors 6502a

    johnhurley

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    #10
    How would one match up what the OP is reporting as all the space reported under "Other" with this output?

    In other words what types of things does the mac os x reporting roll up into the other category? Are these possible backups of an iPhone or iPod ???

    On my own system I have 21 gb reported in Other ... hmm ... let me dig around some more.
     
  11. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #11
    Other is other. There's all the librairies for dynamically linked application, application settings, pfiles, kernel models, kernel files, system configuration files, all the system binaries (the Unixy stuff not in /Applications), etc.. etc..

    Yes, iPhone and iPod backups is part of others.

    That's why listing it by "type" like Music/Video/Pictures is dumb. These computers have much more stuff on them than your personal media.
     
  12. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

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    Liverpool, UK
    #12
    I also noticed that with my Macbook Pro which has gone from 60GB to nearly 100GB occupied space since iCloud. Don't know why and it's not obvious to trace using some third party disk visualisation software
     
  13. johnhurley macrumors 6502a

    johnhurley

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    Aug 29, 2011
    #13
    Well I deleted a big file ( win 7 iso copy used during bootcamp setup ) out of my documents directory and the other space went down by > 3 gb so clearly the "Other" category listed by the GUI under storage also includes "at least some of" the stuff in documents.

    Granted perhaps the apple categorization of stuff and space used in the GUI may not make sense to some ... but there should be some command driven way of sorting out and attacking the space usage reported in the "Other" category.
     
  14. halledise macrumors 65816

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    #14
    if you are running 10.7 - Apple menu / About This Mac / More Info / Storage

    there's the breakdown for you without the need for 3rd party utilities.

    here's my example, if it helps:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #15
  16. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #16
    There is. It's called du.

    The categorisation is quite simple. If it's a file that Apple does not consider a document, then it's other. So a .txt file is a document, whereas a text file with .readmenow is other. The graphical representation has nothing to do with what directory the files are in.
     
  17. M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

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    #17
    I second this recommendation to use OmniDiskSweeper. I've been using it for a while, and when you run the program it will take a little while to "sweep" your computer and locate all of your files, but once it's done you'll be able to see what exactly is consuming so much space on your machine.
     
  18. moikeyy, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011

    moikeyy macrumors member

    moikeyy

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    Sep 21, 2011
    #18
    Had the same problem with that mysterious lump of "others" memory, I had like 40gigs of what-and-where-the-hell-is-this.

    It turned out to be my iTouch 4 (30gig backup) and iPhone (10gig backup). I deleted them from my drives and BAM, my Air is 40gigs lighter :)

    /library/Application Support/MobileSync/backups
     
  19. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #19
    That's why you use the command line I gave and not the crappy GUI tools. ;)

    There is no distinction, it will list directories/files from biggest to smallest, with only the top 100 showing up (modify the -100 parameter to head to show more or less).

    Unix guys. All the power is there at your finger tip.

    Like theSeb says, all the GUI tools don't look at folders, they look at filetypes. So it doesn't tell you where the "Music" or "Documents" are, just that they are.
     
  20. johnhurley macrumors 6502a

    johnhurley

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    #20
    Knight you seem to miss the part of the point. The OP wanted a way to drill into just the things that show up belonging in the Other category.

    I could start fudging around with my guess about what commands are used by the GUI to get that aggregated number and then drive backwards into what files and directories that stuff in Other belongs to.

    Can you trace it out of the GUI directly to see the commands involved?
     
  21. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #21
    You assume the GUI is just a front end to existing commands and doesn't compile its own list internally. Unix has no command to makes the distinction between types of files. That's up to you to do by piping all the commands together.
     
  22. johnhurley macrumors 6502a

    johnhurley

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    Aug 29, 2011
    #22
    I haven't assumed anything as far as I know.

    The GUI provides an aggregated number ( gb of space ) in Other.

    I want to understand in detail how it arrived at that number.

    Not up to me to do exactly ... it is already getting done. Just curious about the underlying details of how it got there.

    Reverse engineering in effect how GUI came up with that total. Not sure why this is so hard to get across.

    May play around with some ksh scripting this weekend ( or bash i guess here in mac ) to simulate ... maybe. I have the 11.1.0.7.9 Oracle database patchset update to put in at midnight saturday during an outage so maybe that's something I will hack around with.

    The Other seems to be a strange categorization as already pointed out. Maybe not especially useful but for some people ( as the OP was ) hitting space thresholds on their storage with large percents of their space showing up in Other ... probably relevant for some exploration.

    Lots of different ways to approach clearing up space. This is just something I am curious about.
     
  23. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #23
    Ask the guy who coded the software. However, it's quite easy when you think about it :

    Aggregate number of space for different types of document (Music, Video, Documents, Pictures). Take total space used, minus space used by these identified file types and you have Other.

    Easy. All dependant on the software you use, they all probably have different algorithms and methods of determining and counting used spaces by known file types.

    What's strange about it ? It's everything else that wasn't tagged as part of the previous entries it list.

    Again, placing way too much importance on this stuff. What's important is not how data using the space is categorized, it's that it is using the space. du is the best way to find what are the "top talkers" and clean them up.
     
  24. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #24
    I've already explained exactly how it got the other number and so has KnightWRX. What exactly are you finding so strange about it? Do you want me to write the pseudo code to show you how it's done?
     
  25. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

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    Sep 7, 2004
    #25
    Glad someone finally mentioned this. This is what's doing it. I guarantee you. The genius who missed that is not doing his job if he didn't think about that.
     

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