Space Question

I’ve been receiving messages that I don’t have enough space on my computer for this and that.  Most recently it had to do with optimized albums and syncing to my iPhone.  Last it was about my startup disk.

Yep, that’s a pretty definitive indication. A modern rocketship MacBook Pro will quickly turn into a land tortoise when it doesn’t have enough hard drive space to do the do. Common wisdom has been spread that the Mac needs about 10% of its hard drive to function properly.

Since HDs have gotten so big, the culprits are no longer system-level items — 2 or 3 gigabytes in the GarageBand Audio Loops and WorldBook Encyclopedia data are now kind of small potatoes — and thus we’re faced with delving into our user data and figuring out what we don’t need constant access to.

There is a lovely, free utility called Disk Inventory X that I have long used to discover what’s taking up room on a drive. We can use Disk Inventory X to find the 300-pound gorillas, usually our music and movies, and pull them off to an external hard drive. Or, in fact, to TWO external hard drives, because we have to remember that a digital file doesn’t exist unless it exists in two places.

One can burn CDs or DVDs, but I find these cumbersome, time-intensive, untrustworthy, and hard to store. A second external hard drive is the way to go.

The built-in way to see what’s consuming space is to open up your home folder, go to View menu > as List, and then View > Show View Options.

In the View Options window, turn on Calculate all sizes. You will start to see sizes of your folders appear. In that window, you can click the top of the Size column (click on the word “Size”) to sort the list biggest to smallest:

From there, you can start clicking the triangles next to the biggest folders to expand the contents of the folders, which will in turn be sorted by size. That will help you figure out what you might start to archive and delete.

Notes: Don’t delete your iPhoto Library! It’s too precious. I usually start with iTunes Movies and TV Shows, which are most easily Trashed from within iTunes.

Author: jjmarcus

Apple Specialist, Mac Whisperer, Cloud Wrangler - Your Remote CTO

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