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OSX Lion: Backups/Other Disk Space

93365 Views 94 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2014 4:06 PM by Barney-15E RSS
  • rickyfromsa Calculating status...
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    Mar 8, 2012 10:16 PM (in response to wraptor)

    Long time multi Mac user, but my first post. So happy with finding the answer to my problem that I thought I should make the effort to share.

     

    I have been having the creeping cancer tumour of "Other" storage growing for a few months now in About My Mac ("Backups" was not a problem). Throwing out unnecessary files didn't help much. The spare disk space on my 128GB SSD kept dwindling.

     

    Searched high and low around the internet and saw that others appeared to have the same problem. Spotted Pondini's advice here and there - doing a great job and no doubt solves the vast majority of queries or problems on the subject of "Other" storage.

     

    I went through all the obvious things, then the less obvious. OmniDiskSweeper scan - check. Time Machine fiddling - check. Nothing worked. I confess that I had started to share CraigMac's frustration. Like him I am not inexperienced with the Mac and I just knew something was wrong. Turned out the solution was in amongst Pondini's suggestions after all. The clue came from running Verify Disk in Disk Utility on the boot disk. It noted problems. If yours does too - you could be a couple of minutes away from a happy ending. (If running Lion).

     

    Boot from the Recovery HD. (Restart holding down Command and R). Select Disk Utility from the list that eventually appears. Repair your boot drive.

     

    After repair and restart, "Other" storage in About My Mac dropped from 77GB to 33GB. Which is about where it should be in my case.

     

    Thanks Pondini.

  • jeewizz101 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 11, 2012 7:48 PM (in response to Georg Grütter)

    thanks for the link. That cleared 100+ gbs that got sucked up into no where land

  • Superguille Calculating status...
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    May 6, 2012 5:46 AM (in response to skitzogreg)

    Hi,

    I've found a real simple way to solve the Backups problem that works perfectly . I have OSX Lion and I just had to open the TIME MACHINE PREFERENCES and TURN OFF the Time Machine Button. After that you may ask yourself "AND THATS IT?" well no that´s not it, after turning OFF the Time Machine Button you'll just have to RESTART your MAC. Then when it has restarted you'll your storage and you will se nothing in Backups.

     

    I HOPE IT ALSO WORK FOR YOU.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    May 6, 2012 7:35 AM (in response to Superguille)

    BACKUPS aren't a problem in most circumstances -- they'll be deleted automatically if your disk gets over 80% full.   They protect you against files being changed or deleted accidentally, or getting corrupted, while your Time Machine drive isn't available.  See Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #30 for the gory details.

     

     

    OTHER is a different matter; there should be at least several GBs of OTHER, perhaps many more, depending on the contents of your disk.  See Lion's Storage Display for details.

  • beverage Calculating status...
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    May 8, 2012 4:51 AM (in response to rickyfromsa)

    thanks for that just gained 50GB

  • gwalou Calculating status...
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    Jun 23, 2012 11:02 PM (in response to rickyfromsa)

    worked perfectly thanks

  • phatfish81 Calculating status...
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    Jul 3, 2012 7:30 PM (in response to skitzogreg)

    Just download this app from the Mac App Store: DaisyDisk - it clearly pinpoints in a graphic format, what's consuming space and you can drill down to the exact folder, remove the files and recover disk space.

     

    I went through this forum but then finally was able to find this neat app that did the trick. There is another app called "what size mac" or something similar - that would also provide the same.

     

    good luck!

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 3, 2012 7:37 PM (in response to phatfish81)

    phatfish81 wrote:

     

    Just download this app from the Mac App Store: DaisyDisk - it clearly pinpoints in a graphic format, what's consuming space and you can drill down to the exact folder, remove the files and recover disk space.

    Most of those apps don't show everything.   They only show things the logged-on user is authorized to see, which excludes most files in other user accounts and various hidden system files.  So if the total it shows varies significantly from the total used on the disk, you must look elsewhere.

     

    I went through this forum but then finally was able to find this neat app that did the trick. There is another app called "what size mac" or something similar - that would also provide the same.

    Yes, WhatSize does have an advantage, if you get it directly from the maker, not the App Store.  The version from the maker has a feature that will show everything at once, including the hidden system files.  Apple won't allow that in the version in the App Store.

     

    See Where did my Disk Space go?, especially the green box, for details.

  • druboy Calculating status...
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    Jul 4, 2012 3:28 PM (in response to skitzogreg)

    I have the same issue i have a 250 gb hard drive....175 gb is in the "other" catagory....went to the genius bar, we had to back up my computer, then i manually backed up my movies, music, pics, all personal stuff. then we had to create a new user, and then transferred all data to the new user, then deleted the old user. Bam hard disk space was back and all was good, after 5 hrs in the apple store......problem solved.....nope....3 weeks later i have 175gb in the other catagory again. I have not downloaded anything since then....so these hidden files are indeed hidden as daisydisk and other similar programs cannot find the files and let me delete them...

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 4, 2012 3:30 PM (in response to druboy)
  • druboy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 4, 2012 4:49 PM (in response to rickyfromsa)

    that worked! repair disk from startup

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 4, 2012 4:50 PM (in response to druboy)

    Great!

  • Jeremy Hammer Calculating status...
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    Jul 20, 2012 12:40 PM (in response to skitzogreg)

    Keep in mind everybody, you will have a sleepimage file that is the same size as your installed RAM so the more RAM you have, the less HDD space is available.

  • aghatak Calculating status...
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    Jul 24, 2012 11:59 AM (in response to Pondini)

    was getting the same mysterious 'other' that was eating up 80GB of my disk.

     

    did all the usual disk inventory / grand perspective, verify/repair on the disk etc but got nothing

     

    For some reason, whenever I deleted anything, I was prompted for the admin pw and but it didnt appear in the trash. the trash was always empty

     

    found a users/<myusername>/.trash directory thru WhatSize (admin mode) that contained all the stuff I'd deleted. deleted the entire contents, emptied the trash (strangely), and rebooted.

     

    Voila! 80 GB extra space

     

    thanks pondini for all the tips...

  • agodfrin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2012 1:54 AM (in response to skitzogreg)

    Like everyone else here I also noticed the size occupied by the mobile backups. I have a MacBook Pro with a drive of 750GB.  When I check the available space via the Finder it says I have 380 GB free. But then a widget I have says I have ony 178 GB available. A little investigatioin showed that the difference is taken up by the mobile backups (which appear as a virtual drive in /Volumes: /Volumes/Mobilebackups).

     

    I am not worrying about that since that space will be freed up and used for other stuff if I need it. I may still turn off time machine backups while away - I will actually be away for another two weeks - three weeks in total - before connecting back to my Time Machine backup drive at home.

     

    As for all those complaints about the "other" category in the disk use, my use is like this at the momebt:

    Audio = 4.83 GB

    Movies = 4.81 GB

    Photos = 8.99 GB

    Apps = 10.02 GB

    Backups = 204.65 GB

    Other = 340.22 GB

     

    So do I worry about all the "other" space ? Not at all. I obviously use this device for other things but music, movies and photos. I happen to use it also for real work, which includes storing many documents and files, presentations, spreadsheets, manuals, software installation kits and (the big consumers) a number of big virtual machines (Linux and Windows).

     

    The bottom line is that, unless you use your Mac exclusively for entertainement (listening to music, whatching movies, editing photos, capturing audio, ...) you are bound to have "other" data. I see nothing to worry about.

     

    On a more general note of Time Machine and mobile back ups, I will probably end up turning them off. Backups serve two purposes not to be confused (and Time machine does confuse them)

     

     

    1) one is to protect from catastrophic media losses: this include a simple failure of your internal disk drive, but also your mac being crushed in some accident, or being stolen. And obviously recovering from those can only happen if you have your backups stored elsewhere on a different external media (obviously NOT on the same drive) and kept in a different place - i.e. don't take it with you on the road. Don't leave it at home next to your mac (both will get burned or stolen together if that ever happens). Best is to keep it at another place: your professional office if you have one, or your mom's place.

     

     

    Obviously this will not be a perfect up-to-the minute backup: all you can do is to restore to a state from your latest TM backup on the external media.

     

     

    And again, mobile backups do not help here after a total media loss.

     

     

    2) the other is to protect from human / software mistakes. This is where you want to recover previous versions of documents, source code, executables before you messed them up or before you installed that new version. For that the mobile backups are extremely useful since you can go back to an earlier state immediately, using the data that time machine conveniently saved for you automatically. There is no need to wait until you are back home to try and restore those old versions. Obviously Time Machine can only store so much, based on your available space, but this is still a great feature, especially since taking those backups is very unobtrusive.

     

     

    Albert

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