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startup disk is full with other files that I cannot find

382 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 13, 2013 5:54 AM by iheartapple1970 RSS
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Aug 12, 2013 7:02 PM

My iMac says my startup disk is full (499 used out of 500 GB) and it says that the files are all "other" (Yellow).  However, my finder as well as a scan by OmniDisk Sweeper can only find 265 GB worth of files.  What are these other files and where are they hidden???

  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (39,500 points)

    The catagory "other" is one of the worst things that Apple ever produced.


    I suggest you use OmniDiskSweeper. It will tell you the names of the files and folders that are using the most space on your disk. With that knowledge then you can make the decision as to which files and folders must be moved and which can be deleted.



  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,995 points)

    ODS can't see the whole filesystem when you run it just by double-clicking; it only sees files that you have permission to read. To see everything, you have to run it as root.


    Back up all data now.


    Install ODS in the Applications folder as usual. Quit it if it's running.


    Triple-click the line of text below on this page to select it, then copy the selected text to the Clipboard (command-C):

    sudo /Applications/

    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:


    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)


    ☞ In the Finder, select Go ▹ Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.


    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the icon grid.


    Paste into the Terminal window (command-V). You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning not to screw up. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator.


    The application window will open, eventually showing all files in all folders. It may take some minutes for ODS to list all the files.


    I don't recommend that you make a habit of doing this. Don't delete anything while running ODS as root. If something needs to be deleted, make sure you know what it is and how it got there, and then delete it by other, safer, means. When in doubt, leave it alone or ask for guidance.


    When you're done with ODS, quit it and also quit Terminal.

  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,145 points)

    Hard Drive full or near full?

    If your Mac is running a fairly recent version of OS X, here are some general guidelines.

    Follow some of my tips for cleaning out, deleting and archiving data from your Mac's internal hard drive.

    Have you emptied your iMac's Trash icon in the Dock?

    If you use iPhoto, iPhoto has its own trash that needs to be emptied, also.

    If you use Apple Mail app, Apple Mail also has its own trash area that needs to be emptied, too!

    Other things you can do to gain space.

    Delete any old or no longer needed emails and/or archive to disc, flash drives or external hard drive, older emails you want to save.

    Look through your Documents folder and delete any type of old useless type files like "Read Me" type files.

    Again, archive to disc, flash drives, ext. hard drives or delete any old documents you no longer use or immediately need.

    Download an app called OnyX for your version of OS X.

    When you install and launch it, let it do all of its automatic test, then  go to the cleaning and maintenance tabs and look for the tabs that Let OnyX clean out all web browser cache files, web browser histories, system cache files, delete old error log files.

    Typically, iTunes and iPhoto libraries are the biggest users of HD space.

    You may have to Purchase an external FireWire or Thunderbolt hard drive to move these files/data off of your internal drive to the external hard drive and deleted off of the internal hard drive.

    If you have any other large folders of personal data or projects, these should be archived or moved, also, to the optical discs, flash drives or external hard drive and then either archived to disc and/or deleted off your internal hard drive.

    Good Luck!

  • iheartapple1970 Level 3 Level 3 (670 points)

    the "other" category in the apple HD storage contains items such as ios device backups, items in the updates and downloads folder, the trash can, etc.


    sometimes the mail folder in the user library can be the source of the "other" data. i would recommend getting info on your mail folder to see how large it is and if so you may need to go through it and delete recovered messages that may be contained inside.


    also it may be necessary to reindex the HD so it recalculates what's contained on it, the following article tells how to do this using the spotlight feature:




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