I fuond some stuff that xcode (or something developer-related) had stuck in /var/folders/m1/.. It came up because gcc apparently wouldn't compile a program (that had compiled before - it's Paul Guyot's 'Albert' decompiler/disassembler for the Newton ROM) The following was the command and error:
gcc db2src.cpp disarm.cpp disarm_c.cpp nsDecode.cpp ∂
EasyBMP/EasyBMP.cpp -lstdc++-static -o ../db2src
ld: duplicate symbol _gFnameRomBuilt in ∂
/var/folders/m1/m1JMuhFvE2a7LetqP5+Rpk+++TI/-Tmp-//ccfiL600.o and ∂
for architecture i386
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
You are talking about a six year old machine. There is a good chance that the disk is slowly dying. (I have a MBP from about that time, and it is slow even in ordinary operations. I have been told by an Apple service centre that the disk is definitely dying.)
It also seems like you might be using every bit of spare space on the disk. Apple recommends keeping at least 10% (from memory) of your disk free at all times. If you don't, the operating system slows down.
I would suggest that it is time to get a new disk for your MBP, which will solve the space problem and the slowness problem. And possibly save you from final failure, probably when you least want it to happen.
Hear hear !!
You don't need to defrag for your use case, cache cleaning does not replace registry cleaning, your Mac does not need periodic maintenance, and there are no viruses only trojans (stop downloading and installing stuff!)
If you have a specific problem, don't make it worse by guesssing. Troubleshoot and fix the issue.
That's it. OSX works totally different than Windows, all these "tools" slow down and wear out your system. Cleaning out caches and temporary files happens automatically on a daily weekly and monthly basis (read how it is described in Onyx).
I was brought to this thread by Google having just done a runthrough with WhatSize and also discovered the Private/Var folder - mine is a whopping 9.82GB!!!
Could someone please explain step by step how to reduce this? It's got to be mostly a waste of space... on my mid 2010 MBP happily running OSX 10.8.5
PS Just add - the main huge folder is called 'sleepimage' ... ?!
Sleepimage is exactly what it sounds like - it is the image written to disc of your machines active state when it went into sleep mode. It is typlically as big as the amount of RAM you have on your system. You can delete it, but the next time your system sleeps, it will just be re-created.
sudo rm /private/var/vm/sleepimage
Try a simple reboot and then see what /var is. Ordinarily, the things that can safely be purged from /var are automatically purged as part of a system restart. However, many, like sleepimage, swap files and so on will just come right back, as they are needed for your system to work properly.