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Recover Lost Drive Space From A Deleted User - Mavericks

267 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2014 3:48 PM by Melophage RSS
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Jan 18, 2014 11:01 AM



Please help me recover lost drive space from a deleted user.  Any help would be appreciated. 


I have a recently purchased brand new Macbook Pro which has lost close to 100gigs of space. It seems that when I deleted the user (which was previously ADMIN) after migrating some data from my old Mac to a new user, this information is now in limbo.  It is showing that I have space used for Music, Videos, Apps and Photos which I do not have under this user.  To be clear, I only have (1) user right now.  I have attached a photo where it is showing missing data below.  I have re-checked my music, video etc.. folders and there is no data there. It is not in the trash either.  I REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO THROUGH A RE-INSTALL. 


My I.T Skills are not the best but I am more than capable of following instructions and navigating if someone has an answer? If I need to use Terminal PLEASE be specific as I'm not comfortable with it.


Your help and patience is appreciated in advance.


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.57.42 PM.png

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • Melophage Level 4 Level 4 (3,855 points)



    I’ll try to be specific with the following Terminal command. Log in as your current administrative user, and perform the following command:


    sudo du -sm /Users/*


    It will ask you for a password for this command; give it your administrative user’s password. It will not appear as you type it in — this is a security measure.


    The output will be given in MB used by each of the users in their home folder hierarchies. If you prefer amounts displayed in GB to MB (note that it will only display integers), use -sg rather than -sm in the command. It will round up, so e.g. 9 MB will be displayed as 1 GB if the -sg option is used.

    MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • Melophage Level 4 Level 4 (3,855 points)



    yes, the du command is used to show how much disk space is being used. My intention it to confirm whether or not that user’s disk space has actually been deleted. If for whatever reason it hasn’t actually been deleted, then that would explain why it hasn’t shown up as available in your Storage window. On the other hand, if du shows it as having been deleted but the Storage window doesn’t, then the reason for the discrepancy needs to be determined in some other way.

    MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • BobRz Level 5 Level 5 (5,800 points)

    If you deleted then migrated, it sounds like you brought the info back again. Is that the right sequence? Just delete it again. If I misread, ignore me. I'm getting tired.

  • Melophage Level 4 Level 4 (3,855 points)



    so it showed that you’d had 153.58 GB being used in your user’s home folder. Your first image showed that you have a disk with 499.42 GB, less 355.43 GB free, which left 143.99 GB being used. Thus, those files must still be somewhere underneath your home folder, perhaps restored after your migration, as BobRz suggested.


    Try a variation on the first du command to see where they’re located under your home folder:


    sudo du -sm /Users/username/* /Users/username/.[A-Za-z]*


    (Substitute the relevant username for username above.) If the bulk of the files are underneath one of the folders with a name that begins with a period, then that would explain why they’re difficult to find — names that begin with a period are hidden by default. (This behavior is a UNIX holdover.)

    MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • Melophage Level 4 Level 4 (3,855 points)



    do these results meet with your expectations — 116.43 GB used by this user’s Clients folder, 21.45 GB used by this user’s Library folder, 14.39 GB used by this user’s “ALL - Files” folder, and so on? Or do you prefer to completely eliminate this user’s data to regain its disk space?

    MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)


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