39871 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 10, 2007 3:24 PM by d3rail
You have too much data on the hard drive that contains your operating system (OS). The OS needs a certain amount of empty space to properly manage the files and it's running out of that empty space. Two solutions, depending on your personal preferences.
1. Replace the hard drive with a new (larger) one. Requires some expertise.
2. Add an external drive and move much of your data there. Just plug it in. If your computer has Firewire connectors, that's by far the best way to go (but the drives are a few pennies more expensive than the USB versions).
I agree with Philly, get an external hard drive. It is much easier and you can get one for about $100. Get a firewire model. Check macsales.com. They have great prices.
I'd also got hrough your applications folder and see if there is anything in there you never use that you can delete to make some temporary space. Also go through your documents folder and photos. Burn what you can to CD (files you haven't used in a while) and remove them form the computer.
This may be obvious but make sure you empty the trash. Go to Finder menu, empty trash. If you don't empty the trash those items you have deleted in the past are still taken up space on the hard drive.
Also, you might run some basic system maintenance as sometimes you can have too many abondoned and not cleaned up caches files and whatnot that might get you a little more space...
My standard list of things to do first for these sort of problems. Keep in mind this list represents the programs I tend to use. I am running Panther (10.3.9) so Tiger users might want to check the below list for compatibility. There are several alternate programs that do the same things with some combining the functions of some of the ones below. So everyone has their favorites, but here are mine...
- Run MacJanitor (free download) to do all the Unix Cron Maintenance scripts.
- Run Disk Utility (Applications -> Utilities) and repair disk permissions on your start up drive (typically your internal drive).
- Run Preferential Treatment (free download) to check for corrupt/damaged application and system preference files.
- Run Cache Out X (free download) to clear all system and application caches.
- Reboot your Mac (after running Cache Out X you are given the option to restart the machine).
What everyone else said - your hard drive is getting close to full.
Trying what has been said is not a bad idea, but first look at all of the files you have first - that being your pictures and songs, etc. Also what you have on the desktop.
I would start with iPhoto - do you have duplicate pictures? Also do you dump your picts from your camera to your desktop (maybe in a folder) then drag them to iPhoto? If that is the case get rid of the folders - it means you have the picts on there twice.
Same goes for songs in iTunes. When you drag photos to iPhoto and music to iTunes - they each put a copy of the pict or song in the library on the hard drive - some people think that they have to keep the originals of the pictures in a folder somewhere.
As for your desktop - do you have a lot of text files or downloads? Anything that you don't really use you can burn to a CD or DVD and then trash it.
To add a little to the advice already given: if the boot drive fills up on a Unix computer (which includes OS X), the computer will not start up normally and you'll be faced with booting into single-user mode and trying to free up disc space using the command line interface, a distinctly non-trivial task. Don't ignore the disk full nearly full warning!
How much free space is the minimum free space you want to keep on th boot drive is a surprisingly contentious issue, with some preferring the rule of thumb of keeping 15% or so of the internal boot HD free and others arguing for specific numbers. Both measures are valid in practice. You really want to keep at least 5 GB free space available on the boot HD in case you ever need to do an Archive and Install.
If you've saved downloaded .dmg files after installing software from the mounted disc images onto your hard drive, delete the .dmg files.
Among the disc space required by OS X is space for memory swap files. The number and sizes of swap files depends on the amount of real RAM on the computer, the amount of RAM needed by the programs and files used, and the time since the last restart; swap files can take up to about 5 GB in theory (although 2 GB is a more real-world limit). Restarting the computer will free the swap space back down to the default of one 64 MB swap file. That can give you enough working free space to more comfortably search the hard drive for more unneeded files to delete.
Whatsize is a handy utility for finding large files to potentially delete to free up disk space. Don't delete anything of which you're not certain! Old .dmg and temp files are prime candidates for deletion.
The advice already given about an external Firewire hard drive will help prevent the boot drive from filling up in the future. You can moce user data to the external HD. Refer to:
iTunes: Moving your iTunes Music folder
iPhoto: How to move the iPhoto Library Folder
OK, I backed up my family's itunes files to the external HD, deleted them off the computer HD, and when I open itunes- no library- no files! I did set itunes preferences to the sternal HD... I did restore the files by going to File, then Add to Library. This resotred them to the library, but also put the files back on my computer HD, hogging up memory... Any advice here?
There is, as you've discovered, a difference between the "Add to Library" step you used and the "Consolidate Library" step as spelled out in the Knowledge Base article on moving the iTunes Music folder. It's also all to easy to overlook the warning in that reference Don't remove the iTunes library files that may be in the same location as the iTunes Music folder. That will cause your iTunes playlist to appear to vanish; then you'll find the Add to Library command long before you'd find the Consolidate Library one, and bingo! you're back where you started.
You might want to print out the Knowledge Base article linked in the post above, and check off each step as you perform them.
I've also got this message on my iMac which I've had for 2-3 weeks! All I've put on there is about 65-75GB of music and photo's on it, out of a 500GB hard drive. I would tell you how much free space there is on my hard drive, according to the iMac, except I don't know how to find out.
I just found it - I have around 434GB free!
Is this some sort of recurring bug then?
Message was edited by: d3rail