3 Replies Latest reply: Jun 23, 2010 5:14 PM by Kyle Gascho
Kyle Gascho Level 1 (5 points)
Hi All,

I've got a Macbook Pro that doesn't usually stay on over night. Therefore the maintenance hasn't been running in over a year... I know... not good. It's not really my laptop...

ANYWAY, the .log files have grown WAY out of proportion. The system.log file is over 12GB, yes GigaB. There are other also many .asl log files that are taking up lots of space.

I've tried running Onyx to clean up the files with no luck. I've also manually run the scripts via Terminal with no luck.

There's also rather large 5GB Sleep Image. Wondering if could trash that as well?

I know you're not supposed to go deleting hidden files, but these log files are killing me.



I was wondering if I could simply trash these log files, including the 12GB system.log file

MacPro 2 x 2.66 Dual Core Xeon, Mac OS X (10.5.5), IT Professional - Every Mac Under the Sun
  • Kappy Level 10 (265,756 points)
    You can remove any of the log files if you wish. New ones will be created as needed. Updating to 10.5.8 or 10.6 should help reduce the build up of some of the log files since they have somewhat better configurations that should perform the maintenance tasks once the computer is turned on or awakened from sleep. If you cannot update then you might think about installing a utility to help - Macaroni is a good one you will find at VersionTracker or MacUpdate.

    A better tool for clearing cache files is Leopard Cache Cleaner or TinkerToolSystem. The latter also can clear old log files as well.

    The sleep image file is created automatically at a size approximating installed RAM. You can remove it but it will be recreated automatically.

    See also:

    Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance

    For disk repairs use Disk Utility. For situations DU cannot handle the best third-party utilities are: Disk Warrior; DW only fixes problems with the disk directory, but most disk problems are caused by directory corruption; Disk Warrior 4.x is now Intel Mac compatible. TechTool Pro provides additional repair options including file repair and recovery, system diagnostics, and disk defragmentation. TechTool Pro 4.5.1 or higher are Intel Mac compatible; Drive Genius is similar to TechTool Pro in terms of the various repair services provided. Versions 1.5.1 or later are Intel Mac compatible.

    OS X performs certain maintenance functions that are scheduled to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly period. The maintenance scripts run in the early AM only if the computer is turned on 24/7 (no sleep.) If this isn't the case, then an excellent solution is to download and install a shareware utility such as Macaroni, JAW PseudoAnacron, or Anacron that will automate the maintenance activity regardless of whether the computer is turned off or asleep. Dependence upon third-party utilities to run the periodic maintenance scripts had been significantly reduced in Tiger and Leopard. These utilities have limited or no functionality with Snow Leopard and should not be installed.

    OS X automatically defrags files less than 20 MBs in size, so unless you have a disk full of very large files there's little need for defragmenting the hard drive. As for virus protection there are few if any such animals affecting OS X. You can protect the computer easily using the freeware Open Source virus protection software ClamXAV. Personally I would avoid most commercial anti-virus software because of their potential for causing problems.

    I would also recommend downloading the shareware utility TinkerTool System that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old logfiles and archives, clearing caches, etc. Other utilities are also available such as Onyx, Leopard Cache Cleaner, CockTail, and Xupport, for example.

    For emergency repairs install the freeware utility Applejack (not compatible with Snow Leopard.) If you cannot start up in OS X, you may be able to start in single-user mode from which you can run Applejack to do a whole set of repair and maintenance routines from the commandline. Note that AppleJack 1.5 is required for Leopard. AppleJack is not compatible with Snow Leopard.

    When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand. I also recommend booting into safe mode before doing system software updates.

    Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):

    1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
    2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
    3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
    4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
    5. Carbon Copy Cloner (Donationware)
    6. SuperDuper! (Commercial)
    7. Intego Personal Backup (Commercial)
    8. Data Backup (Commercial)
    9. SilverKeeper 2.0 (Freeware)
    10. MimMac (Commercial)
    11. Tri-Backup (Commercial)

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore.

    Additional suggestions will be found in Mac Maintenance Quick Assist.

    Referenced software can be found at www.versiontracker.com and www.macupdate.com.

    Message was edited by: Kappy
  • Limnos Level 8 (47,161 points)
    It might be worth glancing at the huge system log file first. 12GB of text is enormous. Perhaps there is something running amok on your computer generating the file and it would be nice to know what it is (to stop it).
  • Kyle Gascho Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks guys. Kappy, I've saved your recommendations. Thank you.

    I've trashed all the large log files and freed up about 30GB worth! Looking into the larger 12GB system.log file I saw an error on his laptop that was reporting every 10 seconds. com.apple.systemstarter upon further digging I believe it to be an older version of Now Contact Up To Date startup item in the HD's root level Library. I've since deleted that startup item (because the user doesn't use NOW). The log file hasn't reported the error yet. I will check it again tomorrow but hopefully that will get it.

    It makes sense that that tiny little error has been going for over a year has grown and grown. Hopefully we've nipped it out.

    Thanks for your help!