12 Replies Latest reply: Jun 25, 2010 10:52 AM by babowa
itscarmine Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi

I'm an idiot when it comes to these types of things but I've noticed just by searching for files on my computer that I have a lot of files that I don't seem to recognize. For example, I put the word "what" in my finder window's spotlight and read-me files from fonts I've downloaded and just a bunch of other random files pop up. Is there any easy way for me to delete all of these pointless files without possibly deleting something useful? Or do I have to go through my whole HD and delete everything manually?

iMac 24", Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,605 points)
    I would do it the slow way just so I could make sure that I'm not deleting something that I want to keep. Just a cautionary note: be very careful with anything in any of the Library folders and the System folder so the OS isn't messed with. Read-me files are safe to trash and of course any file/folder you've created.
  • itscarmine Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for the fast response

    I switched from PC to Mac a little while ago. In the "All Documents" folder in the finder window, if I delete mp3 files from there will they disappear from my computer entirely or are they duplicated in my itunes, making it okay to delete them from the "All Documents" folder
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,605 points)
    We are talking about Mac OS, right? Or are you running Windows on the Mac? First of all, I only have a "Documents" folder, not "All Documents" - did you create it or rename the original? Second, I'm not sure why music files would be in the All Documents folder - usually they are in the "Music" folder (Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Music). If you can find your mp3 in that folder, it should still be in iTunes and the one(s) in your Documents folder might be a duplicate.
  • itscarmine Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Yes, the Mac OS. I'm sorry its in the finder window under the "Search for" section, there's an option for "All Documents"
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,605 points)
    That is searching all documents on your Mac...... there is a folder "Documents" in the sidebar (on left) of any finder window. I thought that is what you were referring to. So, if you are searching your entire hard drive, I have no idea where your mp3's might be located. A better way is to open a finder window and then click on your user name on the left. You can then check the Documents folder for anything you want to trash; also check your Downloads folder (after making sure there is nothing in there you haven't installed yet), and your Movies, Music, and Pictures folders.
  • itscarmine Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you! You are really helpful, I appreciate you taking the time out to help me
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,200 points)
    itscarmine wrote:
    For example, I put the word "what" in my finder window's spotlight and read-me files from fonts I've downloaded and just a bunch of other random files pop up.


    They aren't random files. A Spotlight search on "what" is very broad & will return document files, emails, Address Book contacts, calendar events, web pages, & many other items that contain the word "what" in them, plus items that have the word "what" in the metadata for them. (Metadata is data about data, like descriptions, comments, & many other attributes.)

    You can control the categories of items Spotlight searches for in System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results tab. You can narrow down Spotlight Finder searches by clicking the plus button at the right of the window & adding various search attributes. If you select "other" from the drop down list of attributes, you will see that there are a huge number of metadata attributes that Spotlight indexes.

    Similarly, the items you see in the "Search for" section in the Finder sidebar are not actually folders but *saved searches*, including various search criteria. For example, the "All Documents" one simply searches for all files with a "Kind" attribute of "document," which includes essentially every application document. You can also create your own searches & add them to the saved searches: just use the plus button to add as many criteria as you wish & then click the "Save" button on the right of the window.

    Although search results all appear to be in the same place because they are in the same Finder window, it is important to remember that they are actually in many different folders. Thus, you do not want to just delete them all, nor are they duplicates of what you see in regular folder views. If you delete an item in a search result window, you will be deleting the item from its actual location, wherever that might be.
  • ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (31,125 points)
    Hi Carmine --

    I used to think that "cleaning up" my Mac was a good thing to do, too.
    Then I deleted a bunch of fonts I didn't recognize the names of, figuring I didn't need them.
    Turns out they were the fonts that the OS System uses. All my menus disappeared, etc.
    It was a disaster.

    I learned my lesson. If my Mac is working just fine, I leave it alone.
    Hope this helps you . . .
  • Steve M. Level 5 Level 5 (4,740 points)
    I agree 100% with Bee. It's not a good idea to get overly aggressive in deleting files from Mac OS.

    Regards,
    Steve M.
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,605 points)
    Bee and Steve,

    I agree with both of you, but I don't think there is any harm in throwing out read-me files or mp3's which is what I thought the OP wanted to do; hence my note to the OP that it would be OK to throw away things in her Documents, Music, Movies, and Pictures folders.
  • Steve M. Level 5 Level 5 (4,740 points)
    Agreed Barbara. I didn't mean to disagree with that particular suggestion of yours!

    Regards,
    Steve M.
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,605 points)
    I knew that - just checking to make sure I didn't give out wrong info.