9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 28, 2010 10:16 AM by BobHarris
88_King Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)

I brought my 1st Mac a couple of month ago and have been slowly geeting use to the Snow Leopard OS.

I've replaced the hard drive with a 256Gb SSD mainly because the standard 5,400 rpm hard drive slows down the whole computer when running multiple virtual windows.

So far I'm very happy with the SSD, but I'm starting to run out of storage space and 512Gb SSD is out of question due to the high cost.

I've compressed my windows partition in bootcamp to half the size without any noticeable difference. However, I can't find any option in OSX to do the same thing.

I'm sure I made myself look like an idiot with a such basic question. But this is my 1st Mac and I'm still in the learning process.


Macbook pro i7 15", Mac OS X (10.6.4), Watercooled PC, Nokia N900, iphone 4 soon
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,650 points)
    You can't compress the HDD. If you're running out of space on a 250 GB drive, the only answer is to get more storage. And what is your backup strategy?

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (15,965 points)
    You could look at 'Squeeze' from LATENiTESOFT.com

    This takes advantage of the Snow Leopard ability to uncompress files on the fly.
  • 88_King Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    Thanks for let me know. I’ve also tried the option of compress individual folder but that doesn’t seem to affect the file size.

    As for backup, I got a 2.5” hard drive enclosure and use the original 500Gb dive as time machine.

    I got a lot of Photoshop and Flash projects on bootcamp, so that’s compressed nicely by Windows 7. But I also got about 60 Gb of music stored on the Mac partition, so I might as will move those to windows and compress it to half the size.

    I’m a bit disappointed OSX can not compress files to save space. I’m going to see if I can mount the original hard drive to where the DVD drive is. Going to open the macbook up again tonight to see if the DVD drive have SATA connection.

    P.S. Thanks BobHarris, I'll have a look and give it a try before gutting the inside of the macbook.
  • KJK555 Level 4 Level 4 (2,895 points)
    I really haven't played with it much, but the (terminal.app) ditto command in snow leopard now
    supports hfs+ (Snow Leopard type) compression.


    rsync (-z option) supports unix style gzip compression.
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,610 points)
    Your best option might be to store all your music and movies etc on an external FireWire drive and just keep it connected. You won't even notice when you're accessing anything that's on the external drive.
  • 88_King Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    This looks like a simple solution to my problem. I never realised how close the code in OSX resembles Linux (which I only know a little bits of).

    I wonder if I have to run the commands every time I switch on the Mac or if I can use:
    hfsCompress save myprofle1
    hfsCompress default myprofile1
    Or maybe I need to use hfsCompress-config

    I’ll back up the macbook tonight and give that a try for a week to see if it’s stable.

    To Tom, I'd like to keep all my data inside the Mac. I could get ride of the DVD drive as I hardly ever use it, and prefer to lug an external Blueray drive around than an external hard drive.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)
    Rather than, or in addition to TimeMachine (which I don't use as I found it annoying to say the least) it is very handy and popular to clone OS volumes; and, to have those as bootable working backups; and for doing system repairs and maintenance.

    Even having a small-ish 20GB OS X volume (set aside part of your 500GB) though better to have redundant and more than just one backup. And people have put and been able to boot OS X for repairs, using 8GB SDHC flash memory (I'd look into Class 6 or 10 and go with 16GB $39 if possible though).

    Dual SSDs have been done if you go that route, using the optical drive bay.

    Add NTFS driver so you can write to NTFS volumes, your Windows partition or external drive. You could have external drive with NTFS, too.

    To clone Windows, some programs don't like GPT or EFI based systems, there is Casper 6. Even Windows 7 Backup & Restore fails due to Apple's HFS+ read support.

    MacDrive8: add the ability to read and write to HFS+ from Windows if you want to keep music files where they are but access from Windows.

    My main backup is SuperDuper. http://www.shirt-pocket.com
    Cleans things up, I know I can boot from it, use that to repair the main system, and then keep it off line and update only if and as needed.

    Oh, and Windows Homer Server supports TimeMachine, iTunes, SuperDuper, now.
  • JaimieV Level 2 Level 2 (490 points)
    Music and videos are already highly compressed, so will not compress further. Compression only works on compressible files, you're not guaranteed "half the size".

    By the way, OSX (10.6) does compress files - the whole OS is compressed, pretty much - but it's not a user accessible feature.

    Have you cleared out unnecessary files, like the gigabytes of printer drivers, Garageband, and iDVD templates that are installed by default?
  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (15,965 points)
    Thanks for let me know. I’ve also tried the option of compress individual folder but that doesn’t seem to affect the file size.

    That is because this compression is supported by the Mac OS X HFS+ file system, so it knows the real size of the file.

    However, if you were to go into the Terminal before and after compressing the folder and use the command:

    ls -ls desired_folder
    1208 -rw-r--r-- 1 raharris staff 1233231 Jun 28 13:01 tmp1.example

    and then use the compress option, you would see that the allocation size of the file has dropped, while the byte size of the file stays the same

    ls -ls desired_folder
    168 -rw-r--r-- 1 raharris staff 1233231 Jun 28 13:01 tmp1.example

    The file allocation size has dropped from 1208K to 168K. This example used a text file that was highly compressable. Your mileage will vary, especially since music, video, pictures are already compressed and will not get any smaller.

    You might also look at this MacOSXHints.com article

    Message was edited by: BobHarris