8 Replies Latest reply: Oct 23, 2011 2:08 PM by Rasuul
Rasuul Level 1 (0 points)

I'm sorry, I know there /must/ be a thread on this already, but for the life of me the search on this forum never seems to reveal anything until I've posted a question (if at all). So I do apologize to those of you who dedicatedly sift through each of these posts.


Since upgrading to Lion, disc space has started vanishing. I have not made any major downloads and do not have much to begin with. I already store my iPhotos & iTunes on an external (well, the bulk of them - I've not found a means of consolidating two librairies yet, would be interested if anyone knows how I can do that, short of manual pain).


Twice now, I've ditched folders that contain ~10GB (for a total of >20GB), but shortly thereafter, and without replacement files being added, the warning comes up again. It's now blocking my comptuer from operating normally.


Thank in advance for your help.





  • thomas_r. Level 7 (30,640 points)

    If you are backing up with Time Machine, note that the >20 GB worth of files that you deleted does not actually get removed until the next week.  See Missing disk space in Lion*.


    * Disclaimer: links to my pages may give me compensation, and should not be taken as endorsement of my services by Apple.

  • Rasuul Level 1 (0 points)

    I am backing up with Time Machine & I was very interested by the article, thank you. But this doesn't explain where the space has gone in the first place? I deleted the last 10GB well over a week ago (and, in fact, the space did show up right away). I've now deleted an additional 10GB to the original 20GB, but in this case, the behaviour was as described in your article: only negligible space freed.


    However, though I'm on the road, I have a portable 1TB backup - so why is it wasting space on my hard disc?


    I just had a business meeting and my computer wouldn't work at all, despite the fact that I'm only using roughly 50% of it's storage capacity. Pretty humiliating when you're trying to sell software!


    Thanks for the advice, if you have any further insight, I would greatly appreciate it.


    Kind regards,



  • thomas_r. Level 7 (30,640 points)

    You say you're only using 50% of the storage capacity...  Does that mean that you had half the drive empty before installing Lion?  How big is the drive?  Unless it is extremely small, installing Lion by itself wouldn't have that effect.  Try a tool like OmniDiskSweeper or GrandPerspective to see where your space has gone, but don't delete anything unless you know what it is.  You may have a runaway log file, in which case you should open that log file and see what app is filling it up with messages.


    As to why you get the local backup even when you're backing up with an external drive...  that's just the way TM works now.  And it has actually saved me recently...  I emptied the trash via command-delete, thinking I was in the Finder, and instead deleted a couple months of e-mail that I hadn't filed.  (I never empty Mail's trash, and just file away the contents in an archive mailbox periodically.)  I hadn't backed up for nearly a week, yet thanks to the local backup combined with my Time Machine backup, I was able to restore every message that got lost.

  • Rasuul Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for the response. [can I parenthetically add that I hate that this forum doesn't keep you logged in & that when you /do/ re-log in, it doesn't take you to the page you were viewing? Just have to get that off my chest - one of those days, you know].


    Yes, only 50% capacity prior to installing Lion, but that was months ago (indeed, it was less that that, I can only account for roughly  50% of the space used).


    I understand what you're saying about TM, but I /just/ did a backup - it seems safe to say that once transferred tot he proper TM storage unit, that that info need no longer be doubled up on the hard disc . . . No? I like the feature, in concept, but suspeect it is eating my hard disc space.


    Anyhow, I've booked a genius appointment with the local apple store & will report back on what they find. I'm trying to be optimistic !





  • Bob Howard Level 1 (20 points)

    This might not solve your issue, but have you run the disk repair utility to see if it shows the partitions to be the appropriate sizes and containing the correct amounts of data?

  • thomas_r. Level 7 (30,640 points)

    I understand what you're saying about TM, but I /just/ did a backup - it seems safe to say that once transferred tot he proper TM storage unit, that that info need no longer be doubled up on the hard disc . . . No?


    No.  In fact, relying only on a single Time Machine backup isn't particularly safe regardless.  If your data has real value, and it would be a serious problem if you lost it, you should have a minimum of two backups on completely separate media and on different media from the originals.  I have three separate hard drives, one with a TM backup and two with Carbon Copy Cloner backups, and one of the latter two is always in the safe deposit box at the bank.

  • Greg Quinn Level 1 (0 points)

    Same thing for me, and no, this isn't a laptop (it's a quad core mac pro). Something in Lion is eating my disk space - had a full disk on a couple of occasions now. Really regret updating to lion.

  • Rasuul Level 1 (0 points)

    My issue was a replicating out-going message in Mail that was large to begin with (~50MB). I had tried to send the message & then deleted it & used DB instead, but it had been replicating itself (I guess in an attempt to send?).


    The genius is the one who found the file: we deleted the associated mail account, reinstalled it (& I think maybe even manually deleted many of the folders). Everything has been fine since.


    He used a program which I can no longer locate on my Mac (he had left it, but who knows: life is busy & I haven't a clue where it went) to determine the space allocation: it was very handy & I'm sure not hard to find.


    Personally, I have zero regrest on the upgrade: Lion is incomparably faster in terms of my work flow than the previous OS or Windows. Working on either of the latter now feels painfully inefficient. But to each their own.