9 Replies Latest reply: May 11, 2014 11:25 AM by rccharles
cb4931 Level 1 (0 points)

my start up disk is full how do i clean

  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (33,042 points)

    You need to use a Finder window and drag things you no longer need to the Trash, then EMPTY the Trash.


    A good place to start looking is the Downloads folder, which is located directly in your user home folder.  Open that folder in a Finder window.  If you use the plain list view to show the folder's content, and click on the heading for the "Size" column, you can sort the list by size and see the largest files at the top of the list.


    NOTE:  Folders are not sorted by size, so be sure to also look at the sub-folders in the Downloads folder.


    You can also look at other locations, such as your Documents folder, for items you no longer need to keep.


    Videos take up a large amount of space, so if there are videos you downloaded from the iTunes Store that you have already watched, you may want to delete them from your iTunes library. 


    NOTE:  You can later re-download purchased Movies and TV Shows from the iTunes Store Purchased screen.


    If you get an external drive, you can "offload" files you need to keep, but do not often access, to the external drive, then delete them from the internal drive.

  • AnaMusic Level 9 (57,110 points)
  • westvirginia Level 1 (0 points)

    thank you, i have external drive that i use for time machine. i worrie about deleting files that i may need or moving something that i shoulnt. is this easy to do?

  • westvirginia Level 1 (0 points)

    thank you and i did, there was a helpful vidieo that made it easier to understand some of the process.

  • AnaMusic Level 9 (57,110 points)

    You're Welcome. Glad you found it helpful.

  • LeachP Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you that helped a lot, but I'm always afraid I will delete an important file I will need later to run the computer properly,  What type of files are OK to delete?

  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (33,042 points)

    Files that you need to run the computer and apps are in the System, Library, and Applications folders.  You would not typically want to go into those folders to manually delete files.


    In your user home folder, there are sub-folders with your user data, such as Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.  Deleting user data does not affect running the computer.  In some cases, user data is used directly by specific applications.  For example, your iTunes data is in the Music folder.  If you want to delete songs and videos that are in your iTunes library, you should run iTunes and delete them using iTunes, instead of manually deleting the song and video files using Finder.

  • MónicaPalacios Level 1 (0 points)

    Please what can I do if I can't restart my computer because the disk is full?


    Thanks in advance,



  • rccharles Level 5 (7,581 points)

    It would have been better to have posted this as a new questions. 


    You sure your hd is full?


    skip what you cannot do... :-(


    You may want to run these "standard" fixes if the problem persists.


    1) Check the amount of free space on your harddrive.  You should have a several gigs free. I had my machine boot with less than 200meg.


    2) You should run disk utility

          Macintosh-HD -> Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility

          a) verify the disk

          b) update your permissions.


    3) Try a safe boot.

         Shutdown your machine.  Hold down the shift key.  Poweron.  Wait awhile; wait awhile while you harddrive

         is being checked.



    4) Another way to correct filesystem problems is into single use mode.

         This page will tell you how to get into single user mode.



        Basically, you hold down the command + s key then  powering on your machine. The command key

        has a little apple symbol on the lower left. It is between the alt/option key and the space bar. 



    You will now have to use the unix rm command.


    I suggest

    rm -i  your-filename-to-delete


    Here is an overview of the terminal commands.  Lets assume that your account has a short user name of mac.
    Macintosh-HD -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
    #What is my short user name?  Type the whoami command.
    mac $ whoami
    mac $
    #How to list all of your disks.
    # The ls command is for list
    mac $ ls /Volumes/
    Audio CD       Macintosh-HD   Spotless       Tiger-ext
    mac $
    # Let's say your flash drive is named Spotless


    # cd is change directory
    mac $ cd /Volumes/Spotless
    # pwd is Print Working Directory. A directory is the Unix name for a folder.  You are always in a directory.
    mac $ pwd
    mac $
    # The ls command is for list
    # l is long
    # F is type of file where / is directory.  For directories, the slash is pasted to the end of the name. 
    mac $ ls -lF
    total 134704
    -rw-r--r--     1 mac  staff     64560 Mar  3  2009 A-picture-of-Youpi-key.png
    drwxr-xr-x    83 mac  staff      2822 Nov  7 14:52 Applescript files/
    drwxrwxrwx    12 mac  staff       408 Dec 13  2008 Christmas Cards/
    drwxr-xr-x     9 mac  staff       306 Dec 21 17:39 Christmas Cards 2009/
    ... trimmed ...
    What does all this mean?


    d = directory
    r = read
    w = write
    x = executeable program

    ||  |  |
    ||  |   all other users not in first two types
    ||  | 
    ||  group

    What type of entry is this? d = directory, - = file, etc. 


    Every Unix resource: files, folders, etc has an owner, group, other 
    A Unix resource has one owner.
    A Unix resource has one group.  A group contains a list of users.


    To gain access to a file, you can be the owner, in the group, or not the owner and not in the group hence you end up as other. The owner, group, or other  has read, write, or execute permissions.


    # l is long
    # a is all to show hidden files & folders
    mac $ ls -lFa
    total 134736
    drwxr-xr-x    41 mac   staff      1496 Dec 22 17:11 .
    drwxrwxrwt     8 root  admin       272 Dec 24 13:55 ..
    -rwxrwxrwx     1 mac   staff     15364 Dec 23 12:52 .DS_Store*
    drwx------     4 mac   staff       136 Jan 22  2009 .Spotlight-V100
    drwxrwxrwt     5 mac   staff       170 Sep 14 16:36 .TemporaryItems
    d-wx-wx-wx     4 mac   staff       136 Dec 31  1969 .Trashes
    -rw-r--r--     1 mac  staff     64560 Mar  3  2009 A-picture-of-Youpi-key.png
    drwxr-xr-x    83 mac   staff      2822 Nov  7 14:52 Applescript files
    drwxrwxrwx    12 mac   staff       408 Dec 13  2008 Christmas Cards
    drwxr-xr-x     9 mac   staff       306 Dec 21 17:39 Christmas Cards 2009

    ... trimmed ...
    # mv is move or rename
    mv -i the-name the-new-name




    # You can just rename the file back to what it was with mv command.
    mv -i old-name new-name


    Here is what these commands mean:
    cd is change directory
    pwd is a print working directory
    ls is list
    sudo is Super user do
    mv is move or rename


    For cryptic comments, you can always uses the manual command which is man. For example:
    man mv 


    # Type the letter q to quit.
    In case you have spaces in your filenames or directories, you need to escape them. See examples: 

    mac $ ls -l ~/"see it"
    -rw-r--r-- 1 mac staff 3171 Oct 26 23:38 /Users/mac/see it
    mac $
    mac $ cd /Users/mac/Desktop/ttt\ html\ copy/


    Do you know about tabbing? Type in a few letters of a name then press the tab key. The computer will type out the rest of the name if it is unique.


    Press the up arrow key to see the previous command(s).


    To edit a command, use the left arrow key to more left and the right arrow key to move right.  Use the delete key to delete the key to the left.  Type a letter to insert.


    history to see many previous commands. 


    mac $ history

        1  pwd

        2  man ls

        3  history

    You may copy then paste from this list.



    You can use the find command to display all files greater then 25meg.


    sudo find -x  / -size +51200 -exec ls -lh {} \;


    I assume that you have logged on as an administrator. Enter your logon password. The sudo command will ask for your administration password. No characters will appear when typing your password. Press return when done typing.

    The -x / combination says to search all files on the startup partition.  The +51200 says to select all files greater than 51200 blocks of 512 length which is 25meg. The -exec indicates which comman to  run on a selected file.  The {} is the filename of the selected file.



    When in Darwin, you may use the df  command to see how full your hard drive is.  In my case the hard drive is /dev/disk0s12.  Your hard drive will be something like /dev/disk0s...

    mac $ df Filesystem              512-blocks     Used    Avail Capacity  Mounted on /dev/disk0s12            146525120 79789640 66223480    55%    / devfs                          204      204        0   100%    /dev fdesc                            2        2        0   100%    /dev <volfs>                       1024     1024        0   100%    /.vol automount -nsl [197]             0        0        0   100%    /Network automount -fstab [205]           0        0        0   100%    /automount/Servers automount -static [205]          0        0        0   100%    /automount/static /dev/disk1s1               1813024   418304  1394720    23%    /Volumes/COPYIT /dev/disk1s2                154472    27504   126968    18%    /Volumes/mac copyit mac $ 

    You can delete of things from Darwin but  you must be very careful.   Use the rm command to delete a file.   The file is permanently deleted.   my user name is mac.  Hear is how to list all users on your computer. The l  is the  lower case L: mac $ ls /Users Deleted Users  audio          mac   here is how I  deleted a file from my trash can.

    mac $ cd /Users/mac mac $ pwd /Users/mac mac $ cd .Trash mac $ pwd /Users/mac/.Trash mac $ ls -alh total 217120 drwx------   140 mac  staff         4K Feb 15 16:33 ./ drwxr-xr-x   113 mac  staff         3K Feb 14 17:53 ../ -rw-------     1 mac  staff        21K Feb 13 23:36 .DS_Store -rw-r--r--     1 mac  staff         3K Feb 12 23:24 .bash-backup-copy-initial-dot-copy.html -rw-r--r--     1 mac  staff         1K Feb 12 23:24 Differentiate Between Models  23-28-21.html ...

    --------------------------  delete the file youpi_key.html  --------------

    mac $ rm -i youpi_key.html remove youpi_key.html? y mac $

    Deleting files with special charactersThe terminal command processor allows you to use the wildcard character question mark (?) to substitute for any actual character.  This is one way of deleting files with special characters in them.  Use the wildcard character question mark (?)  in place of the special character.    Add to the option -i  to the remove command to be prompted  before the deletion.

    mac $ ls aa"hi   aaahi mac $ rm -i aa?hi remove aa"hi? y remove aaahi? n mac $


    ls -aolRe /Users/mac/Desktop/add_Group.html -rw-r--r-- 1 mac staff - 987 Feb 8 22:18 /Users/mac/Desktop/add_Group.html

    --------------------------  Here is one way to delete a directory. mac $ mkdir new mac $ cd new mac $ pwd /Volumes/see/new mac $ cd .. mac $ pwd /Volumes/see mac $ #  Delete the new directory. mac $ rmdir new mac $ You may used the rm command with a -R option to delete directories with files in them.  mac $ ls -dlF  data-dir drwxr-xr-x   6 mac  staff  204 Mar  8 22:49 data-dir/ mac $ ls -l data-dir total 0 -rw-r--r--   1 mac  staff   0 Mar  8 22:49 a -rw-r--r--   1 mac  staff   0 Mar  8 22:49 b -rw-r--r--   1 mac  staff   0 Mar  8 22:49 c drwxr-xr-x   2 mac  staff  68 Mar  8 22:49 d mac $ rm -iR data-dir examine files in directory data-dir? y remove data-dir/a? y remove data-dir/b? y remove data-dir/c? y examine files in directory data-dir/d? y remove data-dir/d? y remove data-dir? y mac $ man rm  -------------------------- Trash Problems http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=9224332#9224332 Dealing with Immutable Files and Folders http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=607591 --------------------------  #cd is change directory cd /Volumes/COPYIT/answers/ # pwd is print working directory pwd #the ls command is for list # l is long # F is type of file where / is directory # a  Will show all files ls -lF t* # mv is move or rename mv -i the-name the-new-name  Here is what these commands mean: cd is change directory pwd is a print working directory ls is list.  The l  is the  lower case L. sudo is Super user do mv is move or rename  for cryptic comments you can always uses the manual command which is man. for example: man mv  Message was edited by: rccharles