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Trash empty, hard drive full.

676 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2012 7:33 AM by bwehman RSS
bwehman Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 2, 2012 6:50 PM

Hi all,


I've been researching this for a while and haven't yet found a solution. I deleted old time machine backups from an external hard drive that used to function as my time machine drive. I emptied it using option + "empty trash", so the trash truly is empty. However, my hard drive still says that it's filled with the backup. I've pulling my hair out trying to get this thing eradicated. I analyzed my hard drive using OMNI Sweep, and even IT doesn't show the backup anywhere. I'm at a loss. Is there a solution besides reformatting?


See image...

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 6.44.02 PM.png


MacBook, Mac OS X (10.7.1)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,650 points)
  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,295 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 7:14 PM (in response to bwehman)

    You can disregard the "Backups" section of that "Space Used" chart for your hard drive. The system makes local backups on your hard drive so you can access backups of changed files without needing to be connected to your Time Machine disk, but when space is needed these backups will be deleted. Therefore even though "About This Mac" reports you have only 35GB free, in fact the space it can use is the additional 89GB of the "backups." The 35GB number is just the completely unused space. I think Apple should adjust the labeling so this is more clear.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,295 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 7:44 PM (in response to bwehman)

    If you open a Finder window and enable the status bar (in the View menu) or get information on your hard drive, you will see the free space size reported there is a sum of the free and backup space sizes in the "About This Mac" window.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 7:55 PM (in response to bwehman)

    The overall problem is that this amount occupied as "backup" is preventing me from being able to import photos into Aperture.


    Local snapshots are equivalent to free space. They can't prevent that. Something else is preventing it.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2012 11:51 PM (in response to bwehman)

    ODS can't see the whole filesystem when you run it just by double-clicking; it only sees files that you have permission to read. To see everything, you have to run it as root.


    Back up all data now.


    Install ODS in the Applications folder as usual.


    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:


    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)


    ☞ In the Finder, select Go ▹ Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.


    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the icon grid.


    Triple-click the line of text below to select it, then drag or copy — do not type — into the Terminal window:

    sudo /Applications/

    Press return. You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning not to screw up.


    I don't recommend that you make a habit of doing this. Don't delete anything while running ODS as root. If something needs to be deleted, make sure you know what it is and how it got there, and then delete it by other, safer, means.


    When you're done with ODS, quit it and also quit Terminal.


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