11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2012 7:33 AM by bwehman
bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

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 (192,330 points)
  • Topher Kessler Level 6 (9,865 points)

    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.

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    Good stuff, thanks for the explanation. The overall problem is that this amount occupied as "backup" is preventing me from being able to import photos into Aperture.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 (9,865 points)

    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 (192,330 points)

    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.

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    That's what I thought after reading the link you posted above. It has to be whatever that "backup" is because I can reconcile the rest of the used space using OMNI Sweep. Perhaps I'll just give Apple a call.

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    Here's another run with Omni Sweep. Notice how it even contradicts itself. In the left-hand pane it says there is 214.7 GB used and in the right-hand its says only 123.8 is used. I still can't reconcile the 90.9 GB difference.


    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 11.41.44 PM.png


    The 89.3 GB of my files are all reconciled.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,330 points)

    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/OmniDiskSweeper.app/Contents/MacOS/OmniDiskSweeper

    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.

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow, thank you so much for that little nugget of wisdom. As I thought, it is backup files that are taking up the space. They appear to be the local snapshots you mentioned yesterday. I'm just puzzled as to why they aren't clearing out when Aperture is requesting the extra space to import photos.


    Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 12.01.58 AM.png

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    Ah, I see, it's trash items I had deleted a couple days ago that are still lingering...


    Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 12.04.17 AM.png

  • bwehman Level 1 (0 points)

    Turning Time Machine off, waiting for an hour or so, and then turning it back on removed the local snapshots. Problem solved!