10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 7, 2006 11:46 AM by Rick Prather
goldilocksontour Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I bought my first ever Mac 2 weeks ago to build a website using iWeb. It's got progressively slower to the point where it force quits applications & I've lost data. I keep getting the message that my startup disk is full and I need to delete files but the only startup disk I can find is in system preferences and this is to open using the HD or network. PLEASE HELP - I'm gutted - it's like working on an ancient PC!

MacBook   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • Amie iMac Level 4 Level 4 (1,365 points)
    The startup disk is your hard drive. When you look at a finder window you should see the free space available at the bottom of the window, and it is likely that you have no space left.

    What types of things have you been doing with it during the two weeks? Have you loaded a lot of media or other programs that you may be able to remove to free up space?

    MacBook, Intel Mini Duo, Dual G5, iMac FP800   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • goldilocksontour Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Cheers Amie - that was the problem - it helps to know that startup disk is the hard drive - I thought it was the RAM! I have copied about 10,000 photos and about 2000 tunes, but the Finder shows that that's only 9.47GB and 8.8 GB respectively, so I'm still a bit mystified as to what's taken up the 60GB - my 80GB external hardrive is chokka too.

    I've been backing up to the external drive using the Backup program and Bounceback Express. Any ideas what I could delete from both hardrives without losing anything important? Main purpose of the laptop is internet, creating & maintaining a personal website, photos and music.

    Thanks for all your help.
  • Michael Tirta Level 5 Level 5 (7,650 points)
    you can delete the trial apps program and demo program if you don't need them.

    Also full program like omni liner, board game, or quicken if you won't use it right away.

    Actually if you want, you can do fresh install using startup disk, opt out the language, printer driver, and all the programs (including demo and trial)that you don't want to use. It might save you extra space from the start.

    After that download and run monolingual, to get rid the other language that still installed by default, remember to uncheck english and us english so it won't deleted like other, it will save you another 1 Gb or so.

    Hope this help.
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Hi Goldilocks,

    First a couple of points that you may not be aware of as this is your first Mac:

    a) When you delete things by sending them to the trash they still remain on the computer until you empty it (in the Finder head to the menu also called "Finder" and drop down to "Empty Trash" ) This will permanently delete whatever is in the trash and thus free up some space.

    b) Unix based operating systems like OSX run various "housekeeping" routines, usually in the wee small hours of the morning, to clean out things like "temp" files and the like. If your computer is not on, or is sleeping, at this time then they are meant to reschedule to a later time but sometimes this doesn't actually occur. You can use a program like macjanitor or Onyx to run these tasks at a time of your own choosing instead.

    The software which comes pre-installed on your MacBook takes up quite a lot of space. You may want to think about whether you want to keep it all or not. You can always re-instal it from the DVd that came with your computer at a later date if you wish.

    Some things that you might want to remove to free up some space if you don't use them:

    1) The "trial" version of Microsoft Office

    2) The "trial" version of iWork

    3) GarageBand, part of the iLife suite, can be fun, but the templates which it comes with take up a lot of room. All up between its templates, instruments etc it consumes a couple of gigabytes of space. To free up this space you have to drag the application to trash and also drag the folder called "Garage Band " in HD/Library/Application Support to the trash (there are various "Library" folders on your Mac. This one is at the "root" level of your HD - ie the one that shows up in the window when you double click on your HD icon. (remember after putting things in trash you have to empty it to actually get the space back)

    When you imported your music and your photos did you make copies of them on the HD and then import them into iTunes and iPhoto? If so it may be that you have two copies of each item on your computer - the ones that you copied across and the copies that were imported into these applications (which will be found in the home/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music folder and the home/Pictures/iPhoto Library folders) . Worth checking.

    Its a good idea when using OSX to always keep several gigabytes free - at least 5 , preferably 10 or even more if you do things like video work. OSX uses space for memory "swap files" and also has to be able to write things like "extents" directory files. If the amount of free space gets too low then these processes can't work properly and you get the sort of awful slowdown you mention. Ultimately this can lead to a very nasty crash.


  • Amie iMac Level 4 Level 4 (1,365 points)
    I would add just one other thing to the other suggestions posted here - you mentioned that there were some crashes - there are log files that can chew up a fair amount of space as well. If you go into the Utilities folder and then into Console and click on the logs and then navigate to /Library/Logs/Console/501 and you will see the older console.log.# files and they can be quite large if you have been having issues, click on each of the numbered ones and then click on the Clear button to empty them out, and on your next restart you will see additional reclaimed space.

    It is always helpful to become familiar with the console logs, as when you do have crashes, they can help you identify the specific issue.

    MacBook, Intel Mini Duo, Dual G5, iMac FP800   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • Jeff Greenberg Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)
    It's quite odd that so much disk space is gone. Garageband, demo programs and all that won't consume all of your disk space. But you can pretty easily find out where it's all gone.

    Just click on folders and choose 'Get Info' to see how much data they have. If you do that for all the top level folders on your disk you should be able to see where the space has gone. It's probably in either 'Users' or in 'Applications' or a combo of both.

    When you find a really big folder, open it and look at all the folders on the next level. Eventually you'll get a pretty good picture of where the space is going.
  • Rick Prather Level 3 Level 3 (720 points)

    I have to say that your post is very comprehensive and it is refreshing to see such a helpful post.

    Good job

    Intel 20" iMac   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   2 GB RAM
  • Kristi Jacobsen Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Depending on how your computer was set up, you might also have all of the alternative language files installed, which takes up a HUGE amount of storage. There's aprobram called DeLocalizer (http://www.bombich.com/software/local.html). I have used it successfully on all versions of OS X, even though it hasn't been tested on 10.3 and above. I saw one post that said it freed up 60 MB of space
  • angelp Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    60MB? That's not a huge amount. I used Monolingual to remove the languages and it was about 2Gb that I saved.
  • Rick Prather Level 3 Level 3 (720 points)
    Yes, the first time you run Monolingual on a fresh installation it will delete as much as 3GB.

    Another nice program for this is Youpi Optimizer, it gives you a better idea of what is being removed.

    Intel 20" iMac   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   2 GB RAM