9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2014 3:48 PM by Melophage
SurefireMedia Level 1 (0 points)



Please help me recover lost drive space from a deleted user.  Any help would be appreciated. 


I have a recently purchased brand new Macbook Pro which has lost close to 100gigs of space. It seems that when I deleted the user (which was previously ADMIN) after migrating some data from my old Mac to a new user, this information is now in limbo.  It is showing that I have space used for Music, Videos, Apps and Photos which I do not have under this user.  To be clear, I only have (1) user right now.  I have attached a photo where it is showing missing data below.  I have re-checked my music, video etc.. folders and there is no data there. It is not in the trash either.  I REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO THROUGH A RE-INSTALL. 


My I.T Skills are not the best but I am more than capable of following instructions and navigating if someone has an answer? If I need to use Terminal PLEASE be specific as I'm not comfortable with it.


Your help and patience is appreciated in advance.


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.57.42 PM.png

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • Melophage Level 5 (7,130 points)



    I’ll try to be specific with the following Terminal command. Log in as your current administrative user, and perform the following command:


    sudo du -sm /Users/*


    It will ask you for a password for this command; give it your administrative user’s password. It will not appear as you type it in — this is a security measure.


    The output will be given in MB used by each of the users in their home folder hierarchies. If you prefer amounts displayed in GB to MB (note that it will only display integers), use -sg rather than -sm in the command. It will round up, so e.g. 9 MB will be displayed as 1 GB if the -sg option is used.

  • SurefireMedia Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Melophage,


    Excuse me if I have misunderstood, but this seems like an alternate way to VIEW the space used on the hard drives according to User rather than recover that used space.  What I want to do is recover the drive space l have lost. If you have a music library with 50 gig and then delete it and empty the trash, you SHOULD get the 50GIG back.  It seems that when I deleted the user, migrated and it created a new user again (same name), it retained the space used by the music library, itunes etc.. even though I don't have any music, photos or video at this moment.


    Have I missed something?

  • Melophage Level 5 (7,130 points)



    yes, the du command is used to show how much disk space is being used. My intention it to confirm whether or not that user’s disk space has actually been deleted. If for whatever reason it hasn’t actually been deleted, then that would explain why it hasn’t shown up as available in your Storage window. On the other hand, if du shows it as having been deleted but the Storage window doesn’t, then the reason for the discrepancy needs to be determined in some other way.

  • BobRz Level 5 (6,115 points)

    If you deleted then migrated, it sounds like you brought the info back again. Is that the right sequence? Just delete it again. If I misread, ignore me. I'm getting tired.

  • SurefireMedia Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Melophage, Thanks for your help but your command is giving me warnings about deleting files and I'm not confident enought to move forward with it.  I really appreciate your help and I'm sure it may be a simple task but I can't take a chance.


    BobRz, Yes I deleted all those folders and files when I migrated again but never got the drive space back and can't find where they are hiding.


    I had a recommendation to download and use Daisy Disk from the APP Store. This should find WHERE those files are hiding?  Anyone have experinece with that? Or can anyone tell me where these files could be.


    Again, we are talking about music, video, apps that were deleted taking up hard drive space AFTER emptying the trash.  I'm missing about 100GIG. It shows exactly what is taking up the space just not where it is.

    Its a new laptop and I want this one clean and only for business.


    Thanks everyone. 

  • SurefireMedia Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok, I manned up Melophage after re-reading my own post and used your command. 

    Here is the result: (Bottom user is my name, I put dashes for privacy)


    153579/Users/ -------


    When I migrated the second time, it was from the same computer, doing the exact same thing and it created a new user the exact same way. Then I made that user: "markedwards" the admin, and deleted the admin account.  This still doesn't seem to explain WHERE these files are. 

  • Melophage Level 5 (7,130 points)



    so it showed that you’d had 153.58 GB being used in your user’s home folder. Your first image showed that you have a disk with 499.42 GB, less 355.43 GB free, which left 143.99 GB being used. Thus, those files must still be somewhere underneath your home folder, perhaps restored after your migration, as BobRz suggested.


    Try a variation on the first du command to see where they’re located under your home folder:


    sudo du -sm /Users/username/* /Users/username/.[A-Za-z]*


    (Substitute the relevant username for username above.) If the bulk of the files are underneath one of the folders with a name that begins with a period, then that would explain why they’re difficult to find — names that begin with a period are hidden by default. (This behavior is a UNIX holdover.)

  • SurefireMedia Level 1 (0 points)

    Melophange, Here is the verdict...


    14390/Users/username/ALL - Files
  • Melophage Level 5 (7,130 points)



    do these results meet with your expectations — 116.43 GB used by this user’s Clients folder, 21.45 GB used by this user’s Library folder, 14.39 GB used by this user’s “ALL - Files” folder, and so on? Or do you prefer to completely eliminate this user’s data to regain its disk space?