9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2014 3:54 AM by LowLuster
david125 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I thought I would post this as I spent a lot of time finding the solution and came across a lot of threads for the same problem, so hope it helps some people out.  I confess that this is not my work but a few cobbled together solutions from others that worked  for me.

 

If your HD or (as in my case SSD) is reporting via Finder or Omnidisk sweeper or similar App that the used space is greater than the files that you can account for (ie my 250GB SSD was showing in Finder as having 134Gb of used space but the sum of all the files reported by Omni disc sweeper, Finder and  Disk inventory X only came to 64GB with just over 50Gb of free space: hence 70GB that I could not account for or find.  It seems it is usually due to hidden files and particularly those related to mobile backups from Time machine.  However, knowing this and finding the pesky hidden files took me a lot of googling and a fair amount of time, repairing disk permissions and disks had no effect whatsoever, so here is the solution if your boot drive seems to have used space that you cannot accont for, or "lost space":

 

 

First of all to find the missing data:

 

It is usually in hidden Files.  To view, you need to run OmniDisk Sweeper or similar from the root directory (very important as it will not show all the hidden files or other users files if run as I guess most people - myself included - run it, that  is from their user directory)  You also need to be logged in as an  Administrator.  Type the following into Terminal:

 

sudo /Applications/OmniDiskSweeper.app/Contents/MacOS/OmniDiskSweeper

 

 

You will then be required to enter your password. 

 

I used OmniDisk Sweeper (free App) with the above command to run it from the root directory, should look something like this, showing all files,  hidden or otherwise and file sizes.  (Must be run as User with Admin privileges).

 

OmniDisk Image.jpg

 

 

 

In my example there are 68.3 GB taken up by the .MobileBackups file that wont be shown by Omnidisk sweeper or similar App if run from users directory.  The .MobileBackups file is a Time machine back up file that will usually be deleted once Time Machine has backed up to an external file.  However in my case, I didn't have enough space for the time machine back up so disabled it but then ended up with a hidden file called MobileBackups.Trash that took me ages to find using the above process and then delete (as I will explain in a bit).

 

See following article to explain further about this step:

 

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/

 

 

 

 

 

To delete the mobilebackups.trash file I used this command in Terminal.  Obviously it will need amending to delete any other files you want rid of.

 

 

sudo mv /.MobileBackups.trash /Trashme

 

From this link:

 

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5802961?tstart=0

 

 

This will create folder in top directory of hard disk  (double click on ssd or hd image to open into this directory) called “trash me” That contains the mobile backup.trash files to be deleted.

 

 

Other useful commands in Terminal

 

Show hidden files:

 

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

 

Stop showing hidden files:

 

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

 

 

I hope this is helpful.


MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • speedyBrah Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    for the mobile backups, that is your local timemachine snap shot. It does not delete once you transfer to a external from my understanding. it literally is a backup meant to be on your computer. You can turn it off via command line (dont have the command on me)

  • david125 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Maybe you're right.  I fiddled around with terminal commands and time machine settings and ended up with a file called MobileBackups.trash that was taking up 63Gb of my SSD. Even the MobileBackups folder, that you quite rightly say is a normal part of time machine local backup files, contains 63Gb as you can see.  I use a 3Gb time capsule for backups so have no need of this huge amount of space being wasted on my MBP's drive.

     

    The reason this all came about was that I was trying to install windows on a boot camp partition and the free space available for this was less than I wanted, after clearing some unused files, I gradually realised that there was some missing storage space on my primary drive: windows doesn't seem to be able to be installed on a 2nd drive that I have in my MBP (I swapped out the optical drive, moved the 500gb HD to the optical bay and stuck a 250gb SSD in the original HD slot and used it as my primary boot drive - but that's another story).  Anyway it took me a lot of googling to find the mysterious missing storage, as even if you enable hidden files, Mac OS is still pretty sneaky and won't let you access them and hence find out the amount of space they are utilising/wasting.

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (12,015 points)

    Also if you turn Time Machine off, in system Preferences, the local snapshots aren't taken.

     

    I do both turn off the local snapshots with a terminal command and have TM set to off unless I am going to do a backup.

     

    If OS X is so Rubust and as stated by Apple as "The Most Advanced Operating System in the World" along with Mac computers being so well made why do you need constant backups and to top it off local snapshots taken every hour.

    speedyBrah wrote:

     

    for the mobile backups, that is your local timemachine snap shot. It does not delete once you transfer to a external from my understanding. it literally is a backup meant to be on your computer. You can turn it off via command line (dont have the command on me)

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (32,070 points)

    LowLuster greetings:  I suggest that you read the following articles regarding 'Local Snapshots' and perhaps gain an understanding what they are and what their purpose is.

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4878

     

    http://pondini.org/TM/30.html

     

    Hourly backups are a design element of Time Machine and in no way are a reflection of whether the OSX is "so Rubust and as stated by Apple as "The Most Advanced Operating System  in the World" along with Mac computers being so well made why do you  need constant backups and to top it off local snapshots taken every hour".  Backups could be made at any arbitrary time period. 

     

    Any suggestion that 'Local Snapshots' are a reflection of any fault in the OSX is simply without any foundation.  There simply is no correlation between these two elements.

     

    Ciao.

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (12,015 points)

    I know exactly what they are and what they are supposedly for. For me they are just a waist of hard drive space. I have no need for them. Apple feels the same way on all other Mac computers other than the notebook line.

     

    That is your opinion. Mine differs.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (32,070 points)

    LowLuster, greetings:  For users who do not use Time Machine, Local Snapshots clearly would not have any value and would not be created.  For those who do use Time Machine, some may wish to take advantage of the feature, some may not.  That certainly is the prerogative of each individual.

     

    Now when you say "Apple feels the same way on all other Mac computers other than the notebook line."  is a very strong indication that you do not fully understand what is the purpose of 'Local Snapshots'.  It is not a question of the merits of the feature (Local Snapshots) in general that they are limited to MBAs and MBPs, it is pointless to have them for desktops.  A careful reading of the prior links should make that clear. 

     

    Ciao.

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (12,015 points)

    I understand exactly why they are made. I don't think you do. I am very clear on what they are and what Apple suggests they be used for. But it seems you don't.

     

    They are not real backups. They are made just in case you accidentally delete a files, that is IF the LSS has backed up that file and or the changes to that file before you deleted it. They are not used when doing a real TM backup. They are supposedly deleted when you do backup your system with TM. They are also deleted if you need more disk space, except if you need a lot of disk space all at once then you get a warning that you are out of disk space because the LSS can't be deleted quickly to free up the space that is needed.

     

    If you are the type of person that arbitrarily deletes file you know you need then these LSS might save you. Then again it might not.

     

    The LSS are not enabled by default on any Desktop Mac computer. Only on notebook Mac is it the default setting.

    I would say that is Apple saying they are not needed or desired on desktop Mac's. Sure you can enable them.

     

    Why is it pointless on a Desktop Mac. What you've never heard of people that own a iMac, Mac Pro or Mac Mini deleting files they need?

     

    Oh you are thinking everyone that owns a desktop Mac has a TM external drive connected to it all the time. I am sure your are greatly mistaken.

     

    I'm done with this topic that this conversation with you. Thanks.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (32,070 points)

    LowLuster wrote:

     

    They are not real backups. They are made just in case you accidentally delete a files, that is IF the LSS has backed up that file and or the changes to that file before you deleted it.

    Your statement does not define what 'Local Snapshots' are and and the reasons for having them (your syntax is very confusing).  From the Apple link, the definition is as follows:

     

    "What are local snapshots?

     

    Local snapshots complement regular Time Machine backups that are stored on your external disk or Time Capsule by creating a local backup on your startup disk when your normal backup drive is not available. This provides you with a "safety net" for times when you might be away from your external backup disk or Time Capsule but accidentally delete a file. When your normal backup is available again, Time Machine copies the local snapshot contents from your startup disk to your normal backup drive."

     

    Thus they can provide a historical Time Machine record in cases where the user is not connected to the Time Machine backup disk such as on a business trip.  That is why this is a feature on portable devices and not desktops.

     

    Local Snapshots will record changes in the same way as if the MBP were connected to the Time Machine HDD.  When the MBP is reconnected to the Time Machine HDD, these changes will then be downloaded to the Time Machine. The changes will be stored using the same criteria as if the changes had been made when connected to the Time Machine HDD.

     

    Again a careful review of the two links I posted should clarify what Time Machine Snapshots are, what and how they are used and correct the misconceptions that one may have regarding same.

     

    Ciao.

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (12,015 points)

    For some reason you are of the opinion I have a misconception of what the LSS are and what they are used for.

     

    I'll repeat this again, I don't. You do. They are a useless waist of hard drive space.