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Question: I have over 100 GB of "other" on my hard drive. Help!!!!

I know there are many posts out there about how to clean up or remove things from the hard drive, but I have done all that I am comfortable with doing. I am not very techy savy, so I haven't done any of the Terminal commands (I'm a chicken when it comes to just typing in random commands). I have done the Spotlight re-index (It lowered me from 137GB to 104GB). I have also emptied my trash and download files. I have no idea what is causing this (my MacBook Pro is 5 years old and is running OS X version 10.9.4. I have 250GB on the hard drive and 4 GB of memory and am running a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - basic stuff here!). This is my breakdown....

User uploaded file


I'm trying to backup my iPhotos to dropbox and it's the only file I'm syncing and it's telling me that I don't have enough space (yes, I've done the select sync and yes, I know some people say that backing up iPhoto is not a good thing, but I don't want to loose my photos if something were to happen to my laptop).



Any suggestions? THANK YOU :-)

iPhone 4S, Mac OS X (10.7.4), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, husband on iCloud

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 2:51 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Jul 29, 2014 4:52 PM in response to snez13 In response to snez13

For information about the Other category in the Storage display, see this support article. If the Storage display seems to be inaccurate, try rebuilding the Spotlight index.

Empty the Trash if you haven't already done so. If you use iPhoto, empty its internal Trash first:

iPhoto ▹ Empty Trash

Do the same in other applications, such as Aperture, that have an internal Trash feature.

According to Apple documentation, you need at least 9 GB of available space on the startup volume (as shown in the Finder Info window) for normal operation. You also need enough space left over to allow for growth of the data. There is little or no performance advantage to having more available space than the minimum Apple recommends. Available storage space that you'll never use is wasted space.

When Time Machine backs up a portable Mac, some of the free space will be used to make local snapshots, which are backup copies of recently deleted files. The space occupied by local snapshots is reported as available by the Finder, and should be considered as such. In the Storage display of System Information, local snapshots are shown as Backups. The snapshots are automatically deleted when they expire or when free space falls below a certain level. You ordinarily don't need to, and should not, delete local snapshots yourself. If you followed bad advice to disable local snapshots by running a shell command, you may have ended up with a lot of data in the Other category. Ask for instructions in that case.

See this support article for some simple ways to free up storage space.

You can more effectively use a tool such as OmniDiskSweeper (ODS) or GrandPerspective (GP) to explore the volume and find out what's taking up the space. You can also delete files with it, but don't do that unless you're sure that you know what you're deleting and that all data is safely backed up. That means you have multiple backups, not just one. Note that ODS only works with OS X 10.8 or later. If you're running an older OS version, use GP.

Deleting files inside an iPhoto or Aperture library will corrupt the library. Any changes to a photo library must be made from within the application that created it. The same goes for Mail files.

Proceed further only if the problem isn't solved by the above steps.

ODS or GP 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.

If you have more than one user account, make sure you're logged in as an administrator. The administrator account is the one that was created automatically when you first set up the computer.

Install the app you downloaded in the Applications folder as usual. Quit it if it's running.

Triple-click anywhere in the corresponding line of text below on this page to select it, then copy the selected text to the Clipboard by pressing the key combination command-C:

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

sudo /Applications/GrandPerspective.app/Contents/MacOS/GrandPerspective

Launch the built-in 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.

Paste into the Terminal window by pressing command-V. You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. Type carefully and then press return. You may get a one-time warning to be careful. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator. Ignore any other messages that appear in the Terminal window.

The application window will open, eventually showing all files in all folders, sorted by size. It may take a few minutes for the app to finish scanning.

I don't recommend that you make a habit of doing this. Don't delete anything 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 in doubt, leave it alone or ask for guidance.

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

Jul 29, 2014 4:52 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Jul 29, 2014 4:52 PM in response to snez13 In response to snez13

For information about the Other category in the Storage display, see this support article. If the Storage display seems to be inaccurate, try rebuilding the Spotlight index.

Empty the Trash if you haven't already done so. If you use iPhoto, empty its internal Trash first:

iPhoto ▹ Empty Trash

Do the same in other applications, such as Aperture, that have an internal Trash feature.

According to Apple documentation, you need at least 9 GB of available space on the startup volume (as shown in the Finder Info window) for normal operation. You also need enough space left over to allow for growth of the data. There is little or no performance advantage to having more available space than the minimum Apple recommends. Available storage space that you'll never use is wasted space.

When Time Machine backs up a portable Mac, some of the free space will be used to make local snapshots, which are backup copies of recently deleted files. The space occupied by local snapshots is reported as available by the Finder, and should be considered as such. In the Storage display of System Information, local snapshots are shown as Backups. The snapshots are automatically deleted when they expire or when free space falls below a certain level. You ordinarily don't need to, and should not, delete local snapshots yourself. If you followed bad advice to disable local snapshots by running a shell command, you may have ended up with a lot of data in the Other category. Ask for instructions in that case.

See this support article for some simple ways to free up storage space.

You can more effectively use a tool such as OmniDiskSweeper (ODS) or GrandPerspective (GP) to explore the volume and find out what's taking up the space. You can also delete files with it, but don't do that unless you're sure that you know what you're deleting and that all data is safely backed up. That means you have multiple backups, not just one. Note that ODS only works with OS X 10.8 or later. If you're running an older OS version, use GP.

Deleting files inside an iPhoto or Aperture library will corrupt the library. Any changes to a photo library must be made from within the application that created it. The same goes for Mail files.

Proceed further only if the problem isn't solved by the above steps.

ODS or GP 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.

If you have more than one user account, make sure you're logged in as an administrator. The administrator account is the one that was created automatically when you first set up the computer.

Install the app you downloaded in the Applications folder as usual. Quit it if it's running.

Triple-click anywhere in the corresponding line of text below on this page to select it, then copy the selected text to the Clipboard by pressing the key combination command-C:

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

sudo /Applications/GrandPerspective.app/Contents/MacOS/GrandPerspective

Launch the built-in 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.

Paste into the Terminal window by pressing command-V. You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. Type carefully and then press return. You may get a one-time warning to be careful. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator. Ignore any other messages that appear in the Terminal window.

The application window will open, eventually showing all files in all folders, sorted by size. It may take a few minutes for the app to finish scanning.

I don't recommend that you make a habit of doing this. Don't delete anything 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 in doubt, leave it alone or ask for guidance.

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

Jul 29, 2014 4:52 PM

Reply Helpful (5)

Jul 29, 2014 5:06 PM in response to Linc Davis In response to Linc Davis

Thank you so much for the reply! I have emptied my iPhoto trash (I don't use Aperture) and I am rebuilding the Spotlight again. I do have a question about one of your comments: "Deleting files inside an iPhoto or Aperture library will corrupt the library. Any changes to a photo library must be made from within the application that created it. The same goes for Mail files." If I am in iPhoto (or mail) and I delete a photo or an email, are you saying this would corrupt the library? If so, then how would I go about deleting a photo or an email without corrupting the library?


I'm wary of doing anything in terminal, so I am hopeful that this 2nd attempt at rebuilding the spotlight will help :-)


Fingers crossed, this works!!!!

Jul 29, 2014 5:06 PM

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Jul 30, 2014 2:46 PM in response to snez13 In response to snez13

OK - I have done the Spotlight re-index and all of the other things listed, except for any terminal commands. I'm still showing in excess of 100GB of "other". Another funny thing, I went to check the amount of stuff in my iPhoto library and found 2 different answers. When I look at "Storage" under the About This Mac, it shows 32.2 GB. When I look it up under the User > Pictures > iPhoto Library, it shows 57.69 GB. Which is correct?


UGH.....

Jul 30, 2014 2:46 PM

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Jul 31, 2014 5:29 PM in response to Linc Davis In response to Linc Davis

Sorry, I am backing up my data now (I teach as an online professor and we are coming up on the end of the course.....) so hopefully tomorrow I can try the Omni Disk Sweeper. I am a bit leery of this though.... like I said, I'm a chicken ;-)


I'm guessing the ODS will say that I have a ton of emails (or something) and I need to delete the emails from iMail. I guess I'll just ask more questions as they come up ;-) Thank you for the suggestions and the follow up!

Jul 31, 2014 5:29 PM

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Jul 31, 2014 6:56 PM in response to Linc Davis In response to Linc Davis

OK - Just ran Omni, and now I'm really confused. Here is the screen shot. The About This Mac says that I have 249.2 GB of used space (with 100+ in "other". The Omni Disk Sweeper says that it has sweeped 189.7 GB (and it appears to be done), so I don't know why there is a discrepancy. Also I don't know what to delete to reduce the "other".... Sorry I'm so brainless, this is just not an area that I deal with....

User uploaded file

Jul 31, 2014 6:56 PM

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Aug 1, 2014 3:15 AM in response to Linc Davis In response to Linc Davis

OK - so if my math is correct (and that is always up for debate), then I have about 208.2 GB of used space, which is still different than what ODS indicated that it swept (and I don't know if that matters). And still, I don't know what the heck to delete..... Is there anything that would provide more info as to the functionality of something, so that I can make a better determination about deleting?

Aug 1, 2014 3:15 AM

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Aug 1, 2014 6:40 AM in response to snez13 In response to snez13

I have no way of answering your last question, because I don't know what you found with ODS.


To go back to the original question, if I understand it, you can't upload your iPhoto library to Dropbox because there isn't enough space in your Dropbox account. If that's the problem, you don't need to be doing any of this. Instead, you need to do at least one of the following: (1) prune your iPhoto library, or (2) add more storage on Dropbox. ODS can't do either of those things.

Aug 1, 2014 6:40 AM

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Nov 30, 2017 3:35 PM in response to Linc Davis In response to Linc Davis

Thank you for this question and helpful instructions. I have an iMAC (late 2009). I had accumulated up to 300 GB of "other" storage on my internal drive. A few years ago, when my internal drive was reaching capacity, I hired a tech to help me figure out the "other". All he did was move my photos and music to an external drive. It bought me space and time, but did nothing to solve the “other” problem. I finally decided to try to sort it out myself, and was able to do so with this guidance. For other users out there, this is what I did:


1) Ran omni-disk. There was a huge discrepancy between the MBs search and the "other" category.

  1. 2) Rebuilt the spotlight index, which turned out not to help.
  2. 3) Re-ran omni-disk using terminal. This process helped me identify 298 GB (made up of hundreds of 458 MB “grow” files) at /system/library/cache/com.apple.coresymbolicationd.
  3. 4) Referenced othersites to see what this was and whether it was safe to delete. After researching the issue, I believe that it was caused by frequent crashes of iphoto.
  4. 5) Held my breath and destroyed the 298 GB with Omni.
  5. 6) Restarted my computer.


So far, so good. I will now look into updating iphotos in the hopes of eliminating the problem.


Thanks again!

Nov 30, 2017 3:35 PM

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Question: I have over 100 GB of "other" on my hard drive. Help!!!!