May 01

disktree

So your old laptop is running a bit slowly… it might be that the hard drive is too small and all your hard disk space is all used up. Here’s a few different ways to recover some extra Hard Drive space. There are lots of files you can probably get rid of –  here’s now to find them.

You should never fill your hard drive to more than approx 80% capacity or it will slow down performance?

1. Remove all the extra language files to gain a few hundred MB.
OS X comes with almost 50 languages, chances are you only speak one or two. Here’s how to delete the ones you don’t use.
1. Download Monolingual from here
2. Run it and it will remove all the language files you don’t need. It defaults to keeping English, gets rid of Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic etc. (Don’t use the other features of monolingual – just the language removal.)

This will be more useful on an older smaller hard drive, but if you have a drive bigger than 100G you probably won’t even notice an extra few hundred Megabytes.

2. Use Disk Inventory to see where your space is being taken.
You probably have lots of old files lying round you don’t use much, some of them might be very big. This program shows you what is taking the most space. There are lots of apps that will give you an inventory of your disk usage. A more advanced one is described here. But Disk Inventory X is very good for beginners and it does a nice graph like the one you see here.
1. Download Disk Inventory X from here.
2. Run it, go have a cup of coffee – it can take a while.
3. Look at the results, they will be a picture like this:

disktree
You can mouse over the colors to see which files they are on the hard drive, and then manually delete the folders to create free space. I found lots of thinks I did not need with this program, like old movies hiding away, folders full of microsoft junk, etc. Don’t delete anything if you don’t know what it is though.

3. Clear out your Library/Application Support folder
Have a look in your Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support folder and there may be some old folders from applications you have deleted but no longer use. You can delete them.

4. Clear out your Printers
This is like the languages, but for printer drovers. OSX comes ready to work with hundreds of printers, chances are you only have one or two. Have a look in Macintosh HD/Library/Printers and delete any folders for printers you don’t need. For example the Epson library contains 1.4Gig of files – yet I don’t even have an Epson printer!

5. Manually delete files
The slow but hard way to make more space! But there is a trick to speed it up. To see how much space a folder takes, go to Menu ‘View/Show View options’ then select the box that says ‘calculate all sizes’. Then sort by folder size by clicking on the size heading in the window. You can now see which folders take the most space.
calculate folder size

When you are finished deleting files empty the trash. This deletes them totally from your hard drive and frees up space. While they are in the trash they still take up space. Be careful, there’s no way to get them back after you have deleted the trash!

Movies take up the most space, if you delete them they will free up lots of space.

20 Responses to “How to free up some Hard disk space.”

  1. One may also use our DaisyDisk product for finding out disk wasters. It’s about twice as fast as Disk Inventory X and gives more useful information.

    P.S.: cache files and torrents are likely to be the first candidates to deletion.

  2. This is a great article to stumbleupon! I didn’t realise it was here. I have been using your sliding door wordpress template for a long time and i just found the link through to here from the sliding door template. I was wondering how to clean up my imac because I edit lots of video footage on it, but there are other users for the computer and I wondered why the space was getting taken up so fast. I delete all video files once they are saved to my external hard drive memory, so I had to find out why there was so much space still getting used. It turns out the cache was massive and there was alot of files in the library feature, I would never have known this. Just going to download disk inventory as you recommend. Thanks again and thanks for brilliant sliding door template, brought us a lot of success.

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  4. I had to find out why there was so much space still getting used.

  5. [...] your big files, like movies, onto it, or you can delete some things that you don’t need, or here is an article on how to tweak a little extra space from your existing Hard Disk. [...]

  6. Lena says:

    Thanks so much, this site is great! I recently switched over from a PC to a Mac and have already bookmarked several of your entries :)

  7. Scott says:

    just clearing out a few of the printer drivers gave me back 2 gigs. amazing…

  8. oh i cleaned up my laptop disc space that computer running faster then first .thanks owner

  9. Klavistata says:

    Hey man, I believe i’ve filled up my disk space with music, on Itunes It says i’ve stored 79.18 gigs of music, and I really don’t want to get rid of any of it. Is there anyway for me to create more space, or “add” disk space? Sorry but i’m pretty inept when any comes to anything involving computers that isn’t the simple of tasks, so my question might be illogical. But either way, thanks for the input.

    • Sean says:

      You get a larger external usb or firewire 800 hard drive drag all of the music over to that drive a 500 gb or larger would be best and change the settings in iTunes you mite have seen it in iTunes with the settings it’s looking for it on the internal drive and if you know how to change the internal drive i would go for a 750 gb metric 9 mm thick some 750 gb hard drives are metric 12 mm thick and if you are using a mac metric 9 mm are the thickest that can be installed and with 5400 rpm they are more reliable and i find 7200 rpm drives can crash more easily and from my experience i don’t notice much difference in speed. the 3 1/2″ hard drives are 7200 rpm and that is up to 4 TB witch seagate has brought out

  10. Klavistata says:

    oh and activity monitor says i’ve utilized 249.1 gb with 614.9 mb left :/

  11. admin says:

    249.1 gb with 614.9 mb left – Yep you are way overfull!!!!
    Options:
    - Upgrade hard drive to a bigger one.
    - Move all your large files like vidoes or music to an external USB drive.
    - Follow the instructions in my post above.

  12. Janis says:

    Ugh — I’ve done all of this and yet it seems to have had no effect. I cleared tons of movie files, music. I deleted at least a gig on iTunes, according to Disk Inventory. Did all the language deletes and printers stuff etc…Deleted the trash. Rebooted. I’m trying to update from Leopard to Lion, which requires 2 GB. Under About this Mac, nothing has changed. Still shows that I have only 1 GB. What’s a girl to do? I appreciate any ideas. I have to do this in order to update from MobileMe to iCloud.

    :/

    • admin says:

      Under ‘About this Mac’ is how much RAM (memory) your computer has. The only way to increase it is to add more RAM. Deleting programs form your Hard Disk doesn’t affect this. This is where your programs run and do their calculations. RAM is usually 1G, 2G, 8G, 12G etc.

      To look at your disk usage go into ‘Activity Monitor’ and click on ‘Disk Usage’. This is where everything is stored. Hard Disks are usually 160G, 500G, 1000G etc.

  13. Michayla says:

    Hi, I used your first tip and it said it saved me 532MB of space but then I checked again and it didn’t make any difference. I still only have 7MB left…

  14. Shannon says:

    Disk Inventory X is awesome! For some reason I had a mail message that had a long video in it replicated time and time again. I had wondered why I had no space. With Disk Inventory X I freed up almost 400GB of storage.

    Thank you sooooo much for this article and for advising Disk Inventory X!!

  15. Gerry Brennan says:

    This helped me find the hogs of space killers. Very helpful, i have been looking for a helpful article like this for months.

    I have a 128 ssd, so space is critical. I freed up 25gb +.

    So a big deal for me.

    Thanks

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