Where did it go?
August 16, 2007 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Mac OS X question for you, MeFi. My fiancee's 120 gig hd has 40 gigs missing.

This Mac has a 120 gig hd with ~25 gigs left. If I highlight everything in the base Finder window, it is only 55 gigs worth of info. I think the missing 40 gigs are a backup file that is hiding on the HD somewhere, but I can't find it! I tried using the smart folder option in Finder to look for any file over 10 gigs, but no luck. If it is a backup file, it was made with Backup. Any ideas?
posted by The Castle to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Grand Perspective, Firelight, and Disk Inventory X all allow you to see your hard disk usage visually. Maybe find the data loss that way?
posted by sharkfu at 9:26 PM on August 16, 2007


It's going to be something in the invisible directories - probably /var or /tmp. Get you up in your Terminal and run

du -hd1

to see the usage of the top level directories.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:35 PM on August 16, 2007


Let's try that again. Get into the terminal and run

sudo du -hd1 /

to see the usage of your top level directories.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:36 PM on August 16, 2007


Following ikkyu2's instructions reveals that /Users is taking up 64 gigs. What now?
posted by The Castle at 9:47 PM on August 16, 2007


Try

sudo du -hd1 /Users

This will do the same thing, except instead of doing it to / (the top level directory) it will do it to /Users. If you want to increase the depth of the displayed files, you can go to -hd2 or -hd3; alternately, you can just keep going down the directory tree with commands like

sudo du -hd1 /Users/ikkyu2

sudo du -hd1 /Users/ikkyu2/Documents

until you find out where the offending files are living and can go nail them down in the Finder.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:53 PM on August 16, 2007


If, by the way, you isolate the offending directory but can't see the offending file in the Finder, you can try something like:

ls -al /Users/ikkyu2/Documents/BloatedFolder

to get a listing of all files in the directory including those that are invisible to the Finder.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:55 PM on August 16, 2007


I imagine you would have mentioned this if she did, but if she has FileVault on, that can lead to hilariously/horrifically wrong reporting of hard drive space.
posted by crinklebat at 9:58 PM on August 16, 2007


sudo du -kd1 | sort -rn | head -10
will compute the size in kilobytes of all items in your current directly and print the 10 largest items.
posted by ldenneau at 9:59 PM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


uh, directory.
posted by ldenneau at 9:59 PM on August 16, 2007


don't forget that manufacturers claim that a GB is 1,000,000,000 (10^9) bytes while computers see it as 1,073,741,824 bytes (2^30), so you've lost 7%, or 8.4 GB right there.
posted by heeeraldo at 10:00 PM on August 16, 2007


Looks like my original hunch (big backup file hiding on the HD, which had happened before) was wrong. Before I had only been looking at the user folder to determine used HD space, but Applications, Library and System take about 22gigs and it turns out the trash was another 10. So that 32 combined with the fact that the HD is actually only 111 (binary vs decimal calculations) seems to even out. Thanks for you help, ikkyu2.
posted by The Castle at 10:04 PM on August 16, 2007


I helped someone troubleshoot a problem like this. Firelight and Disk Inventory showed the same confusing numbers I was seeing in Finder. Ultimately, I ran First Aid in Disk Utility and found errors in the directory header of the drive. Fixed those and the missing space returned to us.
posted by browse at 10:46 PM on August 16, 2007


Whatsize is a nice tool for this.
posted by harmfulray at 10:49 PM on August 16, 2007


Do you have Symantec Anti Virus installed? If so there are cases where the error log can grow to fill the HD.
posted by Gungho at 4:23 AM on August 17, 2007


I thought this was an interesting way of looking at disk space.
posted by procrastination at 5:16 AM on August 17, 2007


Seconding Whatsize. I use it all the time.
posted by jeffxl at 5:30 AM on August 17, 2007


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