Find and delete hidden files on Mac
October 23, 2008 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me find and delete hidden files on my Mac!

I've been using the program Graphics Converter to try to make a large .MOV slideshow out of 1500 JPEG images. It keeps crashing because it runs out of disc space (I think that's why anyway), and then I end up with even less hard drive space's leaving hidden temporary files behind. I've narrowed them down to somewhere in my System folder...about 13 gigs worth, but I can't actually see them. How do I locate them and clean them out?
posted by wavejumper to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You can try a disk inventory program like this.
posted by jaimev at 1:22 PM on October 23, 2008

posted by cjorgensen at 1:22 PM on October 23, 2008

Sorry about *this*
posted by jaimev at 1:23 PM on October 23, 2008

I've always liked GrandPersepective for tracking down hard drive clogs.
posted by emptyinside at 1:24 PM on October 23, 2008

For future reference, GrandPerspective makes this much easier.

To see everything in a particular directory, I like to use the Terminal instead of the Finder. ls -alh will show everything in a directory with human-readable sizes.

Otherwise, you can follow these hints.
posted by mkb at 1:26 PM on October 23, 2008

If you're not afraid of using the terminal, the 'find' command should be available on your system. Try:

find /path/to/search -name '.*' -type d -print

And you'll get a list of hidden files. If you're 100% certain that every hidden file listed can be deleted, you can run:

find /path/to/search -name '.*' -type d -delete

However, you might want to be careful with that last command. (:
posted by ayerarcturus at 3:13 PM on October 23, 2008

I just have my hidden files constantly showing because I have often needed to access the some hidden file to run a weird unix program. Anyways here's how to see your hidden files, after you do this they should show up in Finder (mine do). To make them go away obviously do the same command in Terminal with FALSE.
posted by sararah at 3:27 PM on October 23, 2008

Issuing a command such as

find /System -type f -size +1000000c -ls | sort -n -k7

in the terminal will find all regular files at least 1,000,000 bytes long and display them in increasing order of size.
posted by harmfulray at 3:46 PM on October 23, 2008

for this kind of exercise, I usually also use this snippet in the terminal. I have extended it by Harmfulray's nice sort. (copy and paste if you like, you will need to give your password, but that is only to find the really hidden files you normally don't see):

sudo find / -size +200000 -ls| sort -n -k7 -r|head -20

It gives you the 20 largest files on your computer that are larger than 100 MB sorted by the largest first.

Harmfulray-> any reason only to search /System and not / ? Just a cut/paste-error I guess. Nice sort, though!
posted by KimG at 4:26 PM on October 23, 2008

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