Mac OSX: Where has my hard drive space gone?
December 24, 2008 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Mac OSX: Where has my hard drive space gone?

I have a 250 GB hard drive, with a capacity of 232 GB. 207 GB is used, 25 GB is available.

The problem is, my folders only add up to 137 GB. Where is the other 70 GB?

I've already used Disk Inventory X and it shows the same data... what's going on?

Here's what I see when I view my hard drive contents:

Applications: 6 GB
Developer: 8 KB
Library: 10.69 GB
System: 3.59 GB
Users: 116.12 GB
posted by kdern to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to try JDiskReport
It may help you hunt down your missing space. It requires Java
posted by Fiat124 at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2008

I like WhatSize?

If you are curious about what you can't find, many of the UNIX-type directories are hidden in finder, such as /var and /usr.

You can either check them out from the terminal (do a ls -lht from / ), or un-hide them in finder.

And, for more info beyond the useful df -h, try du -sh * from a directory like Applications. Be patient, if often takes a while.
posted by plexi at 7:29 AM on December 24, 2008

To go to them in Finder without unhiding them, from the Finder menu bar choose Go --> Go to Folder in finder and type in /usr, /var, or /etc.
posted by plexi at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2008

Seconding WhatSize. I use it all the time. My first guess is that you have a rogue log file that's grown HUGE (for whatever reason; a couple hundred million lines of the same error message repeated over and over again will do that). WhatSize can help you find these. You could also us the Unix command line tool, df, to help you see what's eating your space. You could also examine your different log file locations to see what their sizes are: /Library/Logs and ~/Library/Logs.
posted by at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2008

Doh, not sure why that got cut off. Also check in /var/logs
posted by at 7:41 AM on December 24, 2008

I second the low level unix tools df and du... OS X could be hiding something from you.

$ df -h <- this should be all you need
posted by teabag at 7:49 AM on December 24, 2008

WhatSize seems pretty good. But I use OmniDiskSweeper and/or GrandPerspective.


GrandPerspective is free and provides a nice tree graph representation of your drive:
posted by schwa at 8:00 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Captian Obvious here, but: have you emptied your Trash?
I'm also a big fan of WhatSize, even though it now costs a couple bucks.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2008

Response by poster: Update: I happened to be at the Apple store today and had them look at it. They ran disk utilities, restarted the computer, and the problem was corrected. I now have 90 GB of free space.
posted by kdern at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2008

It could have also been some really big cache files that just have never been removed. Another job for Applejack
posted by ShawnString at 9:26 AM on December 24, 2008

If the problem was corrected with Disk Utilities it could have been a corrupted directory.
posted by Gungho at 9:47 AM on December 24, 2008

I'm more of a GrandPerspective man, myself.

Common culprits are video or audio podcasts that you've forgotten about, large video projects that you've forgotten about, or directory/file corruption.
posted by Wild_Eep at 2:01 PM on December 24, 2008

I see you already solved it, but for the archives...

While I'm not 100% sure this applies to OS X, I know that BSD keeps a certain amount (~5%) of space set aside to help with fragmentation (OpenBSD FAQ). That can account for some missing space.
posted by silentbicycle at 2:20 PM on December 24, 2008

I notice free space disappearing after a while in OS X. I try to restart every 2 months or every major update.

Just quitting your browsers can help if you normally have 50 tabs open all the time like I do.

At least log out and back in when free space gets tight. Cache files can get huge.
posted by KenManiac at 8:37 PM on December 24, 2008

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