is there a low-carb diet for data - help me fit into my macbook air!
August 13, 2012 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Moving from a MacBook to a MacBook Air - where are 20g of gremlins hiding? Also, any other migration tips for not carrying over unused data and applications?

I'm moving from a 320g drive to a 256g one, migrating from a late 2008 Mac Book to the current 11"air.

Current HD usage:
Main user directory:184g
Applications: 10g
System: 5g (this is all another folder named "Library"
Total disk usage:227g (so I'm missing about 17g somewhere)

The main user directory is a lot of music, so I'll try to trim that down, but I wanted to check and see if there were any other tips/tricks to migrating over a 10-20 gigs sleeker.

Thanks for the help -- I don't want the MBA to fit like too-tight pants.
posted by mercredi to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How did you calculate your HD usage? Go to Apple>About this Mac>Storage and get numbers from that. Are they the same?
posted by epo at 7:05 AM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: When I go into system information is shows:
Macintosh HD:
Capacity: 319.21 GB (319,213,174,784 bytes)
Available: 89.88 GB (89,882,333,184 bytes)

So, it shows about 230g used as well.

(The numbers above were all from finder.)

posted by mercredi at 7:08 AM on August 13, 2012

You might want to spend $10 and get DaisyDisk; it saved me gigs in minutes without the hassle of finding everything myself.
posted by griseus at 7:10 AM on August 13, 2012

I've used Disk Inventory X for this. In my case it was project files for movies, all the original versions of photos in iphoto [whenever you edit a photo, iphoto keeps a copy of the original so that you can "revert to original"] and a lot of crap hanging out in my downloads folder. I also got real with myself and deleted old movies/TV shows that I enjoyed having but realistically wasn't going to watch again. At a GB each, that freed up some space quickly.
posted by jessamyn at 7:13 AM on August 13, 2012

I've had good luck using OmniDiskSweeper to find big files.
posted by Ian Scuffling at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the application suggestions.

On closer inspection - my main user account shows up as 185g, but the constituent folders add up to only 145g. Any ideas there, specifically?
posted by mercredi at 7:19 AM on August 13, 2012

> When I go into system information is shows: ....

1) So looking at that report is any class of things about 17-20Gb in size?

Finder is not showing you hidden files (swap, backups, some system stuff ...) that almost certainly accounts for the difference.

WRT your home directory, how big is the Trash?
posted by epo at 7:28 AM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: Just emptied the trash.

Currently, I've downloaded OmniDiskSweeper and that's running. It's not done yet, but the Library folder is way larger than reported in Finder - it's showing up at 30GB, not 10GB. There's also a separate Library folder that's not part of the main user account that's 10GB also.
posted by mercredi at 7:37 AM on August 13, 2012

If you're not actively pursuing a polyglot lifestyle, you might consider running Monolingual on the Air, to strip away support files for all the languages you'll never want to read menus or help in. It'll also remove PPC resources from any old, pre-Intel apps you might be dragging along with you. There's the potential to regain hundreds of MB worth of storage.
posted by mumkin at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You'll drive yourself mad trying to account for every byte on your disk. Some tools report a gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 bytes when it's really 1,073,741,824 bytes; that's a 7% difference that can be hard to correctly account for. Also files have a minimum block size, I believe it's 4k on modern Macs, which adds about ~5% to disk usage over the actual byte count.

DaisyDisk is an excellent tool for auditing where your disk storage is going. It's $10, but I believe the free trial will be sufficient (but buy it!). Be sure to "Scan as Administrator" to get the full picture.

If most of your storage needs are music, have you considered downsampling the quality? A 256kbps MP3 can be converted to a 160kbps AAC for a file that's 37% smaller but sounds about the same unless you have inhuman hearing. Depending on your music collection, you may get some significant savings. There's probably a good tool for doing this, maybe even in iTunes, but I don't know what it is.
posted by Nelson at 8:38 AM on August 13, 2012

Seconding Monolingual. Removing unused printer drivers (OS X comes preinstalled with a lot) will free up some space.

You may want to look into iTunes Match to move your music into the cloud and pull it down onto the MBA as needed.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:24 AM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: So for future readers, the two big things that I didn't recognize:
1) PODCASTS - out of 110GB of music 50GB were old podcasts - easy to move to an external HD
2) email - my exchange account appeared to be there twice, and that + gmail were 15GB. i'm paring down exchange, and stroring a gmail backup on the external drive.

Thanks for the help - any other pre-migration advice welcome!
posted by mercredi at 9:55 AM on August 13, 2012

The "Application Support" and "Caches" folders inside Library have a lot of stuff that may be disposable. They're usually organized by application, so make sure to only remove things that are from apps you no longer use.
posted by vasi at 12:37 AM on August 14, 2012

« Older The music, it washes over me   |   What is the easiest way possible to enable... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.