Make my Mac recognize that it indeed has free space for an OS reinstall
February 21, 2019 7:06 PM   Subscribe

During a Mojave update on my iMac, something went wrong and my iMac got stuck in a startup loop. So, I'm trying to reinstall fresh. I started in restore mode to reinstall, but it wouldn't let me install Mojave on my internal hard drive because there was only 15 gigs free and it needed about 2 gigs more.

• I went into terminal and deleted about 5 gigs of content, but the installer still said I only had 15 gigs free.

• Then I installed Mojave on an external drive where I was able to look at my internal hard drive and delete even more files. There's now about 32 gigs of free space.

• I rebooted in restore mode and tried to install Mojave on the internal drive and it still says I only have 15 gigs free!

How can I get hot to recognize that there are 32 free gigabytes?

posted by jonathanhughes to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Have you run Disk First Aid on your internal drive? It sounds like it's been corrupted. Even if you could get Mojave to install, I'm not sure I'd trust that file system going forward. Best to reinitialize the hard drive and restore from a backup, then install Mojave. Or install Mojave and then restore your personal content onto that.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:15 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I did run disk first aid, and it found a bunch of errors, and then said the drive was fine. I'll run it and another utility, an if that doesn't work, I'll reinstall fresh.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2019

Are you sure you're installing to the right partition? I don't have my Mac in front of me, but IIRC in OSX the operating system is on a separate partition from the rest of the file system, so cleaning files from the other partition wouldn't matter a bit - it has to have space on the OS partition. You'll be able to see this from disk utility.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:58 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I only have one partition.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:35 AM on February 22, 2019

Do you use Time Machine? In between backups, it can hold onto copies of things it's waiting to backup.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2019

I do use Time machine, but everything I deleted wouldn't have gotten backed up (I don't backup apps since I can reinstall them). But I imagine there's some kind of cache that hasn't been cleared out.
posted by jonathanhughes at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2019

If you have a Time Machine backup you can do a clean installation, after wiping the disk (booting from that external drive you now have set up) and then restore it from TM using Migration Assistant.
posted by spitbull at 12:48 PM on February 22, 2019

That's what it looks like I'll be doing. I was hoping to just be able to reinstall the OS, but I'll probably back in business faster that way than trying to figure out how to make those gigabytes be recognized.
posted by jonathanhughes at 12:50 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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