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The amazing disappearing disk space

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello-

I'm running into some problems managing disk space on my main volume, which has 12.15 GB of total storage. Right now, if I add up all visible folders on this volume (Applications, Developer, Library, System, and Users), I come up with 7.43 GB occupied. Yet if I use "Get Info" on the volume itself, it tells me that there is 10.8 GB on disk and only 1.34 GB free! So, where is this extra stuff? I have in the past installed Unix-y things and I know they can leave invisible folders scattered around -- is there any Finder setting I can use to make these folders visible and eliminate them? Help!

Oh, I should note that I'm running OS X 10.3.2.

jf
post #2 of 16
Man, this should be put in a FAQ by now.

1) Finder does not add up anything that's hidden, and yes, there can be quite a bit under the Unixy layers that takes up space.

2) Your virtual memory swap space can take up a lot of room.

Cmd-shift-G in Finder to bring up the Go To Folder... dialog. Enter '/var/vm/' without the quotes, and hit return.

Do a Get Info on that folder. See how big it is?

3) OmniGroup's OmniDiskSweeper is a good way to quickly see what's taking up your disk space.

4) Wantonly deleting Unixy hidden folders is a good way to screw up your system. The only area you should be touching at all is in /usr/local/. The rest? Leave it alone.
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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post #3 of 16
easiest thing to do is see how much disk space you have left.

then reboot. see if you now have a lot more.
post #4 of 16
wow it seems we are not so many to consider this a problem. But i do. I partitionned my internal 40Gb HD so that i have 10.2 and a 10.3 on separate parts. Then i have a FW HD with back ups of both systems also on differents parts.
Due to this situation i have about 5GB free on my startup part where the VM swap should dwell (at least in priority) and another 1.5-2 GB on EACH and EVERY other parts.

After some times of extensive use (not quitting launched apps systematically) i get some message that my Start up HD is nearly full and i have to restart to get that space back. That worried me as i didn t believe swap could excede a Gb, so i launched the Activity Monitor on restart to trace the processes and it told me my RAM was full (5 to 15Mb free according to activity) and that my VM size was allready 4GB!!! I let it on for a night just spinning the screensaver, and it was up to 8 allready. What the heck??? The AM said that about 2GB of VM where attributed to window server, and the exact same amount to Konfabulator. Hey that was a pretty little mac-only desktop hack. Too bad, good bye Konfabulator. I ll report and try the next version...
Now i m back to 4, and 235Mb are free in RAM. RELIEF!!!
But the question remains: are those 4Gb left a normal situation ON A STARTUP??? and is it normal that every opened app is getting 10 times more VM than RAM (kernel_task 560/56...), even mail is on 156/16 , then only safari is on a ratio of 5 (210/47). And it s the only ones i used to register and activate my account.
Might be a stupid question but the gap between memory occupation in OS 9 and X is astounding to me. Did Apple copied the memory gestion part in a Microsoft OS?????
post #5 of 16
Nope.

Unix.

You know, the *good* OS.

Unixen have very aggressive virtual memory - luckily, it's also very *efficient* virtual memory. It may not seem like it to you from a swap space point of view, but it's definitely more efficient to keep items caches as much as possible than it is to be consistently generating them or seeking them on disk. (Swap files are a known entity to the OS - it knows precisely where to find them, and precisely where to find exactly the memory chunk it needs - it's all organized.)

(And where on earth did you get the idea that it couldn't go over a GB? That's just plain wrong - it'll take as much disk space as is needed. )

Right now I'm using about 8GB of swap space on top of my 512MB physical RAM...and top is reporting 8.3GB in use. Of course, I have Safari, Mail, iChatAV, Address Book, iTunes, iCal, Preview, TextEdit, Terminal, TeXShop, SubEthaEdit, Temperature Monitor, Equation Service, Omnigraffle and QuickTime Player all going, as well as server daemon services.

Short answer? Try and make room on your hard drive.

OS9 had *horrendous* virtual memory. It was a nasty ugly hack, and it never did work all that well. This is how VM is supposed to work - use disk space as aggressively as needed for speed. Every computing tradeoff can basically be boiled down to space vs. time. This is using up space to save time.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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post #6 of 16
Hey that s about what i wanted to hear.
Truth is i have been kinda pulled down by some webmaster claiming he never saw more than 256 MB VM on his own machine and i should reinstall my system before asking him what kind of bug was crashing my Safari on his -and ONLY his, site.
After reading him making fun about the situation being impossible unless i have less than 16MB of physical RAM (i have enough humour not to take this as an offence, don t worry) i started lurming in my activity monitor and around tech forums and FAQs to know if there was really smthg wrong with my wonderful TiBook that i would not even have figured out.
I never believed there could not be more than 1gb of VM, i just assumed that it should have been about enough, or it would not have made sense to build machines with less than 1GB of physical RAM.
I knew that the background processes were responsible for eating out the free 5 GB with (un)temp(orary) files. But it was going to fast, and this was Konfabulator'deed indeed.
Now i know that there is allready 4GB of VM when i startup BEFORE even starting to feed it with the free 5 i try to keep for it!!!
Today some friend asked me if i would assist him in installing OS X in his Tangerine iMac 266Mhz (66Mhz bus!!!), with a 6GB harddrive .
Very realistic, he just bought a DIMM to beef it up to 128MB
For his defence, he never upgraded OS since he bought it in 99.
I just gave him my original 8.6 CD \
As an 8.5.x user, he was officially entitled to one
post #7 of 16
Ow. Yeah, 256MB is really a bare minimum for usability, and 512MB is preferred as a platform level.

6GB? Well, I suppose he could do that... but still. Um, ouch? He should spend $80 and get a 15 or 20GB drive.

And no, that webmaster probably was right - he's likely running Linux with almost zero windowing environment that's single-buffered, and stripped down to the server daemons otherwise. You're not. He's just ill informed.
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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post #8 of 16
Actually the 16MB joke was from the webmaster but the micro swap claim was from the chief moderator, and he s on 10.3.2, i think he never opened is Activity Monitors and thinks he is running on the bare RAM and the occasionnal small eats up he can witness in the available space variation down the windows frames...
Then he probably uses a very clean finder while i have 6 menus right from the connection one, not mentionning the Konfab'Four

Thanks again for quieting my worries. And fast as well. This sounds like a good place to learn and share the small knowledge i allready gathered. I m happy i found it.
Peace on u all
post #9 of 16
I never knew that about finder not displaying correct size thing.

Interestingly enough df -H does tell me that I have less space than finder on my boot HD but tells me I have more space on my other 2 HDs than finder \

The only thing I care about is knowing when I am low enough that I need to clean my HD out.
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"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Sir Winston Churchill
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post #10 of 16
what d'u mean by df-H?
don t forget the boot drive is loaded with invisible folders, including the VM files, but not only. Then u have to keep in mind that 1kb is not 1000 bytes, 1Mb is not 1000 Kb, and 1GB is not 1000 Mb. That makes a difference of about 15% on a big disk (ex: sold as a 20GB but is actually 20 billion bytes which is about 18 real GB...
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
6GB? Well, I suppose he could do that... but still. Um, ouch? He should spend $80 and get a 15 or 20GB drive.

dude, with $80 he should get like a 40 or 50GB
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I think I think...therefore, I think I am.

We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more...
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post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by dowser101
what d'u mean by df-H?

Terminal command.

Quote:
NAME
df - display free disk space

SYNOPSIS
df [-b | -h | -H | -k | -m | -P] [-ailn] [-t type]
[file | filesystem ...]

DESCRIPTION
The df utility displays statistics about the amount of free disk space on
the specified filesystem or on the filesystem of which file is a part.
Values are displayed in 512-byte per block counts. If neither a file or
a filesystem operand is specified, statistics for all mounted filesystems
are displayed (subject to the -t option below).
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by dowser101
Then u have to keep in mind that 1kb is not 1000 bytes, 1Mb is not 1000 Kb, and 1GB is not 1000 Mb.

err Yeah I know all that, I probably should have worded that better. \
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Sir Winston Churchill
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"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Sir Winston Churchill
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post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by dowser101
he s on 10.3.2, i think he never opened is Activity Monitors and thinks he is running on the bare RAM and the occasionnal small eats up he can witness in the available space variation down the windows frames...

noooo, he confessed, he s running a grey G3 with 1GB of RAM, and he REALLY don t go over 256Mb of VM. But he s carefull not lauching all and every app he s got in there at once... real RAM rules!

Quote:
Originally posted by SilentEchoes
err yeah i know all that

well if i had figured out u were talking terminal mumbojumbo, i would have not indulged in such a basic demonstration ;-)
i got it right about df, but what with H???
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by dowser101
noooo, he confessed, he s running a grey G3

Either you or he is very confused, and their credibility is suspect.

There was never a grey G3. There was a grey (silver) G4, or a beige G3. (and of course the blue G3). Never a grey G3.

Quote:
with 1GB of RAM, and he REALLY don t go over 256Mb of VM. But he s carefull not lauching all and every app he s got in there at once... real RAM rules!

Not if you have to be careful, it doesn't. If you're 'being careful', you either have no idea how the system works, or just like making life harder on yourself to be l33t. Either way, it's pretty lame.

Quote:
i got it right about df, but what with H???

Open a terminal window.

Type 'man df'. man is the 'man'ual command. Reading that page will tell you that the -H flag has the following description:

Quote:
-H "Human-readable" output. Use unit suffixes: Byte, Kilobyte,
Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte and Petabyte in order to reduce the
number of digits to three or less using base 10 for sizes.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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post #16 of 16
my mistake, i meant beige of course.
and refraining from launching whatever u need IS lame, but it seems he does not need much.
sorry about my lack of vocabulary and knowledge of shortcuts, i m french afterall...
l33t????
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