Mac hard drive full what to do

Fortunately, you can likely fix it pretty easily. Years of use and abuse can leave a hard drive positively overflowing with random bits of stray data, so read on to see how to find some free space when there doesn't seem to be any. If you haven't been there yet, you will be one day. One minute you're cruising along on your computer, importing those iPhone vacation photos or downloading your favorite band's new album, everything is just fine, the world is a friendly place.

Then you see it. An unwelcome window that popped up out of no where to inform you that your startup disk is full. The world isn't friendly anymore. It's dark, crowded and claustrophobic.

Why Is My Startup Disk Full? Powerful Tips to Free Up Space on your Mac - Parallels Blog

Your computer has reached the end of its limits and you don't have the cash to drop on a new one. The cold hard truth is that you got sloppy. You used to treat your Mac like gold, but these days it's old, slow and full.

You tell yourself that you need everything on it, but you know it's not true. Now you have no choice, you have to find ways to trim the fat.

Where do you even start? Before we jump in and start cleaning up your startup drive, you're going to need a secondary storage drive. If you've got a decent drive lying in a closet or desk drawer, now is the time to grab it. If you don't, you'll need to buy one. If you can afford it, grab a terabyte or two so you'll be set for a while. The cost sucks, but the two alternatives are buying a new machine and deleting important data. That error message that popped up on your screen is a call.

Your computer is crying out for help and you need some quick victories to bring it back from the brink. The quickest, easiest way to get your morbidly obese startup drive to drop a few pounds is to empty the trash. Lazy users who rarely empty their trash can have gigs and gigs of useless clutter eating up their disk space. If this describes you, go to Finder, hit Command-Shift-Delete and don't look back.

Now make this a daily or at least weekly practice. By now, many of you will have regained some precious storage space already.

A note on what happened to 'Other' space in macOS Sierra and higher

That was easy! Don't get cocky kid, you're not out of the dark yet. The trash isn't the only place on your computer that tends to serve as a catchall for random bits of data. For some users, the Desktop and Downloads folders are gold mines of files that were added in a hurry and never organized. If something has been there for longer than a week, it's time to either kill it or put it somewhere more intentional It's a good practice to think of both of these spots as transitional. If something has been there for longer than a week, it's time to either kill it or put it somewhere more intentional such as the Documents folder or your external drive.

When your Mac starts to show: “startup disk full” error

This is especially true of your Downloads folder, if you insist on using your Desktop for commonly used items, that's fine it's an acceptable practice, it just means that we can't be friends but at least make sure that your Downloads folder doesn't turn into a bottomless abyss. If you haven't touched something in over thirty days, you probably don't need it as much as you thought you did when you downloaded it.

Everything up to this point was meant to be a quick fix, but now it's time to bring in the big guns. We need to free up ten, twenty or even hundreds of gigabytes of data as quickly as possible. If you want high impact, the best place to start is your Movies folder. Now hit Command-I and take a look at the top right of the window that pops up to see the amount of space this folder is eating up it may take a minute or two to compute. Video content is an unrivaled beast when it comes to storage and will fill up the largest of drives in no time.

When I do this to mine, I see that it's eating up 30GB of data. That's certainly no small chunk of ones and zeros, but don't be surprised if yours has that tripled. The first thing you need to do to help out your Movies folder is browse around and see what's in there so you can decide if anything can be trashed. Lots of apps write to this folder and there could be significant clutter that you simply don't need.

How to check your Mac's free hard drive space

I've usually got a few old Screeny screencasts rolling around in here and maybe even some half-hearted iMovie projects that never went anywhere. Currently, I have 4. This is very easy to do! You see that cute little Trash icon on your macOS dock? Yep, this one:. Deciding which apps to delete or keep is kind of like deciding which clothes to keep or donate. Will I need it later?

Is it outdated? This will be different for every user, so I highly suggest thoroughly deciding whether or not you need the application. To open your Applications folder, follow this pathway:. I organize my Applications by size to see the largest programs at the top.

I tend to keep my Applications folder minimalistic, but yours might be much larger and filled with unused applications. Again, my work Applications folder is very minimalistic, and I really only download what I need. So I will only be gaining What is cache? Cache is a temporary file that duplicates information previously processed by your computer, so when you open or access the file in the future, it loads quicker. Go ahead and type in the following:. This will bring up your entire system library of cache.

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How to fix the “Startup Disk Full” error on your Mac

A library log is another temporary file that usually contains user data. Locate your Logs folder within the Library. My Logs folder has a very small amount of data, only KB. Yours may look vastly different. My golden rule: If you no longer use a specific application, delete the logs. If you use and rely on a certain application, keep the logs. You have that wonderful little Trash can in your macOS Dock that allows an easy way to clear up extra space on your Mac. However, some applications in macOS have individual trashes that are separate from the Trash can.

Within your Application folder, locate the Photos app and double-click to launch. I would highly suggest repeating this tip with other applications you regularly use. I always try and future-plan the need of the drive for the user versus the immediate project at hand.