Monthly Archives: April 2014

Save More Space for Your Mac Hard Drive

I love my MacBook Air. It is a workhorse in an insanely portable package. I do, however, have one complaint: The hard drive. It is small. Think smaller than an iPod classic. So I’ve been forced to come up with some tricks to both maximize my existing space as well as keep the space I have tidy.

In this tutorial, I will share a few of these tricks. Let’s check them out.

A Megabyte Saved Is a Megabyte Earned

manage-mac-file-1Finding and removing large files or duplicates is a great way to create and maintain free space on your hard drive.

Click the Finder icon on your dock. Finder will launch in All Files mode. You will be presented with a list of files already sorted by size. In fact, Finder will even group these files. Example groups are 1-100 MB or 100 MB-10 GB.

Start going through the files in the largest file group. Trash any file that is either a duplicate or no longer needed. If you must keep the file, that is ok. I will show you how to offload it to the cloud later on in this tutorial.

Deleting the file won’t free up the space on your hard drive. You must permanently remove it by emptying your trash. To empty your trash, move your cursor down to the trash can icon on your dock and secondary click on it. Choose Empty Trash. You will be prompted for a confirmation that you wish to permanently erase all the items in Trash. Confirm by clicking Empty Trash.

If You Can’t Delete It, Zip It

Archiving, or zipping, if you will, is a technique in which you can take one or many files and convert them into a single compressed file called an archive. For this example, I will demonstrate on a single file, but keep in mind that this will work on a folder containing multiple files as well.

I’ve downloaded a video tutorial file and placed it on my desktop. By secondary clicking on the file, then choosing Get Info, you see this file is 72.6 MB in size.

Now, secondary click that same file, but this time I will choose Compress “TogglingV2.mp4”. You will note a second file has appeared. This is a .zip, or compressed, version of that file. By checking the size of this compressed file, you will see a small, but noticeable size reduction. The more files you compress, the more space you will free up!

There are several better third party compression tools out there. I would encourage you to learn more about compression to help minimize the size of all the large files you keep on your hard drive.

Use Cloud Storage

manage-mac-file-2Cloud storage is using a 3rd party server space to securely store files. Much like with the aforementioned Time Capsule, using a service like Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive, or iCloud can significantly help toward maximizing your storage space. Sign up for one or all of these free services and start offloading files to their computers, thereby freeing up space on yours. As long as you have internet access, you’ll have access to your files.

If you use or store a lot of Pages, Numbers, or Keynote files, I would recommend using iCloud as their default save location. It is built right in to OSX.

The best part is that you can access any of those documents without your computer! You can access, edit, and save them from your iPhone, iPad, or even a borrowed PC via the web browser.

To access the docs bring up a web browser and go to www.icloud.com. Log in with your AppleID credentials, then choose the type of file you would like to access. Any files you have saved to the cloud will be listed there.

Double click on the document and you will be brought to a fresh browser screen with a user interface remarkably similar to the native application.

Conclusion

Nowadays files seem to be getting larger and larger, leaving us, as end users, scrambling to find ways to better manage our storage. Using just one or two of the techniques above will help you keep a clean hard drive with more available space.

You can read more articles on our site about Mac file manage or Mac file rescue . Enjoy!

How to use the Finder to Manage Files and Folders

The Finder is the file management application on the Mac. The Finder can be used to navigate your hard drive and display the contents of the folders and subfolders you use to organize your files on your hard drive. The Finder is always running in the background (its icon on the dock will always have a small triangle underneath it to let you know the application is running), and it is the active program any time you click on the desktop.

The Finder interface has several parts to it:

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The Title Bar: shows you the name of the folder you are currently in, as well as some buttons located on the upper left corner that can be used to work with open windows.

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The red button (which will have an x when you hover over it) can be used to close a window, while the middle yellow button (which will have a minus sign when you hover over it) can be used to minimize a window to the dock. The green button (it will have a plus sign when you hover over it) can be used to maximize a window to be as large as it needs to be to show all of its contents. The maximize button also toggles between window sizes. When you click on it after resizing a window, it will return you to the previous size. To resize a window, all you need to do is drag from the lower right-hand corner (where you will see a series of lines in the shape of a triangle).

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On the upper right corner of the title bar is a small button that allows you to switch between the OS X window style and the Classic window style, which lacks the side bar, the toolbar, and the status bar.

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You can change your preferences so that double-clicking on the toolbar minimizes the open window to the dock. To set this preference, select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then Appearance, and check the box next to Minimize when double clicking a window title bar.

The Menu Bar: this area of the interface includes the menu options you will use while working with your files and folders. You can use the File menu to create a new folder by selecting File, New Folder (or using the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + N).

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The Edit menu contains the copy, cut, and paste commands. Using the View menu, you change how the contents of your folders are displayed in the Finder. You can display your folders as icons, as a list, or in list view (each time you click a folder, its contents will be displayed on the next column to the right). Another menu option you might use a lot is the Go menu, which gives you quick access to the most commonly used folders (such as Applications, Movies, Pictures, and Music). The Go menu also has a Connect to Server… option that can be used to connect to other computers.

The Standard Toolbar: allows you to navigate your folders using back and forward buttons that work like their counterparts in a web browser. The toolbar also has the view buttons that allow you to quickly change how folders and files are displayed.

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You can select icon view by clicking on the button with the four squares, list view by clicking on the button with the lines, and column view by clicking on the button with the columns (you can also use the keyboard shortcuts Command + 1, 2, or 3 to access these views). Next to the view buttons is an Action button that allows you to perform a lot of the actions available from the File and Edit menus.

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On the right hand side of the toolbar is the Search window, which can be used to search the contents of your hard drive for files or folders matching your search terms. You can customize the appearance of the toolbar by choosing View, Customize Toolbar… and dragging buttons from the window that opens up to the toolbar.

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You can also drag separators to organize the buttons on your toolbar into categories. If you want to return your toolbar to its default state, drag the default set of buttons from the Customize window to the toolbar.

The Side Bar: shows the most commonly used folders, such as your Applications folder where your programs are installed, and the default save locations for Documents, Movies, Music, and Pictures. At the top of the side bar, you will see the drives installed on your computer, including CD drives and any removable drives such as flash drives.

The Status Bar: the bottom portion of the Explorer window displays information about the folder you have open, such as the number of items (the number of files and subfolders in that folder) and the amount of free space left on the currently selected drive.

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That’s what we can share to you. Feel free to view more on our site about your Mac file rescue or protection information.

Solution for Solving Running out of Mac Hard Drive Space Situation

Running out of hard drive space is incredibly annoying. OS X needs a good amount of free space to function properly so as things get full not only will you be unable to download or transfer large files, you’ll start to get panicked warnings from the operating system. While hard drives keep getting bigger and cheaper, solid state drives do not. If you have a 2TB HD in your machine you’ll be okay for longer. If you have a 128, 256, or even 512GB SSD, however, things can get full and fast. So what do you do? If you can’t or simply don’t want to upgrade your HD or SSD drive to something bigger, the first step is identifying what’s causing the problem, then figuring out what you get rid of to free back up that precious empty space!

How to find out what’s taking up the most space on your Mac’s hard drive

The best way to find out what’s eating up space on your Mac is to download a third party program that can analyze and break down what’s using the most space. There are several tools that can do this, both in and out of the Mac App Store.

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The first two options I’d recommend trying are Mac App Store offerings. Disk Diag is a dead simple utility that shows you what’s eating space and how much. It also estimates how much space you can free up. If you just need a few gigs or aren’t in desperate need, it should be passable. Just don’t expect to clear out hundreds of gigs with it.

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DaisyDisk is more advanced and offers a much better breakdown. Not only can you analyze your entire hard drive, DaisyDisk tells you exactly what’s eating the most space whether that’s photos, applications, or something else. It’s perfect for people who don’t necessarily know what is eating space on their hard drive and have no idea where to begin.

Download folder

The first place I always look when trying to clear out my hard drive is my downloads folder. They’re not always as large as media files but they’re often much less important to you as well. I always find tons of disk images, large graphics files, and tons of other crap I don’t need anymore. For most people the downloads folder is a temporary dumping ground for things. After you’ve got it cleared out, try and make a habit of cleaning it out regularly. (And yes, once you move things to the trash, empty it. Your disk isn’t really cleaned up until you’ve take then trash out!)

Movie, TV, music, and app files

The most common offenders when it comes to eating up storage space are media files. Large videos like movies, multiple smaller videos like TV shows or home movies, or even massive amounts of tiny files like music and apps can all add up. One HD movie can take up 4-6GB. A single HD TV show can take up 1GB or more (that can be 10-20+GB a season!). iOS game files can be 1-2GB as well in some cases.

If you’ve downloaded movies or TV shows from iTunes in the past and you’re done watching them, you can also get back tons of space by removing the physical copies. You can either transfer them up to an external drive for safe keeping or, if you’re not adverse to it, simply trust in Apple’s iCloud service. That lets you stream content to your Apple TV or re-download it to your iOS devices or iTunes on your Mac whenever you want. (Sometimes studios pull their movies or shows from iTunes, so it’s a risk, but it doesn’t happen often and they usually return. If in doubt, however, move them to an external drive instead!)

Mail attachments

If you use Apple’s Mail app or another third party app, your Mac is saving email attachments and message archives unless you’ve told it not to or route attachments elsewhere, like to Dropbox. If you don’t do any of that, pay attention to how much data is stored in Mail.app and see if you can do some house cleaning there as well. Sort by attachments and delete all those old, joke PPT files chuck full of images and movies you never wanted your friends or family to email you anyway!

Cache files

Sometimes apps you frequently use and web browsers save data in order to load things faster. They do it to speed things up and make for a better, faster experience when you go back to those sites again. While it never hurts to delete them, and they will be rebuilt, they’re nowhere nearly as big as some of the other offenders and the system does a pretty good job at managing them nowadays.

How do you clear space out on your Mac?

Have you ever run out of storage space on your Mac? If so, how did you remedy the problem? Let me know in the comments! Just feel free to read more post on our site.