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Tom Briant

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring Cleaning Your Mac-Article 1-What Happened to My Hard Drive?

It’s springtime in the San Fernando Valley! Time for spring cleaning! As you work your way through bulging closets, drawers, file cabinets, attics, garages, the backseats of the minivan and under the bed and sofa; why not give a thought to your Mac’s hard drive? You can fill it up with garbage, too. In fact, you can fill it up so much your Mac groans as it labors to work for you.

Now how can that be? When you purchased your Mac, you thought its hard drive would serve as a bottomless pit into which you could throw everything digital and NEVER RUN OUT OF SPACE. After all, what could possibly fill up a terabyte or two of storage space?

Let us think of this using your home as a metaphor. It’s Saturday morning, you’re out for a walk or drive. You spot a garage sale. They have interesting stuff. You stop to look. You see more interesting stuff. Soon, you’ve got a lamp, a table, a bunch of CDs from your favorite ‘70s rock band, and a book or two that you meant to read when it came out ten years ago. You take it home and put it away. Repeat every few weeks and soon you have to plow a path to get to the kitchen and bathroom from your living room. So the stuff moves to the attic and the garage. Then to the storage locker you rented two blocks over. 

Well, that’s how it’s with me and my digital stuff. I’ll record concerts from the Internet. I’ll rip a DVD or CD to a file. What’s a gigabyte in this day and age? I’ll save articles I found on the Web as PDFs. I’ll download a distro of Linux that looked interesting. I can’t forget my trips to the garage sale of Macdom,, where you can find all kinds of Mac apps. Not to mention the Mac app store and Two Dollar Tuesdays. Can’t pass up a bargain, even if it’s a white elephant. 

If I don’t catch myself, I’ll run out of space on a 1 Terabyte and ask myself, “Where’d the space go?”

In this series of articles on Spring Cleaning Your Mac, I will give you tips on how to control your voracious appetite for more and more digital stuff.  Some of the tips are digital specific. Some of them apply to collectors of troll dolls as well as collectors of every version of a program. 

Now you will have to spend some money, but I’ll try to offer suggestions for free apps to help you. 

The tips I suggest may spark you to come up with a better idea or at least a different idea. Great! Please put it in the comments. 

Here are my opening tips:

1. Do Not Attempt to clean everything from your Mac in one day. Some of the processes I will outline will require you to wait while your Mac goes about its

business. You can do them while you sleep or go to work or school. 

2. It’s better to have a  duplicate that you can delete at leisure than to hastily start deleting everyone in sight. Take your time. You had a purpose when you brought this digital stuff into your life. If you find that purpose has been served, then go ahead and delete.

3. With that in  mind, if you want to delete something you got on the Web, check first to see if you can still find it on the Web if you want it again. The Web is the world’s attic to which you have easy access. 



What’s the Plan, Tom?


The plan is this:

1. Use a utility app to identify space hogs on your hard drive. 

2. Move these files to an external hard drive, the most expensive part of this process.

3. Decide what to do with the space hogs. I’ll give  you suggestions. 

4. Plan to make sure you don’t burden your hard drive with more stuff than it can handle. Keep at least 20% of your hard drive’s capacity as free space.


Tom Briant

Editor MacValley Blog




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