Hard Disk cleaningIf your system is running low on hard disk space and don’t feel like upgrading it yet, here are some things you can do to free up quite a bit of space.

Remove all the system and application localization resources
This single operation can easily free up more than 1GB disk space. Even if you installed your system without localization files, you will still have hundreds of megabytes of such files that you will never use. By removing these files you do not remove the ability to read and type languages other than English, only the ability to run your entire system on those languages. Use the ingenious DeLocalizer.

Remove all unneeded originals from iPhoto
Did you know that when in iPhoto you modify any image, for example rotate it, the application will save the original file as well as the modified one. This is great because you can go back to the original at any time, but if you feel you will not need to go back and your library of images is fine as it is, you may want to remove all those unnecessary originals. This might save you hundreds of megabytes of disk space as well. To do this use another OS X jewel iPhoto Diet.

Convert your music to compressed format
I’ve seen many iTunes users changing the import feature to the lossless AIFF format to burn CDs and than leaving the files in that format. You can check what format your music files are by CTRL-clicking the title bar with the song names, time and artists and selecting Kind from the contextual menu. If they are indeed in AIFF format change the import format in the Preferences to AAC, than select the AIFF songs and CTRL-click them to bring up a contextual menu and select Convert Selection to AAC. Once the converstion is complete, remember to trash the AIFF files, beacuse iTunes will not do it for you.

Remove all the album graphics in iTunes
If you know what album graphics are, you probably played with adding them to your tracks in iTunes. The album graphics are saved into each file adding to it’s file size. If you add it all up depending on the size of the images and the size of your music library it might be again up to a hundreds of megabytes. It might be important to remove these album graphics especially if you feel you don’t have enough space on your mini iPod. To delete all artwork covers at once, select all the music in your library and press Apple-I (Cmd-I). In the Multiple Song Information window find the empty artwork field on the right. Click the checkmark next to it. This way you are applying an empty artwork to all your music files at once. In other words, you’re deleting them.

Empty every Trash bin on your system
The Trash icon in your Dock is not the only trash you need to empty. Empty iPhoto’s, iMovie’s and Mail’s built in Trash too. Also, you may have deleted an unneeded user from your system, but unless you clicked Delete Immediately you will have compressed deleted user accounts in your Users folder. If you did an Archive and Install, than you will have a Previous Systems folder. Trash them too.

Delete OS X temp files
The system periodically creates temp files that are documenting the system operation. These temp files are cleaned up automatically if you leave your Mac on overnight between 3AM and 5AM, but if you usually shut down at night or just want to make sure all is cleaned up you can run these maintenance scripts manually by downloading one of those OS X maintenance apps like Cocktail. However I much prefer to simply do it in Terminal, which will run all the scripts one by one. Open Terminal and type the following. You will need to enter your admin password:
sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

Now that you have done the big winter cleaning read a previous post about how to be warned before your hard disk fails.

Let me know how much you saved! Make sure to select your hard disk in Finder and press Apple-I (Cmd-I) before and after to find out how much free space you have. Any other ideas how to save hard disk space?


Creative Bits is a popular blog about Creativity, Graphic Design, Adobe, Apple and other related subjects.

Write A Comment