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-   -   Low disc space on boot drive mystery (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=406984)

justinhill 10-31-2019 07:01 AM

Low disc space on boot drive mystery
My Mac Po 6,1 was purchased used and my first action was to clone my existing Macbook Pro onto it - so on day one the two machines were essentially identical.

Since then, I haven't installed much in the way of new apps - but I removed a lot of apps copied from the Macbook that weren't relevant to my Pro Tools machine e.g. Office, Adobe suite and so forth. Since then I've ignored the boot drive - until Clean My Mac pointed out to me that I was running out of space.

Both machines have Apple original 500GB SSDs, formatted APFS. The Macbook currently has 140GB free space, the Mac Pro now only has 38GB. Running Clean My Mac's Space Lens to look at the folders on both machnines I can't see anywhere this extra 110GB can be. All folders are around the same size or smaller, but the space used on the Mac Pro's drive is real - the backup reports the same size.

(All my audio, VIs, etc. etc. are on external SSDs.)

I wondered if somehow TRIM was something to do with it and so I issued a Trimforce enable command on the Mac Pro. This hasn't changed anything.

Other differences between the two machines are of course there's much more RAM on the Mac Pro, and there are a number of external drives attached. But I can't see how that would be relevant. Any thoughts? The machine is working fine but I'm worried I'll run out of space altogether soon.

JFreak 10-31-2019 07:37 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
many kinds of dumps happening when your software/plugins freak out so unless you have explicitly disabled them they keep adding up as you use your computer. to me it just seems you use your trashcan more than your laptop, nothing more.

justinhill 10-31-2019 07:45 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
I've explicitly emptied the trash and do so on a regular basis.

While I was writing my original post I did a screenshot of the drive's Get Info. Since then, the machine has been sitting idle with nothing running. Used space has gone up from 459.180GB to 459.405GB i.e. 225MB has disappeared...

justinhill 10-31-2019 09:02 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
2 Attachment(s)
Space is still slowly draining away without my using the machine. Looking at the Finder view of the two machines (see attached), I know there's some stuff I can't see but on the macbook the "stuff I can't see" seems to add up to just under 40GB.

On the Mac Pro, the "stuff I can't see" adds up to nearly 196GB. What is this stuff? Logs? Something produced by Pro Tools? Can I delete it?

Ben Jenssen 10-31-2019 07:46 PM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
Do you regularly restart your mac? That often releases some space that apps had used for temporary files, caches and such.

Darryl Ramm 10-31-2019 08:50 PM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
Lots of places to look to see where stuff is growing.

Core files and logs are suspects. Look at all the logs shown by Console.app. /var/log, /usr/local/var etc.

Even simple old UNIX things like syslog have been made much more complex under the covers by Apple and it does not take much to go wrong to spew content to them.

It's also possible for badly written or malicious programs to consume space and not be essilly found (process has a file open that has been unlinked and does not appear in the file system but still consumes space).

You can start by using find to search for large files and seeing if they are growing. Lots of easy ways... e.g.

$ ls -lS *

... file listing sorted by size. (watch out for hidden files and directories)

$ sudo find / -type f -size +1G

...to find all files over 1GB

$ sudo find / -type f -size +1G -exec du -m {} \; | sort -r -n

... to sort files by over 1GB by size displayed in MB.

There are ways to continuously watch a file size, see all files that a process has open, find what processes have a file open etc. All just a google away.

justinhill 11-01-2019 01:30 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
I tend to leave my machines on 24/7 and re-boot only occasionally. Actually, Ben, I did reboot a couple of times yesterday hoping to regain some space but no luck.

Darryl, thanks for your comments too. I will go looking for giant log files and so forth. I'll have to be quick - overnight another 1GB disappeared by itself...

ChuckS 11-01-2019 02:20 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
APFS Snapshots?

justinhill 11-01-2019 02:35 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery

Good idea... having discovered the relevant commands I asked tmutil to thin my snapshots by 20GB and - gosh - 20GB of space appeared on the boot drive.

Whether this is the answer to my original problem remains to be seen, since space is still reducing by itself on the Mac Pro but not doing so on the Macbook Pro which is also using APFS. On the other hand, the Macbook Pro doesn't have a rigorous backup regime like the Mac Pro does. I use Carbon Copy Cloner and the snapshots are being created by CCC.

My old friend and mentor now passed away, Jon Hiseman, used to moan about how you couldn't make records any more without being a self-taught IT specialist.

ChuckS 11-01-2019 03:11 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
CCC creates it's own snapshots that need to be handled by CCC. In the app the drives are listed in the lower left hand panel. Click on a drive and it will show you the CCC snapshots in the right hand panel. You can delete them from there - I believe right-click on snapshot. Don't have it in front of me now

justinhill 11-01-2019 03:32 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
1 Attachment(s)
Chuck - thank you. I'm looking at CCC right now and seeing the snapshots it's created. And I can see options to adjust how it manages snapshots.

I had never paid any attention to this section of CCC - only being interested in the "safety net" (which is on the destination drive). I'm wondering now if I should turn off snapshots altogether in CCC.

I've found that snapshots are being created on all the backup drives as well, in fact the only drive without snapshots is my main audio SSD, because it's not APFS. Although this isn't an issue to me at the moment (the backup drives are all much much bigger than the drives they're backing up) perhaps this snapshot stuff explains some of the other odd issues I've had with the system such as it beachballing briefly for no particular reason when I choose Bounce To Disk with mp3 ticked.

By the way Darryl, I did follow your advice as well. None of the log folders were unusually large and there were no super-large files revealed in terminal other than those I expected to find. It did pique my curiosity though to discover how much is being added to the logs all the time - it's non-stop. The attached screenshot is the amalgam of log entries, filtered for errors and faults.

justinhill 11-01-2019 03:50 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery - solved
I turned off snapshots and deleted all the existing ones on the boot drive.

Free space jumped from 35GB to 243GB...!

and Pro Tools seems a little snappier now, although that may be my imagination. Certainly the three or four tests of bounce to disk didn't produce any beachballs or slow response going through the dialogs just now.

Another place where I often see a beachball is when hitting enter to set a marker. Testing just now, I can't reproduce that either. So I'm feeling considerably happier, thanks!

Now I'll let one more verified backup go through and then I might upgrade to 2019.10 just for the fun of it...

ChuckS 11-01-2019 04:10 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
Snapshots can be handy in that you can restore stuff without having to go to the backup drive. You just need to be aware that they're there and sometimes accumulate. CCC tries to manage it's own by thinning before backups, but how is a mystery to me. 'Safety Net' presents a different set of issues on the backup drives. They accumulate and can fill up the backup drive, but have no effect on the original drive. Check your backup drive for the CCC folder that keeps the safety net files by date. You can free up space by trashing the older folders. You just need to figure how far back you want to go.

justinhill 11-01-2019 04:21 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
Safety Net is a problem I don't have to face right now - my backup drives are 6 times the size of what they're backing up. But you're right - it's something I should pay more attention to.

The Snapshot thing explains two things I've often wondered about - which is (1) when I glance at my stack of backup drives and see the activity lights flashing and think "what's that about? There's no backups scheduled for this time of day" and (2) when I delete something (like I removed the whole of Garageband and its various libraries yesterday) but I don't get the space back I should.

Yes, now that I know about them, snapshots are probably a cool quick way to escape from some horrible thing you caused by installing something that didn't do what you expected it to or whatever. But for the moment I'm just glad I'm not running out of space any more.

ChuckS 11-01-2019 06:19 AM

Re: Low disc space on boot drive mystery
The access to your backup drives when nothing is scheduled may be Spotlight indexing the drives. You can stop that by adding them to Privacy in the Spotlight Preference Panel. There could be other access by the OS (maintenance) and background apps (i.e. CCC scheduling).

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