So I got up this morning and the birds were chirping, the sun was up full heat while I drank my coffee, and then I realized only 15 GB were left on my user partition! Time for spring cleaning, plus some well overdue backing up.
Every time it gets to this, I use the same set of tools (all free except for ChronoSync and iPartition, both of which aren’t necessary for an in depth cleanup). Here are the apps, in the order I use them:
- OmniDiskSweeper will scan your drive and nicely display what folders use up the most data.
- AppCleaner will help you uninstall apps completely. Most applications leave plist files and other logs behind, AppCleaner finds those and deletes them for you.
- Onyx is the swiss army knife of OS X optimization and fixing. There is simply so much stuff in here, it is a must!
- iDefrag is a great tool to defragment your hard-drive. It will optimize kernel file placement for faster boot-up times. Paid app.
- Carbon Copy Cloner is a great tool for backing up your boot partitions.
- ChronoSync is best at backing up, synchronizing and archiving data. Paid app.
How I go about it:
First and foremost, I launch my RAID 5 drive to store my backups and big/important/Document files (it’s a OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2. It rocks!). I back up my boot partition using Carbon Copy Cloner, just in case. Then, using OMNIDiskSweeper I will scan my partitions. I don’t necessarily delete files with the app itself, I use it as a guide to help identify huge folders. It also helps find locations where you wouldn’t have looked, such as Adobe Encore’s Render folder using up 40 GB… I go through my Downloads folder and pretty much trash everything that is older than 2/3 months and that doesn’t ring a bell. I also move a of stuff to the aforementioned drive, using a great and revolutionary tool called cut and paste… Thank you Lion.
Next up is AppCleaner, which will help deleting old and unused apps. Finally, you can empty your trash… This will probably take a couple of days if you are removing a lot of files.
You can spend the next few days swearing at Locum! See update… If you haven’t decided to throw your mac away after realizing how daunting and painful it is to simply remove files… Congratulations, you win patience! Now the fun part, Onyx. Did I mention Onyx is great? It’s awesome! First let it scan your SMART status and your startup partition. It’s a pretty easy tool to use, but I’ll go through some of the steps. Oh wait, my startup volume is corrupted! Probably because emptying the trash froze my computer… Thank you Lion! Well if the same happens to you it’s pretty simple. Restart holding cmd-r, select the disk utility, select your main drive and click repair. Then select your boot partition and repair. While you’re at it you should repair your disk permissions. Do the same to all your partitions.
Now back in Onyx you can skip the verify tab, under Maintenance and Scripts, select execute. These are completely safe to run. Next up is the cleaning tab. I would run all the tabs before restarting your computer, but make sure to read what each option does. Most defaults are safe, but double-check to make sure. Once all the cleaning is done, reboot and voilà! Of course Onyx has many more fun options, but they aren’t about cleaning so I’ll let you discover those yourself.
If you have the time, defragmenting your boot up drive would be a good idea, though beware this can take a really long time. I really recommend Coriolis’ iDefrag. It works wonders.
OK, now I really prefer having clean and optimized backups, so I’ll backup my OS using CCC again (I delete the backup we did earlier). Then, I use ChronoSync for my document folder, my pictures etc… I like it because I can tell it to keep files I have deleted locally, and to archive older files which I’ve modified. Even though that might not be as relevant since Lion saves histories of file edits, but I prefer being safe than sorry.
Update: Well well well, just as I was going to send a bug report about Locum to Apple, I decided to make sure I wasn’t securely emptying my trash… Ouch! I was! I apologize for spreading false… hate-blog? on locum. So let’s make my horrendous mistake constructive at least! If emptying your trash is slow and takes up a lot of CPU, maybe your always securily emptying your trash. To make sure, go to the Finder preferences, to the advanced tab, and uncheck the “Empty trash securily” if it’s checked.
If you ever want to securely empty your trash, “command + right-click” the trash icon, and it will display the “Secure Empty Trash” button. Easy as that.