Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > How much empty space required on drive before OS X has problems??

How much empty space required on drive before OS X has problems??
Thread Tools
Eug
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 04:17 PM
 
I've heard that OS X gets rather annoyed when the boot drive's empty space shrinks below a certain amount. What is that amount, for say an average user who runs a bunch of memory hogging programs simultaneously and surfs a lot?

Is there a size that really starts to slow down OS X? Is there a size that causes problems in OS X function?
     
seanc
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cambridge, UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 04:33 PM
 
I think it's about 3 gigs. I'd try to keep at least 5 gigs free at all times.

How much space have you got left Eug?
     
Eug  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 05:06 PM
 
Lots, but it's quickly disappearing. I have 70 GB left on my boot partition, but I've been adding movies to iTunes, and my encodes put them at around 2 GB each. I also need around to 15 GB for temporary ripped DVD images too. That means I only have enough space for about another 20 movies.

I could repartition my 500 GB drive, but I only have 90 GB left on my other data partition, so it doesn't really help me that much.

So, if I get a new iMac next year, I'm fine. I'll just get a 1 TB drive in the thing. In the meantime I'll have to repartition, or else make the entire 500 GB of my internal drive my boot drive, and use yet another Firewire drive as the data drive. However, I've already got 3 external FW drives attached to this thing (with two of them being backup drives).
     
davidbk1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 06:32 PM
 
It actually starts telling you to free space up. I think that happens around 300 MB free, but IMO you should never get there. I use 10% as a rule to keep the machine running fast.

My roommate's girlfriend managed to get down to 0KB. Even after freeing space in target disk mode, the machine refused to log in or change the password. Had to reinstall leopard
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 06:34 PM
 
I actually ran my iBook's drive close to capacity for a number of months (say around 150MB free) under Panther. I didn't see any deleterious effects other than the occasional nag message.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 06:44 PM
 
I've experienced very serious slow-downs when OS X had less than 3~5 GB of space left. Happened all the way from 10.1 to 10.4. My friends gave me a 250 GB harddrive for Xmas last year, so that I've enough space for now.

I think the effect is connected to the way OS X manages virtual memory: I'm a multitasking junkie. Usually, I'd have 10+ apps open at the same time. OS X creates new virtual memory files, but doesn't delete them until after a restart, so you will actually see the performance of OS X deteriorating. Depending on your cpu, OS X can manage 4 GB memory, hence you may run into trouble when you have only 3~5 GB left.

With desktops, avoiding this is much easier than with laptops, because I cannot replace the harddrive of my ProBook without voiding Apple Care. (On the MacBook, the harddrive is a user-replaceable part! :argh
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
zykron
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: UMaine
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2008, 06:51 PM
 
My guideline is whatever matches the amount of RAM you have in the machine.

Since I have 1.25 GB in my iMac, I need to have at least 1.25 GB free at all times. (Since my 80 GB Hard Drive has over 50 GB leftover after moving a few files and putting others on CDs/DVDs, I'd say that I'm doing pretty well.)
     
B Gallagher
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2008, 04:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
With desktops, avoiding this is much easier than with laptops, because I cannot replace the harddrive of my ProBook without voiding Apple Care. (On the MacBook, the harddrive is a user-replaceable part! :argh
OreoCookie, you do realised that you can get Apple to replace the HDD in a ProBook for you, keeping the AppleCare valid? See this for more details. I did it a couple of months go with my MBP.
MBP 15" C2D 2.2GHz 4.0GB [email protected]
iPhone 4 32GB Black
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2008, 05:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by B Gallagher View Post
OreoCookie, you do realised that you can get Apple to replace the HDD in a ProBook for you, keeping the AppleCare valid? See this for more details. I did it a couple of months go with my MBP.
I know, that's what I did and it cost me about €60 or so (gave it to the store that sold the machine, an authorized service center). I don't like paying for something I can do by myself
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Eug  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 26, 2008, 08:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by zykron View Post
My guideline is whatever matches the amount of RAM you have in the machine.

Since I have 1.25 GB in my iMac, I need to have at least 1.25 GB free at all times.
That makes some sense, but it doesn't give you any reom to maneuver. One batch of photos from my camera can be that much alone. And a DVD rip might be close to 8 GB.


Originally Posted by davidbk1 View Post
It actually starts telling you to free space up. I think that happens around 300 MB free, but IMO you should never get there. I use 10% as a rule to keep the machine running fast.
Well, 10% is probably too much in my case. With a 500 GB (or 465 real GB), that means 46 GB free space. I think I'll start to really worry when I get below 20 GB. But then again, your rule of thumb may jive with that, since that partition only has 185 GB.

Come to think of it, I only have 14 GB left on my iBook G4 800. Works fine. However, I basically do nothing on that machine except surf, show JPEGs, and give Keynote/PowerPoint presentations, etc.

With my iMac (which is the machine I'm worried about), I have a fair amount of stuff running in the background, and often have a bunch of apps in the foreground as well. I have 3 GB in the thing, and still sometimes end up paging out to disk.

I can't wait until the Nehalem iMacs come out. 1 TB storage and 4-8 GB RAM would be perfect.
     
cmeisenzahl
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Feb 2005
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 26, 2008, 09:55 AM
 
"I think it's about 3 gigs. I'd try to keep at least 5 gigs free at all times."

I'm w/ Seanc on this.
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:41 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,