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Old 05-09-2012, 07:17 AM   #1
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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Running out of space on startup drive...symbolic links?

No matter how much I clean up my startup drive, I'm always getting closer to running out of space. However, I have three other large drives on the same machine and I'm wondering what kind of trouble I'd open up for myself if I use symbolic links to "move" things like /Library or /Library/Application Support to another drive? I wouldn't mind "moving" /Applications as well.

I wouldn't mind moving /Users as well although it might be enough to move ~/Mail

Anyone done these kinds of things and found Lion to continue to be solid? Would it screw up things like Software Updates, App Store, Copy protected apps?

Would appreciate any insights.

Thanks,
David
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:51 AM   #2
acme.mail.order
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You do run the risk of breaking things, mainly updates. How big, and how full, is your drive? Where is most of that space going?

The main consumer of space is media. Moving music, video and the iPhoto library elsewhere is both easy and supported by Apple. Moving Applications elsewhere is not. Deleting runaway log files is necessary after finding why they are bloated (50 Gb log files are not unheard of.

Get the size of the following:

Pictures -> iPhoto Library

Music -> iTunes

Movies

From the Finder, Go -> Go to Folder -> /var/log
Get the size of that folder. It's normally hidden, hence the roundabout route.

Last edited by acme.mail.order; 05-09-2012 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
benwiggy
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What OS are you running, and how large are your various drives?

Any reason you don't move the system disk, including Applications and Users, to one of the larger drives?

If you want to split things up, the easiest thing is that you can redefine the location of your User account to be at another location.
In System Prefs > Accounts (or User & Groups in Lion), right-click on an account to show the Advanced Options. You can change the Home Directory for that user.

WARNING: Obviously, you need to copy over your account files to the new location, then log into another admin account; then change the home dir for the first account, and then hopefully, that will work.

SECOND WARNING: Make sure you have a decent backup. I think I tried this once a while ago, but I moved it back after a short time, so I don't know what consequences there may be. No doubt there's someone's experience of doing this posted online somewhere.

If you log in and get an "empty" user account, then the OS has probably created a new account in the place that it thinks it ought to be.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:31 PM   #4
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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My media is already on other drives ---- most of the files taking up space is in

/Library/Application Support (e.g, GarageBand 9.5Gb, Logic 4.5Gb, onOne Software 7.7Gb)
/Library/Audio (Apple Loops 8Gb)
/Library/Developer (7Gb)

and /Applications takes up 43Gb

Then in ~/Library there's another 39Gb with 20Gb of it in ~/Library/Application Support and 12Gb in ~/Library/Mail

I know I could just symbolic link some of the lower-level folders (like Mail) but I'd love to do it all in one go.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:56 PM   #5
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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I'd also love to move the swap file to a different drive
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhjdhjdhjdhj
I'd also love to move the swap file to a different drive

Definitely don't do this. While there are almost certainly instructions on how to do this somewhere on the internet, I would advise against it. Whilst OS X is Unix™, it is a specialised and customised Unix.

TBH, the swap file probably isn't that big.

You might want to consider mucking out your Mail Downloads folder, or at least Archiving old mail to a file that can be moved.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
DeltaMac
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Your items only total about 120GB, or thereabouts.

Do you just need drives with more capacity?
Outside of money - is there anything that prevents you from simply throwing more capacity into your MacPro?
How large are your various internal drives now?
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:14 PM   #8
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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This is not about size, it's about reducing disk seeks by sharing I/O across multiple drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benwiggy

TBH, the swap file probably isn't that big.

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Old 05-09-2012, 02:16 PM   #9
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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Yeah, I know --- the startup drive is 250Gb and the other drives are 750Gb each. I've thought about doing a super-duper clone of the startup drive and then throwing in a bigger drive. I'm also hoping to hell Apple will come out with a new DeskPro, mine is quite old (early Intel) and I was just trying to avoid messing with it in the short term.

However, I figured that if Apple system was "immune" to symbolic links, it would be a 2 minute operation to free a ton of space until I can get around to the appropriate upgrades.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMac
Your items only total about 120GB, or thereabouts.

Do you just need drives with more capacity?
Outside of money - is there anything that prevents you from simply throwing more capacity into your MacPro?
How large are your various internal drives now?

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Old 05-09-2012, 07:43 PM   #10
acme.mail.order
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhjdhjdhjdhj
No matter how much I clean up my startup drive, I'm always getting closer to running out of space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhjdhjdhjdhj
This is not about size, it's about reducing disk seeks by sharing I/O across multiple drives.

Which one is it?
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:15 PM   #11
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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My comment "This is not about size" was a response to the comment "TBH, the swap file probably isn't that big."

So just in case it's still not clear
A) I'd like to move large system files to a different drive to regain some space on my startup drive and
B) I'd like to have the swap file be on a different drive to improve overall performance by reducing the amount of seeking that needs to be done by the startup drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by acme.mail.order
Which one is it?

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Old 05-09-2012, 08:37 PM   #12
acme.mail.order
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General experience here has shown that moving System files and standard applications elsewhere is asking for grief, and only lasts until the next upgrade. Modifying low-level system files that aren't meant to be modified (i.e. via a well-known and documented config file) is asking for a broken system.

You said your boot volume is 250Gb - this indicates an older system. Do you have a firewire 800 port? If not, then you won't gain anything by moving the swapfiles as the benefit of spreading out the disk I/O will be cancelled by having to move the data through a USB2 / FW400 port.

It seems like all your problems will be solved by installing a new internal boot volume. Lots of space, faster interface (as fast as the computer is capable of), no need to tinker with the OS internals.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:23 PM   #13
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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Yeah, I have a tower --- it has 4 internal drives (obviously) on the system bus which is why I figure there would be benefit to spreading out disk I/O
While it is an older machine, it does have two 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Zeon processors, so not too bad.
What was really interesting (and why the swapfile issue is on my mind) is that I recently tried that trick of turning off dynamic paging and I found instant and obvious improvement in responsiveness. I know people are debating what's going on but I started to wonder whether the slowdown with dynamic paging was due to the swapfile getting too fragmented (yeah, I know that's not supposed to be an issue on OS X but....) and then I started thinking about spreading the load.

This issue is independent of trying to reclaim space on startup drive. If it is in fact the opinion that it's really asking for grief, then I'll bite the bullet and replace the drive. I was just trying to avoid the invariable headaches I always encounter when changing hardware, etc.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, it's really appreciated.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:42 AM   #14
acme.mail.order
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How much memory do you have?
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:06 AM   #15
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Ssd ?

Hi,

I would highly recommend installing an SSD as the boot drive in the spare optical bay (mounts are available). Connect it to one of the 2 spare SATA sockets under the fan and take power from the optical molex. This leaves the usual 4 HDD bays free.

If your Mac Pro does not have the spare SATA sockets, there are adapters to install an SSD in the usual bays.

Move data files off the boot drive as per the post by "acme.mail.order".

See if you have any other large files that can be easily moved using "GrandPerspective"

http://download.cnet.com/GrandPerspe..._4-141507.html

GrandPerspective makes it easy to delete any large "junk" files you may find.

Then clone to the SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner or Superduper.

Note: Bootcamp will not boot windows from the SATA sockets under the fan (without editing the MBR). However, my solution was to use modified SATA extension cables to connect the SSD to Bay 2, and the HDD in bay 2 to the socket under the fan.

Regards,

Nick
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:39 AM   #16
dhjdhjdhjdhj
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I have 6Gb. I have observed that if dynamic paging is on, Thunderbird takes about 10 seconds to startup. If dynamic paging is off, Thunderbird starts in about 2 seconds. This is 100% reproducible. I have seen similar speedups in Firefox and MS Office. It's quite remarkable.

"macsolver" - an SSD is an interesting alternative. I wish I knew however whether Apple was going to refresh their tower line before I made that decision. I have several disk analysers and have already moved a lot of stuff (or deleted it) but I keep looking at all that stuff in Application Support and wishing.....
(grin)
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