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Why is my hard drive memory disappearing?

by CaptainKirkDude / February 15, 2010 4:17 AM PST


I have a iMac DV G3/500 (Special Edition) from summer 2000.

Anyway, I am using Mac OS 10.2.8. Recently, my start up disk's memory has gone done from 1.2 GB available free space to 668MB (currently).
I haven't saved anything on this disk so I can not understand why this memory has dissappeared. I have also had icons on the start up menu disappear.

Could someone please tell me how I can restore the missing memory?

Thank you.

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Try deleting the Temporary files in Safari
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 15, 2010 5:47 AM PST

Have you installed anything lately?


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well . . .
by naturist / February 15, 2010 7:00 AM PST

when was the last time you ran disk utility from the install disk and did a full repair on the hard drive?

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Memory update
by CaptainKirkDude / February 15, 2010 8:42 PM PST
In reply to: well . . .


1)Is the temporary files in the Caches folder for Safari? It is 23MB.

2)Should I run the Disk Utilities that came with iMac OS9 installation, or is it in the AppleCare box - or does it come with the OSX disk - sorry for so many ques.?


PS: Today my memory is 632MB at the moment - this fluctuates.

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The one that comes on the OS X disk
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 15, 2010 8:51 PM PST
In reply to: Memory update

is the one to use.

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Do you use Top Sites?
by Mr. Gregg / February 15, 2010 10:42 PM PST
In reply to: Memory update

Safari stores copies of the images of sites you visit to display in Top Sites. This consumes space simply by the act of web browsing. I don't use Top Sites. In fact, I disabled it. Here's how:

To completely disable Top Sites, go to Safari > Preferences > General

New windows open with: Top Sites
Change it to something else. Obviously, you can do the same for New Tabs.

(You'll also see Top Sites in the Show All Bookmarks window. Drag that up, don't stop when it first stops moving. It will be reduced to a thin bar.)

Now delete the Image Cache. Choose Safari > Reset Safari... and select Remove All Webpage Preview Images. Click Reset. Now go to YourUserName/Library/Caches/ and select the Webpage Previews folder. Press Cmd-I and click Locked. Now it won't accumulate a jpeg and png of every web page you visit. I saved over 500MB of disk space!

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One more thing,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 15, 2010 8:52 PM PST

It is not memory that is disappearing, it is Hard Drive space.

A small thing, but different


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by CaptainKirkDude / February 16, 2010 3:12 AM PST
In reply to: One more thing,

Yes - sorry about that - you are right, I meant hard drive space.

Thanks Mr Greg, I reset Safari and I have recovered a little space - I am now at 652MB.

I have run Disk Utilites from the Install CD - clicked repair - but it hasn't made a difference. I still don't know the cause. What are my options now?

Should I do a clean install on to my HD?
Also, is it possible to install and run application programmes from an external HD?

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External HD
by GNJ / February 16, 2010 3:46 AM PST
In reply to: One more thing,

"Also, is it possible to install and run application programmes from an external HD?"

Yes. You can also boot/run you entire machine from it, if you have a firewire drive.

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Clean up HD
by GNJ / February 16, 2010 3:42 AM PST

Your OS uses your HD for temporary files --- your disappearing icons tells you that your OS has run out of "scratchpad" space and is in trouble.

There are several free utilities (cache cleaners) out there that can recover some space for you. For your situation, I'll suggest MacJanitor to start. There are others that can do more, but make sure you check version/ OS compatibility (Onyx,for example, has a Panther version that requires BSD)

Besides checking your browser settings as allready suggested, look at your email *and* email attachments folder. Those pix, flix, icons, etc. can still be there--- even after you have erased the email.

Consider deleting those demos, games, and other programs that you don't use.

You could also consider getting an external drive, and reorganize your system a bit (as in move that stuff that you don't want to dump)

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Another update
by CaptainKirkDude / February 16, 2010 9:14 PM PST
In reply to: Clean up HD

Morning all.

Today my HD space is back down to 632 MB.

I read somewhere that it could also be caused by a rogue script. I have tried finding the correct version of MacJanitor for OS 10.2.8 but without luck. Anyway, I think I will do the clean install. I have been thinking of doing this for years as my iMac has been a bit sluggish, so now is as good as any time.

I would be grateful if anyone could advise me on the best way to optimise my iMac performance through this clean install. I have a 250 GB Firewire external HD drive and another 300 GB USB external HD drive. I have 640 MB of RAM. I was told by someone you can only install OS on the built in HD drive - is that correct? I'm guessing not if you can boot up from an external HD.

So which option is best:

1) Install OS on to the Firewire drive and use USB drive for software application .

2) Install OS on to Firewire drive and use it also for installing application software.

3) Install OS on to the built in HD on the iMac but install software application on the Firewire drive.

4) 3) Install OS on to the built in HD on the iMac but install software application on the USB drive.

And if I did use the Firewire HD external drive, what would use the built in HD of the iMac for.

BTW - how far can I upgrade my OS for this particular iMac - I am now on OS 10.2.8.

Thanks again everyone.

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MacJanitor, External HD
by GNJ / February 16, 2010 11:37 PM PST
In reply to: Another update

You need version 1.2.1 --- scroll down the page a bit for the one you want:

1. Be aware that you will **not** be able to use the full capacity of your external drives. The maximum size for your machine is 128G. Yes, you can plugin and use your 250/300G drives --- you just won't be able to use the full capacities.

2. You can format and install your OS on the firewire drive -- it will be bootable. You can also install it on your built-in drive. I personally would use the firewire as a cloned bootable backup and the USB for data (those large music, photo, video, etc files)

3. Regarding how far you can take your machine:
The max usable drive size is 128G
You can take it up to 1 G RAM total --- 2 slots that take PC-100 3.3V 168-pin SDRAM
OS depends on which processor you have: 350MHz can go to 10.3x, the faster processors can go to 10.4x

4. you may want to seriously consider counting your nickels and pricing a newer machine as you consider spending $ on this one ---

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Installing OS
by CaptainKirkDude / February 17, 2010 12:51 AM PST

Thanks GNJ.

Have installed and ran MacJanitor. HD available space is at an alarming 637 MB.

Yes, you are right about investing in a new machine and I will probably be looking to do so next year. I have had this iMac for almost 10 years now and since I will still have it, always, I just want to get the most out of it that is possible. BTW - just incase, the specs for the machine again are as follows:

iMac DV G3/400 Special Edition (from summer 2000)
RAM 128MB (built in) + 512MB (card) = 640MB
Processor: 400MHz processor PowerPC G3
13GB built in HD
OS 9.1 Classic and OS 10.2.8
with airport card

1 x 250GB Firewire external HD drive
1 x 300GB USB external HD drive

I will follow your recommendation and install OS on the iMac's built in HD.

1) If I want to clone it to the Firewire drive, is it simply a case of dragging the iMac HD icon over in to the Firewire drive's icon or window - or what should I do?

2) And how do I boot from that (Firewire) drive when I need to?

3) Will I be able to take advantage of the Firewire drive's full capacity if I use it as a cloned back up?

One wishes one could just drag (the aplications folder) all the installed software on to one of the external drives rather than having to individually install everything again - but I suppose that is extremely complicated if not impossible.

Thanks again.

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OS upgrade/cloning
by GNJ / February 17, 2010 3:04 AM PST
In reply to: Installing OS

Assuming that you will be going for Tiger --- I would install Tiger on the firewire drive and use the migration assistant to get your set-up info into the Tiger OS. You can then select the firewire disk using your system preferences/startup disk --- or the OS9 Startup Disk Control Panel. Another way to select a startup disk is to hold down the Option key as you restart your computer. You?ll see the available startup disks and can select one.

At this stage, you will have three boot choices, OS9, OS 10.2, OS10.4
I would suggest using the new OS for a while, before you dump 10.2 ---- there are significant changes they may break some stuff that you use. You will need to see if those items have a suitable updater or replacement available for your purposes.

****take the time to clean out that 30G drive*** as suggested earlier.

Drag and drop merely copies the visible files. You can do that just to save your assorted data files.

A bootable clone involves proper **placement** of all the assorted visible **and** invisible stuff. You need a cloning copier for that.

You can get Carbon Copy Cloner here: (get the version for the OS you will be cloning)

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Installing Software only on external HD
by CaptainKirkDude / February 18, 2010 6:33 AM PST
In reply to: OS upgrade/cloning

Thanks for the advice and link. I will do my clean install this weekend. I will just stick with 10.2.8 for now so I will just use the built in HD to install OS.

1) But can I do that (as above) and install my software, such as 3D design, Vector packages, video editing etc on an external HD? Or must it be on the same HD as the OS?

2) And will this allow for good performance?

3) And should I install to the Firewire drive or USB drive?


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Firewire is the only choice for you.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 18, 2010 8:29 AM PST

Your computer only has USB 1.0 which is not really suitable for hard drives or optical drives.


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