Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Find out what's taking space on your Mac hard drive

Your Mac is running slow and suddenly warns that you're running low on disk space. But where did all that storage go? Find out with this easy guide.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content
Sharon Profis is a vice president of content.
Sharon Profis
2 min read

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

If you are experiencing symptoms of or related to extremely slow applications, perpetual spinning beach balls, issues burning CDs, problems installing software, and random freezing, you're most likely dealing with a case of low storage space.

Head to your hard drive and check your storage capacity. If you're inching toward a full disk, it's time to take out the trash.

Doing so isn't always a simple task, though. Identifying exactly what's taking up space can be annoying and time-consuming, possibly ending with you in an upset fit, hands thrown in the air, and hollering "I should've purchased the bigger hard drive!"

Worry no more, because below is a free Mac OS X program, Disk Inventory X, to help you analyze and evaluate your disk space, and determine exactly what should be deleted. Follow the instructions to get started.

Disk Inventory X. Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Disk Inventory X

This free program scans your hard drive and creates a graphical and textual summary of your disk space use, organizing your data by location and file type.

  1. Download and install Disk Inventory X. Launch the app, and select the drive you want to evaluate, and allow 5-10 minutes for the app to scan your drive.
  2. To evaluate a folder (instead of an entire drive), choose "Select Folder" in the start screen.
  3. When the scan is complete, you'll be presented with the summary screen. The left sidebar organizes files and folders sorted by file size. If you click on a folder or file, the corresponding color block will be highlighted below.
  4. Alternatively, click the large blocks of color to find out which files are taking the most space.
  5. On the right, you can identify the storage hogs by file type, sorted by size.
  6. Once you identify the data hog, right-click the file or folder and send it to the trash. If it's a large application you'd like to uninstall,follow these steps.