This tutorial/overview will show you 4 ways to reclaim “wasted” hard drive space on your Mac, and keep your disk a bit more tidy by deleting unnecessary files and folders.
1. Disk Inventory X
Disk Inventory X is a disk usage utility for Mac OS X 10.3 (and later). It shows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called, treemaps. It’s also an open-source (free) application. It was Disk Inventory X that led me to find a 16.9 GB log file that was a complete waste of space.
We all know uninstalling programs in OS X is a breeze. Just drag the app to the Trash, and that’s it. Unfortunately, a lot of the time files and folders are actually left behind, wasting space on your drive. AppTrap installs as a Preference Pane and it runs in the background (taking up very, very little system resources). When you drag an application to the trash, it makes sure all the files and folders associated with that app are trashed. AppTrap is free, though the author accepts donations.
OnyX actually offers a whole slew of features, not just disk cleaning. But it is certainly useful even if all you use it for is to reclaim wasted disk space.
4. Mr. Clean
Mr. Clean is a free utility that scans your drive (or a selected portion of it) and locates empty folders and duplicate aliases. Using it won’t give you a ton of disk space back, but it will tidy up your hard drive, and perhaps help improve overall speed (by simply removing unnecessary files/folders, even if they are small).
Once downloaded, unzip the file and drag the app to your Applications folder. Run it from there. Click the Select folder / volume to scan button.
Navigate to the folder (or entire hard drive) that you want to scan, choose it and click Select.
Place check-marks in the boxes that represent features you want to use during the scan. The first time I ran Mr. Clean, I clicked the Just look for unwanted files files and log button instead of Scan for unwanted files and Trash them. I prefer to know exactly what’s going to happen before it happens. If you’re a gambler, feel free to skip the “scan and log” step and jump right in.
Once the scan completes, you’ll be presented with a log window detailing everything that Mr. Clean found.
Inside the log window, hold down the Command key and click. That will increase the font size to something a bit more readable.
Now scroll through the log and see what Mr. Clean found. In my case, there were a LOT of unnecessary aliases, and quite a few empty folders.