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Take Back Your Mac's Hard Drive: The Best Ways to Reclaim Disk Space

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Do you feel like your Mac is always running short of hard drive space? And you can never quite figure out how it all got used up? Ryan Faas is your guide to not only finding out where all those gigabytes went but also how to get them back.
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In today’s world—in which we store movies and TV shows that can gobble up gigabytes of space for a single file (not to mention thousands or songs, photos, and other documents)—it can seem as if no hard drive offers enough storage space. Adding more storage space via an additional hard drive is a great option. For portable Mac owners, adding an external hard drive can be problematic because it reduces the portability of their computers (or at least their files). Replacing an existing internal hard drive is also an option. Depending on the Mac model, however, it can be a more costly upgrade than an additional hard drive because of the size requirements of the drive (particularly for portable Macs).

A third option is to free up space on your existing hard drive. This may conjure up the idea of deleting files that you want to keep, but the truth is that there are a lot files on your hard drive that you won’t even notice if you get rid of them. What’s more, some of them take up surprisingly large amounts of space that you can easily reclaim.

Find Large Files and Folders

Deleting large files and folders seems like an obvious way to free up disk space. Sometimes it’s easy to spot files that are taking a lot of space, but not always. Documents that you might have downloaded or created months or years ago might escape your attention, particularly if they’re buried in some obscure location. You also might not think that some files or folders could be as large as they are. There are a number of utilities that allow you to view how much space specific files and folders are using quickly and easily. Disk Inventory X, WhatSize, Grand Perspective, and OmniDiskSweeper all fit this bill. Each can help you find large files without having to manually search through your hard drive and check the size of items that might be large. They also enable you to see the size of a number of application and Mac OS X system files that you might not otherwise consider removing.

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