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  1. #1
    Where does everything go?
    Recently I asked, and got, a lot of good advice on how to help my elderly neighbor's older Mac run a bit better. During the process he asked me what happens to the space on the hard drive where the approximately 4000 emails were stored? We also ran the first aid portion of the Utilities, as well as the correct version of Onyx. (unfortunately his OS version was too old for AdAware, etc) The aforementioned items also deleted some things which also would allow more space on the hard drive. When you do a restart, does the Mac OS fill in the new found "holes" by re-prioritizing things?

    I thought he had a valid question, so once again I turn to you pros out there for guidance. Thank you!

  2. #2
    MacInWin
    Guest
    Good questions. Emails are stored in a hidden folder Mail creates. It is in his account folder, but he doesn't need to mess with it, Mail takes care of it. If he wants to save space, he can trash some email and then empty the trash in mail.

    As for the hard drive, OS X and macOS both take care of the hard drive and as long as there is about 10-20% of the drive empty, there is no need for any user maintenance on it. One thing he can do is leave the Mac on overnight periodically, if he's not already doing so, to allow the built-in maintenance routines to run. There are some folks who think a defragmenation run is good every few years, but I never did and never had any problem. Also, NEVER run defrag on an SSD or similar storage, it isn't good for it.

    I am not sure what you mean by
    When you do a restart, does the Mac OS fill in the new found "holes" by re-prioritizing things?
    Can you elaborate?

  3. #3
    Where does everything go?
    toMACsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardball23 View Post
    When you do a restart, does the Mac OS fill in the new found "holes" by re-prioritizing things?
    Apple claims that the hard drive does optimize itself. It does a pretty good job of it, but I still run optimizing software every so often.

  4. #4
    Where does everything go?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardball23 View Post
    The aforementioned items also deleted some things which also would allow more space on the hard drive. When you do a restart, does the Mac OS fill in the new found "holes" by re-prioritizing things?
    Mac OS X has build in optimizing features that minimizes the fragmentation of files (which can slow things down). But basically the way Mac computers handle the deleting of files (and the resulting "free space") is pretty much the same as it has always been (for decades). The files that are deleted are actually still there. But what happens is...the computer now knows that the space where these files are located is now available to be over-written with new files/info as they become available.

    This is why if someone accidentally deletes a file or a bunch of files...the files/info still has the chance of being recovered (with the proper software). If these files haven't been overwritten with newer info. There is also another method of deleting files called a "secure erase"...where the files are deleted & the space where the files resided is immediately over-written with 1's and 0's. This makes the recovery of the deleted files much more difficult. And if multiple passes of 1's and 0's are done...this makes the recovery of files almost impossible.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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  5. #5
    Where does everything go?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    For those interested, and for such older systems, one can download the older version of iDefrag and use it to have a look.
    https://coriolis-systems.com/support...-need-os-x-10x

    It won't defrag anything in its free unregistered mode I don't think, but you'll probably be surprised in the lack of fragmentation if the Mac has been operating properly and probably won't need defragging anyway.






    - Patrick
    ==========

  6. #6
    Where does everything go?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm-r View Post
    It won't defrag anything in its free unregistered mode I don't think...
    That's been my experience. Gives a nice graphical representation of the files on the HD though.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7
    Where does everything go?
    chscag's Avatar
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    It won't defrag anything in its free unregistered mode I don't think, but you'll probably be surprised in the lack of fragmentation if the Mac has been operating properly and probably won't need defragging anyway.
    Not completely true. I have the latest version of iDefrag (fully registered) and when I run it to do an analysis of the hard drive, it always shows a certain amount of fragmentation. The key to allowing OS X to do its own defragging is to have lots of free space on the hard drive and not very many large files such as video or graphic. Once the hard drive fills up about half way, fragmentation increases. And if you're doing a lot of video work or large graphic layouts, that makes it even worse. OS X will keep a drive fairly clean from fragmentation as long as the files are normal size and there is plenty of space remaining.

  8. #8
    MacInWin, Thank you for your input. Helpful indeed. The "holes" I mentioned was referencing things that have been deleted and the resulting newly unused portion of the disc. I should have used the term defragmentation for when the computer restarts, because that is really what I thought it did. After reading yours, and all the other comments however, I am certainly more educated on the entire process now.

  9. #9
    MacInWin
    Guest
    Good. The system doesn't defrag at boot up, that would/could take too long. It does some cleanup when idle, as chscag described.

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