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  1. #1
    Exclamation MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    Hello All,

    Just as a Doctor wants to know everything about what's going on with you and your symptoms, not just what you, the patient think is important...I, the patient, am going to share with you, the Doctors, a step-by-step process of how my iMac went from being low on HDD space and giving me a "System has run out of resources" error message 3 days ago (bt still functioning perfectly)...to having even less space on the drive today, and having 840+ GIGABYTES locked down in a "Hidden" "Systems" folder....

    So, here we go...

    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012)
    3.4 GHz Intel Core i&
    32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    macOS Mojave (v 10.14)


    1. I kept being interrupted by a pop-up menu stating that my system was out of resources, and said pop-up menu asked if I'd like to Force Quit any of the apps it was showing me in order to free up some resource.
    2. It got to a point where this window was popping up and making itself the topmost window every 5 seconds or so.
    3. I read somewhere that even though I have like 140GB free HDD space (which sounds like a lot), that because it is a small percentage of my overall 3TB HDD, that the computer might be struggling.
    4. So, I decided to try to find a way to alleviate some of that stress by offloading some of the files on my computer.
    5. I usually just dumped files onto an external HDD but started researching iCloud Drive.
    6. The way iCloud Drive was explained to me was that it's basically Apple's version of DropBox. The way I view DropBox is that it is, primarily, off-device storage in the Cloud. Yes, it CAN sync with a device, and yes iCloud CAN (and is supposed to sync with all of your devices), but that iCloud DRIVE was off-device storage. I've, unfortunately, come to find out that that person's explanation of iCloud DRIVE was incorrect.
    7. So, I signed up for 2TB of iCloud DRIVE space, and started the uploading process.
    8. I noticed a little while into the transfer process that my HDD space was going DOWN?!, and wondered how this could be since I was offloading files to iCloud DRIVE, and should thus be freeing up space on my iMac.
    9. While the uploading process was still going on, I started posting on a forum and someone finally explained that iCloud DRIVE is just a larger capacity storage option under the umbrella of iCloud and that the files remain on your computer. This is, obviously, not at all what I wanted.
    10. So, I stopped the upload process to iCloud DRIVE.
    11. I then went out and bought an external HDD and transferred all 840 GB of files to the external drive (from the iCloud DRIVE that was on my HDD).
    12. I then deleted the 840 GB of data on my iCloud DRIVE, and then deleted my trash.
    13. So, having deleted the 840 GB of files from my iCloud DRIVE, turning off iCloud Drive, and emptying my trash, one would think that my HDD would've gone from 140 GB of "Available" space to around 1TB. Nope. Still stuck at 140 GB.
    14. So, I ran Disk Utility (in normal mode), and you can see that everything looks fine in the first 2 pictures (but I believe that's because Disk Utility is only showing me the startup disk:
      Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 4.46.24 PM - Disk Utility First Aid - 1.jpg
      Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 4.46.37 PM - Disk Utility First Aid - 2.jpg
    15. I hit some more forums and looked for people with similar situations and found one where people were chiming in about having all sorts of large groups of files in weird places on their computers, and some mentioned having large "System" folders, when those are typically small.
    16. I bought an app called DaisyDisk and used it to scan my iMac HDD, as an Administrator, and it found that my "System" folder was over 840 GB!!!
    17. It would appear that my computer stashed the 840 GB of files that I told it do delete, here. That's the only thing I can think of. I mean, it'd be quite the coincidence to delete that amount of data and have almost exactly that amount of data show up somewhere else on my computer on the same day, correct?
    18. So, one of the options on DaisyDisk is to be able to gain access to, and delete, files in the "Hidden" subfolder of the "System" folder. However, even DaisyDisk is saying that it can't let me do that, seen here when I try to drag the "Still Hidden" folder to the garbage in the lower lefthand corner of the picture.
      Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 4.31.14 PM - Administrator Scan 2.jpg
    19. So, I'm at a loss. I deleted (or at least thought I did) approximately 840 GB of data to free up space on my iMac's HDD and let it run a little more unencumbered and faster, only to have that massive amount of data transferred to a "System" folder that my computer isn't letting me gain access to.
    20. The fact that DaisyDisk let others delete some of their "Hidden" files in the "System" folder, but I was being denied the same functionality got me to thinking about permissions, etc.
    21. I then reboot my iMac into Recovery Mode.
    22. I then run disk utility again, with these results:
      Disk Error - 2.jpg
      Disk Error - 6.jpg
    23. So, according to Disk Utility in Recovery Mode, I have a Disk Error on both "disk0s2" and "disk1s2", and by fixing them it's going to wipe them both clean.


    So, I have a couple of questions:
    1. Can anybody tell me why this happened (since the drive was perfectly fine 3 days ago)?
    2. Can anybody tell me how to get at those "Hidden" "System" files in order to be able to delete them?
    3. If the answer it "Yes" to question #2 above, will that somehow resolve the problem and there will no longer be a Disk Error, and/or everything will go back to normal like it was 3 days ago?
    4. MOST IMPORTANTLY...If the answer to #3 above is "No. You're screwed. There's nothing you can do at this point", am I understanding the Disk Utility results correctly, I can "Fix" both of the drives with errors on them, effectlively wiping them out and starting over, but I will be able to do this from a functioning OS X boot drive...in other words, if I hit the "Fix" button for both drives, my computer will fix those drives and not do anything to the boot drive that OS X is on, nor will I need to boot from another drive external to my computer during this whole process....correct? The last thing I want to do is "Fix" the drives that appear to have errors on them, wiping out all of that data, and also, in the process have to boot from an external drive or something (since I don't have the CD that came with the iMac, handy).


    Having said all of this, while I'm not a computer geek by any stretch of the imagination, I love to learn and am willing to do/tinker with anything you guys tell me to....AS LONG AS YOU KEEP IN MIND that I don't know as much as you do, and therefore will need things explained to me in (relatively) simple terms...Not, "First, make sure your computer is plugged in and has power...".....but a lot simpler than THIS GUY, who assumes everyone knows what he's talking about.
    Last edited by jman995x; 02-08-2019 at 12:08 AM.

  2. #2
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    5,851
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Mojave creates what are called snapshots for backup purposes. The snapshots are considered to be system files. I would suspect that your system is full of these snapshots. So, first thing is to look at the settings for Time Machine. Open System Preferences/Time machine and look to see if "Back Up Automatically" is checked. If it is, and if you do NOT have the backup drive attached all the time, then every hour a snapshot is taken. These snapshots are cleaned up when a backup is made and the snapshots are released. So, if your backup drive is not attached, attach it and let it back up (it will take quite a while if those 840GB are, in fact, snapshots). Or if that box is checked and you've NEVER done a backup, that can also cause snapshots to be created that will never go away until you DO make a backup. Frankly, I recommend backups for everyone, but it's up to you what you do.

    Here is a thread here from a while ago with some information on snapshots: https://www.mac-forums.com/showthrea...ight=snapshots

    Give that a look, read the entire thread before you do anything, there are good suggestions there. But read the entire thread to get a good understanding of what may be happening.

    So, if snapshots is the issue, get rid of them by the methods suggested in that thread, then see if that drive recovers. If it doesn't, come back and we'll try something else. My money is on snapshots.
    Last edited by MacInWin; 02-08-2019 at 01:22 AM.
    Jake

  3. #3
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    Rod Sprague's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia and Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
    Posts
    4,769
    Your Mac's Specs
    MacBook Pro Retina 13" macOSX 10.13.3 beta
    Also, and I only became aware of this when recently reading about TM Snspshots is that CCC does the same. Not sure if you are using CCC but if you are you may be experiencing a "double whammy" effect as I was for a short time. CCC snapshots can be viewed within the app and deleted or preferences altered.


    Sent from my iPhone
    I used to be conceited but now I'm perfect.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Mojave creates what are called snapshots for backup purposes. The snapshots are considered to be system files. I would suspect that your system is full of these snapshots. So, first thing is to look at the settings for Time Machine. Open System Preferences/Time machine and look to see if "Back Up Automatically" is checked. If it is, and if you do NOT have the backup drive attached all the time, then every hour a snapshot is taken. These snapshots are cleaned up when a backup is made and the snapshots are released. So, if your backup drive is not attached, attach it and let it back up (it will take quite a while if those 840GB are, in fact, snapshots). Or if that box is checked and you've NEVER done a backup, that can also cause snapshots to be created that will never go away until you DO make a backup. Frankly, I recommend backups for everyone, but it's up to you what you do.

    Here is a thread here from a while ago with some information on snapshots: https://www.mac-forums.com/showthrea...ight=snapshots

    Give that a look, read the entire thread before you do anything, there are good suggestions there. But read the entire thread to get a good understanding of what may be happening.

    So, if snapshots is the issue, get rid of them by the methods suggested in that thread, then see if that drive recovers. If it doesn't, come back and we'll try something else. My money is on snapshots.

    So, I DO have an External HDD attached, but Automatic Backups is NOT checked; I usually manually start the backup from the top dropdown menu bar.

    Having said that, I have a new external HDD in a box that can handle the size of a full TM back up (estimated to be 2.95TB, so will be able to try out your hypothesis on Saturday when I'm off.

    Also, if your solution works, will my Disk Error message/status go away?

    Thanks,

    Justin

  5. #5
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 21, 2012
    Location
    Pawtucket, RI, US
    Posts
    6,166
    Your Mac's Specs
    L2014 Mac mini macOS 14, iPhone 8+ iOS 12, 12.9" iPad Pro 1 iOS 12, Pencil 1
    Maybe download Maintenance, https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/maintenance.html, and make sure you get the correct version for your macOS version. Install it (you may be asked to allow the app to change files in the system folder), then run it.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  6. #6
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    5,851
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Well, I think the disk error comes from a different source. The image of Disk Utility you posted has an option to "Repair Permissions" and that option has not been around in a long time, so the version you booted from to do that check is probably pre-APFS and cannot read the drive, creating the error message. The drive may well be fine. The Recovery partition appears to be an older version of macOS. You might look at Apple in the Support area to see if there is a process to update the recovery partition. I know CCC can do that, but there may be a way to update it without third party tools. If you cannot find that, then make a bootable external drive with Mojave and boot from it to run Disk Utility to test the APFS internal SSD.
    Jake

  7. #7
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    5,851
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Also, you can see if the snapshots is the problem by opening Terminal and entering this command:

    tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

    The result will be a list of all the snapshots on the drive. If you get a long list, that is most likely the issue and the backup should fix it.
    Jake

  8. #8
    By the way, you could use iCloud as off-drive storage as long as you don't have it selected under System Preferences > iCloud. You can upload/download through the web interface (www.icloud.com). To my knowledge, Drop Box is not off-drive storage...it works just like iCloud. Box Drive, on the other hand, is.
    -Jonathan
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012) - 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5

  9. #9
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive

    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    25,159
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade, OSX 14.4 Mojave,
    Odd my post about not using Time Machine was deleted.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  10. #10
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    5,851
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    Odd my post about not using Time Machine was deleted.
    Harry, never saw a post from you in this thread, and never got a notice that you had posted into the thread. Are you sure it was to this thread?
    Jake

  11. #11
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    57,739
    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 7+, iPhone 8, Numerous iPods, Mojave
    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    Odd my post about not using Time Machine was deleted.
    I can't find a record of that post Harry. May have been a forum glitch or you might have posted that to another thread as Jake said?

  12. #12
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive

    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    25,159
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade, OSX 14.4 Mojave,
    'twas here could not forget all those pics lol!

    \OP suggest using cloning software such as SuperDuper.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    Maybe download Maintenance, https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/maintenance.html, and make sure you get the correct version for your macOS version. Install it (you may be asked to allow the app to change files in the system folder), then run it.
    Just tried this.
    Still only about 129Gb free on my iMac HDD (meaning the System folder is still hogging those 840-ish GB's of data).

    It did take longer to reboot after doing this process.

    Normally my computer (pre-iCloud screw up) would reboot in about 1 min.
    After iCloud screw up it now takes 4-5 mins to chug to an opening.
    After running this process, it took 5-6 mins.

    Just giving information; may or may not be helpful to someone out there in terms of solving this problem.

    Thanks.

  14. #14
    MAJOR HELP NEEDED! - re: 840GB of "Hidden" files and "Disk Error" due to iCloud Drive
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Posts
    5,851
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    The lack of free space on the drive is most likely the cause of the slowdown. Have you tried the terminal command I suggested to see if there are snapshots? I would do that before I did anything else at all on that drive.
    Jake

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Also, you can see if the snapshots is the problem by opening Terminal and entering this command:

    tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

    The result will be a list of all the snapshots on the drive. If you get a long list, that is most likely the issue and the backup should fix it.
    Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.02.07 PM.jpg

    This is the entirety of the list...

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