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  1. #1
    Startup disk has space on restart but suddenly fills up
    I'm having a problem where when I start up my macbook (2014 macbook air, El Capitan), it has about 33GB of space on the HD, but after a few hours of use I get a startup disk full error. Then I restart and it goes back to having 33GB free space.

    I went on a library clear out spree a while ago, so I'm wondering if that has something to do with it? I don't use the mail app, but I used to, and it had heaps of attachment files that I deleted - maybe I messed something up doing that?

    Have run first aid on the drive, and had a bit of a search of old threads, but haven't yet found a solution. Any help much appreciated!! Thank you.

  2. #2
    Startup disk has space on restart but suddenly fills up
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 21, 2012
    Pawtucket, RI, US
    Your Mac's Specs
    L2014 Mac mini macOS Mojave, iPhone 8+ iOS 12, 12.9" iPad Pro 1 iOS 12, Pencil 1
    Do you use Time Machine? It creates local snapshots, which could be doing that?
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  3. #3
    Startup disk has space on restart but suddenly fills up
    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 16, 2009
    North Louisiana, USA
    Your Mac's Specs
    2.8 GHz 2008 MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone XS, 2015 iMac 16 GB 10.14.1 beta
    What is the total capacity of the hard drive? Also what types of tasks are you typically performing as the free space diminishes?

    In order to run efficiently the OS creates swap files -- especially if it doesn't have enough free ram. On top of those swap files some programs create additional swap files thus using even more hard drive space and memory. Over time, these fiels can get quite large.

  4. #4
    Startup disk has space on restart but suddenly fills up
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
    Winchester, VA
    Your Mac's Specs
    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    How big is the drive? 33GB sounds large, but you should leave about 10% of an SSD free, 15% of an HD. So if it's a 1TB drive, 33GB isn't enough free space.

  5. #5
    Startup disk has space on restart but suddenly fills up
    IWT's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2009
    Born in Scotland, Worked in Scotland then England, Now live in Wales
    Your Mac's Specs
    Late 2015 5K 27-inch Retina iMac, 4GHz i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB Flash Drive, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6
    To add to Jake's excellent advice and to give some background to it, here are two articles.

    The first from July 2018 is fairly dogmatic on the matter - 15% minimum free space on both HDD and SSD.

    The second from 2017 is more flexible in its approach. The initial answers tend towards the 15% minimum; but on being challenged to back this up, there follows a broader discussion with published references.

    You will gather that this is a controversial subject; but for bok (the OP) to have only 32GB free space, is really pushing things to the limit.


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