Mac Lab Report

2 Free Programs that Give You More Space on Your Mac's Hard Drive

- 2006.12.13

I ran across a couple of utilities last week (via an article on Digg) that can help the OS X user eliminate some unnecessary files. These two utilities have given me back nearly 2 GB of free space. Your mileage may vary.

The default install of OS X includes a number of language kits that are used to display the operating in other languages. That's just in case you should suddenly move to France or something, I guess. I'm sure there are people who need alternative languages installed and find the feature very convenient, but I doubt they are the majority.


Anyway, this wonderful utility called Monolingual by J. Schrier and Ingmar J. Stein strips all the unneeded/unwanted languages from your Mac. This process can take a while to complete. On my 1.5 GHz G4 PowerBook, it took around 15-20 minutes to locate and delete all the extra language files. I gained nearly 1.3 GB hard drive space from this simple operation.

Just be sure you don't delete English in your enthusiasm, read the manual carefully to avoid a few other problems before starting. Even better, when installing OS X, choose a customized install and don't install the unnecessary files in the first place.

iPhoto Buddy

Another utility is iPhoto Buddy by Rick Neil. iPhoto Buddy searches your library for duplicate files, original versions of photos that have been edited, thumbnails, and images not filed in an album, and selectively deletes them or moves them to a folder at your direction. You get a considerable amount of control of what happens during this screening.

This utility also takes a while to run, but the result was nearly 800 MB of files located for deletion. I had a problem with my iPhoto files on a previous computer, and as a result I imported two partial libraries on the computer I use now, resulting in widespread duplication of images.

The author wisely advises you to back up your library before beginning. I use Backup regularly to preserve all of my photos, music, and documents, so this wasn't a problem.

I'm sure there are other fine utilities out there, but I urge all OS X users to take a look at these two.

Like all Macs, modern machines don't behave well when hard drive space begins to run out, because the OS is constantly writing files to the drive for memory management, defragmentation, and so on, and it needs a little room to breathe.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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