Keeping your Hard Drive Lean

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Mac hard drives are large to huge now. With a wealth of storage it becomes very easy to become sloppy with your drive using unnecessary disk space for any variety of things from duplicate files to very old files and on it goes.

Where drive space is more limited is with the new breed of SSD drive systems or hybrid SSD/hard drives such as the Fusion Drive. In these cases, you want to keep your drive lean so that you don’t run out of drive space. This is a good practice for Hard Drive systems too as they run faster the more efficient the drive is.

In my article on Fusion Drives and the iMac I commented on the substantial benefits to be obtained from this approach. The SSD side of Fusion Drives is currently still on the smaller size so you’ll want to make the most from space available. Since Fusion Drives are smart though there generally won’t be a problem. However, it will still help keeping your drive lean.

Tools to Assist

Although you can do this yourself, to ensure your drive is running lean you can visually look around for the old, the unnecessary and if you can spot them the files that are dups. Much better though is to employ a tool or tools to do this job.

Application Deletion Software

There are a variety of these tools that help ensure you do a clean delete of an application getting rid of all support files. This is certainly beneficial. What some of these tools do though is provide value added functionality. One of the best apps I’ve found in this category is Cleanapp.

Cleanapp does a tremendous job in removing programs and all their supporting files. It goes much farther in a variety of ways. You can have it look for duplicate files, old files and relics, unnecessary files and on it goes. Running these tools can free up a lot of space.

Disk Analysis Tools

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Disk Analysis tools do exactly what the name says. You run a folder through the analyzer and it tells you what you have. In careening over the results, you may see items that really should no longer be there, are large and are better placed on a storage drive or some other component that can go.

Three tools in this category that can be beneficial to weed out the unnecessary are:

  • Disk Map
  • Disk Doctor
  • Daisy Disk

Daisy Disk is the most popular of these tools. It is quite visual in its animation and can be fun to work with as you browse around and look at all variety of aspects of your disk usage.

Drive Genius

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Drive Genius is actually a full feature, drive diagnostic tool to repair and improve performance. In the same league as TechTools Pro and Disk Warrior it goes a step further with a fantastic tool called Drive Slim. This a fully automatic tool with excellent results.

Running Drive slim you can identify quickly duplicate, old and large files that haven’t been used say in thirty days. Drive Slim gives you the option of what to delete and although it’s important to be careful in what you do the tool is amazingly accurate. After running Drive Slim you should find you‘ve recovered a fair bit of space.

My Recommendation

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Tools such as Cocktail are useful to run just to keep your disk in shape and free up some space. However, of all the tools I’ve discussed I would definitely recommend using Cleanapp to delete any program. Yet, to really get some drive space back, Driveslim is my favourite of the bunch. It’s automatic operation along with it’s speed and accuracy have won me over. I only now use Driveslim when I’m looking to recover space. The other tools I’ve mentioned can definitely help. They’re much more manual when compared to Driveslim though and I just like the amount of space I actually recover using Driveslim.

Definitely keep any disk, be it a Hard Drive or an SSD, clean. However, as I’ve pointed out it is much more important to do this with SSD drives which are just not as voluminous in size but pack such a punch where it comes to performance. There’s a double payoff here. First, you’ll know your drive lacks unnecessary clutter. More importantly, you’ll experience increased performance.

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