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Recovering memory by deleting podcasts and music

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I'm trying to free up space on my Tiger notebook's hard drive by deleting files and by transferring many of my saved podcasts to my desktop machine with plenty of storage left.

 

When I delete docs and spreadsheets and pics, etc. Activity Monitor shows the increase in space right away, but when I remove LOTS of the podcasts, it shows no change in free hard disk space.

 

Here are the methods I've tried:

 

[NOTE: I keep all my media files in Music-->iTunes-->iTunes Music in iTunes 9.2.1 (5) - the latest for Tiger and I have the "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized" AND the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" boxes checked. And the files in question were nearly all downloaded FROM iTunes. In other words, playing by the recommended rules and trying to avoid creating duplicate files in the first place.]

 

First, for stuff I don't want to keep, I simply delete the files and then empty the Recycle Bin. This works for items not in my iTunes Library.

 

Second, for stuff I do want to keep, I'm using DropBox as the transfer mechanism. I move the files to DropBox, and then once it shows up on my desktop, I move it from DropBox to a regular folder on the desktop hard drive. This also seemed to show a net increase in storage for my non-media files.

 

I've tried about four variations: 1. Telling iTunes to delete the podcasts but keep the files and then moving the files to DropBox in the Finder (and in all cases removing them from DropBox to a new location on the desktop computer once they've been fully uploaded).

 

2. COPYING the files to DropBox and then telling iTunes to delete the podcasts and trash the files, and then emptying the Bin. (and later removing the files from DropBox on the PC).

 

3. Telling iTunes to trash the library and the files, and then moving the files to DropBox FROM the Recycle Bin (and again later from DropBox)

 

4. Finally, I tried moving the files to DropBox WITHOUT telling iTunes first. Then when I went back to iTunes (while the files were still uploading from DropBox) a REALLY odd thing occurred. I expected that clicking on the deleted files still on the playlist would yield an exclamation point and a greyed out entry as it does on iTunes in Windows. HOWEVER, the file still played, making me wonder if iTunes a> followed its being moved to DropBox - or - b> keeps another copy somewhere I can't see (this same concern has always kept me from using iPhoto as an organizing tool - thinking there might hidden copies I can't see in the Finder.]

 

So I've just done another experiment. a> I used Finder to delete a podcast to the Trash. iTunes still played it. b> I next moved the file from the trash to DropBox. The file picked up just where it was in iTunes. c> Then, after it uploaded to DropBox and down onto the Desktop I moved it out of Drop Box onto the desktop computer (which is NOT networked to the notebook), so I can't see it in Finder at all nor find it with Spotlight. d> and for good measure, I went to DropBox and removed all deleted files there.

 

And iTunes still plays it right from where I left off, AND I've picked up no free Hard Drive space.

 

Finally, I clicked on the podcast in iTunes and clicked Delete. iTunes did NOT ask me if I also wanted to move the file to the trash. And I still got no more free space.

 

I'm out of ideas. What gives? Where is iTunes playing it from? I don't get it!

 

[Note: I also don't get Spotlight and the search box in Finder windows. I can search for a few files in the podcast folder and they come up by the words in the title or the artist, but most don't. But then I've never found the Tiger version of Spotlight to be worth much or very understandable, and it's the only version I know.]

Edited by Bigpics

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Mac OS X is lax about updating drive space reported for some reason. I don't pretend to understand the lag or why there is one but it takes awhile for "true" disk space to be reported.

 

one thing I do know is that it's possible to delete a whole bunch of stuff that has a size that you know and end up with less free space then you thought you were going to get. why? memory cache. if you have a completely full hard drive you're Mac is glacier slow. that's because there is no swap space. and when you delete 20 gig this frees up space for swap. so you might end up with 8 gig free even though you deleted 20. but notice how much better your mac runs.

 

the iTunes still playing a moved file happens because every file on a Mac also has a fileID. that way if you move something from somewhere to elsewhere it will still play. to see this in action open a file in QuickTime player, start the movie or music, then move the file from it's folder to the desktop. it will keep on playing without error.

 

if you really don't have enough space on your hard drive get a bigger hard drive. for about a hundred bucks you can have tons more room.

 

you could always find the file from iTunes by using the "Reveal in Finder" menu found when right clicking a file name.

Edited by johnfoster

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Thanks for your reply. I was still a little (or a lot) confused and I do consider myself a long time power user, but as you'll see, you may have put me on the path to solving the problem, and I'm pretty sure I now understand it.

 

Mac OS X is lax about updating drive space reported for some reason. I don't pretend to understand the lag or why there is one but it takes awhile for "true" disk space to be reported.

I've removed 7 to 9 gigs of video podcasts over three days without gaining much of anything. (10 GB free on an 80 GB HD)

 

But before I began to archive files by moving them to the desktop PC via DropBox in any/all of the ways described above(and always removing them from DropBox once they arrived there, AND permanently deleting them from DropBox on the web interface), that is, when I simply delete and recycle, I see the increase in disk space immediately upon emptying the Recycle Bin.

 

In fact I JUST tried regular deletion/empty the trash with some other podcasts and again, the reclaimed space STILL showed up right away.

 

the iTunes still playing a moved file happens because every file on a Mac also has a fileID. that way if you move something from somewhere to elsewhere it will still play. to see this in action open a file in QuickTime player, start the movie or music, then move the file from it's folder to the desktop. it will keep on playing without error.

What freaks me out was that a podcast continues to be playable after the file was totally deleted and no longer on the computer! At least until I deleted the iTunes Library entry.

 

That's what made me wonder if there's this big hidden file - kind of like the old Outlook or Entourage - that holds EVERYTHING even after the source file is gone. [uPDATE: Still curious about that, but see below]

 

you could always find the file from iTunes by using the "Reveal in Finder" menu found when right clicking a file name.

Cool. That was interesting. It definitely sees the file in DropBox. So this time I pulled the file out of DropBox onto the Desktop computer WHILE it was playing on the notebook, so there's no file on there anymore and it CONTINUED to play. In fact I can stop it, go to another iTunes piece, play that and come BACK to the deleted file and it STILL plays.

 

Sooo... ...What's being played and where is it??

 

Update: Ah hah, I think... ...I just went back to the deleted file in iTunes and right-clicked to get to "Show in Finder" and there IS a path: Computer-->Macintosh HD-->Users-->Jim (me)-->.dropbox-->Cache-->2010-12-12-->filename.mp4.

 

The ".dropbox" folder is greyed out, indicating it's hidden I guess, and there's been a long alphanumeric code added to the end of each file name.

 

Also there are 113 other large files (4GB), and in moving up the tree, there are folders for other dates containing most, if not all of the files I've moved via DropBox all week (docs, pics and media), all with alphanumeric codes added to the filenames. Probably about 6-8 more GB in total.

 

So thanks for the tip (altho' it took awhile to think of using it to look for a deleted/recycled file) and which makes my next question, is it safe to delete these files from these cache folders via the regular finder/delete process?

 

I would imagine doing so will free up all the space I thot I was freeing up. I don't want to interfere with the regular/proper functioning of DropBox tho'. Maybe they'll be dropped after a specific period of time on their own?

 

it's possible to delete stuff that has a size you know and end up with less free space then you thought you were going to get. why? memory cache. if you have a full hard drive you're Mac is glacier slow because there is no swap space. and when you delete 20 gig this frees up space for swap. so you might end up with 8 gig free. but notice how much better your mac runs.

I ran Preferences, Disk Utility and Help looking for how to deal with (free up) cache/swap space and found no tools. But as noted, have now found this hidden DropBox cache. Still, aside from the DropBox cache, the notion of other cache folders is of interest in general, tho' no longer specifically part of my original question.

 

if you really don't have enough space on your hard drive get a bigger hard drive. for about a hundred bucks you can have tons more room.
This is not about my question, but here's the story: My '04 iBook still works well, like new even, but there's no point in spending money on it. When the power supply pin broke off inside of my iBook, I had them add a bigger, faster drive at the same time they put on a new power bus - but something went wrong during the repair and now the little old guy re-starts itself from the power off condition - even with the lid closed, backup.app won't write to an external device and the 6 key no longer works (I have to invoke the character viewer to type a 6), so they took the bigger drive out and gave me back the money. The battery's also done for, and the resale value - even if it was in good shape - is less than the price of a new battery OR a new mother board. So it's now strictly an in-house plugged-in (and constantly on because it loses its clock value if I unplug it). But I have uses for it, and plan to keep it running until something worse happens! Edited by Bigpics

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wow. you're using DropBox as a lame archive system? that's bold. it's not really it's intended use but it does have that feature. it's likely that you could delete the files in the cache without damaging your DropBox. the way to test that is to copy a file out of there, then delete it from the .dropbox/cache folder. although, I suspect it's a hidden folder for a reason so it might not work. in fact that file might show up again with the idea of "it was there before so let's bring it back from the server so it's all in sync."

 

a 2004 iBook is a pain to work on. the two parts that you had replaced (hard drive and DC card) require taking the whole thing completely apart. there are roughly 45 screws that have to be removed and replaced. it's almost like a ship in a bottle. but each one of those screws adds to the overall strength of the case which is why that Mac can take so much abuse. too bad it didn't have a Mag connector for power. it would have saved more of them.

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wow. you're using DropBox as a lame archive system? that's bold. it's not really it's intended use but it does have that feature.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Not quite sure what you mean exactly by a "lame archive system," but yes, I decided moving excess files to another computer via a stopover at DropBox would ultimately be less painful than burning 10-15 DVD's. I'd use an external HD to avoid the net, but the last time I tried moving one between a Mac and a PC, the boot sector got corrupted and it cost me $200 in data retrieval costs. Guess 64 GB flash drives are getting down to where a mortal could use one for the same purpose, though. But DropBox was free.

 

it's likely that you could delete the files in the cache without damaging your DropBox. the way to test that is to copy a file out of there, then delete it from the .dropbox/cache folder. although, I suspect it's a hidden folder for a reason so it might not work. in fact that file might show up again with the idea of "it was there before so let's bring it back from the server so it's all in sync."

 

Good points. I have all the free space I need for now and am not going to to touch the caches. I'm just waiting for the next rev of the MB Pros to get a loaded 15" + an iDevice to be named later that will effectively replace the 3-4 computers I have now, all between 4-7 years old. Since I'll also plan run that into the ground, want the latest available to extend its useful and supported life a bit. Then I won't be worried if the old warrior freaks out when I try stuff like that on it.

 

a 2004 iBook is a pain to work on. the two parts that you had replaced (hard drive and DC card) require taking the whole thing completely apart. there are roughly 45 screws that have to be removed and replaced. it's almost like a ship in a bottle. but each one of those screws adds to the overall strength of the case which is why that Mac can take so much abuse. too bad it didn't have a Mag connector for power. it would have saved more of them.
I pretty much already held the repair place blameless, but that makes me feel better.

 

Also, the power connector was damaged in a fall a few years ago. Surprised it held on long as it did. But if I hadn't done that, I never would've gone into the guts for the drive alone at this stage.

 

Thanks again, you were most helpful.

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