How I Saved Time and Disk Space with WhatSize

WhatSizeEven though we reviewed WhatSize before, I didn’t realize it’s usefulness until now, when my hard drive started acting up. I was browsing through my folders in the Finder, and saw that the “space remaining” on my hard drive was shrinking by the second. It went from 50 GB free, to about 64 MB free in about five minutes. I didn’t know what to do, and I thought I would have to wipe my hard drive to fix the problem. I didn’t want to have to back up and reinstall OS X, as that was a last resort. I remembered MacApper’s review of WhatSize, from ID-Design, and immediately downloaded the app.

I wanted to figure out what was using up all my space, so I ran WhatSize. Everything looked normal, until I found that my Library folder was taking up gigabytes upon gigabytes of space. Looking into that folder, I found that my Logs folder was over 40 GB in size. I trashed it, and my space was restored. I’m not sure why my logs suddenly decided to increase in size, but WhatSize helped me find the problem, and in the end, save hours of backing up, reinstalling, and restoring files.


14 Responses to “How I Saved Time and Disk Space with WhatSize”

  1. Ray on June 20th, 2007 12:15 pm

    What leads you to conclude that your Logs folder “suddenly” increased? It could have been increasing gradually in size over time and some other file(s) suddenly increased and then when you saw the sudden change you put your finger on Logs. I’m not saying it wasn’t, but it doesn’t seem like you have enough evidence for your conclusion.

    If you have a hunch that it was the Logs folder, you could look at the timestamps on the files to see which one was written in the past five minutes. This might give you a good clue about what had happened, particularly if it was a file in the CrashReporter folder inside Logs.

  2. Alec Feld on June 20th, 2007 1:25 pm

    No other files increased in size. I know the general size of most files on my disk, and the logs are usually 15-50 MB max. It could’ve been something else, but it looks like the logs were the problem.

  3. kenny on June 20th, 2007 2:01 pm

    I actually read somewhere about some software that had a bug causing this problem; log files just growing out of proportion..

    too bad i can’t remember what software it was or where i read it.. you should think about what software you recently installed..

    or i’m just totally confused here.. but i think i read something about it..

  4. WiLLiE on June 20th, 2007 2:35 pm

    I would’ve looked in the logfile prior to “trashing” it. Now you don’t know what happened,and it could happen again.

  5. steve on June 20th, 2007 2:52 pm

    ya, I think you should get to the root of this problem and let us know what caused it.

  6. ed on June 21st, 2007 1:35 am

    If the problem resurfaces, and you still have doubts about if it is the log files, fseventer shows you what files are being changed/created/deleted as it is happening. As long as you are there as the problem is occurring ;-)

  7. Dave on June 21st, 2007 4:24 am

    I had heard a lot about WhatSize and it’s more visual cousin GrandPerspective and people seemed to be split on which they liked best. I have a friend who told me he likes to open them both and use them together to get the job done. I’ve tried them both and they both work great…

    Then I found Disk Inventory X. It looks like someone literally merged the two apps together into one window and then added a bunch of extra features. It has colors like GrandPerspective, but they aren’t just aesthetic, they actually respresent something (the types of the displayed files). It has drawers that pop out from both sides and the bottom that each display different groups of information as well as a little pop-up window that appears whenever you select a file and displays info comparable to the OS X info window. Oh, and it’s free.

    Take a look at


  8. tim on June 22nd, 2007 11:15 pm

    I had a similar issue caused by a backup program. Unfortunately whatsize didn’t help, the only way to diagnose the problem was with root access in terminal and listing large files. otherwise whatsize couldn’t see it.

  9. Tidy Your Hard Drive and Free Some Space « Caitlyn Imburgo on June 25th, 2007 3:59 pm

    [...] you can easily open them up and delete unneeded data and documents. Often times, as described on MacApper, the log folder on your hard drive can easily fill to be gigabytes upon gigabytes in size. It is [...]

  10. macmanz on June 27th, 2007 8:24 pm

    hey Alec & co,

    “If the problem resurfaces, and you still have doubts about if it is the log files…”

    Boy I’m not sure why discourse ocurrs when basic facts are stated as they were clearly and succinctly as most are on this site.

    Having said that it is the LOG files- I also have this problem and it is directly related to a Server Error ### [which I dont have in front of me], caused by iTunes since abt 7.0x upgrades.

    I too suffered space loss on my 30GB G4 and manually hunted the problem- each days log files being incremented to 3-400 MB after 6 hours of iTunes listening…

    Dont use iTunes daily and the problem doesnt occur. It is a repetitive logging error and seems to be a ‘phone home’ issue as I dont have a full time internet connectoid…

  11. Ian on July 5th, 2007 2:25 pm

    There are MacAlly peripherals that cause problems like this.

  12. Martin Redington on October 25th, 2007 11:35 am

    If you’re running low on disk space, you might also want to check out Baseline, which not only tells you how much space each item takes up, but also allows you to compare your disk against previous scans, and to view only the items that have changed.

    (Note – I am the author of Baseline)

  13. want more hard drive space? organize. « that female geek’s blog on August 18th, 2008 8:50 pm

    [...] you can easily open them up and delete unneeded data and documents. Often times, as described on MacApper, the log folder on your hard drive can easily fill to be gigabytes upon gigabytes in size. It is [...]

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