Find Space Eaters!

So you have that shiny new and ultra fast SSD (solid state disk) in your Mac, enjoying its blazing speed, and then disaster strikes:

The disk is full!

How can that happen?

The super fast SSD usually have a smaller capacity than regular and slower hard disks. But even those can quickly fill up, and you may wonder where all that space went.

Well, no more wonders.

You can buy some expensive special software to find out, or simply use your versatile NeoFinder now to find out what eats up your disk space!


Step 1: Get the Disk Inventory

First, catalog your disk with some special NeoFinder Cataloging Preferences:

catSettings1As we are only interested in the used disk space for files, we can ignore any meta data and thumbnails, so turn it all of.

The same for the Archive Files: In this case, we are not interested in their contents, so turn all of them off:catSettings2

And last, we must make sure we get all invisible files, as they are very important for our purpose, so the Ignore section should be set up like this:


If all is set up, let NeoFinder catalog the disk for you.


Step 2: Evaluate your findings and start deleting

Now let’s look at the content of that catalog, and thus the actual content of your disk. Ask NeoFinder to display the content in List View, and sort that list by Size, so that the largest items are located on top:


NeoFinder shows you exactly what needs how much space on your disk. And as opposed to Apples Finder display, NeoFinder will show you hidden and invisible files and folders, too. So this is the only way to really see what is going on with all the space of your disk!

A new important notes first:

Never delete anything inside the System folder! Really. This is where your Mac OS X lives, and thou shall not delete or change anything inside it. End of story.

Only delete files or folders that you know you don’t need anymore. In doubt, search the Internet and try to learn what a file or folder is all about, and if you can safely delete it or not.

Now let us look into the drive scan results.

In this example, the Users folder takes up more than 125 GB on space, which is a lot. Let’s see if we can do anything about that.

Click in the little triangle in front of the icon in a line to open its content in the list. Repeat until you see something you can safely delete.

mobile backupIn the example, more than 88 GB of disk space are taken up by Movies, so I will have to look through those to see what I can remove. Another large folder with 11 GB of files inside Library is called Developer, and is used by Apples Xcode for various purposes, so we will leave that alone today.

The Application Support folder has some stuff we can remove. Inside MobileSync, the folder Backup contains 6.6 GB of data that I don’t need anymore. These are backups of an iPhone or iPad, and some are rather old. Since I have all data from these devices safely stored in other places as well, I can remove them safely to regain almost 7 GB of space.

How do I do that with NeoFinder?

Simply use the contextual menu. It has a “Delete from Catalog and Volume” command, which will do precisely that:

delete from disk

Depending on the amount of files and folders you are deleting, that may take a moment.

You noticed that NeoFinder even gives you a summary of the number of files and folders in that item, in its Inspector? There are 17753 files in this particular folder, wow.

inspector sumary

Another interesting place to look for wasted space is the Caches folder. This is normally also hidden from you by Apples Finder, but NeoFinder can look right inside it.

Some Applications waste a lot of space. The really cool Web Editor RapidWeaver, for example. Every time you upload changes to a web site, it will create a large copy of your document in the SandwichArchives folder, but it will never delete that. If you use RapidWeaver a lot, there may be a very large wasted disk space to be cleaned up here:


Apples Mail has some bugs, too. It will never delete any attachments you have opened, regardless how old they are. But it creates yet another new copy of the file every time you click on it. Very inefficient. So go and find the folder Library -> Containers -> -> Mail Downloads, and safely delete it. Mail has stored the actual attachments safely elsewhere in its Mail folder, these here are really only temporary files that eat up space:

mail downloads

The usually hidden private folder also contains some things we can delete.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 10.21.38The huge sleepimage file, for example. It is usually as large as the memory size you have installed in your Mac, and that is exactly what it is used for. When your Mac goes to sleep, Mac OS X will write the entire memory into that file. Unfortunately, it will never delete that again, so you can safely do that. Of course, the very next time your Mac goes to sleep again, that file will be created anew.

Another item is the systemstats folder, which contains more than 340 MB in more than 6500 files here in this example. It contains statistics about your system and its power usage, and it can be safely deleted.

We will look into more places for unnecessary files in the next months, and post results below in the comments section. Please use that as well if you know anything that can go away.

As you can see, NeoFinder is a really powerful and amazing tool that can help you clean up your disk, and regain a lot of empty space for you!

Step 3: Even more options

And if that is not enough, use the cool advanced Find Duplicates feature in NeoFinder to see if you have any unnecessary duplicates on your disk.

NeoFinder can do that. No other tools required.

Make it forget! How to delete the Preferences in Mac OS X properly

Sometimes, the best way to solve a weird problem, is to delete the Preferences of an application.

The Preferences can contain any number of settings you have made in your apps, but also other stuff that the app may have stored while it was running.

To get a really fresh start, deleting these Preferences is possible.

In the old days, you had to locate a preferences file in a hidden folder, and delete that.

That doesn’t work anymore since Mac OS X 10.8 at least, when Apple had introduced a cache system that would speed up access to the Preferences.

The only official way to really and certainly delete the Preferences for an application in Mac OS X was and still is to run the defaults delete command in the Terminal.

What is a Terminal?

It is one of the powerful helper apps that Apple has placed in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

terminal appLocate it now, and open it!

You will be greeted by a simple empty text window that waits for your text input.

Yes, that is very unusual in Mac OS X, where you can usually do most anything with the mouse and some serious clicking. But here, you must type the commands.

Simple paste in the following line there, and hit Return:

defaults delete de.wfs-apps.neofinder

terminal commandThe part with the  de.wfs-apps.neofinder  is the unique identifier that NeoFinder has to use according to the Apple developer specifications. If you need to delete the Preferences for any other application, you need to contact their support to get this particular identifier.

After you hit Return, Terminal will execute your command, and as long as there are no problems, typos, or spelling errors, you will see no reponse.

But the Preferences for NeoFinder are now properly deleted, and you can try a fresh start.

And yes, it is a great idea to quit NeoFinder before doing this…

This won’t delete any of your NeoFinder catalogs, or your NeoFinder license, these are stored separately.

What is it doing? Get a Sample!

Sometimes an application in Mac OS X is showing you the dreaded spinning beachball cursor, or just spending a lot of time doing something.


Who knows what.

Well, you can know! Just take a Sample!

What on earth is a Sample? A Sample is a very detailed technical inspection at what an applications is doing.

That sounds hard? No, it isn’t.

Fortunately enough, Apple has included a really cool and helpful tool in Mac OS X, called the Activity Monitor.

You can find it in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. That folder also containes a couple of additional powerful tools that we will inspect later.

UtilitiesFor today, locate Activity Viewer and launch it.

You will see a list of all the applications that currently run on your Mac. There is also a large number of tools and other processes that make up your system.

activity viewer outputAs you can see, there is a lot going on in Mac OS X, many things you probably have never seen before.

But we want to know what NeoFinder is currently doing, right?

Just select NeoFinder in the list, and use the little Tools menu above the list. It has a command “Sample Process” in it. That is what we need:

sample processAfter a short while, Activity Monitor will display the results:

The SampleThis is all text, so you can click into it, and select it all, copy it, and paste it into an email. Then sendi this to the NeoFinder Support Team at

Our support team will then be able to see what is going on, and what the problem might be, if there is any.


The small one inspires the big one

Here is a story from the current development process of the next major release of NeoFinder for Mac. We thought you might find this as fascinating as we do.

There is one interesting feature from NeoFinder for iOS that people really seem to like a lot, and this is the cool Find context menu in the Inspector. You have already seen and used it, right?

ios findmenuSimply tap a field on your iPhone or iPad, and NeoFinder iOS offers you to either copy the text content of that field to the clipboard, or to Find similar items.

And find similar is really smart. If you select the name of an artist, as shown here, NeoFinder iOS will search for all other songs of that artist. If you tap on the year of a song, all other songs from that year will be found, and so on. This works for many values, try it out now if you haven’t done so.

This great feature was added to the latest version of NeoFinder for iOS, and people really loved it immediately.

So, naturally, we thought about bringing this feature back from the small iOS device to the big Macintosh. It shouldn’t be so hard, we thought.

We were wrong.

Here is why, and what we did about that. There is a lot of technical stuff deep from the bowels of software development in here that is certainly very interesting for our fellow Cocoa coders, so stay with me for a while.

NeoFinder for Mac uses the NSTextField to display both the descritive label (in bold), and the content itself. Nothing unusual here so far, everyone does that.

As many other user interface elements in Cocoa, NSTextField inherits from NSView, and that has a method called setMenu: which allows you to prepare and assign a contextual menu for it.

So we tried that, prepared a proper NSMenu, and assigned it, but nothing happened.


The NSTextField still displayed the regular contextual menu supplied by Apple, and there was no trace at all of our own Find command in it:

mac os x regular context menuWe were absolutely baffled.

After a long search, and many failed experiments, we finally got a clue. NeoFinder uses this method: [textField setSelectable:YES];

This makes a lot of sense, as that allows you to select parts of the actual text, to copy it, or do any other inexplicable things with it that you may need.

However, Cocoa plays some nasty tricks under the hood for this to work. You see, NSTextField doesn’t really actually allow the selection of text!

So as soon as you click into it, it will be silently swapped out and replaced with a special NSTextView, called the Field Editor. The NSTextView is a far more complex and powerful version of the simple NSTextField, and allows the selection of text among many other things.

So our own NSTextField is no longer there for us when the context click happens.


One possible solution was to give up on the selectability of the text. But we are not about giving up, and the selection of text was too important for us.

So we found a different way.

We have subclassed NSTextField, and in that subclass, we catch the event that will make the context menu appear. It is called rightMouseDown, and we have added some special code there:

- (void)rightMouseDown:(NSEvent*)event
    if ([self isSelectable] == NO)
        [super rightMouseDown:event];
    // display our own contextual menu
    NSMenu        *theMenu = [self menuForEvent:event];
    [NSMenu popUpContextMenu:theMenu withEvent:event forView:self];

Now all is working exactly as it should:

mac os x findmenu

So both clicks are still working for each of these fields. You can click inside it to select text, or you can right-click at the field, and get the new Find command.

Stay tuned for this really exciting cool new feature in the next major release of NeoFinder Mac!