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Computers

Quick Tip: Using Your Storage Space Wisely

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This Quick Tip will walk you through some best practices for making sure that you keep your hard disk free of the clutter that can accumulate so easily as well as some great tips for how to offload some of your big libraries to external drives.

Don't Take Storage for Granted

With so many advancements in computer technology as well as software, it can be all too easy to take for granted some things that in years past would have been important considerations. One of these is the available amount of storage space on your Mac. With some Apple computers coming with up to a terabyte of storage space standard, you would think storage concerns would be a thing of the past.

But with newer technologies like Solid State Hard Drives becoming more and more popular, which aren't quite up to the storage capacities of traditional hard drives, as well as consumer computers being able to do the tasks of production machines like video editing, it's good to keep in mind some tips on getting the most out of your Mac's storage space. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have a good tip, share it below in the comments.

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Quick Tip: Using Your Storage Space Wisely

Handling System Trash

This may seem a bit basic, but be sure you're emptying the system Trash Can on a regular basis. It's easy to toss items into the trash can and forget about them, but remember, they're using storage space until you empty the Trash Can and permanently delete them.

Some Apps also have their own trash that you should empty on a regular basis

Some Apps also have their own trash that you should empty on a regular basis. Apple mail and iPhoto are two good examples. While a single email doesn't take up much storage space, multiple emails over the months and years will add up. Emptying the deleted emails in your email client will save you valuable storage space on your Mac. iPhoto's trash can add up quickly if you're deleting high quality pictures or video files.

Deleting App Specific Trash Can Help Save Disk Space On Your Mac
Deleting App Specific Trash Can Help Save Disk Space On Your Mac

Using Multiple Drives Wisely

Another great way to manage your storage space is to store application libraries on other drives. iPhoto, iTunes, and many other Apps use a single file or structured folder called a Library for storing all the data for that app in. By moving these Libraries to external drives you can not only better manage your disk space but you can also get some performance boosts.

You can store your iPhoto library on your external drive by simply moving from it's original location in Macintosh HD > Home Folder > Pictures, to another drive. The next time you launch iPhoto, simply point to the new location when asked for the library.

Relocating Your App Library Files Can Help Free Up Space On Your Boot Drive As Well As Give You A Performance Boost
Relocating Your App Library Files Can Help Free Up Space On Your Boot Drive As Well As Give You A Performance Boost

In iTunes, if you go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced, you can select a location for the library and place it on an external drive. Another good setting is to uncheck "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library". This will stop iTunes from making duplicates of your media files, and instead reference them from all their original locations on your hard drives.

Setting iTunes To Use Another Drive For The Library As Well As Not Copying Your Media Files Will Help Keep Your Storage Space From Being Used Needlessly
Set itunes to use another drive for the library

Using "Aliases" is another good way to manage your storage space wisely. You can use Aliases to reference files and folders by right clicking a file or folder and selecting "Make Alias." This Alias will reference the original file or folder, allowing you to store them on another drive but letting you or any application access it from your system drive.

If you have an App installed that requires a large file or folder to be installed in a specific location on the boot drive, you can use an Alias to reference the file or folder and move the real ones to another drive.

Using Alias' Is A Smart Way To Keep A Single Disk From Taking The Full Burden Of Storing Most Of Your Files
Using Alias' Is A Smart Way To Keep A Single Disk From Taking The Full Burden Of Storing Most Of Your Files

Conclusion

As storage space concerns start to become a thing of the past, having to rely on tricks like these may become less important, but having this good working knowledge of how to manage and use what storage space you do have will always be useful information.

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