9

This post concerns the folder located at the following file path:

/.DocumentRevisions-V100

I right-clicked this folder in Finder.app and selected Get Info. After several minutes of waiting, the "Size" field still stated, "Calculating size."

So, I ran the following command in Terminal.app to get this folder's file size:

sudo du -sh /.DocumentRevisions-V100

This informed me that this folder takes up 70 GB on my rMBP.

After searching online, I learned that this folder is said to contain automatic back-up versions of files. However, I do not know how this works, exactly. My understanding is that once a window is closed or an application is Quit, then one can no longer click Undo to revert to previously saved states.

So, my first question is, how does one actually access these file back-ups? For example, when I pull up an old .rtf file in TextEdit.app, I see no option to "Revert to a previously saved version of this document."

In my view, 70 GB is a significant amount of space. I would like to clear up this space on my Macintosh HD. I recognize that one should delete system files with caution. Is it okay to delete this "DocumentRevisions-V100" folder?

What exactly will happen if this folder is gone? I do not see its purpose or value.


OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.6.


6

Just because one cannot see something's purpose or value doesn't mean there isn't one!

If you delete the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory it will break the Document Revisions feature in OS X until you reboot. At which point the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory is recreated.

Somewhere along the way the Document Revisions feature changed, i.e. it's not the same in OS X 10.11 as it is in OS X 10.8, e.g. in OS X 10.8 in TextEdit I can click the down arrow to the right of the filename in the title bar of the document and select Browse All Versions..., and it opens the Time Machine interface when I can view the various versions of the document that are stored within the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory. This is not the case in OS X 10.11. I'm not sure when this feature changed to have less importance then it used to have in e.g. OS X 10.8.

In OS X 10.11, if you delete the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory, without rebooting, and create a new document in TextEdit and save it, then reopen and edit it, then click the close button... you'll get the a dialog box, "Do you want to save the changes made to the document You can revert to undo the changes since you last opened the document." and if you click the Revert Changes button, it errors out with "The operation couldn’t be completed. No such file or directory" until you reboot.

Note: This assumes you have Ask to keep changes when closing documents checked in General under System Preferences.


If you want to clean up what's in the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory, then close all applications except for Terminal, and use the following command:

sudo rm -rf /.DocumentRevisions-V100

Then reboot.

NOTE: Make sure you have a proper Time Machine Backup and be very careful using the above command, make sure it is properly formed and there is no space between / and .DocumentRevisions-V100! You have been warned!

It would actually be more safe to do it in two steps, e.g.:

cd /
sudo rm -rf .DocumentRevisions-V100
  • Tangential question: Do you recommend using sudo rm -r instead of sudo rm -rf, as it seems to be a bit "safer"? – rubik's sphere Jan 22 '18 at 20:00
  • @ubik's sphere, In this particular use case I'd use -rf because I want it to be removed, by force if necessary. The more important aspect is to not bungle the command line and why I posted a more safe way to delete it, by first cd / and then sudo rm -rf .DocumentRevisions-V100 – user3439894 Jan 22 '18 at 20:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .