I'm down to 20GB on a 500GB hard drive and would like to know what's eating up the disk space, so I can clear out any large things I no longer need.

2 screen shots are showing me Disk Inventory results and my Storage report in "About This MAC"

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The MAC HD is showing 347GB "OTHER" space being used, whereas DISK INVENTORY is showing only 190GB Total used. What am I missing or don't understand about what Disk Inventory is doing/showing, and how can I find significant files eating up the 347GB that isn't videos, photos?

  • 2
    Did you run DiskInventory as a user with Admin rights? Do you have local TimeMachine "backups" enabled?
    – nohillside
    May 23, 2013 at 19:43
  • Additionally, have you run a repair disk process on the disk in question with disk utility to verify space is not being misreported?
    – Mort
    May 23, 2013 at 19:48
  • didn't know about the Disk Inventory with Admin rights. Not sure how to do that differently from what I did. So, the answer is "NO." I did run a "repair permissions" if that's what you mean and that didn't seem to change anything. Thanks for your support! May 23, 2013 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


Time Machine local backups

If you use Time Machine, my guess is that the discrepancy is from local backups. If so, you can free up that space by connecting your Time Machine drive and running letting Time Machine complete a backup.

Once you have done that, you might want to disable local backups by issuing this command in Terminal.app:

sudo tmutil disablelocal

but keep in mind that the local backups are meant to provide a safety net for those times when your Time Machine drive is not attached.

If the cause is not Time Machine, try OmniDiskSweeper

If that is not it, I recommend using OmniDiskSweeper to check your drive space.

ODS is a free app, and works very simply. When you launch ODS, it will show you a "Drive List" showing all of the available drives. Choose your main hard drive and then it will start searching.

The results are shown in a very simple column format, similar to the Finder. The largest folders will bubble to the top, and will let you see exactly where your disk space has gone.

Using OmniDiskSweeper as root

ODS will only calculate the sizes of the folders that you can read. 99% of the time, that should show you the problem.

However, if you want to be sure that you are seeing everything you can launch the app as root using this command:

sudo /Applications/OmniDiskSweeper.app/Contents/MacOS/OmniDiskSweeper

BUT BE VERY VERY CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS, since ODS will allow you to delete files.

  • I'm pretty sure it's not Time Machine local snapshots. Those would show up in System Information's About This Mac pane, but it lists Backups as Zero KB. May 23, 2013 at 21:56
  • I ran ODS and it came up with about 20GB more than Disk Inventory, just over 200GB, which still leaves a big difference. I uploaded the screen shot to this webpage as comparison. workplacecommunicationexpert.com/macbook-hard-drive-images May 23, 2013 at 23:19

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