Does my Mac need a bigger Hard Disk?

Did you know that more free space your Hard Drive has the faster it will operate?

Did you know that it should never be over 90% full?

How can you tell if getting a bigger hard drive will help your computer run faster?

Here’s how to see how full your macintosh computer hard disk is and what to do about it.

  1. Go to your utilities folder. (Click on your desktop anywhere so that the finder is active.
    Hold down apple-shift-U, this will open your ‘utilities folder.)
  2. Open ‘Activity Monitor’
  3. Press Apple-1 so that the main window of Utility Monitor is open.
  4. Click on the ‘Disk Usage’ tab at the bottom of the window. This will display a little pie graph of how much memory you are currently using.

The little graph on the side shows how much of your disk space is free.

Green is good. Blue is used up.

So in this example I have used a little over one third of my hard drive space.

The more free space you have, the faster your computer will run, although you probably won’t notice the difference until your hard drive starts to get reasonably full. As a rough rule, try to keep at least 10% of your hard drive free.

If your Hard Drive fills right up, you may get an error like ‘your startup disk is full.’ in this case you really do need to do something right away – your computer will be limping along if your drive is totally full.

If your hard drive is too full, you can get an external one, and put some of your big files, like movies, onto it, or you can delete some things that you don’t need, or here is an article on how to tweak a little extra space from your existing Hard Disk.


2 responses to “Does my Mac need a bigger Hard Disk?”

  1. Hi, just a quick comment to confirm that disk space is essential. I’ve just changed the HD of my MacBook from a 120GB 5400rpm to a 250GB at 7200rpm. It is as if I upgraded to a new Mac! Due to disk space limitations I had to run Parallels with the virtual discs on an external drive and even though it was connected trough firewire it ran very slowly. From the new HD it is very fast.
    Next candidate in my home is a almost 7 years old iBook G4 with a 80 GB HD that is causing troubles. It will be replaced by a 160 GB HD. Unfortunately the disk swap is not as simple as on my MacBook where it took me just a couple of minutes to do the job. The iBook will have to be disassembled almost to the bone to get to the HD. But I think it will be worth the job. RIght now it runs from an external HD through firewire and is performing quite well.

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