The MacBook family was first introduced in May 2006 and replaced the iBook as Apple's consumer laptop.

3759 Questions View all

Running out of hard drive space, now what?

I love my MacBook, but I am running low on hard drive space. I have about 8 GB left on my 160 GB hard drive, and I will likely be out of space in a few weeks. I take a lot of hi-res photos and a lot of video from both my iPhone and a Sony HandyCam and I don't see any of this slowing down. There are several different ways to tackle this, but I would love to hear some suggestions from those of you who have a lot of data to deal with. Bigger internal? Drop everything into an external? Save everything on a cloud? But where? Best and cheapest options?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 3
Add a comment

6 Answers

Chosen Solution

I'm an avid photographer, although my main photo collection resides on my iMac w/2TB drive, and my MBP is just a secondary machine and only carries a copy and subset of that data. but my photo backup strategy should still apply to your case using your MacBook.

if your data(photos/video) are important to you, I would no matter what make sure you have at least one backup on external media. large hard drives are pretty cheap these days, so there's no excuse not to get one. An external drive is even more important if your laptop is your main machine - every once in a while on the news there's some story of a person having their laptop stolen out of their parked car with their only copy of all their treasured newborn baby or wedding photos, pleading for the thief to return their photos (hint: there's at least 2 mistakes made by those people!)

actually, I have a full Time Machine backup on my main iMac, plus I do a periodic full bootable clone using SuperDuper in case of emergency (having a bootable clone has saved the day for me before). But because I want to keep a full separate archive of all my photos, I also have a 3rd external drive which I use with SuperDuper to ONLY backup my photo folders. This photo archive hard drive is like my modern-day "shoebox" of photos.

The TM drive is FW800 for speed, but I use USB2.0 drives for the bootable clone and photo archive drive since they're cheaper and they're not being accessed as frequently. The bootable clone and photo archive drive I store separately from my Mac in case of some disaster/theft/etc and I run the SuperDuper backup to those perhaps every few weeks.

if your photo/video collection is too large for your laptop, you could manually copy them to an external photo archive disk then use this external drive as your "master" copy. then only keep a copy of more recent photos on your laptop's smaller hard drive. then keep the external drive at home for safekeeping -- I don't want to hear about you on the news :)

personally I would not want to use storage in the cloud as my "master" copy of my photos - I have too many GBs of photos and it would take too long to restore them all should some disaster strike my machine. Also I would worry about long term reliability if it weren't a large well funded company (some of those smaller startup online photo sites have gone belly up in the past!). but some people seem to be comfortable doing so, I guess it depends on the volume of data and how important it is for you to have control over your own master copy of data. even if cloud storage worked perfectly I think I would still only rely on it as a 2nd copy of my photos.

I do use Mobile Me, but for me it is just to use as online gallery to share with others and for the other great syncing features between all my Macs and iPhone and Back to My Mac. I don't rely on that as my "master" copy of photos. likewise with sites like Flikr or others, great for sharing but not a solution to archiving large photo collections, IMO.

p.s. as mayer already suggested, step 1 is to upgrade your internal hard drive to something larger. but then seriously consider adding at least 1 backup external drive.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 3
Add a comment
Most Helpful Answer

I hear ya. I'd love for a laptop to be my main computer, but issues like this make it impossible. I have a Mac Pro at home with 1TB of disk space, and I used Time Machine to back that up to a 1TB external drive connected to my Airport Extreme (and of course if my house burns down I'll lose everything and have to jump off a cliff). Basically my method is to keep the master copy of all my files on my Mac Pro, and I treat all the hard drives of all my other computers as scratch space, periodically "replicating" them to the Pro. When possible, I have shortcuts to the Pro's disk space on all my computers, and using this shortcut I work directly off the Pro's files when I am within range. I suppose if I was ambitious I would set up a VPN so I could get to the Pro when I'm away. If a strategy like this is appealing but you don't have another computer, you could always get a Drobo, or another form of redundant network-based disk space to offload files to.

I haven't found a satisfying solution to the cloud question. Ideally, everything would be in the cloud, and from whatever computer, or whatever location, you could just connect up, but I don't think technology is quite there yet, and I've just been frustrated every time I've tried. I think the reason the iPod is still a viable product is that the cloud isn't ready yet, and when it is ready, products like the iPod which have a chunk of disk space will probably rapidly disappear. I keep my .Mac account around because I keep trying to be optimistic about the iDisk, but it's a half-baked solution and they don't make it easy to synchronize files. Google Docs is supposedly allowing file storage, and you can bet they are working on a 100% cloud solution, but I don't think it's there yet. And of course iTunes doesn't make it easy. If several computers with varying iTunes/iPhoto libraries could somehow feed into a master library on a central computer/cloud, that would help. Maybe there's a way to do this that I'm just not aware of. If there's no way to do that, I have a feeling it's coming soon though, because with the iPad we're going to need to synchronize the iPad's iTunes/etc. with that of our iPhones and other computers, and that will (hopefully) provide a distributed model and alleviate the need to keep your entire iTunes library on a laptop hard drive.

I have several friends who immediately send all their pictures to Flickr, and I do lots if iPhone videos, which I immediately put on YouTube, so that's one solution, although it's time consuming to constantly be uploading, and it doesn't work so well if you want to retain high-quality versions of your pictures, etc.

Anyway, sorry, my response is more of a commisseration than a solution. :-)

Was this answer helpful?

Score 4
Add a comment

As far as the online cloud thing goes, I can recommend using MobileMe. Not only can u store your pictures and videos there but depending on your subscription you can also store any type of files in an online cloud which u can easily access from your iPhone or any computer. MobileMe also allows over the air synchronization of cantacts, mail, and calendars. Another unique feature of this service is that it also allows your mac and iPhone to be tracked down in the event either are lost or stolen. I read a thread in a mac discussion where a young lady was able to help the police recover her MacBook Pro, which was stolen in a burglary, using the Back to my Mac feature. I just realized that I sound like a commercial, LOL. I can personally recommend using this because I have MobileMe account myself. As far as the price goes, it all depends on how much space you need, I pay $100/year for the service but I only have 8GB of online storage, you can opt. for more at a higher subscription rate.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 3

Comments:

well done +

by

Add a comment

A internal WD 320 GB Scorpio Black would be my recommendation. 7200 rpm so you get a nice boost. i like the western digital My Books, i have 4. 2 500's & 2 1TB. the usb only drives are cheap and used for storage. the usb, firewire 800, sata combos are my workhorses, they cost more but i use them every day. i do a lot of limewire, like 24/7 i have a couple of WD TVs http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp...

i play my movies and music on my tv's with them

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2

Comments:

Why the down vote on a year old question?

by

Add a comment

I'm actually in a similar position currently as I have 9gb of 320 left on my Macbook Pro. I have a 500gb backup that I keep in a fireproof safe at home but I'd like to up my current hard drive space. I'm wondering how easy it is to store and access items on an external drive as your main library.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 1

Comments:

I'd go with a Firewire 800 external for speed of access. The external shows up as an icon on your desktop and to see something like a movie you just click on it. You probably won't even be able to tell that it's not on your internal drive.

by

Add a comment

You are gay, not big suprise

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Add your answer

Brady Cabe will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 1

Past 7 Days: 14

Past 30 Days: 36

All Time: 18,978