Couch Naps Win

couch.lowI often take a little nap on the couch before I go to bed for the night. I know, most people take naps during the day. I’m different. So was yesterday. It all started a week ago…

Low on Disk Space

I started seeing the dreaded, “Your computer is low on disk space message” a few weeks ago. I thought my browser had a memory leak. I thought my applications had memory leaks. It’s been known to happen. I didn’t think much of it, especially since when I cleared my cache and quit the potentially offending applications, I cleared disk space.

I told Mark, who told me Apple was coming out with new machines. Okay. At Thanksgiving, when I was done traveling, I was going to buy—maybe—a new machine. Surely I could make my machine last until then.

Zero Disk Space

No such luck. Last Tuesday, I was unable to mark Mail messages as read. I couldn’t save files. My machine mocked me. I was getting the low disk space message all the time.

I actually looked at where my disk space utilization, and all my disk space was used. I had a few, as in about 300 Mb left out of 250Gb flash drive. Huh?? How is this possible? Just two weeks ago, I had 14Gb available. Something Was Wrong.

I needed help.

Calling The Big Guns

I have AppleCare, because my machine is my business. No playing around. The first person had no idea, so he quickly got me to a second-tier person. We started running disk utility to diagnose the problem.

My flash drive had errors. When a flash drive has problems, it marks those sectors bad and skips them. Well, no wonder I had no disk left.

Did I have a backup? Of course. I have TimeMachine backups that run every hour. I can erase my hard drive. Gulp.

The Big Erase

It took us a while to determine this. I erased my hard drive on Thursday. I restored it by installing the operating system, and the restoring my hard drive.

Oops. Now I have to import all my email. I have duplicate copies of all my email.

I have a lot of email. Other people have paper folders. I have email. I’ve been in business for 19 years. I communicate with my clients by email. And, when Apple went to Mavericks a couple of weeks ago, they did something with Mail. I don’t have enough space on my hard drive to import all my email.

My import failed. Not enough disk space. I was so frustrated I almost cried.

What Day Is It?

Every time I restore, it takes 6 hours. By the time I’m done restoring, either it’s 11:30 at night, and I have to go to bed, or my Apple person is off for the day. So we do one thing at a time.

It’s now Saturday. I have a new AppleCare person. We decide to restore differently, from a previous (known good, Tuesday) and then restore in chunks to restore my hard drive from there.

We erase my hard drive again. We restore from backup. That takes all day Saturday. On Sunday, we talk again, and restore my email, which is not duplicated.

I Dare You to Sync with Imap

Syncing with  all my Imap accounts is still kind of funky. Apple is still looking into this. When we downloaded the logging application, it crashed. Just call me a tester :-)

But I managed to screw up my Dropbox because of my backups.

What Do You Backup?

On my machine, up until yesterday, I backed up “everything.” I didn’t realize everything meant my Dropbox, too. When I restored to Tuesday, that meant I didn’t get the most recent changes I made to Manage Your Job Search.

I had finished mega changes to the first couple of chapters. I’d even published a new version, thank goodness. Why? Because that meant I could get the nice folks at leanpub to get that version from git, if I needed it.

I was able to restore that version from my backup. I regenerated the correct version and republished last night. I also excluded Dropbox from my TimeMachine backup yesterday.

Not Quite Humpty Dumpty

My hard drive is put back together. I understand more what to do if I start receiving those messages again.

After dinner last night, I felt a little tired. Vestibular conditions do make you more tired. I’d seen the neurologist yesterday, so I was out and about.

I sat down on the couch, and took my first couch nap, from 7:30-8pm. Then, another one from 8:10-9:30. Or, maybe it was 10pm. I’m not so sure.

I went to bed at my normal time, 11pm, and slept until 6am, when we normally get up.

What I Learned

  1. Don’t ignore those “out of disk space” messages. It’s probably not a memory leak.
  2. Look for data. On the Mac, under the Apple menu, on About the Mac, you can see how much storage you use. You can see how much free space you have. I should have done that when I first had this problem. I don’t know what PC’s have. I am sure they have something.
  3. Ask for help. If that help doesn’t help, ask for qualified help. My first-line help realized they weren’t helping and got me to the next level pretty quick.
  4. Reflect on what you are doing. I had no idea I was backing up my Dropbox. No idea at all. Darn stupid of me.

I now have almost 30Gb free on my hard drive. I’m still considering getting a new computer, but it’s not because I’m out of disk space.

Those couch naps? Priceless.

3 thoughts on “Couch Naps Win

  1. Andrea Chiou

    Wow! What a story, Johanna. Glad you recovered and that you shared the story. I checked my available storage and I still have 4/5ths of my capacity free. Still, will think trying restore now and then when I’m not panicking from a loss.

  2. Danny Faught

    When I use the term “memory leak”, I’m referring to RAM. So when the application (or OS) is restarted, the leaked memory goes away completely, and then the leak starts again from the beginning. For disk storage, the corollary to Parkinson’s Law applies – “Data expands to fill the space available for storage.” This is a more difficult problem, of course, since the data sits there until you remove some of it (or all of it, as in your case).

    1. johanna Post author

      Danny, a browser memory leak will cause the browser to use more disk storage, because the cache is on your disk. Same with your desktop apps. That’s where apps go to page in/out. If you have to page in/our more frequently, you have a fragmented disk drive, not just fragmented OS. It’s interesting isn’t it, when everyone manages their own cache??

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