Reclaiming Disk Space Under Mac OS X

One of the problems many users, myself included, face with portable Macs is that there is generally no easy way to upgrade the internal hard drive (at least not without risking your Apple warranty). If you use a MacBook or MacBook Pro as your primary machine, complete with all your applications, music, photos, and other digital content, you'll find that you can easily fill up an 80GB or 100GB drive pretty quickly. While keeping track of your data and using an external hard drive (or shared folder on another Mac or server) for large amounts of files you don't need to carry with you is an option, it isn't always feasible or a perfect option. One way to reclaim hard drive space is to actually reduce the contents of your applications themselves. Most applications today can be trimmed down in two ways. First, by removing the universal code that enables them to run natively on Intel or Power PC Macs. Once you install an application on a Mac (Intel or Power PC), you really only need to code for that Mac's type of processor, so with the proper tools you can strip out the excess universal code. The second option is to remove language localizations. Most applications, including all the Apple apps, come with support for multiple languages (as does Mac OS X itself). If you only need one of these languages (or even a couple of them), you can reclaim space by removing the files that enable the support for languages that you don't need. Note: even if you disable support for additional languages when installing Mac OS X, all the Apple apps will still be localized. Of course, both these options can lead to problems with some applications (Adobe's applications seem particularly dependent on their localization data) so you're better off backing up applications before stripping anything from them just in case. To remove localization manually, select the application in the Finder, select Get Info from the File menu, and expand the language section and select all the languages that you don't need - by select I mean highlight them not use the checkboxes (those simply turn support for the language on or off) and click the remove button. This should, after a warning dialog, move the excess files to the trash. You can also use the freeware Monolingual to remove all localization files at once. To remove localizations and universal code, you can use XSlimmer or this free workflow from Mac OS X Hints (note: this only supports stripping Power PC code for Intel Macs not vice versa).


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