HDD being filled with mystery data.


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A couple of days ago, my Macbook refused to boot beyond log in. Through bootcamp, I was able to see that the Mac drive was full (all but 300MB). Bootcamp allowed me to copy some large video files I'd recently copied to the drive to and external HDD, but permissions prevented the moving or deleting of the files. A friend told me about booting while connected by firewire to another Mac and pressing the "T" key while booting, which allowed me to delete the files and free 1.7 GB. This got it going for the rest of the day and I freed more space to a total of 9GB.



All was good when I booted the following morning, but later that free space disappeared in a couple of hours. Using the same method, I moved 190GB of files to an external drive and all was good for the remainder of the day.



This morning I booted and that 190GB of free space was still there and regular checks confirmed that all appeared to be good. Later, I noticed the fan running at high speed, checked the free space and discovered that 110GB of that free space was gone, so I shut down the computer.



Scans with Trend Micro declare the system free of viruses. I use iCloud to sync only my calendar and emails with my iPhone.



Obviously, I am asking for assistance to find and stop whatever it is that is writing so much data to the drive, but more urgently, I ask for help to best find and delete what has been written to the drive, before I inevitably run out of files to move elsewhere. I would be eternally grateful for the help of those more knowledgeable than myself.



Thanks in advance.

Wayne



Hardware

Mid-2012 15" Macbook Pro Retina Model 10,1

Core i7 2.7 Ghz, 16GB RAM 750GB SSD



OS

OS X 10.9.5

Plus Windoze 7 on Bootcamp and Parallels
 
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First of all, have you been making backups? And preferably, a bootable backup via either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner.

Secondly, do you have a more robust Disk maintenance/repair program like Disk Warrior or Tech Tool Pro? If you don't, then you'll need to rely on Disk Utility to provide assistance.

With that in mind, there should be a Recovery HD partition (hidden) on your drive. You can boot to it by holding down the Command and R keys as the machine is booting up. This link explains how to do that:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

Once you have that up and running, one of the menu choices is "Disk Utility" (or something like that. I use TechTool Pro for my disk maintenance/repair tasks, so I do not know the exact wording). In any event, click on that menu choice, and it will launch Disk Utility for you in a more "isolated" environment. From there, you should first do a Verify and Repair Disk at the "top" level, and then at the next level, for your "main" partition (you probably only have one, and it contains all your software, files, etc.), do a Verify and Repair Permissions, and then a Verify and Repair Disk (not sure if this second Verify and Repair Disk is necessary, given that you did it at the "top" level, but it can't hurt).

Assuming all that runs smoothly, reboot your machine. Note, though, that using Repair Permissions with Disk Utility only repairs permissions for Apple software. So, you should download the excellent freeware program Onyx. Besides repairing permissions for any software, it also contains some useful clean up tasks. You can get Onyx from here:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/11582/onyx

You want version 2.8.8, under Related Links.

Additionally, there are two other excellent freeware programs that may help you. One is AdwareMedic. That will get rid of "pesky" pop up messages/ads when you are using the internet. You can get it form here:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/52105/adwaremedic

The other one is the virus checking/removal product called ClamXav. You can get it from here:

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/15850/clamxav

Additionally see if you have MacKeeper on your machine. That is a very, very problematic program. Look in your Applications folder to see if it's there. Let us know if you have it, and we can provide you with instructions as to how to completely remove it.

If none of that works, then the next step (most likely) would be to erase and reformat your SSD drive. That of course will get rid of everything. Thus, a backup is essential for that.
 

Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

In addition to honestone's great suggestions:

-Do you have a Gmail account setup in Mail, and is Mail running all the time?
-Have you checked to see if Time Machine is on and possibly creating local snapshots/using the startup drive for backups?
-It could be a runaway log file.

C
 
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Regarding what Cory mentioned about a possible runaway log file, Onyx does delete log files, along with some report files.
 

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