"Other" quickly eats up all my free space whenever I run Chrome or Firefox


Dick--Whitman

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I have a 2012 Macbook Air on OSX Yosemite, so I don't have much free space to begin with. But whenever I open up Chrome or Firefox, the "other" category" under About This Mac/Storage expands to eat up all of the 6 GB I have. This happens within a half hour and usually ends with me getting messages of "startup disk is almost full" and "startup disk is full". Applications, photos, etc. all stay stable but "other" expands from about 12 GB to 18.
Sometimes whatever process is at work just decides to stop harassinf me, however, and stays stable at a number about 13. I just don't get it and I don't know where to look.
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

A few troubleshooting questions/suggestions for you:
-6 GB isn't really enough free space to run with. Normally, you want to keep 5-10% of the drive free.
-It doesn't do this if you run Safari, or if Chrome/FireFox aren't running?
-Do you have any third-party extensions in either browser that may be syncing data?
-Have you tried clearing caches and such in both of them?

C
 

Dick--Whitman

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Hi, thanks for your advice, Cory.
It seems 6 GB is 10% of the drive. About This Mac/Storage shows full size as 59.48. This is a Macbook Air, so small.
Haven't tried Safari in years. Chrome is my go-to browser and Firefox my backup. I cleared out all of my third-party extensions from Chrome on a settings-restore and brought back only Ad Block. Seems to have helped but it isn't perfect. Just today I got the "other" growth problem back earlier today after a longer period of operation. It gave me me the warning message but still allowed me to work online until I finished a task of about half an hour's duration. Now, tonight I'm back on Chrome and -- just now -- the almost-full message popped up again. Oh, and I've cleared my cache several times using CCleaner. I'm closing Chrome now and going to Firefox which gives me less of a hassle, though it still pops up.
 

Cory Cooper

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OK, thanks. That should be enough free space, but a little more is always better. ;)

Try these steps:

Chrome
1. Click Chrome > Clear Browsing Data... in the menu bar
2. Click Advanced tab
3. Change Time range to All Time
4. Check everything except Passwords and other sign-in data - note the amount of space listed next to Cached images and files
5. Click Clear Data button
6. When done, close Chrome

Firefox
1. Click History > Clear Recent History...in the menu bar
3. Change Time range to clear to Everything
4. Check everything except Active logins
5. Click Clear Now button
6. When done, close Firefox

You should see a lot of free space come back. This will delete and site preferences and other information, but will keep your login credentials/passwords. The browsers should run a bit better and hopefully not fill up your hard drive as fast.

Let me know if that helps a bit,

C
 

Dick--Whitman

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Hi again, Cory.
So I followed your steps and while they didn't add up to a lot of free space (less than a quarter of a gig in total), the problem of the expanding "other" appears to have gone away (for now, anyway). From a standing start of 11.99 GB, the "other" category expands to 13.31 when I'm using Chrome, and stays there. That's good; it probably represents the actual use of Chrome so all is cool, for now. I'll re-post if it acts up again but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 

Cory Cooper

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Excellent...at least it is "under control" at this point.

Good luck and definitely let us know if it goes out of control again.

C
 
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Dick--Whitman

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Alas... too good to be true. It's back. I'm doing nothing more complicated on google than reading gmails and operating a text-based program... twice today the "other" has ballooned to 18 GB, leaving me less than 600 MB and a disk-nearly-full warning.
 
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Dick--Whitman

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New development... the "other" reached near-capacity, and had my fan running full-bore.. then it stopped. For no apparent reason it has stopped whatever it was doing, and is now using only 13.66 GB. I just don't get this. It's like some rogue program is forcing it way through, then quitting when I don't respond.
 

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