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Fixing ‘Mac Startup Disk Full’ Issue

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Computers have a lot more storage space than smartphones do. On any computer, it’s common for 1TB or 2TB of hard disk drive (HDD) storage to be available, but newer models utilize a different storage device known as a solid-state drive (SSD). SSDs are much faster than HDDs are, but they are also more expensive and have smaller storage sizes. So, if your Mac has an SSD, then you might start to notice the startup disk full problem.

Of course, this can happen with HDDs as well, but it’s less likely. Regardless of which type of storage you have, if you’re shown a storage warning, it’s still a good idea to deal with this problem as soon as possible. We’re going to show you some of the ways to deal with this issue without purchasing an expensive new hard drive. Click to read on if you are facing these problems on your Mac: how to lock screen on Machow to change background on Mac & where are iTunes backups restored.

Checking your Mac Computer’s Storage Capacity

The first thing we have to do is check your computer’s storage. You’ll see how much available storage there is which will give you a good idea of how much you have to delete from the disk.

Step #1 – First you need to open Finder. Navigate to the top of your screen and click on “Go” and then “Computer”.


Step #2 – Click on the icon of your Mac’s primary hard drive. You will usually find that your hard drive has the name Macintosh HD, MacOSX, or something similar.

Step #3 – On your keyboard, click the keys “Command” and “I” simultaneously.

Step #4 – All of the hard drive’s storage will now appear in a popup window for you to see.


From this window, look for the “Available” storage which can be found under the “General” drop-down menu. If you notice that your available storage is very little in comparison to the “Capacity”, your next task is to find ways to clean up your hard drive.

Ways to Avoid Startup Disk Full

Having a full hard drive disk comes down to one thing: too many files. The odds are that you’ve had your Mac for a while and you haven’t taken much time to conserve storage space. Don’t fret; it’s not too late to start. Here are a few ways to clean up your hard drive space and maximize the available storage.

#1 – Empty Your Downloads Folder

When you download a file from the internet, you probably drag it into another folder. For example, if you download a movie, then you might move it into the folder that you specifically made to manage all of your movies.


However, doing this may also leave another version of the file in your “Downloads” folder. This goes for all files – music, photos, documents, and even apps. So, over time the Downloads folder can start to fill up your storage space. Avoid the Mac startup disk full by opening the folder and dragging all of its contents into the Trash.

#2 – Frequently Empty Your Trash

Following on from above, a lot of Mac users forget to empty the Trash regularly. If you’re among this group of users then all you have to do is hold down the Control button, click on the trash bin from the taskbar, and press “Empty Trash”.


Make sure that after you delete large files, such as movies or TV shows, you also empty the Trash. If you don’t, then those files will continue to limit how much storage is available on your Mac.

#3 – Remove Any Apps That You Don’t Use

Macs are great simply because users can access the Apple App Store without using their iPhone. But the longer that you use an app on your Mac, the more storage it starts filling. Even though when you install an app, it will show you the app’s file size, that’s not where the problem lies. In regard to startup disk full, the problem is app data.

In all fairness, some Mac apps are very large and will cause storage problems. But, when you are using an app it continues to store data and as such, more usage results in more data. Within just a few weeks you might find that some apps are storing over 1GB of app data.

So, go to the “Applications” folder on your Mac and locate any apps that you no longer use. Drag the app’s folder into the Trash, and after doing this for all the unnecessary apps, you can empty your Trash.

How to Prevent Mac Startup Disk Full on Sierra

When you’re using a mac that is running MacOS Sierra, sorting your storage is simple. By using one of the numerous storage management features, you can clean up the hard drive quickly.

Step #1 – Press the Apple icon at the top-left of your screen and click “About This Mac”.

Step #2 – Click “Storage” and then select “Manage”.

A quick scan will be run on your hard drive to analyze your current storage. Afterward, you’ll see a breakdown of what data types fill the most of your storage on the left and four clean-up options on the right.

  • Store in iCloud uploads your personal files and photos to your iCloud account. Only files that you had recently opened will remain on your computer.
  • Optimize Storage removes iTunes files including any Movies or TV Shows that you have already seen. If you frequently watch content through iTunes, then this can save a lot of space.
  • Empty Trash Automatically removes items from your Mac’s Trash that you’ve had in there for over 30 days.
  • Reduce Clutter lists all of the documents that are on your computer so that you can go through them and delete any of the files that you don’t need anymore.

As you can see, Mac users who use MacOS Sierra have it easy. This’ll take you a few minutes maximum but reviewing files may take slightly longer.

Pro Tip: Use a Cloud Storage Platform

You might still be seeing the startup disk full notification even after following our advice. This could mean that it’s time to get another storage device, but it’s more likely that you’re holding back and don’t want to get rid of any personal data.
If that’s the case, then consider using a cloud storage platform like iCloud or Google Drive. Simply upload any large files (that you don’t want to delete from your computer) to your cloud account storage, and it’ll no longer be a problem. Furthermore, if you don’t have enough storage on your cloud account, you can purchase more.

To Conclude

Storage problems are among the most stressful problems that computer users experience. A lot of Mac owners see the Mac startup disk full notification and instantly panic. But you don’t always have to delete your personal data. As we explained, you can simply relocate data to cloud storage or try some professional task managers for Mac. This resolves the issue, and best of all, it means that you can keep all of your personal data. So, the next time that you’re hit with a storage warning keeps all of these tips in mind.

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