It began when I installed iWork (of which more anon).
My beloved old G3 iBook has a mere 20GB of hard disk space. I smile ruefully now, when I remember buying it and thinking “20GB? I’ll never fill that!”
But fill it I very nearly had, and iWork is a demanding piece of software. It wants a gig or so of my precious hard disk. What’s more, it’s not as flexible as I’d hoped. When it came to running the installer, I thought I’d try just installing Pages first, and leaving Keynote 2 for another day. But when I clicked on “Customize”, expecting the chance to pick and choose what software was installed, it turned out the choices were very limited. All the installations options were checked by default, and uneditable. When it comes to installing iWork, it’s all or nothing.
So I had a little think and decided the time had come for a hard disk clearout. What stuffs were hogging my hard disk, and which ones could I safely delete?
My first thought was my music collection. There must be gigabytes of rubbish in there that I never even listen to, I thought. But no - my iTunes library is only 707 songs, most of them much-beloved tunes that I really like to have around. Not much room for deleting stuff there.
What else was cluttering up my hard disk?
Aha! My spurious “~/downloads” directory, which turns out to be crammed full of out-of-date disk images of old software products which most of the time, I don’t use. Junk it; wow, two fresh, clean gigabytes to play with. What else can I get rid of?
I turn to my “~/_current” directory, which is where I keep all the bits and pieces and bits and bobs that would otherwise lurk on my desktop, if I were the sort of person to have a messy desktop.
What a treasure trove that turns out to be. Look, here’s a bunch of mp3 files I copied from a friend, intending to listen to. I drag a few of them into Audion, and satisfy myself that none of them are terribly necessary. Command+Backspace the lot of them, and another gig of space is freed up. I’m enjoying this. What else can I trash?
Command+Tab to the Finder; Command+N for a new window. Hmmm. For a long time now, I’ve had a “~/Applications” directory as well as the root-level “/Applications” directory. It’s time for a Grand Clean Out.
I churn through both directories with something approaching wild abandon. When was the last time I used $this_application? If I can’t remember when it was, it’s clearly no use to me. Command+Backspace. Command+Backspace. Command+Backspace.
What’s the point of two locations for applications anyway? I ask myself. Shazaam! With one drag-and-drop, I move everything to “/Applications”. I quit Quicksilver, restart it, wait for it to find all my apps in their new home.
I emerge after an hour or so of ruthless file management, and what have I got?
Back to the Finder, hit Command+N. Look at the bottom of the window.
“11 items. 5.5 GB available.”
Wow. All I’ve been doing is deleting stuff, but it feels like the most productive hour I’ve spent on computer maintenance for ages. Now feels like a good time to return to that iWork installer. Insert disk.
It’s a very satisfying feeling, isn’t it?