Basic Disk Management Tips and Free Mac Cleaner Tool

Updated on August 30, 2018

Note: Objective of this article is to share closely related queries and topics that affect the performance of a Mac hard disk drive. Furthermore, the article deals with various tips and solutions that will assist the user to free clean up a Mac hard drive, tackle serious drive issues such as monitoring bad sectors and look into defaults methods to overcome a Mac disk problem.

Hard disk queries that matters?

1. Why my Mac is running out of spaces?

There could be many reasons for Mac running out of free spaces. To check the available spaces on your Mac hard drive, right-click the ‘Macintosh HD’ icon and click ‘Get-Info’. A small window will appear that will help you examine the capacity of the disk and available free spaces. If you have less than 10% of the available hard drive spaces on your hard drive, then your Mac could possibly become a slow responding computer. 


From Apple logo and About this Mac, you can get Storage space information of your respective hard drive. You need to identify the files that have occupied your hard drive by its designated colour.

Yellow – Infamously, yellow colour denotes the Other storage spaces on your Mac hard drive. More than 50% of the Mac users aren’t aware of the files that constitute the Other. If you segregate the startup disk from the rest of your hard drive, then you will notice that the boot volume reflects the storage spaces only in Yellow colour. This is because yellow is kept reserved for the system files that occupies your hard disk drive.


Other storage spaces usually consists of:

  • System Caches (folders)
  • User-oriented files (Calendars, Docs and Contacts)
  • Unrecognised files (when Spotlight couldn’t recognise)

In your first attempt, try to get rid of duplicate files, trash contained folders and unwanted applications. Remember, you need to get at-least 10% of free spaces w.r.t to your hard drive size. Try to achieve this small figure by cleaning up the junk files which you can easily locate on your Mac. You might also take the help of a free Mac cleaner application as a second attempt which will perform a deep clean of hard drive sectors.

2. Why my Mac is running slow?

To answer this, it is necessary to analyze several factors to determine the cause of slow running OS X

  1. How much free spaces are available on the startup disk? If HD is low on spaces, then read the first query to resolve the problem and get quick free spaces for the Mac hard drive.
  2. If HD space is a non-issue, then analyze the consumption of your RAM with the help of Activity Monitor. Quit applications that are RAM hungry and restart your Mac. In the later part of this article, you will come to know about a tip that helps reclaim unused memory.
  3. Though it’s an advance option; you can run FSCK command to fix up your Mac hard drive errors. The same can be done via Disk Utility. Do Read – Repair Mac Hard Drive with FSCK
  4. For a smooth running Mac OS X, you must check the hardware performance. Apple facilitates user with the hardware test to determine if your Mac has failing components. In many cases, the logic board comes out to be the culprit responsible for a slow and unresponsive Mac.
  5. Older Macs tend to perform slowly since their hard drive gets read/write numerous times and there is presence of file-system wear-n-tears that disallows the OS X to perform smoothly. You can backup your Mac hard drive and perform a factory reset. This will create a new file system on the targeted hard drive.

3. Will restoring Mac to factory settings will help speed it up?

Factory reset does help you eliminate disk errors, file-system cryptic errors, leftovers and other junks that reduce the performance of the Mac instantly. If you have properly backed up the Mac to an external hard drive, then go to Mac OS X Utilities and erase your Apple hard drive. Once erased, restore your OS X with default settings through Mac OS X Utilities itself.

Restoring a Mac is a safe and cost-free technique to improve the speed and performance of the Mac. All it needs to have is a well-maintained backup of your files.

4. How should I manage file storage on my limited space disk?

Now, there could be more than a dozens of methods for managing files on Mac hard drive. Let’s list some basics method initially: -

  • Delete old and least-important files for storing new data
  • Move your data to an external hard drive
  • Move files to Cloud storage
  • Compress your saved files
  • Use 3rd party applications like Disk Inventory to manage files
  • Use 3rd party backup applications such as Drive Clone or BackBlaze

5. Does earlier OS X have the facility to manage storage just like in macOS Sierra?

macOS Sierra is a genius operating system because this time it provides a default feature to manage the storage spaces. You can avail this feature by going to Apple logo << About this Mac << Storage << Manage. This place mainly helps you manage Applications, Documents, Trash, System, iCloud and reduce clutter. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available to OS launched before macOS Sierra 10.12.

You can free download this free Mac cleaner to manage storage spaces on Mac OS X 10.6 to OS X El Capitan 10.11. The utility helps manage large documents, applications, widgets, duplicate etc. in a similar fashion to macOS Sierra Manage support.

6. How to clean malware from Mac hard disk?

You can download Add-ons and free anti-virus applications such as Sophos for Mac or AVG for Mac to remove malware from Mac hard drive. If you are running Windows through BootCamp Assistant, then install a Windows-based anti-virus software to avoid malware intrusion into the Mac system. Note: Viruses and Trojans are a rare occurrence on Apple’s file system but still you can be proactive and safeguard your Mac with applications mentioned above.

7. Should I speed up my Mac using Terminal command lines?

Definitely, but before proceeding, it is advised to arrange proper backup of your Mac hard drive through Time Machine or 3rd party clone applications.

  1. Disable Dashboard
  2. defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

    killall Dock

  3. Force Quit Finder
  4. defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool YES

    killall Finder

  5. Disable Animations
  6. defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

  7. Improve speed of Dialogue boxes
  8. defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime x.y

  9. Reclaim unused R.A.M.
  10. sudo purge

  11. Get rid of DNS caches
  12. sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;say cache flushed

  13. Empty Trash
  14. sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

  15. Run Maintenance Script
  16. sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

  17. Repair Disk
  18. diskutil repairvolume /Volumes/[drive identifier]

8) How to repair bad sectors on Mac hard drive

You cannot fix bad sectors on a hard disk drive but you can skip the sectors during disk imaging process. Free download this utility and run its module called the Drive Monitor. In this tool, select the Apple hard drive and click the ‘Scan’ button to run the surface scan. During the surface scan, the utility will find and display bad sectors present on your hard drive and further will prompt you to backup the data. After the data backup is done through skipping bad blocks, you can erase/replace the hard drive.

9) How to secure clean your Mac disk

Secure clean or wipe is the process of destroying the file-system and the contained files once you decide to lay off the media. Go to Mac OS X Utilities and launch Disk Utility << Select your hard drive for erase and click on the security options to slide through data destruction through 0s, 1s, 3 and 7 Passes.

Note: Secure cleaning of Mac is so powerful that data once erased becomes impossible to recover. Hence, proceed with caution.

10) My Mac hard drive failed after a long time of service. How can I recover my files?

File recovery attempts on a failed Mac hard drive is based completely on a hit and try the method, and of course some luck. First gently take out the failed Mac hard disk from your Mac hardware.

Now, purchase a drive enclosure and place your failed media into it. Connect the enclosure to another Mac system and go to Disk Utility. There are possibilities that your media shows up in the utility panel, though not guaranteed. You can also try coupling two Macs (failed-healthy systems) with a Thunderbolt cable and run target disk mode for data recovery. If your Mac HD has still some life left to mount itself on another Mac through target disk mode, then you possess a fair chance of file recovery. Alternatively, register this free Mac data recovery software and recover 1 GB of deleted data for free. Bootable media support for the same is available from the Tech support department.