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Michelle
Michelle, Mac Technician
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 982
Experience:  Apple Computers and Mobile support with 12 years of exp.
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I have an older iMac with only 250 gb of storage, but have

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I have an older iMac with only 250 gb of storage, but have two external drives with 1.5 TB on those combined. What is the best way to handle my files so that I have convenient access to them, and prevent this from happening all the time?

Appleologist :

Hi, and welcome to JustAnswer! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am excited to get started with you.

So I can better assist you with your issue, I will need additional clarification. Are you inquiring about the best way to backup your data or are you consistently running out of hard drive space on your mac?

Customer:

No, I regularly back it up to one of the drives. I keep getting messages however that say "Your startup disk is full"

Appleologist :

Oh ok I understand now, thank you for clarifying that. That means you will need to free up some space on your internal hard drive and keep it off. Normally, videos and pictures take up the most space on your hard drive. You mentioned that your windows partition is 35 GB. Do you use windows regularly?

Customer:

No, I don't.

Appleologist :

If you like, you can remove it entirely

Appleologist :

That will give you 35GB of free storage and you will not get that message.

Customer:

That would be fine, but I would like to have access to it when I do need it. Can I keep my photos on the external drive, but iPhoto on the startup disk?

Appleologist :

Yes you can. You can keep your entire iphoto library on your external hard drive while keeping the actual iphoto application on your computer. Lets check to see how large your photo library is. Click on finder to open it. In the left column is your picture folder listed?

Appleologist :

Select your picture folder and then press command+i This will bring up a pop up box. In the upper right corner, you will see the GB size. What does the GB read?

Customer:

The "Pictures" file only has 210mb. Should I look in the iPhoto app?

Customer:

How about iTunes, that has 42gb in it?

Appleologist :

That is pretty large. Check your movies and documents folder too

Customer:

No, pictures only has 210 Mb...iTUNES has 42Gb..

Appleologist :

Yes I know. I also want you to check you movies folder too. I want to see if any of those folders are larger thatn iTunes 42 GB. Which ever folder is larger, you can move to your external drive

Appleologist :

Your movie folder should be right above the music folder

Customer:

Movies has 42Kb

Appleologist :

Ok good. So are you ok with keeping your entire itunes folder on your hard drive? Every time you would like to view your library, you will need to press and hold the option key first while launching itunes

Customer:

Lets start with Pics. I'm assuming that I would do the same thing (option key)?

Appleologist :

Yup! You can go ahead and drag your pictures folder onto your hard drive if you have not done so already. Then you can actually delete the iphoto library from your computer and empty the trash

Customer:

Also, regarding Parallels, can I have the program, virtual drive and the files on the external drive?

Appleologist :

You can just to back it up, but it does need to be on your actual computer for it to run

Customer:

I don't see a pictures file in the Library?

Customer:

...or iPhoto

Appleologist :

You mentioned that your picture folder is only 210mb which is very tiny. The iphoto library is in the pictures folder. If you open finder and click on the pictures folder, you will see iphoto library

Customer:

No, I don't. Where else would it be?

Appleologist :

Open the actual iphoto application. Are there any pictures in there? Click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner and type in iphoto if it is not on your dock

Customer:

I just did that. I actually have 3 iPhoto libraries totaling about 5GB.

Appleologist :

So do you see all 3 iPhoto libraries? Are they in the same folder?

Customer:

I'm not sure where they are located though?

Appleologist :

You iphoto library can actually stay on your computer. It is too small to make a significant difference

Appleologist :

You still have almost 120Gb of unaccounted for storage that can be elsewhere

Customer:

Great, so to move iTunes files, just copy them to the external, and empty the trash?

Appleologist :

Correct! Drag your entire music folder onto your external drive. Then delete the contents inside the music folder (not the entire music folder) Then empty the trash

Customer:

Got it. Now, about parallels...I think that I will do away with that partition, but I would like to keep my files to use in Bootcamp when I need to work with Windows (Ugh!)

Appleologist :

The parallels partition will be inside your documents folder. Open your documents folder and locate a virtual machine folder

Appleologist :

To save your data, drag that entire folder onto your external drive and then delete it from your mac

Customer:

That freed up about 20GB of space as well.

Appleologist :

So you are up to 67GB of free storage :)

Appleologist :

Was there anything els I can assist you with today?

Customer:

Thank you VERY much for your help today. I will give you 5-Stars.

Michelle and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
You are very welcome! Have a fantastic rest of your day