Winter Cleaning for the MacBook Pro


Normally people use Spring as the season to clean things up since its the time that people can leave their houses after Winter. Since I’m cleaning up my MacBook Pro and its sunny in Florida, I figure why not use my daughters nap times to do some cleaning up. I know where most of the clutter is on my MacBook. It consists of videos, pictures, and music. I have accumulated a lot of crap over the years and I know that with all my backups and switching from my windows desktop to my MacBook a lot of my clutter came with me and I just haven’t had the time or inclination to clean it up. The event that is prompting me to do some cleanup is that I have less than 150GB left on my hard drive. I prefer to have an ample cushion of free space so I’m looking for ways to eliminate some waste.

Part 1: Eliminate Movies from iTunes

iTunes 11

I have a lot of movies and TV show episodes on iTunes to say the least. A lot of them won’t make it to my iPhone or iPad these days because its available on Netflix except for a few choice movies that I simply must have because I watch them all the time at home or on the road. By far this is the easiest place to eliminate stuff because I was a little more careful in selecting videos to transfer to my Mac when I was moving files. I think I eliminated enough stuff to eventually save me 10 gigs. Granted that’s maybe 10 full blown movies but those 10 gigs comprised of a lot of TV episodes for shows I don’t watch often so that wasn’t too bad.

Part 2: Eliminate Music from iTunes

Ahh this is where things start to get really challenging. My music collection is quite large (well at least I think so) and I know there are a lot of duplicate songs all over the place and there songs encoded in different formats. This exercise was more tedious since there was no good way to actually do this task. I generally like to keep only MP3 files in my collection unless its the only copy of the song that I have. iTunes also doesn’t have a column that shows the path of the song on your hard drive. You have to use Get Info and then look at where the song resides. In a lot of cases I had 2-3 copies of entire albums that just took up a ton of space. I know I didn’t get everything but after about an hour I cleaned out another 5 gigs of crap from my drive. Not bad really considering your average song is only 5MB.

Part 3: Eliminate Duplicate Pictures

Duplicate Annihilator

This is the toughest one of all.  All my pictures are naturally saved in iPhoto.  A lot of video that I take with my iPhone is also saved here.  I also sync my wife’s iPhone to my account on the MacBook as well since she’s always on my account anyway (I have all the useful programs on my profile).  I also imported every picture I had on my desktop into iPhoto with reckless abandon.  A lot of pictures look alike when you’re just eye balling it and I don’t want to accidentally delete something that might be valuable.  To assist with this endeavor, I had to do some research on the internet to find a way to get rid of my duplicates.  Enter Duplicate Annihilator.  This was mentioned on some of the Apple news sites I track as well as on eHow.com.  What the program does is that it uses an algorithm to determine if there are duplicate pictures in your iPhoto library and tags a comment in them (I chose “duplicate”, imaginative isn’t it?) to find out which ones were were duplicates so that I can promptly delete them.  I suspect there will be tons of them in the library.  I have lots of overlap with my folders from my desktop and the biggest offender will probably be the pictures of my cats since I took literally thousands of pics of them before I had to give them up.  My wife and I also send pictures to each other that we save to our phones and later sync with the MacBook so there will be lots of duplicates that way as well that will require elimination.  I’m looking at the program and right now it will take about 10 hours to sift through approximately 34210 pictures and videos that I’ve taken since I first got a digital camera in 2002 (maybe it was sooner than that?  I don’t know…. I’m getting old and can’t remember stuff like I used to)

Right now it has only scanned approximately 300 photos but its already found 46 duplicates which isn’t bad. This software wasn’t free and I love free software but it was less than $10 so I think it is well worth the investment if it finds a ton of crap that I can get rid of and clean up my hard drive in the process.

The last step is a step I technically do every few months which is to run CCleaner which I’ve been using for quite a while since I was on Windows XP.  CCleaner just crunches through your drive and looks for old log files and cache’s to eliminate.  This normally nets me a few hundred megs unless I don’t clean out my trash can in which it then nets me a few gigs.  It’s going to be a long time before this thing is finally cleaned up.  I’ll probably have to continue this tomorrow since it’ll be another 9 hours before its done looking for duplicates.  After that I have to determine what duplicates need to be removed from my computer which in itself will take a lot of manual effort.  It sounds like my daughter is awake so thats the end of this blog post!

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