Published by Steve Litchfield at 16:08 UTC, August 23rd 2010
Q. In an attempt to work out why my microSD card was full, I connected my smartphone to my Mac in 'Disk Transfer' mode. Aha - I found a load (Gigabytes!) of old music files from when I used to sync my phone with a Windows PC. I then deleted the root directory containing all these files and.... it seems that the disk is still full! Obviously, there's something going wrong in the counting, but what, and how do I fix it?
A. What's gone wrong here is that when you delete files using the Mac Finder, the files aren't really deleted. Instead, they're moved into the 'Trash', even when they're on an external disk. In this case, into a hidden folder called '.Trashes'. You can see this for yourself by running the freeware Mac utility Disk Inventory X, which shows up areas of disk usage graphically. It's tricky to see or delete these Trash files in Finder itself (it involves a Terminal command), so you're best off:
NB: on a Windows PC, Sequoia View (www.win.tue.nl/sequoiaview/) does a similar job to Disk Inventory X.