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Slim Down Your Fat Cat OS

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Your bad kitty will run faster and smoother after it sheds a few gigabytes.

A slimmer cat is a faster cat, and we'll bet dimes to DIMMs that you can shed several gigabytes from your Mac's hard drive without missing them. If you installed the default Mac OS10.4, for example, you've got 1GB of foreign language translation support, 2.1GB of printer drivers, and 9.9GB of bundled software. Once you've removed the biggest offenders post facto by following the steps below, take an hour to browse your hard drive for such junk as sample or stock images in Photoshop and sample songs in GarageBand (they're in /Users/username/Music/), and of course,s cour your iTunes library for all the podcasts that you forgot you subscribed to and other unwanted audio debris. If you use iMovie or GarageBand, archive or otherwise offload old projects, which are often huge.


Remove any expired demo software and any apps that you're not likely to use -- especially if you have the original installer discs. Games tend to fill loads of disc space, but only remove them as a last resort. Remember, all work and no play....

Printer Drivers

The /Library/Printers folder holds hundreds of drivers that you'll never use, and two that you might use someday -- which will come with the printer and are available free at the manufacturer's website anyway.

Application Support

iLife themes from iMovie and iDVD consume virtual acres, some of which you can surely do without. Browse the themes in each app, make note of the keepers, then proceed to /Library/Application Support/ for a weed-out session. While you're in Application Support, remove any folders for apps that you've deleted, and feel free to browse the remaining folders for superflucous sample projects, tutorials, and the like. Also check /Users/username/Library/Application Support for redundant items that are already in the main Application Support folder, orphaned support files, and other dead weight.

Language Support

Mac OS X's localization support is unmatched -- but how many foreign languages are you ever going to use? Strip it down to your native tongue with Monolingual (free, monolingual.sourceforge.net) -- just read the included directions and make sure that you don't remove your native language. English-speaking 'Mericans should keep both English and (United States). And if you use Adobe CS apps, open Monolingual's Preferences and add them to the blacklist of apps that you want Monolingual to leave alone -- for reasons unknown, current versions of Photoshop et al won't run without full lanugage support.

Bad Music

The folder /Library/Audio/Apple Loops For GarageBand contains over 1GB of loops for GarageBand projects; we punted just the stuff that gives us violent urges (Club Dance Beat and so on), thereby freeing up a couple hundred megabytes.

Shared Files

If you maintain a multiuser Mac, keep track of what each user installs and where. If several users tinker in GarageBand, for example, in the name of congeniality and preventing duplicates they should install any additional loops for all users rather than only for their account. And you know they won't unless you tell them to. Same thing goes for any application or its add-ons.

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