Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Disk So Full, It Couldn’t Be Restored

Glenn Fleishman (Mastodon):

Turned out, my kid had managed a neat trick, though they were not alone: they had filled macOS’s startup volume storage so full that the operating system was incapable of deleting files in any fashion. Instead of halting the massive Steam download when the drive became disastrously full, macOS continued to write files until there was just 41K free on the drive.


Due to our gigabit Internet connection and the size of the Steam file, macOS outstripped its ability to throttle filling storage because it was also making a local Time Machine snapshot.


It was time to restart to see if it would clear caches. Unfortunately, restarting left the Mac unable to start up at all. No matter what I tried, it would reach about halfway through the progress bar before failing.


I shifted to recoveryOS, Apple’s somewhat new name for the special disk partition in macOS that lets you run operations on the main startup volume while it’s not mounted, including Disk Utility repairs and reinstallation. From there, I hit the wall as well, as Terminal commands continued to fail with the same error.

He had to erase the Mac and ran into a Sonoma bug trying to restore from a network Time Machine backup.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

What is the minimum recommended free disk space on Mac…

- Booting disk?
- Non-booting disk, like one with no macOS inside but just files like movies?

This is almost how iOS devices behave for years, I remember once I had a 16 GB iPad, downloaded game, and in-game content, the iPad is full and stuck. Reboot, stuck on boot screen. I have to wipe it with a computer iTunes. This lost me a bunch of data. Never going to buy any base storage model Apple devices again.

This is yet another microcosm of what the modern macOS experience is like.

So much complexity, and regardless of what new features it enables, it ends up making the whole experience worse.

Mac Folklore Radio

@Bri well put.

Every day I wonder how much longer Apple can coast on the reputation it developed in the mid-2000s.

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