43 Folders

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Tiger's Spotlight: Smart Folders to monitor for large files

As my media collection grows and my downloads get larger and more frequent, my poor PowerBook is almost always this close to being completely full. Having an overstuffed drive can hammer your performance as well as take you off-task (“You Startup Disk is almost full…”), so regular deletion of crufty files is a part of most folks' regular Mac maintenance.

Although OmniDiskSweeper is my favorite way to exhaustively comb a drive for fat-assed files, it can be time-consuming on a large drive. So I often do a surgical strike with a few simple Spotlight Smart Folders to identify the most likely candidates for fast deletion. A few very basic suggestions:

  • Movies
    • Folder: Downloads
    • Kind: Movies
  • MP3s
    • Folder: Downloads
    • Kind: Music
  • Disk Images
    • Folder: Downloads
    • Name: Ends with “.dmg”

I prefer these searches to simply sorting a folder by Size since the Smart Folders automatically ferret out nested, sub-folder files--no hassle, clicking, or re-shuffling.

Of course the applications of this are endless, but the basic idea stays the same: make it easy to monitor the locations where large files tend to accumulate. For example, you could also make a Smart Folder to watch your work files for large-item projects you can archive or delete:

  • Folder: Work
  • Size: Is greater than 20MB

Tiger has been out for several months now. Have you found novel ways to make Spotlight part of your workflow?

brian w's picture

Frankly, the way Spotlight has...

Frankly, the way Spotlight has most become part of my workflow is by forcing me to take a break from my computer while it chugs and chugs and chugs away at my PowerBook's hard drive. The only reason I haven't tried to turn it off completely is that I'm not sure how that would affect the ordinary filename-type searches that were standard in previous versions of the OS.

(To end on a more positive note: advice for dealing with Spotlight's more annoying tendencies would be great!)




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