Okay. This conversation has really helped but to be honest, a lot of what has been said is more than I understand. Yesterday, I found a lot of the videos taking up the 'video' space. While the 'video' category in the left column (when you open 'Finder') is empty, I clicked on 'All My Files,' which opened a list of files including one called 'movies.' There I found multiple copies of the same few videos I have. I deleted most of them because I had put copies of the ones I wanted to keep in dropbox. This did create a little space on my start up disk. However, when I went to dropbox some of the videos were no longer there. These included some family videos I really wanted to keep. I am so sick about that. How do I restore them? I deleted them from the 'movies' section under 'all my files' and cleaned out my trash thinking I still had them on dropbox. I have another question about backing up stuff but I'll do that in another comment.
I googled how to restore deleted files and was able to get my videos back. However, in backing up your files in a place that does NOT take up space on your start up disk what are the best choices? I do have an external HD, but fear that one day it will become obsolete and not connect to my computer, thus losing the info on it. I'm putting my photos on Flickr to get them off my hard disk, but what else can I do? I'm old fashioned enough to think I should just print out all my stuff to have it at hand, but truly don't want to deal with the paper. After all, one of the main reasons I got a computer was to avoid that. My computer is for personal use only. I just don't understand how I could possibly fill up the start up disk in the first place.
There I found multiple copies of the same few videos I have. I deleted most of them because I had put copies of the ones I wanted to keep in dropbox. This did create a little space on my start up disk. However, when I went to dropbox some of the videos were no longer there.
That's because DropBox is a folder on your computer, just like any file in any folder if you delete it from DropBox it deletes it from the computer.
When looking through All My Files you can see the actual path in the window at the bottom if you have the option turned on. With a Finder window open, go to View in the Menu bar and drag down to Show Path Bar. Now when you click on a file, at the bottom of the window it will show the path to the file, this way you can make sure that you are not deleting it from DropBox. If it say Hide Path Bar, the bar is already there, maybe you just weren't aware of it.
Read through my post in the link below again, it explains how DropBox works. Remember, Dropbox is folder on your hard that just sends files to a cloud, they are still on your computer, if you delete the file from DropBox it's deleted from your computer and from the cloud, but you have 30 days to retrieve the files from DropBox as I mentioned in my post above.
I did manage to clean enough stuff out to get rid of the constant message about not having any more space on my start up disk. I did get back my deleted movies (yea!) and then pretty much cleaned everything out of dropbox. I was using it for storage and that's really not what it's for. Most of the stuff I'm putting on an external hard drive for now. I had no idea how much clutter I had on my computer from multiple copies of stuff. I'm trying to clean out the clutter but it's a bit overwhelming. A lot of stuff is getting put into a file called "to do at a later date" which I guess is the equivalent of sweeping it under the rug! Photos, of course, is the biggest culprit for taking up space (got a nice new camera last year, and just had my first grandbaby). I'm working on uploading them to Flickr and copying them to the external hard drive before deleting them off my computer. My pictures are all on iphoto which I'm assuming is part of what is taking up so much space on my start up disk (please correct me if I'm wrong). Anyway, I'm slowly making a bit more space. I have 9% clear so far on my storage. Thanks for asking, and thanks for all the help you have given!
Glad you're getting it sorted out. Thanks for the update. One thing to remember though is if your data is only in one place, whether on an internal or external drive, you should consider getting another external drive to back everything up. An external can go bad just like an internal.
I don't know how much you have on your internal and external right now but you can get a 2 TB Seagate external drive from Amazon for only $80 shipped. A 4 TB is around $135. Small price for insurance.
That is the price for full sized 3.5" desktop drives, they have a power supply. You can get a compact external that only uses one cable to connect and doesn't need a power supply. They are much smaller, 2.5", but they are more expensive.
Click on each of your drives, go to File/Get Info. How much is being used on each drive, both the external and the internal, and also how much free space on each.
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