Monthly Archives: November 2015

Using Disk Inventory X to free HD space

As flash-based storage continues to become more prevalent, you (or one of your friends!) may find themselves in need of some help cleaning up unused files on their hard drive.

While the first place you may think to look is in the Downloads folder, you may be surprised to find that doesn’t quite do the job.

Before you start making those tough decisions on which college essays you need to delete, you may be able to clear up significant space off of your computer by deleting files you didn’t even know you had!

Enter Disk Inventory X.

Disk Inventory X Icon

This tiny application will run a scan of your file system and then give you a visual representation of what is using up space on your disk(s).

After you download the disk image from the link above, click to open the disk image. You can choose to run Disk Inventory X from the DMG or you can drag it to your /Applications folder for easy access later.

When first opening, it will present you with a list of any available disks to scan.


Select the disk or folder you want to scan and then click Open Volume.

Depending on the size (and speed) of your disk, it may take a few minutes to open.

Once done, it will show you a screen with two or three window views:

Disk Inventory X Window


  • File Hierarchy – (Shown outlined in orange above) This section shows how the files and folders are logically arranged on your disk.
  • File Tree  (Shown in the center above) This is the visual representation of your files. The larger the file, in proportion to your other files, the larger the colored block will be. Notice similar files are color coded and grouped together by file-type AND folder.
    • Note: You may have a folder full on tiny files taking up large space. When looking through the image don’t forget to look for these large groupings of small files!
  • Statistics – (Shown outlined in red above) This section may be hidden by clicking the Show/Hide File Kind Statistics.

As you can see in the image above, if I click on a file in the center file tree, it will highlight it on the left file hierarchy window to give me more information. In this case, I have an 8.8GB “Untitled” iMovie project.

If I right-click or ctrl+click on the file, a drop down window gives me a few more options:

Disk Inventory X Right-Click

I can use Reveal in Finder to open Finder at my file to look around. I can also choose Open to open the file directly to see if it is something I want to save.

If I decide I don’t need this file, I can click on Move to Trash to move the file to my trash. Once complete with cleanup, I will need to remember to empty my trash to actually free up the space.

Note: Some files may be in protected and you may want to heed that warning. Disk Inventory X also chooses to not highlight certain system files by leaving them gray in color. Unless you are certain of what you are doing, you may want to avoid those as well.

Keep an eye out for the following space-hogs!

  • Downloads Folder
    • /Users/YourUser/Downloads
  • Old iPad/iPhone IPSW files
    • /Users/YourUser/Library/iTunes
  • Software Installers and Disk Images no longer needed
  • Unused Apps

There are several other applications that offer similar functionality, but Disk Inventory X has been my go-to for years that it’s an old habit that I luckily do not have to break. All major functions appear to be working just fine on Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.

If you must try other options take a look at:

JSS API – Update Mobile Device Group using mobile_device_additions

This morning Randy Saeks (@rsaeks) posed this question on Twitter:

Which made me think this would be a great chance to use some of the new methods for group management available in the JSS API.

My recommendation was to create an exclusion group and add to the configuration profile. This way, he could add individual devices without having to edit the actually profile and have less risk of making an inadvertent modification that could risk breaking a know-working policy.

This post will look specifically at what is available for Mobile Device group management but the same principals will apply for Computer and User groups.

Previous Work Flow

In past versions of the API, if we wanted to update a static group we needed to know all devices that were in the group before performing our new PUT on the group. Otherwise we would erase all our previous work and replace it with the new data we had just submitted. In some cases, this was the desired effect. However, needing to make a small change (adding 1 new device) made using the API almost a non-starter. To make this work programmatically,we would always need to perform two API calls. One to GET the data, then a second to PUT the data back.

New Options

Luckily they have added two new options:

  • mobile_device_additions
  • mobile_device_deletions

The API documentation states the following to introduce these to us:

Implementation Notes

PUT also works with a name. One or more mobile devices can be added by using <mobile_device_additions> instead of <mobile_devices>. One or more computers can be deleted by using <mobile_device_deletions> instead of <mobile_devices>

By reading this (brief) note, we know that we need to replace the  mobile_devices element in our XML file with mobile_device_additions or mobile_device_deletions. In the samples below, notice the highlights where we replace mobile_devices and mobile_device_additions.

Typical Mobile Device Group Example

With the JSS API, we can usually strip down the XML to just what we need to submit. In this case, we can do the following:

Now, if I want to add the device above to my group, I just perform a PUT on the following URL and submit the abbreviated XML snippet above:<ID of group we want to edit>

We could also do the same for the Static Group name:<Name of group we want to edit>

Hopefully this can help you use these new features of the JSS API!

Update: All JSS group API resources have been updated to support this behavior. Full list below:

  • Computer Groups
    • computer_additions
    • computer_deletions
  • Mobile Device Groups
    • mobile_device_additions
    • mobile_device_deletions
  • User Groups
    • user_additions
    • user_deletions