Deleting huge files, but not freeing up space!?

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
16
Is there a chance it's just a view error, and that what the system reports is just wrong?

Thats what I'd like to find out. I've seen so many different numbers in different places, and changing after doing certain things. I did the thing where Finder rebuilds the database and it didn't sort it out. I spend a lot of time keep things organised and I really need to see the right numbers for available space, so its still a problem, and seems basic enough that apple should sort it out!
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
350
76
Thats what I'd like to find out. I've seen so many different numbers in different places, and changing after doing certain things. I did the thing where Finder rebuilds the database and it didn't sort it out. I spend a lot of time keep things organised and I really need to see the right numbers for available space, so its still a problem, and seems basic enough that apple should sort it out!
Try the following terminal commands and copy the results using the insert code button: df -H and diskutil list.

DS
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
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Try the following terminal commands and copy the results using the insert code button: df -H and diskutil list.

DS

OK thanks, here it is :

Code:
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$ df -H
Filesystem                                                                                            Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused               ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1                                                                                          1.0T   889G   108G    90% 1353630 9223372036853422177    0%   /
devfs                                                                                                 187k   187k     0B   100%     634                   0  100%   /dev
/dev/disk1s4                                                                                          1.0T   2.1G   108G     2%       2 9223372036854775805    0%   /private/var/vm
map -hosts                                                                                              0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /net
map auto_home                                                                                           0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /home
/Users/alexdelfont/Library/PreferencePanes/MenuMeters.prefPane/Contents/Resources/MenuMetersApp.app   1.0T   881G   117G    89% 1343335 9223372036853432472    0%   /private/var/folders/vf/387871k114v4wdj4ymf01dr40000gn/T/AppTranslocation/1AC87D66-1162-466D-9044-67E2E42FABF3
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$ diskutil list.
diskutil: did not recognize verb "list."; type "diskutil" for a list
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$ diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                 Apple_APFS Container disk1         1.0 TB     disk0s2

/dev/disk1 (synthesized):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      APFS Container Scheme -                      +1.0 TB     disk1
                                 Physical Store disk0s2
   1:                APFS Volume Macintosh HD            888.7 GB   disk1s1
   2:                APFS Volume Preboot                 66.3 MB    disk1s2
   3:                APFS Volume Recovery                1.6 GB     disk1s3
   4:                APFS Volume VM                      2.1 GB     disk1s4

Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
350
76
Your df -H output is not complete. It should look like the following:

Code:
xxxx:~ yyy$ df -H
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused               ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1    500G   186G   278G    41% 1655385 9223372036853120422    0%   /
devfs           190k   190k     0B   100%     645                   0  100%   /dev
/dev/disk1s4    500G   3.2G   278G     2%       3 9223372036854775804    0%   /private/var/vm
/dev/disk1s5    500G    32G   278G    11%  697524 9223372036854078283    0%   /Volumes/Mojave
map -hosts        0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /net
map auto_home     0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /home
DS
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
4,767
5,824
California
I moved to High Sierra a few months ago, and I was noticing some weird behaviour with what my storage space was showing.

I have a 1tb SSD in my MacBook Pro. I only have a few hundred GB of my own files. I just deleted about 200gb of files from my desktop, and there is no change in free space.

I've googled it and the Apple forums seem useless as usual, I've tried deleting local snapshots from Time Machine using terminal. I've re indexed Spotlight.

This is crazy, surely we need to be able to delete files and see the free space.

I've attached a screenshot. You can see system is taking up a huge amount, hundreds of GB. I just restarted and system went up 30gb from what you see in the photo. It doesn't make any sense

Any solutions to this, its driving me nuts?
Thanks
I've had the same problem with my Macbook Pro. First off, I got Disk Expert on the Mac store. That immediately tells me where everything is on my hard drive and gives me a nice graph circle to see it.

I found whenever I deleted something, Disk Expert would show that space in the Guest account. No amount of restarting or other magic would fix it. Eventually, I found out it was Time Machine snapshots. I use Carbon Copy Cloner --- so that AND Time Machine are doing snapshots on my drive. With Carbon Copy Cloner, I can remove Time Machine snapshots as well as CCC snapshots. That and a reboot fixes my free space issues.

Sometimes, even though there are no snapshots, Mac will hold onto 8-10GB of deleted files for awhile, even after reboots, then "gets rid" of them. I've learned to just accept this and live with it. I'm a bit OCD with my free space.


If Disk Expert shows the Guest account having all the space - it's a snapshot or some program doing a snapshot of the deleted data.

Just my experience, hope it helps. :/
 
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robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
16
Your df -H output is not complete. It should look like the following:

Code:
xxxx:~ yyy$ df -H
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused               ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1    500G   186G   278G    41% 1655385 9223372036853120422    0%   /
devfs           190k   190k     0B   100%     645                   0  100%   /dev
/dev/disk1s4    500G   3.2G   278G     2%       3 9223372036854775804    0%   /private/var/vm
/dev/disk1s5    500G    32G   278G    11%  697524 9223372036854078283    0%   /Volumes/Mojave
map -hosts        0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /net
map auto_home     0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /home
DS
Sorry, is this right, you have to scroll to the right to see it all for some reason :

Code:
Last login: Wed Sep  5 23:11:10 on ttys000
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$ df -H
Filesystem                                                                                            Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused               ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1                                                                                          1.0T   910G    86G    92% 1351859 9223372036853423948    0%   /
devfs                                                                                                 187k   187k     0B   100%     634                   0  100%   /dev
/dev/disk1s4                                                                                          1.0T   2.1G    86G     3%       2 9223372036854775805    0%   /private/var/vm
map -hosts                                                                                              0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /net
map auto_home                                                                                           0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /home
/Users/alexdelfont/Library/PreferencePanes/MenuMeters.prefPane/Contents/Resources/MenuMetersApp.app   1.0T   881G   117G    89% 1343335 9223372036853432472    0%   /private/var/folders/vf/387871k114v4wdj4ymf01dr40000gn/T/AppTranslocation/1AC87D66-1162-466D-9044-67E2E42FABF3
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$
[doublepost=1536259933][/doublepost]
I've had the same problem with my Macbook Pro. First off, I got Disk Expert on the Mac store. That immediately tells me where everything is on my hard drive and gives me a nice graph circle to see it.

I found whenever I deleted something, Disk Expert would show that space in the Guest account. No amount of restarting or other magic would fix it. Eventually, I found out it was Time Machine snapshots. I use Carbon Copy Cloner --- so that AND Time Machine are doing snapshots on my drive. With Carbon Copy Cloner, I can remove Time Machine snapshots as well as CCC snapshots. That and a reboot fixes my free space issues.

Sometimes, even though there are no snapshots, Mac will hold onto 8-10GB of deleted files for awhile, even after reboots, then "gets rid" of them. I've learned to just accept this and live with it. I'm a bit OCD with my free space.


If Disk Expert shows the Guest account having all the space - it's a snapshot or some program doing a snapshot of the deleted data.

Just my experience, hope it helps. :/
Hi, thanks for replying. yeah its driving me nuts. I used the terminal commands to delete snapshots, and I'm pretty sure it worked because I used another command to see, and there weren't any.

I also have CCC, but I didn't think CCC did snapshots? It just clones and has the safety net thing. Also, where can you delete TM snapshots in CCC,, I cant find it?

Thanks, Im also very obsessive about my space, and right now Im missing 300gb!
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,329
2,186
Horsens, Denmark
Thanks, Im also very obsessive about my space, and right now Im missing 300gb!
Do you use homebrew? Have you tried using OnyX to clear all caches and rebuilt structures of Spotlight and whatnot? The files you've deleted - are there any other references to them? Symbolic links, duplicate-modified files?
In APFS, if you copy a file, the copy takes up 0 bytes. Once you start modifying the copy it starts taking up space, but not as much space as you might think, since it's only saving what has changed since the original duplicate and the new version, refferencing back to the original for all the rest. Maybe this is causing you issues, if you've duplicated huge files and deleted the original, since in that case the duplicate will take over the inode (the actual data on the hard drive/SSD)
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
4,767
5,824
California
Hi, thanks for replying. yeah its driving me nuts. I used the terminal commands to delete snapshots, and I'm pretty sure it worked because I used another command to see, and there weren't any.

I also have CCC, but I didn't think CCC did snapshots? It just clones and has the safety net thing. Also, where can you delete TM snapshots in CCC,, I cant find it?

Thanks, Im also very obsessive about my space, and right now Im missing 300gb!
It does for me - I have CCC 5.1.4.

Click on the drive name on the bottom middle left and it is in the upper right corner. See attachment. Shows both TimeMachine and CCC snapshots.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Hughmac

macrumors demi-god
Feb 4, 2012
3,651
12,920
Kent, UK
Thank you, I've been troubled by this all day since deleting an 80GB VM file and finding that no space was freed up.
I started CCC and deleted all the snapshots - and recovered over 250GB of space on my MacBook running High Sierra just by doing this :)

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
350
76
Sorry, is this right, you have to scroll to the right to see it all for some reason :

Code:
Last login: Wed Sep  5 23:11:10 on ttys000
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$ df -H
Filesystem                                                                                            Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused               ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1                                                                                          1.0T   910G    86G    92% 1351859 9223372036853423948    0%   /
devfs                                                                                                 187k   187k     0B   100%     634                   0  100%   /dev
/dev/disk1s4                                                                                          1.0T   2.1G    86G     3%       2 9223372036854775805    0%   /private/var/vm
map -hosts                                                                                              0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /net
map auto_home                                                                                           0B     0B     0B   100%       0                   0  100%   /home
/Users/alexdelfont/Library/PreferencePanes/MenuMeters.prefPane/Contents/Resources/MenuMetersApp.app   1.0T   881G   117G    89% 1343335 9223372036853432472    0%   /private/var/folders/vf/387871k114v4wdj4ymf01dr40000gn/T/AppTranslocation/1AC87D66-1162-466D-9044-67E2E42FABF3
Alexs-MacBook-Pro:~ alexdelfont$
[doublepost=1536259933][/doublepost]

Hi, thanks for replying. yeah its driving me nuts. I used the terminal commands to delete snapshots, and I'm pretty sure it worked because I used another command to see, and there weren't any.

I also have CCC, but I didn't think CCC did snapshots? It just clones and has the safety net thing. Also, where can you delete TM snapshots in CCC,, I cant find it?

Thanks, Im also very obsessive about my space, and right now Im missing 300gb!
You are right, I missed the need to scroll. Apparently MenuMeters create some sort of a virtual file system on top of the normal ones which has a very long name.

I was hoping to see something but I don't. Sorry.

DS
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,970
5,940
hughmac wrote:
"I started CCC and deleted all the snapshots - and recovered over 250GB of space on my MacBook running High Sierra just by doing this"

One more user who has "seen the light" about CCC v TM... ;)
 

Hughmac

macrumors demi-god
Feb 4, 2012
3,651
12,920
Kent, UK
hughmac wrote:
"I started CCC and deleted all the snapshots - and recovered over 250GB of space on my MacBook running High Sierra just by doing this"

One more user who has "seen the light" about CCC v TM... ;)
Thank you - I've been using CCC since PPC days, and always have been able to fully restore a defective system from the bootable backup drive ;)
Time Machine - what's that :confused:

Cheers :)

Hugh
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
16
Do you use homebrew? Have you tried using OnyX to clear all caches and rebuilt structures of Spotlight and whatnot? The files you've deleted - are there any other references to them? Symbolic links, duplicate-modified files?
In APFS, if you copy a file, the copy takes up 0 bytes. Once you start modifying the copy it starts taking up space, but not as much space as you might think, since it's only saving what has changed since the original duplicate and the new version, refferencing back to the original for all the rest. Maybe this is causing you issues, if you've duplicated huge files and deleted the original, since in that case the duplicate will take over the inode (the actual data on the hard drive/SSD)
Hi, sorry I don't know what home-brew is, is it a program for Mac? And I dont know Onyx either.

I didn't know how APFS works, and I'm not super tech savvy, but that sounds like it could be part of the issue. I did have some huge compressed files, which I unzipped, and then deleted the zips, then I moved it all to an external drive.

But isnt it crazy that this isnt something Apple have sorted out? I mean after my recent batch of photos and video I'm down to 45gb free space apparently, when it soul be 350 at least. Its driving me nuts

I appreciate all the help, would love to get to the bottom of it
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,329
2,186
Horsens, Denmark
Hi, sorry I don't know what home-brew is, is it a program for Mac? And I dont know Onyx either.
If you don't know homebrew, don't worry about homebrew. It's for installing packages via Terminal.
OnyX is the only maintenance app I would ever recommend really. And contrary to what you might hear elsewhere, I only recommend using it if you observer unexpected behaviour that you think it might help you solve.
https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/index.html


I didn't know how APFS works, and I'm not super tech savvy, but that sounds like it could be part of the issue. I did have some huge compressed files, which I unzipped, and then deleted the zips, then I moved it all to an external drive.
Well, what you describe here shouldn't really matter with respect to APFS. It would only matter if you still have "links" to files. For instance, if you have a huge video file that you duplicate and modify the duplicate - deleting the original won't free up any data, since the duplicate is clinging to it. This overall actually saves space though since the duplicate won't need its own copy of the original data, but it can lead to confusion when you delete data and don't get any space back.

But isnt it crazy that this isnt something Apple have sorted out? I mean after my recent batch of photos and video I'm down to 45gb free space apparently, when it soul be 350 at least. Its driving me nuts
Well, considering we still don't know exactly what your issue is, it's hard to demand Apple should fix it. I'm not saying it is, but theoretically it could be 100% user error.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
16
If you don't know homebrew, don't worry about homebrew. It's for installing packages via Terminal.
OnyX is the only maintenance app I would ever recommend really. And contrary to what you might hear elsewhere, I only recommend using it if you observer unexpected behaviour that you think it might help you solve.
https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/index.html




Well, what you describe here shouldn't really matter with respect to APFS. It would only matter if you still have "links" to files. For instance, if you have a huge video file that you duplicate and modify the duplicate - deleting the original won't free up any data, since the duplicate is clinging to it. This overall actually saves space though since the duplicate won't need its own copy of the original data, but it can lead to confusion when you delete data and don't get any space back.



Well, considering we still don't know exactly what your issue is, it's hard to demand Apple should fix it. I'm not saying it is, but theoretically it could be 100% user error.
Hi, I will look at Onyx then if you think it could help my issue.

And yes it doesn't sound like what you described with APFS will be affected by what I did.

I don't see how it could be a user error? I deleted files, emptied my recycle bin and the space did not free up. I then deleted snapshots, rebuilt the finder index, and still the space is not free. I cant imagine anything that could be a user error at this point? Also, I've read various threads of people experiencing the same thing and equally as confused, and they were pretty much all from High Sierra users.

I understand Apple cant fix every tiny problem, but this feels like such a basic function
 
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casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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Hi, I will look at Onyx then if you think it could help my issue.
I'm not sure it will, but I think it's worth giving it a shot - having it clear caches and rebuild information databases, etc.

I don't see how it could be a user error? I deleted files, emptied my recycle bin and the space did not free up. I then deleted snapshots, rebuilt the finder index, and still the space is not free. I cant imagine anything that could be a user error at this point? Also, I've read various threads of people experiencing the same thing and equally as confused, and they were pretty much all from High Sierra users.
Well, I don't think it's a user-error either. I'm just saying that as long as we don't know what the issue is, it's kinda hard to say it should be fixed. As I said, user-error is a theoretical possibility, and so is third party apps screwing with the system or whatnot. Point being, we can't know for sure Apple is to blame, unless we can pinpoint what causes the issue.
One thing I will say though, is that I think Time Machine snapshots should be better communicated to users, so they at least know why they can cause them not to get back the space they thought they had. - It seems like that's not your issue, but I will grant that Apple hasn't informed the user base enough on that subject.
 
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dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
350
76
Hi, I will look at Onyx then if you think it could help my issue.

And yes it doesn't sound like what you described with APFS will be affected by what I did.

I don't see how it could be a user error? I deleted files, emptied my recycle bin and the space did not free up. I then deleted snapshots, rebuilt the finder index, and still the space is not free. I cant imagine anything that could be a user error at this point? Also, I've read various threads of people experiencing the same thing and equally as confused, and they were pretty much all from High Sierra users.

I understand Apple cant fix every tiny problem, but this feels like such a basic function
Were you able to look at the CCC snapshots as described in post #33?

DS
 

RedTomato

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Mar 4, 2005
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Well, I don't think it's a user-error either. I'm just saying that as long as we don't know what the issue is, it's kinda hard to say it should be fixed. As I said, user-error is a theoretical possibility, and so is third party apps screwing with the system or whatnot.
Do you happen to be a heavy user of Dropbox? I have seen similar vanishing HDD space on some client computers. Turned out to be some form of stall in Dropbox, so the Dropbox cache was taking up hundreds of GB on the HDD. Deleted cache and resolved whatever file was causing the Dropbox stall and the problem went away.
 
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casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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Do you happen to be a heavy user of Dropbox? I have seen similar vanishing HDD space on some client computers. Turned out to be some form of stall in Dropbox, so the Dropbox cache was taking up hundreds of GB on the HDD. Deleted cache and resolved whatever file was causing the Dropbox stall and the problem went away.

I don't think your question was aimed at me, but since you quoted me, I'll answer for good measure; Nope :)
 
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robodelfy

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Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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Were you able to look at the CCC snapshots as described in post #33?

DS
Hi Yes, sorry I had a hectic few days. I just found that, I've attached a screenshot. It does seem to be showing a 314gb snapshot for CCC! Thats crazy, what settings can I choose to keep this more reasonable! Is it really necessary to have the CCC snapshots....I dont understand exactly how they work. As I just clone my drive every week, and it has. the safety net folder for any changed files. But what are the snapshots for, I didn't think CCC worked like TM?

So do I just delete it?
Thanks, I'm down to 25gb free space now!!
[doublepost=1536586101][/doublepost]
A clean install could avoid malware or incompatible application(s).
The computer was new just a few months back. If you resin tall the OS, does it keep everything else, your installed programs and all your documents? ~Or do you have to reinstall everything . Sorry for the noob questions
 

robodelfy

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Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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It does for me - I have CCC 5.1.4.

Click on the drive name on the bottom middle left and it is in the upper right corner. See attachment. Shows both TimeMachine and CCC snapshots.
Hi mate, I've just replied above about the CCC snapshots. Maybe you could take look at the screenshot. Its. huge amount of space!

I'm confused as to why I would need TM making constant snapshots, and CCC making snapshots too, and also why have them at all? They are stored on the same drive so if that fails they are all gone. But I'm backing up regularly to other drives with CCC and TM, so why isnt that enough? Is it just to save deleted files, or to restore to an earlier point in the last day or two? If so, I'm not sure its worth the space!

I'm a bit confused about what to do. thanks for everyones help, I feel I might be getting close to sorting it out!
 

mikecwest

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2013
980
327
Hi mate, I've just replied above about the CCC snapshots. Maybe you could take look at the screenshot. Its. huge amount of space!

I'm confused as to why I would need TM making constant snapshots, and CCC making snapshots too, and also why have them at all? They are stored on the same drive so if that fails they are all gone. But I'm backing up regularly to other drives with CCC and TM, so why isnt that enough? Is it just to save deleted files, or to restore to an earlier point in the last day or two? If so, I'm not sure its worth the space!

I'm a bit confused about what to do. thanks for everyones help, I feel I might be getting close to sorting it out!
The time machine local snapshots keeps a history of changes...Lets say you are working on a document, and say, "Gee, I wish I had left that file how it was on Tuesday." You can go "back in time" and recover it in that state.

Now the part that might shed more light on it for you, many people do not leave their backup drive connected all the time, or may not have one at all.

Ok, if you follow so far, you have basically a "running tab" or changes. These should be combined into your "time machine backup drive," each time that you connect it, at which time the "local backups" are removed.

A couple things could go wrong here, lets say you have your time machine backup on a hard drive you named "tacocat." You decided to re-partition that drive, and add an additional partition. OK, now you just altered the UUID of the drive, and time machine no longer realizes it is the same drive, and doesn't combine the local snapshots into the backup drive.

Lets say you just forgot to, intentionally did not, was too busy too, or maybe didn't know you needed to connect your backup drive, it won't get updated. Your local snapshot will get bigger and bigger.

As far as CCC snapshots go, I am assuming that CCC has a similar method of operation.

You can easily turn off time machine, or if you prefer to keep your backup, you can just plug in your time machine drive everynight, and let it synchronize while you sleep.

If you have a "Time Capsule," make sure it is setup properly.

Also, as far as having both CCC and TM backups at the same time, some people are paranoid about data loss, and might use two separate backup methods. If you do this, make sure that you attached both CCC and TM backup drives frequently to reduce the footprint of the "local snapshots."

You might turn off TM if you prefer CCC or vise versa. If you don't really care about data loss, turn off both.