How to Free Up Hard Disk Space with Squeeze

Squeeze for Mac is a delightfully simple way to regain hard drive space on your computer. You don’t need to be a tech genius or even understand file compression to use it – everything is remarkably simple.

As long as you have the ability to click and drag, and like the idea of gaining a few gigabytes of storage, Squeeze may well for you. Let’s take a look at how it works.

The Basics

Squeeze is a preference panel, not an application, so after installation pop open System Preferences and look in the “Other” category to find it.

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Look in System Preferences near the bottom

Next, make a quick stop over at the “General” tab to see your basic options. Here you’ll want to make sure the big switch is turned to “ON” and the “Check for updates automatically” option is checked. You can also choose to activate the menu bar icon if you wish.

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General Options

The menu bar icon will animate when Squeeze is working on a compression. Clicking on the icon shows you how much space you’ve saved by using Squeeze and what the current status is, along with the option to pause the compression process.

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Menu Bar Icon

Squeeze can be battery intensive so it automatically pauses if you’re on a MacBook and disconnect your power cord. It will resume right where it left off when you reconnect to a power supply.

How to Use Squeeze

As I said above, using Squeeze couldn’t be simpler and only requires that you drag and drop. First, find a folder that is quite large and eating up space on your hard drive. Next, drag that folder to the list under the “Folders” tab in the Squeeze window.

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Dragging a Folder into Squeeze

You should see a little circle icon indicating the progress of the compression. When the operation is complete, this will turn into a checkmark and the number to the right will inform you of how much space you’ve just saved. It’s that easy!

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Watch for the Animated Progress Icon

You can drag as many folders as you’d like or just grab your entire hard drive and throw it in. Squeeze will keep a list of folders that it has compressed along with a running tally of total space saved. You can add and take away from the list at any time.

Exclusions

Worried that Squeeze might somehow mess with your important files? No problem, just head over to the exclusions tab and toss in anything you don’t want to be compressed.

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Excluding Files from Compression

Here you can add specific folders or set up general rules for file extensions that you don’t want Squeeze to affect. You can also drag a folder that has already been compressed to the area at the bottom of the window and it will decompress it for you, undoing any of Squeeze’s effects.

By default, your Library, System folder, and a handful of extensions are set to be excluded.

That’s It!?

Yep, that’s really all you have to do for Squeeze to start saving you space. It really only does one thing, but it does it exceptionally well and without a hitch.

The built-in failsafes and exclusion options should be enough to ease any fears you have of unintentionally messing up something important. I’ve placed a good portion of my hard drive into Squeeze and have experienced zero negative effects as a result.

You can also still send these files to Mac users with Leopard or Tiger and they will work without any problems on the older systems.

How Much Will I Save?

So far I’ve saved saved nearly 11GB of space! As you experiment, you’ll find that some types of files can be compressed more than others. For instance, if you have a folder with tons of JPGs, you might gain back a few MBs of space. However, if you toss in your Applications folder, prepare to see the gigs roll in (I saved nearly 8GB alone here!).

How Does It Work?

Squeeze utilizes a new technology built into Snow Leopard called HFS-compression. This new way to compress files leaves them perfectly intact and allows OS X to read them just like any other file. The only difference is that the file will take up less space on your hard drive.

What Squeeze does is to provide a visual interface and some extended options to this compression method. You can actually begin compressing your files right now without Squeeze, but it takes a little bit of nerdery. According to Mac OS X Hints, “all you should usually need to do is type ditto –hfsCompression [src] [dst] into the Terminal, replacing [src] with the path to the source file/directory, and [dst] with the path to the destination file/directory.”

This method is neither as simple nor as versatile as using Squeeze but may provide techies with enough options to forgo dropping $12.95 on Squeeze.

More from LateNiteSoft

If you like Squeeze, you should definitely check out the other applications available from the Mac developer LateNightSoft.

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LateNiteSoft

Xslimmer

Xslimmer is a friendly way to right-size your apps without losing functionality. It saves space by removing unnecessary code and stripping out unneeded languages.

Conclusion

Squeeze is one of the easiest ways to recover hard drive space on your Mac. By using a new Snow Leopard file compression system, you can reduce file sizes without losing functionality or compatibility.

If you have a huge drive and aren’t going to run out of space any time soon, it’s hard to justify the $13 expense. However, if you have a MacBook or Mac mini and could really use a few extra GBs, Squeeze is worth every penny.


Summary

Squeeze is a background file compressor for Snow Leopard that transparently compresses the folders you configure it to process. OS X is still able to read those files normally, they will just take less disk space!

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  • Gavin

    Would be cool if it could identify files you have created and not updated/modified in a predefined time and do it automatically for you.

  • Davan

    Knowing nothing about SL’s HFS-compression, can someone explain how using this will not slow the system down, as it now has to read compressed files all the time?

  • fellowweb

    I apologize for this comment having a negative connotation, however, didn’t Squeeze make itself a reputation for leading to data losses when it initially was spread as a giveaway of one of the major bundles?

    Joshua, I saw that you applied Squeeze to a folder within Dropbox. Does this have an effect on the size limit of the Dropbox folder? I.e. does Squeeze trick Dropbox to store more than 2+x GB by compressing the Dropbox folder?

    Are there any limitations regarding exchanging files with a “Squeeze’d” USB memory stick formatted HFS with someone not running Squeeze – even though it’s based on native OS X technology? Do others still running <10.6 have at least read access?

    Thank you for the great article! Short, precise and very informative!

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      I haven’t experienced any data loss or heard about that from anyone else. Let me know if you have a link to an article about that!

      As far as Dropbox, I had been nervous about adding any of these folders as I wasn’t sure if it would cause problems. However, everything is working fine, though I forgot to check my available space before I did it to see if it saved me any room!

      • fellowweb

        I didn’t meant to be aggressive – in fact, not at all because I don’t want to offend the work the developer has put into Squeeze in order to make HFS-compression really user-friendly.

        If there are any flaws, they are most probably related to Apple not getting HFS-compression right rather than at the end of a developer simply providing a GUI.

      • fellowweb

        Joshua,

        Could you please consider an option for e-mail notifications upon new comments. This would facilitate following up very much. The involvement of your great community could only benefit from it, I assume.

    • http://smileykeith.com Keith

      I personally have lost some data because of it and I’ve had a ton of issues with smart applications. For example Flow the FTP app knows if its been modified and it pops up telling you when you start it up, I clicked okay and went on with life until I experienced tons of crashes etc. It also destroyed my textexpander database a time or two. Highly NOT recommended by me…..

  • http://penguininside.blogspot.com b2bwild

    Trading off CPU cycles for secondary storage, not for a performance junkie!

  • Rafael Masoni

    It’s been working just fine for me so far.
    I’m near to the 16gb mark.

  • http://www.dantederycke.be Danté De Rycke

    Got this a while back, has been running ever since.
    Compressed 40.6 GB so far. Not a single file got corrupted.

  • http://www.applesource.biz Perry F.

    Squeeze is just a UI wrapper for terminal tools. I highly doubt it could cause any data loss or corruption. If it did, it would be HFS-Compress that did it, not Squeeze.

    I haven’t used the product and it doesn’t really appeal to me, just throwing in my couple-pennies.

  • http://thibaultmilan.com clawfire

    HFS-Compress is not new, it the result of an old timemachine bug to be true. Hfs-Compress allow any file be 0kb sized on a place on your mac and link to a compress copy in another place. Os X uncompress the file in the memory and recompress it on the go. But the problem is this is not your original file, in the real world.

    For apps , for example, HFS Compress make it crash cause apps try to access some data that are not actually uncompress, or store in the same place that the app. HFS compress some file dissalow you any backup, if you get backup of a hfs compressed file, with timemachine for example, it can’t be recovered …

    You must use HFS-Compress ONLY for file who you have a backup copy, uncompressed, on another place. For exemple, by download folder is hfs-compressed cause i didn’t care if i lost data in it, or my video folder cause i have a backup on another hard drive …

    Moreover hfs-compress haven’t really good result on allready compressed file format such as jpeg or avi , cause it’s allready compressed file :)

    Btw the product is really nice, providing a gui for hfs-compress manipulation is nice :)

  • mascarnhas

    Squeeze is just a UI wrapper for terminal tools. I highly doubt it could cause any data loss or corruption. If it did, it would be HFS-Compress that did it, not Squeeze.i have a better idea So, it would look like: Treesize Mac – Find Free Space

  • http://www.hungamatime.com Online TV Channels

    hfs-compress haven’t really good result on allready compressed file format such as jpeg or avi , cause it’s allready compressed file :)

  • http://www.pakistan-eshop.com/ Gift to Pakistan

    yes you are right that by download folder is hfs-compressed cause i didn’t care if i lost data in it, or my video folder cause i have a backup on another hard drive

  • Jixk

    Uh is it free?

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