Fix: Your startup disk is full

When you start up your mac, a dialog appears telling you that your start-up disk is full. Your dock icons are hidden along with your desktop icons. To fix this issue, i will list down three methods follow each one of them in order until the issue is fixed.

Method 1: Boot in Safe Boot

To start up in Safe Boot, follow these steps:

1. Power off the mac if it is already on.

2. Hold down the shift key (left) and press the power button to turn it on. Keep the shift key held until it turns on and you see the progress bar.

3. If it takes you to the login screen, choose your username and enter your password. You will then be able to login correctly.

4. Download JDiskReport to view folders and files taking space, review them carefully and after viewing them, delete as per your requirements.

5. Once done, reboot normally and this should be fixed.

Download JDiskReport


Method 2: Target Disk Mode

This method requires a FireWire Cable and another mac machine. Before proceeding, make sure your Mac is off.

1. Connect your MAC to another Mac using a Firewire Cable.

2. Hold down the T key and power it on. This will make your mac hard drives visible on the other Mac.

3. Open your hard drive for the (problem machine) and browse to the following folders:


4. Trash the content of these folders and then empty the trash.

5. After this is done, drag your hard drive to the trash on the other mac to eject it from the system.

6. Press the power button to turn the mac off.

7. Safely remove the FireWire Cable.

8. Power up your Mac Again.

9. Run JDiskReport to review files / folders taking space, and delete them as needed.

Method 3: Single User Mode

1. Power off the MAC. Hold down the command and s keys simultaneously. Whilst they are held, press the power button to turn the mac on.

2. Once booted into single user mode, type each of these commands below and press the enter key after each command.

3. These are four commands:

mount -uw /
rm -rf /Library/Caches/*
rm -rf /Users/*/Library/Caches/*

After the mac restart, run the JDiskReport to review files and delete the ones you don’t want.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Your startup disk is full

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

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