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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Losing Disk Space? Eradicator Helps Manage Invisible Files!
November 20th, 2000

Eradicator 1.6 (Freeware)
Searchware Solutions, Inc.

Every modern operating system, including Mac OS, has a feature that can make files invisible. As the name implies, these files can't be seen by the average user. In almost all cases, a user should never need to access these files. The Mac OS Temporary Items folder is invisible, and is supposed to contain items that you really shouldn't care about. Unless you are running Mac OS 9.0 or greater...

The Temporary Items folder is yet another feature that distinguishes Mac OS from other platforms. Rather than asking the user where they would like to store temporary files, the OS will just use this folder. Normally, files that are left here due to a crash or other mishap should be deleted after restart. But Mac OS 9.0.x doesn't do this properly.

Apple has a Knowledge Base Article (25134) that makes note of this problem, and a kludge of a solution involving the creation of an AppleScript file. But there's a better way. Eradicator is specifically designed to make these Temporary Items contents visible, as well as allow you to get rid of them.

Eradicator Window Showing Invisible Files
(Click the image to see a larger view.)

Eradicator shows the contents of both the Temporary Items and Cleanup at Startup folders, which are both normally invisible. In addition to the Name, each file is also shown with Size, Kind and In Use? information. You should probably leave files that are In Use alone, unless you have good reason to delete them. Otherwise, a file is taking up valuable space. You can get info on the file, delete it, or put it in the trash. One of our test machines had 8 MB of invisible files, but another had almost 128 MB of files wasting space!

If you are pressed for disk space, or just hate wasting any amount of disk space, give Eradicator a try.

Have any other nifty Gadgets that make the Mac experience better than it already is? Write John via e-mail, so he can review it, or speak out on the Mac Gadget Forum.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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