Why do I have old backups in the (hidden) Mac file system files?

I noticed my Mac file system file was filling my 256 gb drive. I decided to update my hard drive to get more space. The shop that installed the new drive and transfer the data indicated that the hidden system file folder had 12-15 old Quicken backups (over a year old) that were 10.5 gb each. I do not even no how to view hidden files on my Macbook, I have no idea how or why those files got there. A year ago I began doing monthly backups manually to the desktop and transferring to an external thunderbolt drive which seems to work fine. I had the technician try to remove those old backups from the system file, no problem doing that but when opening Quicken for the first time Quicken it could not find my data file. Ultimately they transferred the data from my old drive for second time and quicken opened file with no problem.
My question is I have 150GB of old backups in the system file that I would like to clean up (really didn't need bigger drive at all $400 blown), I am OG been using Quicken for windows for 10 years prior to Quicken for Mac (last 5 years). I have no clue how to get rid of those files (or even view them) and technician feels the same way.
Please help and Old Man get this squared away.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Best Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Accepted Answer
    By default, Quicken Mac stores your Quicken data file and any automatic backups you have it produce in your Library folder -- a folder that Apple, in its infinite wisdom (?) hides from users. If that's what you're talking about, it's easy to see them and discard the ones you don't want.

    In the Finder, hold down the Option key and select Library from the Go menu. (Library is only visible in the menu when you hold down the Option key). Once open, it's like any other folder. Open the Application Support folder. Inside, you'll find a Quicken folder (if you have Quicken 2018/2019), and if you previously ran Quicken 2015, 2016 or 2017, you'll see folders for them, too. Look around inside and delete anything that's old that you're sure you don't want anymore.

    Questions? Please ask. :)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Just a side but related note. If you have iCloud backup turned on, do not store the active data file in your Documents folder, unless you exclude that folder from being auto backed up by iCloud. The auto iCloud backup can corrupt the active data file. It is fine to store backup files with iCloud backup.
    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
    FAQs: Quicken Mac Quicken Windows Quicken Mobile

    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

    Object to Quicken's business model, using up 25% of your screen? Add your vote here:
    Quicken should eliminate the LARGE Ad space when a subscription expires

    (Canadian user since '92, STILL using QM2007)

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Accepted Answer
    By default, Quicken Mac stores your Quicken data file and any automatic backups you have it produce in your Library folder -- a folder that Apple, in its infinite wisdom (?) hides from users. If that's what you're talking about, it's easy to see them and discard the ones you don't want.

    In the Finder, hold down the Option key and select Library from the Go menu. (Library is only visible in the menu when you hold down the Option key). Once open, it's like any other folder. Open the Application Support folder. Inside, you'll find a Quicken folder (if you have Quicken 2018/2019), and if you previously ran Quicken 2015, 2016 or 2017, you'll see folders for them, too. Look around inside and delete anything that's old that you're sure you don't want anymore.

    Questions? Please ask. :)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your help, I did figure it out after doing some additional research this morning. Actually your instructions are exactly what I did. But it is nice to have a confirmation. I had 150 gb in the automatic Backups folder. I had turned that off in early 2018. I also setup a folder in My Documents for Quicken> Backups and directed new backups to that folder to make sure I can locate them quickly. As I said I am OG, anything new tends to confuse me, LOL.
    Thanks again for your help!
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Just a side but related note. If you have iCloud backup turned on, do not store the active data file in your Documents folder, unless you exclude that folder from being auto backed up by iCloud. The auto iCloud backup can corrupt the active data file. It is fine to store backup files with iCloud backup.
    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
    FAQs: Quicken Mac Quicken Windows Quicken Mobile

    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

    Object to Quicken's business model, using up 25% of your screen? Add your vote here:
    Quicken should eliminate the LARGE Ad space when a subscription expires

    (Canadian user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    smayer97, thanks for the heads up on icloud. I do not use icloud for any backups at all.

    I do not use the Quicken Automatic backups at all.

    I have been saving my Quicken manual backups to Macbook desktop on the 1st of each month and then transfer it the same day to a Lacie thunderbolt drive I use for external storage. Then I backup that entire drive to a second redundant Lacie thunderbolt drive.

    In the future I was planning on saving to Documents>Quicken>Backups on the Macbook then move that file to my external drives at the time of that backup.

    Does that seem to be a reasonable approach? As I said earlier, I am OG, anything new tends to confuse me.

    Thanks for your help and the community for leading me the right direction.
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    That is good redundancy. The next optimal thing, if you can handle it, would be to backup to an offsite location. Physically storing one of your drives elsewhere would be good but storing on some online backup location would be better.
    Have Questions? Help Guide for Quicken for Mac
    FAQs: Quicken Mac Quicken Windows Quicken Mobile

    Add your VOTE to Quicken for Mac Product Ideas

    Object to Quicken's business model, using up 25% of your screen? Add your vote here:
    Quicken should eliminate the LARGE Ad space when a subscription expires

    (Canadian user since '92, STILL using QM2007)
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    Thanks jacobs, iCloud Drive is unchecked. I only use iCloud for Calendars, Mail, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Siri and Find My Mac. Everything else I disabled some time ago. I am using 210mb of my 5gb.

    With that said, where is the Quicken File I use on my Mac stored. I know it is a 10.5 gb data file? Is it in the system files?

    Also, it appears the backups of that file is also 10.5 gb. Which seems odd, does Quicken not compress backups? It also seems extremely slow backing up when I do my manual backups.

    Thanks for educating the OG, sorry for so many questions!
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I answered where your Quicken data file is stored in a previous reply, but you may have overlooked it in the flurry of messages. In the Finder, hold down the Option key and select Library from the Go menu. (Library is only visible in the menu when you hold down the Option key). Once open, it's like any other folder. Open the Application Support folder. Inside, you'll find a “Quicken” folder; within that, look in the Documents folder — this is the default location for your data file(s). (If you previously ran Quicken 2015, 2016 or 2017, you'll see folders for them, too.)

    And yes, a single data file that is 10GB seems unusually large. Once you find this location, is that really the size of a single data file? Do you store lots of attachments in Quicken?
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    Duh, sorry to ask same question again, i also may have a touch of Alzheimer's (but I meet new friends everyday, LOL).

    I started my Quicken file over when I switched from Windows (used Quicken for Windows since 2003) and bought my Macbook Pro in 2014. I do use attachments for some car titles and large jewelry purchases, but not very often maybe a dozen in total.

    Any suggestions on reducing file size.

    Also I post all transactions manually, I don't import in data at all if that makes a difference.

    Jacobs thanks for all of your time and valuable help
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Well, take a look in the location I described, and see if the size of your single Quicken data file is actually 10GB. I'm a bit skeptical about that based on your description of your usage. Are you sure it isn't the entire Quicken data folder, which includes copes of backup files, that's 10 GB? My Quicken data file, with 20+ years of data (but no attachments) is only 50MB, or 1/200th of 10 GB.

    If you find your data file, and it's indeed 10GB, then let's take a peek inside. A Quicken data file is actually a type of Mac file called a "package", which is a simple wrapper around files and folders to make the whole collection look like a single file. Hold down the Control key and click once on the file. A pop-up menu will appear, and near the top of the menu, select "Show Package Contents". That will result in a Finder window with a number of files and Folders. One file sting there is "data" -- this is your actual Quicken database file. How large is it? One folder there is "attachments"; click on it once and press Command+I (the letter i, as in info). The Info window will show you how large the folder is. You can repeat this on other folders to see if there's one which is particularly large.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    Data 12.4mb
    Attachments 10.48gb
    Converter 3 kb
    Locks 1kb
    ModelPieces 287kb
    Report 4.1kb

    Jacobs, you truly are a Super User

    How do I get rid of the attachments?

    Again, your help is greatly appreciated!!!
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Wow, that's a lot of attachment data! At least we now understand why your data file is so large. You either have a lot more attachments than you indicated, or perhaps some were scanned at a high resolution so the individual files are larger than needed.

    I'm not aware of a good way to do any mass review or removal of attachments. There are a few ways you could proceed:

    (1) If you don't want the attachments at all, you could do a brute force bludgeoning of them. Quit Quicken. Open your data file package as you did before, open the attachments folder, do Command-A to Select All, and drag to the Trash (or Command-Delete). Now re-open Quicken. Transactions that previously had attachments will still show the attachment icon in the attachments column, because the database remembers what attachments were associated with each transaction, and it doesn't understand that you deleted the files via the Finder. If you try to click on the attachment icon to open it, Quicken will display the filename and a blank document; it can't show or open the actual attachment because they're all gone. If you hide the Attachments column in each of your registers (click the Columns icon not he bottom, right toolbar, and uncheck Attachments) you won't even see those icons in the register view any more. Quicken will still think they exist and show them if you open an individual transaction, but if this doesn't bother you, you can be rid of all your attachments in about two minutes. Please note that I'm not necessarily recommending this approach; I'm just explaining that it's an option.

    (2) A cleaner approach would be to delete the attachments individually, from within Quicken. This gives you the opportunity to decide if there are some you want to keep while removing others, and Quicken will then accurately display which transactions have attachments. Whether this is a practical approach or not depends on whether you have 100 attachments or 5,000!

    (Not sure how many you have? Open your data file package again, open the attachments folder, and at the bottom of the Finder window, it will tell you how many of the cryptically called-named attachment folders there are. If you don't see a count at the bottom of the window, go the the Finder's View menu and select View Status Bar. The number of folders is the number of transactions which have attachments; if one transaction has multiple attachments, it will count as one for this measurement approach.)

    Let's say you have a manageable number of attachments such that you want to review and delete them. Here's the best way to do that. In the left sidebar, click on All Transactions. This gives you a register of all your account combined. If the Attachments column is not visible, make it visible by clicking on the Columns icon on the bottom toolbar on the right and checking Attachments. Now that the Attachments column is visible, click on it. If the little arrow to the right of the paper clip is pointing up, click on the paper clip icon again, so the arrow is pointing down, like this:


    This sorts your register of all transactions such that all those with attachments are at the top and all those without are below. (In my screen shot above, there's just one transaction with an attachment.) Now you can review those attachments one at a time. Click one on a transaction and press Command-Option-E, the shortcut for View Details. (This is the same as double-clicking on the transaction to edit it, then clicking on the Edit Details link -- just much faster if you're reviewing a lot of transactions one after another.) Click on the Attachments tab, and it will show the attachment(s) for that transaction. If it's something you want to delete, click the Delete button, then Save to finish editing the transaction. Now click on the next transaction, press Command-Option-E and continue down the line, deleting those transactions you no longer want.

    Because you can always sort your transactions in order by Attachments, this isn't something you need to do all in one sitting; you can work on whittling your transactions down over days or weeks.

    One thing I'd note is that if you peek inside your data file package, in the attachments folder, after having deleted a lot of attachments, you might be surprised to see the number of items in the folder hasn't gone down. That's because although Quicken has deleted the attachment file, it doesn't delete the enclosing folder. I'm not sure why -- but it doesn't matter; an empty folder uses no real space. So in this screen shot…


    …folder 56733 is empty -- it once contained an attachment I deleted -- while folder 56740 has a folder within it, and a PDF file attachment within it. You can see the size of the attachments if you view them this way -- but if you have hundreds of attachments, opening each folder to see what's inside can be tedious. In any case, as you delete attachments, doing a File > Get Info (Command-i) will show you the size of your data file, and you'll see it shrinking as you delete attachments.

    I hope that was clear and not too much information. Post back if anything doesn't make sense.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Quicken Harold
    Quicken Harold Alumni ✭✭✭✭
    Hello @mcphailjerry.

    In addition, you can also set the amount of backups to save on your drive using the Quicken menu:


    Just click on the drop down to choose how many copies of your main file that you want to save on your HD.

    Hope this helps as well as the other information being provided.

    Respectfully,
    ~ Quicken Harold.
    Quicken Harold
    Community Moderator
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Quicken Harold Your post is accurate, but probably not germane here. If you read the thread, you'll see that @mcphailjerry said that he turned off automatic backups last year, makes manual backups which are then moved to a second hard drive, and is satisfied with that process.

    The question we were digging into is why a single Quicken data file -- and therefore all the backups made of it as well -- was as large as 10.5 GB. The answer is 10GB of attachments. Unfortunately, Quicken does not have any user interface for easily reviewing attachments and clearing out old ones which may not longer be needed. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • mcphailjerry
    mcphailjerry Member ✭✭
    Jacobs, thank you, thank you.

    I had 16 attachments total.
    I edited each transaction and deleted all the attachments.
    I then checked the Quicken attachments folder in the system files (Library). It indicated I still had 10.24GB.
    I did a manual backup and it showed a 10.5GB backup file.
    I then when back to Quicken attachments folder in the system files (Library) and deleted everything in that folder (16 files).
    I then did a manual backup and the file size dropped to 6.4mb.

    The next thing I will do is cleanup the old backups from my external drive and my redundant drive.

    Looks to the OG like a complete success.

    Jacobs I live in Virginia Beach, VA. If you are ever in my area dinner is on me!!!

    Harold thank you for your info as well. I now have my backups being saved directly to my external drive and have set up the number of copies to keep.

    The Quicken Community is made up of some very special people, and really appreciate everyone's help, especially Jacobs.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Glad we were able to get to the bottom of it and get your Quicken back to a lean little file! :)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
This discussion has been closed.