Hard disk space can be extremely valuable, especially for notebook owners. I find myself constantly auditing the contents of my disk, usually with tools like GrandPerspective and WhatSize to find the gremlins that are munching on my available space. Of course my Applications folder always pops up as the biggest offender, but there’s nothing I can do about the whopping 4 GB required for stuff like Final Cut Studio 2, right? I mean, every line of code under the hood of Motion is being used isn’t it?
Apparently not. A little app called Xslimmer claims to free up wasted disk space by removing unnecessary code from Universal Binaries that doesn’t fit with your machine’s architecture. It will also remove unneeded languages from various apps (Adium, for example, has over 20 languages according to Xslimmer’s site) to help slim them down and recover your disk space.
How it Works
Xslimmer’s interface is extremely straightforward. You simply drag applications onto Xslimmer and in analyzes each one to see if it can be slimmed. If the app can be slimmed, Xslimmer will display the current size of the app and it’s estimated “slimmed” size. Some applications cannot be slimmed because there is no extra code or languages, or its on Xslimmer’s blacklist (which, as the name implies, are applications that are not allowed to be slimmed for various reasons). For example, most of CS3 sits on the blacklist:
You can add apps one by one or use the “Genie” to scan your entire disk for potentially fat binaries. When you’re ready, click the “Slim!” button and you’ll be prompted with a warning to back up your applications. You can choose to have Xslimmer save backups somewhere locally, so that you can make sure all applications run as expected after slimming and restore them if needed. Restoring is a simple process – just click the “History” button, and click the restore icon in the history dialog.
I was able to save 2.5 GB from 95 applications in less than ten minutes (though I won’t see my real disk savings until I nuke my backups). That beats the heck out of the 100mb or so that it would take me hours to free up by sifting through all my documents that might be scattered across my machine. Even better, your apps will run the same or even faster than they did before slimming (though there are potentially applications that will not run after the slimming process – good thing the backups seem to be sound).
Overall, Xslimmer is extremely intuitive and kind of fun to use, especially when you see some of the notable savings:
Automator: 28.7mb to 2.95mb
Calculator: 13.4mb to 1.59mb
Disk Utility: 32.7mb to 3.88mb
DVD Player: 42.7mb to 6.48mb
iTunes: 129mb to 31.4mb
Preview: 70.1mb to 9.71mb
At $11.95, Xslimmer is a steal. My only real gripe is that you can’t slim Adobe CS3 apps, but I think that’s something to take up with Adobe and not Xslimmer. You can try a demo and save up to 50mb, if you wanna take it for a test drive before you drop the cash. I would strongly suggest that you make sure that all your apps run as expected after slimming though. I haven’t experienced any issues yet, but better safe than sorry.