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Delete pesky hidden softwareupdate files

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Are you anticipating a distro upgrade as opposed to a clean install?


Has anyone started a large software update only to get part of the update downloaded and then loose your internet connection with that interesting message: 'download failed'?.  


Regrettably, if your space was somewhat tight to begin, and you had enough....or made enough space to start the update, you may find that once the download failed there was not enough free space to retry....because software update started from the beginning without deleting the previous files.  Maybe you thought to go to /Library/Updates and delete the failed update file(s) to free space.  Problem is, the large update files weren't there.


How to find those pesky hidden softwareupdate files and delete them to free up space after a lost connection?


A low stress way is to get ahold of DaisyDisk and start it in administrator mode.


Where 'X' is the volume name applicable to your machine and DaisyDisk is in the Applications folder:


sudo /Volumes/X/Applications/DaisyDisk.app/Contents/MacOS/DaisyDisk


The gui should easily show the location of large hidden softwareupdate files.


Keep in mind that the following is only an example, the directories on your installation may be different, but once you know the location the principle is the same.


Now you can drill down in finder to, for this example:




But you can't go any further due to access restriction.  


Terminal is your friend.


In terminal type: sudo su and enter your password.


At su prompt type: ls -l and then drag the 'C' directory (with the access restriction) from finder into the terminal, and your command line syntax should look similar to this:


sh-3.2# ls -l /private/var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxvn_n00000s0000068/C


hit enter and you should get a result similar to this:


drwx------@ 6 _softwareupdate  _softwareupdate  192 15 Dec 18:42 softwareupdated


This shows 1 directory named softwareupdated with ownership of _softwareupdate  _softwareupdate


Where 'X' is your user name, you can temporarily change owner by typing at prompt:


sudo chown -R X:staff /private/var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxvn_n00000s0000068/C


Now you can go back into finder, open the softwareupdated folder, drill down to the temporary update file(s) and carefully delete to free up space.


Now restore the permissions at prompt:


sudo chown -R _softwareupdate:_softwareupdate /private/var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxvn_n00000s0000068/C


Once you have enough free space to satisfy software update you can retry the update.

Edited by HenryV
improve readability as code insert not working
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