I have an iMac 5.1 with Mac OSX 10.6.8 and 2 GB memory and an L2 cache of 4 GB.   lately I have been receiving error messages of " start up disk almost full; please delete files." is the start up disk the same thing as the hard drive?

I have an iMac 5.1 with Mac OSX 10.6.8 and 2 GB memory and an L2 cache of 4 GB.   lately I have been receiving error messages of " start up disk almost full; please delete files." is the start up disk the same thing as the hard drive?  I opened the hard drive and from the column on the left of the menu I've selected "search for" and under that " all images" then "all documents"  I've deleted a few files from each. Are documents and images that I have deleted from here also deleted from the folders on my desktop?

You should never, EVER let a conputer hard drive get completely full, EVER!
With Macs and OS X, you shouldn't let the hard drive get below 15 GBs or less of free data space.
If it does, it's time for some hard drive housecleaning.
Follow some of my tips for cleaning out, deleting and archiving data from your Mac's internal hard drive.
Have you emptied your iMac's Trash icon in the Dock?
If you use iPhoto, iPhoto has its own trash that needs to be emptied, also.
If you store images in other locations other than iPhoto, then you will have to weed through these to determine what to archive and what to delete.
If you use Apple Mail app, Apple Mail also has its own trash area that needs to be emptied, too!
Delete any old or no longer needed emails and/or archive to disc, flash drives or external hard drive, older emails you want to save.
Delete any other mail in your Junk folders. Also, look through your Sent Mail to see if there is anything that can be deleted.
Other things you can do to gain space.
Once you have around 15 GBs regained, do a search, download and install OmniDisk Sweeper.
This app will help you locate files that you can move/archive and/or delete from your system.
STAY AWAY FROM DELETING ANY FILES FROM OS X SYSTEM FOLDER!
Look through your Documents folder and delete any type of old useless type files like "Read Me" type files.
Again, archive to disc, flash drives, ext. hard drives or delete any old documents you no longer use or immediately need.
Look in your Applications folder, if you have applications you haven't used in a long time, if the app doesn't have a dedicated uninstaller, then you can simply drag it into the OS X Trash icon. IF the application has an uninstaller app, then use it to completely delete the app from your Mac.
Download an app called OnyX for your version of OS X.
When you install and launch it, let it do its initial automatic tests, then go to the cleaning and maintenance tabs and run the maintenance tabs that let OnyX clean out all web browser cache files, web browser histories, system cache files, delete old error log files.
Typically, iTunes and iPhoto libraries are the biggest users of HD space.
move these files/data off of your internal drive to the external hard drive and deleted off of the internal hard drive.
If you have any other large folders of personal data or projects, these should be archived or moved, also, to the optical discs, flash drives or external hard drive and then either archived to disc and/or deleted off your internal hard drive.
Good Luck!

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