Windows Vista forum

General discussion

Disk Cleanup Serious Issue...

by SlingShotz / July 4, 2007 12:02 PM PDT

Hello, I do disk cleanup regularly, well anyway, sometimes, out of the blue, it will freeze, take like 10 min, then system error reports archives and such with say like 43GB each....

Now, if I delete these, it delete half the files and stuff on my system, wallpapers, programs, everything.....

My HDD won't gain any space...I cleanuped up over 214MB and such off my thing, I didn't check the error reports in fear of loosing me files again....

This problem has been the result of the last FIVE system restores I've had to deal with....please can someone help me...

Symptoms...
I click run disk cleanup, it takes awhile, out of bad luck or something, maybe my ram counts to low, comp freezes up, it takes about an extra 5 min....
When it does come up, all those error archive reports say 43GB and such...if i delete them deletes nearly everything on my comp....
I now can't gain any HDD space, even after clearing everything, nothing will change.....

Seems like I'm the only one with this problem, every other forum this topic gets avoided...

NOTE:when i cleanup the 43GB error, it deletes half my computer files....programs, etc...I don't know what to do...

http://img359.imageshack.us/my.php?image=problemsox5.jpg

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Ok
by davmcn / July 8, 2007 2:43 PM PDT

Tell is too look a try and see if there any problems with it.....do a Backup of your disc onto Disks or onto a different computer or external drive.. before you attempt anything else...

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Do You Have The Recovery Disc Or..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 8, 2007 2:56 PM PDT

"Recovery" partition that came with the computer.. At this point, I would make a backup of your important documents, then perform a destructive recovery which formats the computer and reinstalls all the software back to factory condition..

Unfortunatley, you haven't given us much information about your computer.. Is this a Vista computer? Do you have those Recovery discs? Which brand name and model number? Is it new and is it still covered under warranty?

The more information you give us, the better informed our answer will be.

Hope this helps and let us know more..

Grif

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Is Vista's Disk Cleanup a Disk Defragger?
by NorthBeachnik / July 23, 2007 4:27 PM PDT

Grif, is what we're talking about here the Vista tool for defragging the hard drive? Or for cleaning up cookies?

If I'm not supposed to use it because it might eat half my files and programs, what does one use if anything to clean up on a machine with Vista?

I have a Maxtor Basics personal Storage 3200, 160 GB and a HP Pavilion dv9000 series, 160 G hard drive, 2GB RAM, etc. I intended to use the Maxtor to back up files regularly. Currently I have all my files backed up to it. When the Maxtor is not in use it is turned off. If the "Big One" (earthquake) ever hits, I'll grab the Maxtor and toss it into my red emergency backup (which is already packed by the door next to my emergency bucket of other supplies, i.e. solar-powered radio, walkie-talkies, tools, personal documents, pet food, energy bars, etc).

Should I buy some another external Maxtor drive (or other type of external drive) to hook up to my laptop 24/7 and use to store all my programs that didn't come installed and all my files (docs, photos, music, etc.)?

If so, what kind of external drive? What features should I look for? Do I hook it up to my HP by USB all the time?

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Answers...
by John.Wilkinson / July 23, 2007 11:39 PM PDT

* No, Disk Cleanup is not a defragger. It deletes specific types excess files whereas defragmenters rearrange data on the hard drive to make it more accessible.

* An alternative to Disk Cleanup is CCleaner, though it's nice to be able to run both for the maximum effect.

* An external hard drive is not the best thing to install programs to because it's usually slower, not all programs will install there, and it makes some believe that connecting the external to another computer will enable the programs to run when it won't. I like them for backups, but only for primary usage if you're too low on space, and then usually for personal files only.

* The type of external drive isn't extremely important. I actually recommend those without customized software to avoid compatibility problems. Just follow the reviews.

* I'd only connect the drive as needed to limit the usage, saving the hard drive wear and tear, protecting it from being immediately infected should malware slip through, and keeping the heat down.

Hope this helps,
John

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CCleaner Sounds good...Thanks!
by NorthBeachnik / July 25, 2007 1:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Answers...

I used to both clean and defrag on a regular basic...two computers ago (XP). With the last computer (which I ony had for 1 1/2years before my infamous liquid spill), I was always too busy to deal with maintenance.

CCleaner sounds like the way to go. Thanks for the link to the site. I've seen a lot of people mention CCleaner on CNet but I never surfed to CCleaner's site to check it out. Looks good!

Thanks, John! Happy
Alex

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CCleaner
by gazza_c / July 25, 2007 7:38 AM PDT

Yes,

CCleaner is far superior to Disk Cleanup (although it misses some stuff in Vista, like the temp folder in the roaming profile, etc), and it would be nice if everyone knew to use it instead of the suspect disk cleanup tool!

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What is the Roaming Profile?
by NorthBeachnik / July 27, 2007 5:45 AM PDT
In reply to: CCleaner

What is the roaming profile? What does it do?/What is it used for? What are the consequences of Vista not backing up this temp file?

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Re: roaming profiles
by Kees Bakker / July 27, 2007 5:56 AM PDT

There's no need to backup temp files. They are designed to be unnecessary after their initial use. The remark above wasn't that they weren't backed up, but that ccleaner didn't clean them.

In a corporate network, your personal setup (like favorites, desktop contents, control panel settings) can be stored on a dedicated server. Then, on whatever PC on the network you logon, you get your own favorites, your own desktop and your own settings. That's called 'roaming'. So a roaming profile is one is set to roam about the network. And, like any profile, it can have temp files on any machine that's being used. And those aren't cleaned by ccleaner.

If you aren't using a corporate network with roaming profiles enabled, it's not important for you.

Hope this helps.


Kees

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Disk Cleanup And Defragmenter Are Different
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 24, 2007 2:27 AM PDT

Both XP and Vista have them both.. Simply stated, the Disk Defragmenter takes the current files and rearranges/compacts the data on the drive.. Disk Cleanup actually removes files to allow for more space on the drive..

You can still use Disk Defragmenter safely, although it can take forever to run Defrag on Vista.. Plus, there is no "progress bar" to show you how long it will take to finish the Defrag..

I very seldom use Disk Cleanup on XP or Vista simply because I generally do it manually. (Sometimes, I use it to eliminate all but the most recent System Restore point and in those cases, I UNCHECK all the other options when running it.) In addition, as John pointed out above, there are better tools to use.

And I agree with John's information provided above in regards to the external hard drive..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Manual cleaning?
by NorthBeachnik / July 25, 2007 1:37 AM PDT

Grif, that's what I thought the difference was between cleaning and defragging. As I said in my post reply above to John, it's been 1 1/12 since I've done any maintenance. Now that I have a new laptop I want to get back into my old habits (defragging, cleaning).

What do you mean by cleaning manually? I'm not sure I would recognize what could be deleted and what not.

On my new HP I have a lot of files (including dlls, I'm sure) that were copied and transferred over from my old XP laptop in a rush to rescue data. Many of these old files have to do with programs I no longer have loaded on the new Vista laptop. I would like to get rid of stuff that's not needed. I had been thinking of manually deleting what I know doesn't belong on the new laptop but I'm afraid of doing the wrong thing. Will CCleaner recognize these and clean them? Do I do some manual tidying first? If so, what the the best method?

I do have the whole drive (minus my most recent outlook.pst (which is off attempting to be rescued at a data recovery service used by Dolby, Lawrence Livermore, Apple, etc.)backedup on my external drive.

As always, a big thank you! Wink
Alex

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Yep, CCleaner Will Do Quite A Bit..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 25, 2007 3:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Manual cleaning?

..but you can't depend on it to find everything correctly.. You're right to be cautious. On most of my machines, I don't use CCleaner. I PREFER to clean up the files manually. You learn a lot about the computer and where everything is placed. If you know which files are unneeded, you can quickly remove them manually when needed. If you're unsure about a few files, send them to the Recycle Bin, then run the computer for a few days before deleting them completely.

Each operating system is a little different so you'll need to become familiar with the one you're on but the link below, which was originally created for Windows 98 and Millenium edition will help. (One note about the instructions in the link below: On Windows XP and Vista, unlike with Win98, I tend to leave the .chk files alone.. It's not a major deal, either way, but they generally aren't a problem on the later operating systems.)

How To Clean Unwanted Files From The Hard Drive

Hope this helps.

Grif

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same problem there is a solution
by izote / July 9, 2007 1:24 PM PDT

shadow image and system restore points eats your hard drive, tech republic has an article on that. or google how to rezise shadoww image or system restore points. hope will help you.

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You are not alone
by woodae / July 12, 2007 9:09 PM PDT

Last night I did a disk cleanup on my wife?s brand new Acer 3690 running Windows Vista Business. After analysis the cleanup tool shown you your options for which files to delete - one section had files of over 200GB to delete even thought the HDD size is only 60GB. I figured it must be some kind of file problem - reporting the incorrect size or something and so i selected it for deletion. The cleanup took AGES - the machine didn't freeze or anything - the 2GB of RAM in this machine was sufficient I think, but as I was watching it - suddenly the desktop and quick lunch menu bar disappeared, I thought this was really weird and waited a minute for it, thinking that the machine might be waiting for a screen refresh.
Then I got nervous and cancelled the operation - opened windows explorer and went to desktop - nothing there, went to my documents - ALL the folders were empty. About 15 GB of word docs, excel spreadsheets, powerpoint files and so on were gone! The past few months of our photos were gone too, her outlook archives... everything!
I re-booted the machine and found that it had eaten its self alive - the OS wouldn't start and I had to repair from the set-up disk. Thank God most of the stuff was backed up or recoverable from shadow copy we still did lose some data for good though. I have no idea why this happened but I can say that I won't be touching disk clean-up until I see a patch come through, and then only when I've backed everything up.

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Oh my god, it just happened to me too!
by gazza_c / July 17, 2007 1:24 PM PDT
In reply to: You are not alone

I'm running Vista Business edition on a Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop. I too ran the disk cleanup tool, and like the other victims of this serious bug it listed "error log files" or something to that effect to cleanup. the sizes were rediculous (~64Gb for each of the two "error log" cleanup entries) considering the partition I was cleaning up was only 26Gb in size. This didn't alarm me simply because Windows XP commonly misreported file sizes and such (uninstaller entries, folder sizes, you know the deal), and I assumed that sloppiness had continued into Vista.

So I started the disk cleanup tool, and within a minute all the files on my desktop disappeared, which was alarming, but thinking it might just be a display refresh bug I let the tool continue to the finish (I also reasoned that a tool as innocuous as the disk cleanup tool couldn't possibly delete half the data on a person's hard drive for no reason!). When I wanted to check if any of my files had actually been deleted, I found that I was locked out of system-type folders including my Documents folder, and that most of everything in the Program Files directory had also been deleted. I rebooted, half expecting the computer not to boot, and yes indeed - Windows had "eaten itself alive" as another victim so aptly put it, and the computer would not boot. My entire dual-boot setup was screwed.

So how does such a monumental bug occur? How could Vista's development team let something like this slip through? Is it an interaction with software that isn't Vista friendly (third party disk defragger or backup tool), leading Vista to miscategorize user data as error log files? Whatever this bug is, it's huge, and Microsoft is in big trouble (in my books at least). Most of my data was backed up, but some significant stuff was not, which is going to be a headache to reproduce. Some of the other data lost is irreplacable.

Why isn't this "tech-headline news" by now?!

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This just happened to me 2 days ago
by canlase / July 18, 2007 4:19 AM PDT

Yeah, the same thing happened to me. Bad thing is I have no back up for my applications. Good thing my files are on a different drive. I needed to re-install vista and all my apps on my laptop.

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Follow up
by gazza_c / July 21, 2007 1:50 PM PDT

You know what's really weird about this issue? It's getting no attention at all! A bug this well documented (people have been forum posting about it since Vista's RTM release), and so obviously serious in its impact on potential end-user-victims (data loss that rivals the worst of viruses) - especially vulnerable are new and inexperienced computer users (the ones that would actually *use* the disk cleanup tool) - should be all over the news. I mean, c'mon - seriously!? I sent an outline of the issue to Slashdot, and even they're not touching it.

Is there something I'm missing here?! Since when is it unremarkable for Windows to delete half a user's hard-drive and render their computer unbootable? It's unprecedented! Will the bug be quietly patched by Microsoft and the issue hush-hushed into the memory hole? All I can assume is that data loss is nothing to be concerned about, computers being left unbootable are nothing to be concerned about, and that users should "know better" than to use that disk cleanup tool anyway. Let's just stick to freaking out over theoretical security vulnerabilities that *could" lead to the possible compromising of a user's system while ignoring very real data loss issues that can occur at the push of a button (a Microsoft created button at that). This whole thing is a farce.

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OK really weird but...This happened to my HP 7 months ago!
by ShamaMama414 / July 21, 2007 10:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Follow up

I am totally perplexed here but this very same issue occured Jan2nd on my 2 month old HP Pavilion Desktop! I thought is was ChkDsk that caused it but I realized later is was actually disk cleanup. I had to reinstall the OS from partition and lost much data as I was a bit to over confident in a brand new machine and didnt make backing up a high enough priority. It was a serious nightmare from that point forward which ended in me junking my HP and purchasing a SECOND new PC only 5 months after the first one. My system ran like crap after the reinstall and got worse and worse over time. Nobody would help me they all kept telling me it was spyware or a virus but I could prove that I didn't have any. The Geek Squad at Best Buy ran a scan and they couldn't find any malware either. After a few months I was literally going nuts because I use my PC for my business (I have a small retail website) I decided to eat it and get another PC.

This is curious to me as I didn't find much info about this at the time it happened to me but I wonder if it's something other XP users are having happen? I have had no trouble so far with my Vista system. The only thing I can think of is it's caused by a software program or perhaps an update that could cause it? Maybe it's unrelated but it seems to similar to me.

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It happened to me as well
by makavelli480 / August 7, 2007 2:54 PM PDT

I have a Sony Vaio Laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium. I ran Disk Cleanup and the report said that I had some files over 200GB, and I knew that had to be some type of error cause my HDD only holds 160GB. Unfortunately, I ran the process anyway and to my surprize, the whole system crashed! Thank God I had made the recovery discs prior to the incident, or else Sony might charged me an arm, a leg, and a lung (if I was lucky). When I finally got my laptop up and running, I went back to work on a movie script I had just started. At that point, I went bananas because all my files were completely erased! My suggestion to those that simply wanna clean out their temporary files is to do so through Internet Options, and not through disk cleanup. In fact, don't use disk cleanup at all 'til the bug gets picked up by Microsoft and an update is made available.

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It happened to me also.
by youshine / April 24, 2010 12:17 PM PDT

My Levono laptop came with Vista and I clean installed Windows 7.

Lastnight I did disk clean up and found out there are tons of files you usually see at the Cache area...in my my document folder.

I deleted them all, and found out that all the files in the folders within my document are gone as well. Those files that appear in the main document folders must have been from all those sub folders within my document folder..

This is a significant bug... I lost files that I have not backed up yet...

You know how one feels when that happens....

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The guts of disk cleanup
by woodae / July 25, 2007 5:43 AM PDT

Does anyone know how the Vista Disk Cleanup works in the background? What I mean is - after it is done scanning for potential deletions, does it compile an xml or batch script to then run on the users selection?
If it does, and there is a way to view the list of what is about to get nuked from the hard drive this information could be used by savvy users to either edit or confirm that the run is safe and not going to lose their docs, O/S etc.
Also, MS might be more interested in some collateral backup of this fault.

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A reply...
by gazza_c / July 25, 2007 7:43 AM PDT

I'm not sure how it generates the list it acts upon, but I do know that if you simply do not select the 'windows error reporting files' for cleanup then you'll most likely be OK. The issue seems to be directly tied to the cleanup of those entries.

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what I have found.
by Nightlighter / July 27, 2007 1:04 PM PDT

Doing a disk clean up including system restores except the newest gives back sometimes 20gig... vista seems to make and used a lot of space for system restores... I have not had programs disappear doing this. mind you everytime you are doing a system restore you are adding back the problems that caused your problem

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You can choose what to delete.
by Dango517 / July 29, 2007 12:37 PM PDT

Once you enter the disk cleanup application you can choose what you want to delete. By clicking or unclicking the check box to the left of each item. Before you choose an item read the description and decide carefully. Only you can decide what you want to remove. The programs your talking about are Active X and Java programs these should not be deleted. They can be examined by opening these.......MyComputer> chooose drive letter that Vista operates from:> Windows> Downloaded Program Files. Note: Some duplication here is OK.

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Fix without turning off error reporting.
by Shubbis / October 1, 2007 9:39 PM PDT

After hours of research and cursing when my own disk cleanup decided to kill my OS, I figured I'd try to find a cure - and I have!


Open Regedit (start - run - regedit) and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\VolumeCaches

There you will find 4 keys called Windows error reporting.
Now if you look closely you will see that one (or more) is missing the Folder string.
Now, lets get to fixing it.

If you are in the " Windows Error Reporting Archive Files " key

Right click - New - Expandable String Value.

Call it Folder and use the following entry:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportArchive

If you are in the " Windows Error Reporting Queue Files " key

use: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportQueue

If you're in the " Windows Error Reporting System Archive Files " key

use: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportArchive

and if you're in the " Windows Error Reporting System Queue Files " key

use: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportQueue

This worked for me atleast, i tried removing the Folder string and the bug was back, hope this helps guys!

- Shub

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Thanks man!
by woodae / October 1, 2007 10:34 PM PDT

Thanks for the effort dude! I'll be in there fixing asap and let you know what happens.
C

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Fix without turning off error reporting
by gps247 / October 26, 2007 2:14 AM PDT

I had exactly the same problem. I followed instructions by Shubbis (see below) and I no longer have the problem Shubbis you are a genius, many thanks.

Fix without turning off error reporting.
by Shubbis - 02/10/07 04:39
In reply to: Disk Cleanup Serious Issue... by SlingShotz
After hours of research and cursing when my own disk cleanup decided to kill my OS, I figured I'd try to find a cure - and I have!


Open Regedit (start - run - regedit) and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\VolumeCaches

There you will find 4 keys called Windows error reporting.
Now if you look closely you will see that one (or more) is missing the Folder string.
Now, lets get to fixing it.

If you are in the " Windows Error Reporting Archive Files " key

Right click - New - Expandable String Value.

Call it Folder and use the following entry:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportArchive

If you are in the " Windows Error Reporting Queue Files " key

use: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportQueue

If you're in the " Windows Error Reporting System Archive Files " key

use: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportArchive

and if you're in the " Windows Error Reporting System Queue Files " key

use: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportQueue

This worked for me atleast, i tried removing the Folder string and the bug was back, hope this helps guys!

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Great Fix! Thanks a million!
by Brawly44 / March 6, 2008 11:57 AM PST

Thanks Shubbis! I have been suffering this problem for sometime, and had made the tragic mistake of cleaning the error reporting files primarily because the file size was so large! Once the cleanup had completed I noticed quite a few files missing as well as desktop icons. I attempted a reboot and my Vista operating system failed to boot. I then had to go about the annoying task of reinstalling Vista.

I followed your steps and discovered that in the registry all of the strings were intact save for one. I created the folder and string as you instructed and VIOLA! No more problem!

Thanks again for the great information. I saved the registry after testing the fix, just in case this happens again - I can recover my original registry settings.

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Your System is possibly creating to many restore points as .
by Dango517 / October 2, 2007 1:07 AM PDT

back ups. Check your system restore functions and task manager for how often it is backing up the system. About once every two-three days is enough and tell it to remove some of the old ones. You can adjust the number of restores it will safe. This is your choice I'd say four at the most.

If you have a lot of programs, emails, photos, music, etc., etc., on your computer your not using throw them away. I don't have 48 GB of anything on my entire computer. If your going to insist on keeping it get and external drive to store it. Keep your system lean. This will make maintenance much shorter and make your computer run faster.

We need the exact wording for this error. Not just this vague comment,"then system error reports archives and such with say like 43GB each...."

Disk cleanup is just slow, be patient, that's just the way it is.

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Hmmmm....
by gazza_c / October 2, 2007 1:39 AM PDT

"We need the exact wording for this error. Not just this vague comment,"then system error reports archives and such with say like 43GB each....""

I think the point is that there is no wording for this error - because there is no error. A certain checkbox setting deletes far more than it is supposed to, that's all. The exact checkbox setting has been detailed earlier in the thread.

Thanks for the fix Shubbis! Too bad Microsoft doesn't have the time or sound judgement to fix such problems!

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(NT) I wasn't talking to you. Mind your own business.
by Dango517 / October 2, 2007 1:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Hmmmm....
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