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C Drive used space != to sum of file sizes??

Hi there,
I have a strange problem with my computer. I've searched these forums and the web and found nothing similar. Hopefully somebody here will be familiar with these symptoms. Please bear with me as I'm not an expert in computers and the jargon. (I know this post is rather long but I want to be as clear as possible about the problem and everything I've done so far.)

first and foremost:
Lenovo Think Pad, Intel Core 2 Duo, T7300 at 2Ghz, 778Mhz 984MB RAM,
The OS: XP Pro 2002 w/ SP3

Ultimately, the problem is that my computer is performing poorly. A few symptoms, (in no particular order of severity):
1) slow boot;
2) Office apps like Word open/load slowly;
3) sometimes when I click between application windows a "ghost" of part of the former window freezes in part of the new window;
4) it sometimes hangs on shut-down;
5) I must "repair" the wireless network adapater everytime I boot, or wake up from standby or hibernate.

One very weird fact jumps out at me - My 90GB hard disc is nearly full. This is strange because, as far as I know, I'm only using about half the capacity. This assertion is supported by several tests:

1) First I added up all the sizes of the files/folders in the C:\ drive =~45GB
2) Next, at the command prompt, I did a "chkdsk f" and then listed every file in C:\. I've pasted the result below:

Total Files Listed:
66413 File(s) 49,124,473,355 bytes
21882 Dir(s) 7,302,565,888 bytes free (NOTE missing 33GB)

3) I downloaded trial TreeSize software and ran it on the C:\ directory. I've pasted the report summary below:

Drive: C:\
Size: 89,679.0 MB
Used: 82,885.2 MB
Free: 6,793.8 MB
4096 Bytes per Cluster (NTFS)

This Folder:
Size: 49,579.1 MB
Allocated: 49,399.9 MB
Percent of Drive: 55 %
Objects: 70,380
Wasted Space: 139.8 MB

So, out of 3 tests, all seem to show that I'm only using about 50GB of a 90GB hard disc, yet the computer thinks it's full and I can't run scheduled back-ups. The other day I couldn't burn a disc w/o deleting a few things to free up space. It said I was down to 30MB!

Another thing I looked at (with help of a former IT friend) was a report of Quota Entries. My friend enabled the quota function and we looked at the report. This report also shows something strange:
1) The "BUILTIN\Administrators" logon name uses 43GB
2) The logon name associated with me - i.e., same name as appears in User Accounts - uses 37GB.
3) And finally an "Adminstrator" associated with my account shows about 1.6GB
4) all other entries were trivial

So, I have no idea what this means. I can't figure out how to identify which files are associated with "BUILTIN Administrators" as opposed to files associated with my personal user account. The "Builtin Admins" user doesn't show up anywhere in control panel, or wherever.

A bit more background: My computer was exhibiting same exact symptoms about a year ago (namely, C drive was full). I stupidly tried to use the Lenovo supplied "rescue, recovery, restore" utility to reset the computer to an earlier date. It didn't seem to be doing anything so I turned off the computer and went to bed. Next morning I found that I couldn't reboot b/c BIOS had been deleted, or something to that effect. Apparently the firmware had been quietly "restoring" w/o any indication whatsoever. So, I took it to the university's computer helpdesk where they reformatted and reinstalled XP, including SP3. They also installed McAfee and AVG spy-ware. I never noticed much difference in the computer performance. Now, as things have gotten worse, I notice that I'm right back to where I was before - full disk. (btw, McAfee scans never found any threats).

thanks so much for reading my long long story. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


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My very first thought

In reply to: C Drive used space != to sum of file sizes??

is what you said right near the end.

McAfee and AVG spyware. AVG isn't spyware but an anti-virus and anti-spyware scanner.

So, do you have two anti-virus scanners running full tilt together in the background? If so, this is where your slow performance is likely to be as they will conflict with each other.

I didn't see anywhere in the post where you checked for 'hidden' folders and files. In XP the System Restore utility stores its backup files in a hidden folder and sub-folders. The hidden folder is called "System Volume Information". Find that and you may find much of your hidden disk space.

You could disable System Restore, which would delete all those backup folders and files, then re-enable it to create a brand new restore point immediately, and that might free up a lot of hard disk space;
How to disable System Restore in XP.

I hope that helps.


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re AVG/McAfee and System Restore

In reply to: My very first thought

Thanks for your insights, Mark.

I should have mentioned that I DID include "hidden files/folders" when I was taking inventory. For future ref, Does the DOS list command NOT display hidden files?

In any case, I searched for "System Volume Information" and, not surprisingly, nothing was found. Then I changed folder view options to uncheck "Hide protected op. sys. files" (as opposed to a different option to "view hidden files/folders"). I ran the search again and this time the folder was found, located at the root, C:\, but the folder was empty.

Also, on my system restore settings dialog box, the max disc space allocated is about 10GB, whereas, I seem to be missing about 37GB of space. I guess.

Again, thanks for helping. Any further insights and ideas are greatly appreciated!


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For example.

In reply to: re AVG/McAfee and System Restore

The System Volume Information directory may or may not show. There are ways to make it show.

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To show the System Volume Information folder ...

In reply to: For example.

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access denied

In reply to: To show the System Volume Information folder ...

thanks for the idea.
My user account is an administrator type account. Yet, I don't have access to the folder, and, in the properties dialog box there is no "security" tab. there is a "sharing" tab, but no way to "add" a user security clearance, as it were.

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In reply to: access denied

Read it again, consider google and SAFE MODE.

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I didn't have any trouble ...

In reply to: access denied

to use the cacls-command mentioned in that article. Why not try that?


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re: cacls

In reply to: I didn't have any trouble ...

Kees, thanks for your suggestion.

I tried "cacls" to no avail. Here's what happened:
The command failed when I used my username, which is "Bob Loblaw".

I typed: cacls "c:\System Volume Information" /e /g bob loblaw:f
The cmd response was: help instructions for the cacls cmd

But the command appeared to execute when I used the username "administrator".

I typed: cacls "c:\System Volume Information" /e /g administrator:f"
The cmd response was: "processed dir c:\System volume information"

However, back in windows explorer, when I clicked on the SVI folder I got the same red X msg: "Access Denied".

So, now a new questions:
1) If not "bob loblaw", then what is the proper username to enter in the cacls commmand, and why?
2) If "administrator" is proper username, then why is access still denied?

Thanks again for your input.

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Command lines need quotes

In reply to: re: cacls

When an item or object has spaces then quote it.

"Bob Yourlastname" or else it's going to fail.

There are more articles about the SVI folder than you can imagine. Try researching more about this.

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name in quotes worked!

In reply to: Command lines need quotes

thanks, Bob. That worked.

Interestingly, my user name "Bob Loblaw" was denied. The response was, "no mapping b/t account name and security ID was done."

But then I tried using the name "Pamela Hockert" (which is the name windows is registered to) and that worked! I could see the files. But, alas, the file sizes were trivial. So I guess he Sys Vol Info folder does not acct for the missing 33GB of storage.

Also interesting - I used cacls to try to get full permissions for the "rrbackups" directory,(also a hideen system folder). But I was denied access. The msg was "access is denied". If an administrator can't get access, who can?

Well, I'm about done with this headache. Thanks anyway for your suggestion.


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There are a lot of articles but let me share how I get in.

In reply to: name in quotes worked!

I boot up my UBUNTU CD. I do not install UBUNTU. I only run it "LIVE" so I can peek at things unpeekable.

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Re: rrbackups

In reply to: name in quotes worked!

That's an interesting addition to the information you provided.

My google toolbar suggest to do the following searches:

It's a nice and well-known Lenovo backup feature, mostly in Vista, apparently also in XP. But yes, it uses a lot of disc space. I'm even inclined to say: it uses TOO MUCH disc space.
See if the above searches learn you how to recover that space, if there is nothing about it in the documentation that came with your laptop. But be sure to find another way to backup your valuable data.

Hope this helps.


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bingo! "rrbackups" was the big hog

In reply to: Re: rrbackups

That did it! I found about 30GB in 5 back-up files in the Lenovo R&R. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Now I just have to remember that this is what will be eating up my disc space from now on. What a pain that it's totally hidden from everything.

Anyway, thanks everybody for all your helpful advice and insights.


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Yes that's strange

In reply to: re AVG/McAfee and System Restore

I see you found the System Volume Information folder yourself by 'un-hiding' system protected files, and it is empty.

I know with my own XP system that looking inside that System Volume Information folder didn't always find anything immediately. I had to use Explorer to highlight the SVI folder in the left hand pane of Explorer, then, any hidden sub-folders would appear as faint folders in the right hand pane, even though the highlighted folder in the left pane didn't have a "+" expand option. If I then double clicked the faint folders in the right hand pane, everything became visible.

I should explain as sometimes users don't know, when I talk about Explorer, I mean XP's file manager, called Windows Explorer, (from Start > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer). It is useful, but only approximates sizes, and hard disk spaces, etc.

Now that you have de-selected that "Hide system protected files", why not run that "TreeSize utility again, and start drilling down into sub-folders.

I haven't heard of "Quota Entires" before, so I may have to pass on that, but can you say more about this "BUILTIN\Administrator" account? Is that its name? If you use Explorer again, and go to C:\Documents and Settings, how many accounts are listed?

XP does have a System Administrator account set up by default, (if it didn't we would not be able to access the system), but as soon as we use that to create our own Admin capable account, this System Administrator account disappears from view. It is not deleted, the account folder and contents will still be available to view in Explorer. May be this Quota Entry thing is talking about that hidden account.

There are a lot of discussions about missing hard disk space in these forums, and the link below, (354 posts so far), may give you some more clues where to look.;forums06

About McAfee and AVG, there's a general rule;

Only one firewall needed.
Only one Anti-virus needed, (more than one running in the background can cause conflict).
More than one anti-spyware utility needed, (spyware takes many forms, and no single anti-spyware catches them all).

Good luck.


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re SVI; TreeSize, Builtin Admin; Accts listed in Docs+Stgs

In reply to: Yes that's strange

Again, thanks for your advice. Please see responses below:

I had to use Explorer to highlight the SVI folder in the left hand pane of Explorer, then, any hidden sub-folders would appear as faint folders in the right hand pane....

When I highlight SVI folder in Folders tree, the red X msg "Acces Denied" appears. No sub-folders appear in right pane

Now that you have de-selected that "Hide system protected files", why not run that "TreeSize utility again, and start drilling down into sub-folders.

TreeSize shows 0MB for both SVI and RRBackups (another hidden folder, maybe Rescue/Recovery related?)and indicates that these two folders are "Access Denied".

...can you say more about this "BUILTIN\Administrator" account?

First, About Quota Entries: R-click C drive, click properties, click Quota tab. Enable Quota management, wait for it to do its thing, click Quota Entries button.

"BUILTIN\Administrators" only shows up in the Quota Entries log. It is a "Logon Name" and it's associated with 43.67GB of storage. I can't find a reference to it anywhere else. Searching online, I found it wrt Windows NT server/client stuff. As I understand it, enabling quotas permits a network admin to limit each client's available storage space on the server disc. It may be applicable to a stand-alone computer wrt each "user account" created on this computer. But again, I can't find any ref to a Builtin\Administrators" account on this comp. Only one user account is listed (besides "guest", which is off). It's called "Bob Loblaw" and it's an admin type acct.

Now, the other Logon Names appearing in the Quota Entries for C:\ are

- "LENOVO-81B0B006\Pamela Hockert" at 36.59GB (concatenates the name of this computer and the Windows registration name)
- "LENOVO-81B0B006\Administrator" at 1.58GB.
- and five other gibberish names like s-1-5-86-615999-46-297-62....., all trivial KB

If you use Explorer again, and go to C:\Documents and Settings, how many accounts are listed?

The following (6) accounts are listed:
All Users
Default User (faded)
Local Service (faded)
Network Service (faded)
Pamela Hockert

The sixth account, Pamela Hockert, represents me. That is, C:\Documents and Settings\Pamela Hockert" is the folder that contains all my stuff. But again, my user account is named "Bob Loblaw", so it's a little confusing. (Background: When the help-desk guy reloaded windows I guess he registered Windows to "Pamela Hockert" because her name was on the work order. Then I guess I changed the user name from "Pamela Hockert" to "Bob Loblaw". So, "Bob Loblaw" shows up as the one User Acccount in the control panel. "Pamela Hockert" does not. Yet, Pamela Hockert appears in the Docs and Settings dir and not Bob Loblaw. Weird!)

XP does have a System Administrator account set up by default,...this System Administrator account disappears from view. It is not deleted, the account folder and contents will still be available to view in Explorer. May be this Quota Entry thing is talking about that hidden account.

I don't follow this last bit. An acct named "Sys Admin" does not show up in the "Docs and Settings" dir.

Well, I've about given up. If you have any other ideas I'd be thrilled. If not, do you recommend that go ahead and reformat and reinstall XP again?

thanks again,

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Lots of interesting things there.

In reply to: re SVI; TreeSize, Builtin Admin; Accts listed in Docs+Stgs

Thanks for that Will, (Bob? Not important though).

1] "Denied Access"

Denied Access to certain folders and files, in your case the SVI folders. This often happens in XP, even to Administrators. I don't know why, Bob, (Proffitt), would tell us both it's a Permissions thing, with a certain amount of glee, I suspect, as it's a minefield, Devil

We can often fix that by "Taking Ownership - (Microsoft's own guidance), so hopefully you can gain access to those folders.

Incidentally, I would guess that is why TreeSize can't access those folders whilst being used in your account, because of the same permissions problem. I really don't want to delve in to Permissions.

2] System Administrator

Sorry, that's the term I use to differentiate between the default Admin account already set up in XP, and any other Admin accounts the user then creates.

In your list ("the following 6 accounts are listed"), it is the Administrator account. When users use the "Welcome Screen" to log onto XP, (not all users do), they will see a list of their own created accounts, but this Administrator account is not listed. However, it does appear in the Welcome Screen when we boot up the system into Safe Mode, How to boot into Safe Mode.

In that list of 6 accounts, the others are unimportant. I will talk about Pamela Hockert later.

3] Quotas

I must admit I didn't know about Quotas. But I believe this is a red-herring. Quotas are for system administrators who set up network servers, and want to limit the amount of disk space their users can use. The instructions you gave to access the Quotas tab of the C Drive Properties also said to "Enable Quota Management". If you, or that help-desk person, had to do that as well, (enable it), then it wasn't already enabled, so it wasn't being used. What I mean is, if you go into your Quotas tab now, and if you have to select that Enable Quota Management option, it is not already enabled and it doesn't concern you. I'm sure you realise this anyway.

But in that Quota Entries window details you posted, what I can say is this;

BUILTIN\Administrators is the default term for all the administrator accounts on your system, ( ie, built in administrator accounts ).

The entry "- "LENOVO-81B0B006\Pamela Hockert" at 36.59GB (concatenates the name of this computer and the Windows registration name)" is your main admin account, and the others, like you say, are trivial. The "administrator" entry is that default admin account I mentioned above.

But, just a thought here. If your hard disk size is 90GB, then maybe my supposition is wrong, and that quotas have been set for your account. Can you re-access your Quotas tab and tell me if the "Enable quota management" has been selected? If so, has the option below that been selected, the "Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit"?

And as a double check, if you click the "Quota Entries", is the account for Pamela Hockhert shown as "No limit" in the Quota column, or has a limit been set?

If a limit has been set, then is this the cause of your disk space problem? I wonder.

You do not need limits on your XP system, so if there have been limits set, I would return to the Quotas tab, de-select both the "Log events", change the "Select default quota..." to "Do not limit disk usage", de-select "Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit", and finally de-select "Enable quota management", then click Apply/OK.

Pamela Hockert should not have a disk usage limit.

There's more about Quotas here;

4] Pamela Hockert


I don't understand this. I don't know why Pamela Hockert would be on a Help Desk's work order if you are the owner of the computer. Are you? Or is this a computer at a workplace or similar?

But that's not really for me to ask.

I said, Ahh, because I am not sure what you have done. You changed the name of an account? I am not sure how the Operating System would manage that, and it seems it already has some confusion if your name appears in the Control Panel - User Accounts applet, but not in Documents and settings, and Pamela Hockert does not appear in User Accounts, but does appear in Documents and Settings. Windows has never managed account detail changes very well, and this may be another factor in the missing hard disk space.

It might be that the simplest way to solve that problem is to follow Microsoft's guidance on creating a new profile, (a new account), and copying the data from a corrupt account over to it. Treat the Pamela Hockert account as corrupt, and create a new account. Once everything was tested, delete the Pamela Hockert account.

There are difficulties with that, mainly if you use Outlook Express for your email management. There's more detail in the procedure and the difficulty here;

One thing though, and we so often say this, make sure your personal files, eg documents, photos, music, videos, etc, have been backed up. Making lots of changes to system can sometimes go wrong, and then we lose everything in a flash.

Good luck.


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Just an additional note

In reply to: Lots of interesting things there.

I see Kees and Bob have also replied, and Kees' post about "Re: rrbackups" looks interesting. Well worth researching.


(PS The forum software here sometimes squashes posts into a tall column, especially if a post starts a new page. If my post above is squashed in your browser, change the "Forum Display" option right at the top of the discussion page.)

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re User Accts, etc

In reply to: Lots of interesting things there.

Hi Mark,

It seems that RRbackups was the culprit. When I opened the Lenovo Rescue and Recovery utility I found about 30GB of backup files ("base" and about 4 "incrementals"). So, I did some house cleaning, wiped out all the prior backups, defragged, and ran a fresh backup.
My free space is back to 44Gb out of total available 87.5GB. In the future I'll need to keep an eye on the "incremental" backup files that R&R will create, though I'velimited the number of files to keep to (2).

The "Pamela H" account is definitely confusing, but not something I'm going to continue to fret over! Pam H. took my machine into the help-desk guy b/c she was a student at the time and we figured she'd get a good student rate, which probably wasn't the case afterall. Oh well.

The "Bob Loblaws Documents" folder that appears on the same upper level "branch" in the file tree as the different drives (C:\, D:\, Control Panel,Shared Docs, etc.) IS the same folder as the Pam H's "My Documents" folder found by drilling down from "Docs and Settings". That is, the paths are identical:
C:\Documents and Settings\Pamela Hockert

I'd like to fix it but don't want to open a new can of worms. I have a feeling it would mean reinstalling windows or something like that since the Computer properties shows that windows is registered to Pam H.

Anyway. Thanks again for all your help!

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Glad you found that missing disk space

In reply to: re User Accts, etc

Congratulations on that Will.


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oops, re AVG...

In reply to: My very first thought

Sorry Mark, forgot to mention the AVG bit.
Thanks for mentioning that. I was unaware that they do the same thing and could compete. Both items were installed by the help-desk tech who assured me they were necessary and good products. Hmmmm...

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