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C:Windows folder - it's 16GB! - why ?

by ticktie / February 22, 2007 4:52 PM PST

I recently noticed that my hard drive went from being 10 or 15 GB free to only having 15MB left! I was checking, what it could be. I right clicked Properties on the C:Windows folder. It showed that it was 16 GB! I opened the file, to see the details, even the unhidden files. The most I found it to be was 2GB. Can someone tell me why that folder seems to be taking up so much space??

I am running on WinXP, updated service packs, etc.

Can someone help? Thanks!

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A useful tool.
by Kees Bakker / February 22, 2007 5:38 PM PST
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thanks...but still can't find
by ticktie / February 23, 2007 5:20 AM PST
In reply to: A useful tool.

thanks for the reply. i tried your suggestions, but unfortunately, i can't seem to find the 'files' that are taking up the rest of space.

should i just re-image my hard drive?

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That 16 Gb figure would...
by Edward ODaniel / February 23, 2007 4:34 AM PST

include not just what you saw in the Windows directory, but ALSO everything in the various subdirectories (and their subdirectories too) such as Windows\System32 and Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers etc.

You mention having all the updates and service pack installs done too. In your Windows directory do you see some "folders" with names like $...ServicePackUninstall$ and Windows Update Setup Files (that one is 19.5GB on my system and includes a text file titled "This folder is safe to delete.txt").

Also your TEMP directory is located (by default) as a subdirectory of your Windows directory -- how much is in it?

To get started on recovering a bit of free space on the drive open a command prompt (Start | Run type CMD then click enter/return key) and type in the following command del c:\*.tmp /s After that command has run enter this one del ~*.* /s

You might also consider emptying your "Recycle Bin" and deleting the Temporary Internet Files cached on your drive by your browser (try setting the cache down to something like 10 to 20 MB while you are at it).

Now tell us about your new reported free space.

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thanks too...but
by ticktie / February 23, 2007 8:23 AM PST

tried your suggestions too. thank you. but still, nada. still can't locate the large GB files.

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Try this one...
by scoolio / February 23, 2007 5:53 AM PST

Search your computer for .ini, .txt, .csv files

IMHO whenever a system drive gets real large for no reason you have somehow accidentally enabled logging of some kind and the above file types are some of the more commonly used file type for debugging or log files.

Look for files that are obscenely large.

Jeff Estes

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by ticktie / February 23, 2007 8:22 AM PST
In reply to: Try this one...

did the search for those 3 types of files; nothing too large. i might try and just start clean.

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Possibly you are hoping to find
by Ray Harinec / February 23, 2007 8:36 AM PST
In reply to: thanks..but

one or two files that will solve your problem.

Just follow the instructions that you have received including dumping the restore points and then resetting restore.

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tried that too..
by ticktie / February 23, 2007 9:11 AM PST

tried to use the restore points, but it wouldn't let me go further back than December 2006. i went to the furthest point, and still have 16GB in my C:\Windows folder.

Thanks tho...

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So maybe it is that you are not paying attention and...
by Edward ODaniel / February 24, 2007 2:31 AM PST
In reply to: tried that too..

thus expect too much.

The suggestion concerning restore points WAS NOT to revert to an earlier date but to GET RID OF THEM. In other words turn them off, reboot, turn them back on. (restore points take up considerable room)

You likely will not see enormous storage space gains with the other suggestions but you will see incremental ones.

As a "for instance" did you DECREASE the size of your Temporary Internet Files Cache? If you didn't, it will rapidly fill again.

I suggested you see if you had things on the order of $...ServicePackUninstall$ (you might not have that exact one but likely you will have several SIMILAR named files such as $NtUninstallKB824146$-- note the $ beginning and ending the name) and Windows Update Setup Files subdirectories in your Windows directory. You replied tried your suggestions too. thank you. but still, nada. still can't locate the large GB files. That doesn't tell us whether you located such or not and BOTH can contain large amounts of files that are not actually necessary.

One two files you might locate that can be large are named drwtsn32.log and user.dmp both of which can be deleted. As a "for instance", I have not deleted mine in quite some time and the user.dmp file is 32 meg.

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hidden files
by glennlee / February 24, 2007 3:50 AM PST

I'll bet you have some large hidden files. Use Gyula's Navigator to find them. Set "see hidden files" in the options and look for large files. This a free file handler utility that comes in useful. Window's show hidden file option does not show all hidden files! Get the utility here:

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by ticktie / February 24, 2007 12:40 PM PST
In reply to: hidden files

found it. file folder called "Installer" - 13GB. Should I keep it, or is it ok to delete??

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Re: installer folder
by Kees Bakker / February 24, 2007 8:48 PM PST
In reply to: thanks!

It seems it can be deleted, but you're the only know who might possibly know what you installed between the moment this folder wasn't present yet and the moment you first noticed you'd lost 13 Gb. So you might like to tell us about that. It might be interesting to know what exactly is in it. After all, an install folder of 13 Gb tends to lead to a folder in Program Files of 20 Gb at least and you didn't mention that.


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Yes, you can delete its contents ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 25, 2007 1:22 AM PST
In reply to: thanks!
BUT if you do you may discover that you have some real difficulties uninstalling anything installed with Windows Installer.

You might also discover that you have trouble INSTALLING anything using Windows Installer as the directory contains some of its files too.

You could try moving the *.msi and *.mst as well as the *.msp files to CDs or DVDs. If you look at the properties of the MSI or MST files you will usually be able to tell what was installed from them (the summary tab). That would allow you to replace the files back into the Installer directory PRIOR to uninstalling or updating.

When you install using Windows Installer, a copy of changed system info
is placed in that \Installer folder so that if later you want to
uninstall you can restore the original system info using the Add/Remove
function. If you delete that info a future uninstall will not be as
simple (or probably as complete.) It's a judgment call, if space is a
serious problem.

Without those files, you can still remove an installed app's major files
manually, and generally leave some traces of it in places like the
registry, without damaging the system. Registries are accustomed to
accumulating debris and are usually not too vindictive about it. Happy

With major installs the restore files can be very large. They can also be very important.

That said, you are free to delete them if you wish.
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Keep searching.
by Kees Bakker / February 24, 2007 4:35 AM PST
In reply to: tried that too..

Assuming it are a just a few large files (not sure, however, it could also be a lot of small files) look the Search function in Windows Explorer to search for files > 100 Mb, say.

Otherwise, it takes some time. You say the Windows folder is 16 Gb. That should be the volume shown if you right click on that folder and choose Properties. In Windows Explorer (if you set it to show hidden and system files and folders also) you'll see all subfolders of Windows in the left pane. And you can see the disk space this subfolders take in their properties again. And so on, and so on. Without any doubt the sum of all subfolders in the Windows folder (add the files in c:\windows itself) is 16 Gb. If any folder seems exceedingly large, repeat this procedure on that folder.

What's wrong with this simple, if time-consuming, scheme? Post the results when in doubt.



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