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Hard drive says it's full when it's not... Please help!

I'm running a year old Gateway computer with Windows Vista Home Premium and a 230 GB hard drive. My problem is, that said hard drive claims that it is completely full! When highlighting all of the folders in the C: drive, it gives me a total size of around 15-16 GB. The only things that I have left on the hard drive are necessities, mainly system and program files. Every time that I delete items from the hard drive or move folders to my external to try and save space, within a few minutes, the drive is completely full again! I've tried running an AVG virus scan which turned up only a few cookies, defragmented my hard drive, did a system search for files over 500 MB (and found nothing), and did a disk check, yet still, nothing helped my problem. It's getting to the point that I couldn't even print my English paper because the computer said that there wasn't enough disk space! I really don't want to have to reformat, nor do I really have the time, so please, I'll try any suggestions! Thanks in advance guys!

-Danielle

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Comments
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Tried Temporarily Disabling System Restore..?

You'd be amazed at how much space is used by SR.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Also check out the forum sticky...

Specifically, this post outlines several of the primary causes of high disk space usage and how to track the lost space down.

John

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re:

I did check out the forum sticky as well... I tried to download the program that tells you where disk data is located, but the download failed for lack of memory. I've deleted everything that I can do without, and whenever I delete anything else, the hard drive "fills itself up" within minutes. Windows data and program files are the only thing left on the drive. All of my personal data is on my external or my flash drive. (I did check the sticky first, John, but thanks for mentioning it.) And about system restore, it's already had to disable itself for lack of memory. I feel like I've tried everything!

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Please Give Us EXACT Error Messages..

First, "memory" isn't the correct term for your issue primarily because hard drives use "storage space" not "memory". Memory is RAM and if you're receiving error messages about "memory", then it's something entirely different than the hard drive filling up with files.. Give us the EXACT message you're seeing and how much "space" is being shown on your "C:" drive.. Click on Start-Computer, then the C drive.. How much space is free and how much is used?

"And about system restore, it's already had to disable itself for lack of memory". System Restore doesn't disable itself.. Someone/something must physically disable SR. What do you see if you RIGHT click on "Computer", then choose "Properties", then the System Restore" tab.. Is the disabled box checked or unchecked? If it's UNCHECKed, then place a CHECK mark there and click on OK.

If you need to get rid of files, then do it. Obviously, there are more files on your system than just "data and program files" as you believe. (The operating system and program files will only take up a few GB's and you have 230 to deal with..) Find where they are and clean them out.. Don't do a search for files over 500 MB because the files probably aren't that large... Here's a link created for earlier versions of Windows but they should help with Vista as well. Clean out those "Temp" folders and Temporary Internet Files" folder.. Remove all the same files from any other user profiles that you have on the computer as well..:

How To Clean Unwanted Files From The Hard Drive

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Re:

I'm sorry... I should have given exact messages to begin with. Every so often I get a message that says "You have 0 MB free on drive C:" and then it asks me to run a disk clean up. I've run the disk cleanup which got rid of all my temporary files, so when I did what the article you linked me to said, I didn't find anything through my search. It says that all 230 GB are used when I click properties on drive C.

The message that I've been getting is that there is not enough disk space to run system restore and that it's been disabled. There is a box checked for having automatic restore points on drive C:, but when I click to try and use system restore, it says that no save points have been made.

I'm beginning to think that I may have to do a clean install, but I hope that it doesn't come to that... Thanks for your help!

-Danielle

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You Still Haven't Found The Culprit Then..

Forget the automatic stuff. Start doing a manual search of each folder while in Safe Mode using Windows Explorer. (Remember to change the Windows Explorer settings so you're seeing "All Files". RIGHT click on the Start button, choose "Explore'. When Windows Explorer opens, click on "Tools" in the upper left, choose "Folder Options", then click on the "View" tab. When that opens, place a dot/tick in "Show Hidden files and folders", then UNCHECK the boxes next to "Hide Extensions for known file types" and "Hide Protected operating system files", then click on OK, Apply, then OK..) RIGHT click on each folder on the left side of the screen, choose "Properties" and check their size.. Eventually, you should be able to fine where unusual amounts of space have been used..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Thank you!

When I searched in safe mode I found the culprit in a folder called "AOL". There was about 210 GB in files around the size of 300KB each for over a million files hiding in that folder. I deleted the folder, and the issue was resolved. Thanks so much for the help! Happy

-Danielle

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(NT) Yep, That Darned AOL.. Thanks For Posting Back
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OMG

i wonder WHAT was in those files and why AOL did not clean up after itself


Also WHAT were you running aol for?

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I'm not sure...

A lot of them were package files. I downloaded AOL a while ago because that's what I use for my email, but I thought that I uninstalled it after I realized I didn't like the interface. Apparently not. I'm just glad I found the culprit!

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low disk space

Danielle,
I have the same problem with my computer right now. They are also aol files and I found them but I am having a hard time deleting them. I tried deleting the whole file but it was acting like it froze. I had it deleting for like 2 1/2 hours and it wasn't done so I rebooted. How did you delete yours?? Will deleting the whole file eventually work or do I have to do it one at a time?
Thanks
Sarah

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same problem

I am have the same problem that you were talkinb about.. windows vista and low disk space. I was trying to do the steps you said to run in safe mode but when I click explore there are no tool options. Also how do I make sure I set windows explorer so that it shows all files?
Sarah

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To Show All Files...

I'm not on a Vista machine at the moment, but I think it's the same...Open Windows Explorer (RIGHT click on the Start button, choose "Explorer"), then click on "Tools" menu, select "Folder Options". When that opens, click on the "View" tab. When that opens, place a dot/tick in the "Show hidden files and folders" box, then UNCHECK "Hide extensions for known file types" and UNCHECK "Hide protected operating system files", click on "Apply", then OK.

Once you've done all that, then you'll need to physically check each folder to see where large amounts of data are kept.. You should be able to narrow it down.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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low disk space

When I right click on the start it shows explore and explore all users but not explorer. Is that the same? If it is it doesn't show a "tools" button to click on, it opens up a window with all of my files. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks

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Sorry, It's 'Explore"

After opening the "Explorer" window by using the "Explore" option, you should see a "Tools" menu listing in the upper right..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Vista help needed

I have read all these posts and they are the same problem I am having. My machine is almost 1 yr old and I hav etried these tips but like the last person I can't find Tools when I go in Explore. I looked left and right and the Tools menu is not there. What am I missing?

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low disk space

After I clicked on explore a window with all the files came up. In order to see the search tools options I had to click on recently changed files (on the left) Then there was a tab near the top to search tools. Everything else worked and mine was also in the AOL file. it was 500,000 100kb files in there (52 gigs) It took overnight to get rid of the file.

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My C drive is full,when its not..

I've jst used 12 gb out of 36 gb but it shows my c: drive full...i'm so confused and angry.Is somemone hacking my disk space???any suggestion????plz help

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How did you get on

with the options offered in this discussion thread?

Mark

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hardisk vista

ive been having the same problem that you've had, i thought it was a virus but i think it may be the vista shadow copy, which is a really flawed SR it takes 15% of your hard drive space for a backup, and i dont think that Vista shadow copy would delete the extra backups there is a really complicated process of changing it but im getting errors without so i dont know ecactly what to do.. yet

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Hard drive says it's full when it's not... Please help!

I eventually accessed the explorer as detailed below but the drive doesn't seem to be filled up by AOL. Have deleted all rarely used programs which included AOL [but it's still in the system] still have less than 1GB on a 65GB drive. Anyone got any pointers. Something is responsible. Angry

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3 years later?

I think you should have started your own new discussion.

I'd go get CCLEANER and let it clean up using the defaults then create a new post.

This old discussion is quite old so we'll close with this post.
Bob

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