Computer Help forum

General discussion

'Lost space' on Hard Drive

by JohnLeane / April 25, 2010 8:41 PM PDT

I have a 450GB hard disc (Model HD5021J) as the C: drive for my HP PC (Vista)which appears to work normally except that about 60GB of space usage cannot be accounted for: the sum of the stored files and folders is 43GB and the apparent usage is 106GB with only 348GB left free.
I have used a data destruction programme and reformatting of the disc prior to restoring all my information, to no effect.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: 'Lost space' on Hard Drive
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: 'Lost space' on Hard Drive
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
The difference can be:
by Kees Bakker / April 25, 2010 8:48 PM PDT

1. Another partition (you're not very clear on that).
2. Contents of the hidden System Volume Information folder. Use icacls command to give you access and have a look.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 25, 2010 9:12 PM PDT
In reply to: The difference can be:

There is no hidden partition. I have tried to run icalcs.exe but get just a momentary flash on the screen. The UAC is disabled.
It may be relevant that, during the course of piecemeal reloading of all my s/w after reformatting, there was a time when this 'lost' 60GB space was not present. Unfortunately, I don't know at what stage it reappeared and to find out is a very lengthy process!

Collapse -
Re: icacls
by Kees Bakker / April 25, 2010 9:25 PM PDT

You have to run that program from the command prompt. Then "grant" yourself access. Note the use of quotes around folder names containing a space (like in all commands).

See http://www.computerhope.com/cacls.htm

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 25, 2010 11:54 PM PDT

I have now found how to get to 'icacls', but don't know what I am looking for or how to issue the appropriate commands! Sorry, this is beyond my experience - so far.

Collapse -
Re: icacls
by Kees Bakker / April 27, 2010 6:41 AM PDT

One easy commands (I tried in XP, but Vista should be the same)
icacls "\system volume information" /g yourusername:r (end with enter)
With "yourusername" I mean your Windows logon name.

Then, in Control Panel>Folder Options>View uncheck the "hide protected system files". Then you can have a look with Windows Explorer or My Computer (use right click properties to see file size used).

Mine is 5.4 GB, which was built up in some 4 months. But there also are stories where it contained a mysterious 30 GB file that could be deleted.

If you use the Advanced option of the Disc Cleanup Wizard (that's for XP, but I think Vista is comparable) you can delete all but the latest (System Restore) restore point. Then it should be practically empty.


When you know what you want to know:
- hide the protected operating systems files again
- undo the icacls command by the following variant:
icacls "\system volume information" /r yourusername /e

This is more or less advanced. Be careful.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 28, 2010 1:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: icacls

Kees - I am very sorry to say I have forgotten how to access the 'icacls' command, even though I did it once before! If you can remind me I will try what you recommend. Many thanks. John

Collapse -
Re: icacls
by Kees Bakker / April 28, 2010 5:00 PM PDT

To run a command, first run the command prompt from the start button. You can use the Command Prompt shortcut on the Start menu or you can type CMD in the Run dialog box.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 29, 2010 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: icacls

I have done that. I have typed 'icacls "\C:"/g John:r' and I get the message 'Invalid parameter "John:r"'.
I have tried variations with and without quotation marks, with and without ':r' and also as 'Administrator' in place of 'John', but to no effect.
I have also tried the command without entering a username and I get 'cannot find the path specified'.
I am sorry I am having such difficulty and thank you for your patience.
John

Collapse -
Re: typo's
by Kees Bakker / April 29, 2010 6:00 AM PDT

"\c:" is the surely wrong. There's no \ before a drive letter. Only before a folder name.
And there should be a space before the /

Try copy/paste from
icacls "\system volume information" /g John:r

Worked with my user name on my computer.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 30, 2010 2:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: typo's

I have tried your instructions and also a very large number of variations from the internet. The nearest I have got to a positive response is with:

C;\Users\John> (this is the starting point I am given) followed by:
icacls c:\windows\
which provides a list of 9 items starting with 'NT SERVICE...', 'BUILTIN\...' etc relating to my Windows folder.

However, if I try adding other parameters such as '/g John:r' or
'grant John:(D,WAC)' etc etc I am rejected.

Kees, you have spent a lot of time on this problem and if you want to abandon ship, I shall quite understand! My problem is very annoying, but it isn't a show stopper!

Collapse -
Re: command prompt
by Kees Bakker / April 30, 2010 3:48 AM PDT

Yes, command prompt can be difficult for the younger ones that didn't use it in MS-DOS.

Just copy/paste the line below into the command processor (using the menu from the top left icon):
icacls "\system volume information" /g John:r

Works with me in XP (although it cacls there in stead of icacls, and of course I use my own username). It's noted litterally in
http://www.vistax64.com/vista-general/164268-icacls-command-problem.html
also. It should work.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / April 30, 2010 9:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: command prompt

At last I got a positive answer, but I had to use '/grant'. '/g' was rejected. So now it has 'successfully processed' the '\system volume information', but what do I do with it?!

Collapse -
Now find out what's in it.
by Kees Bakker / May 1, 2010 4:45 AM PDT

I find Treesize (from http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/ ) a nice program to see how folders (and subfolders) are. With access to that folder granted, the total for the drive should agree with what you see in the pie chart in the properties of the drive. So the "loss" should be approximately zero now.
The statistics from chkdsk should agree also.

And I find Windows Explorer a nice tool to see what all those files are.

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / May 2, 2010 9:39 AM PDT

Kees - I have downloaded the TreeSize s/w and it does indeed reveal over 60GB of hidden files not displayed by Windows Explorer. There are 41 files of the general format '5052.6MB{218a013b4-11df.........}{...........}'. I have no idea where they came from or what they are for. Do you think I can delete them safely? Thanks. John

Collapse -
Re: 60 GB of files
by Kees Bakker / May 2, 2010 5:50 PM PDT

That's a good find (worth the trouble to get to it it, I'd say). In what folder are these files located?

Kees

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / May 2, 2010 9:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: 60 GB of files

They are in a folder headed 'System Volume Information', although for some unaccountable reason I am no longer able to display the 41 individual files I mentioned last time. Deletion, if acceptable, would therefore involve removing all 68GB. Is that dangerous? I could, of course, backup the entire disc before hand and restore, if necessary. If you think I should first try deleting a selection of the files, I will try to find out why they are no longer individually displayed. John

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / May 3, 2010 1:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: 60 GB of files

Kees - Further to my last memo, I have now successfully expanded the contents of the 60GB file, and find that the second half of each of the 41 entries is the same, namely: ....}{3808876b-c176-4e48-b7ae-04046e6cc752}. I have no idea what this means or whether it is significant. John

Collapse -
Re: files
by Kees Bakker / May 3, 2010 3:42 AM PDT

The first thing to try: disable (and immediately enable) System Restore. That's a regular function in Start>Programs>Accessories (sorry, I don't know the English language details). That should clear (practically) the whole folder. If that happens, it's surely OK.

If these 60 GB of files stay around, I'd take the risk and delete them. After all, nobody else has them, so they can hardly be necessary for Windows.

Keew

Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / May 3, 2010 9:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: files

I'm sorry, but I have no idea how to disable and enable System Restore. I am familiar with the restore function and have created a new Restore Point, but what next?

Collapse -
Re: disabling system restore.
by Kees Bakker / May 3, 2010 11:10 PM PDT
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310405 is the XP way to do it.

If it doesn't work in Vista or 7 right away, google something like
DISABLE SYSTEM RESTORE VISTA or DISABLE SYSTEM RESTORE WINDOWS 7

Ain't it nice that everything you want to know about anything is just a few clicks away in Google?

Kees
Collapse -
'Lost space' on Hard Drive
by JohnLeane / May 4, 2010 12:08 AM PDT

BINGO! It worked! I have spent months wrestling with this problem and in the end the solution was quite easy - when you know how! I am amazed that this problem is not more widely discussed or understood. But "ain't it nice to be able to find friendly and knowledgeable help on the internet"? Many thanks, Kees. John

Collapse -
(NT) Glad I could help. And thanks for letting us know.
by Kees Bakker / May 4, 2010 12:24 AM PDT

Popular Forums

icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

FALL TV PREMIERES

Your favorite shows are back!

Don’t miss your dramas, sitcoms and reality shows. Find out when and where they’re airing!