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What is filling hard drive space?

by rje49 / June 8, 2010 8:25 AM PDT

My grandson brought me the hard drive from his dead computer so I could get his files & folders off of it using my USB adapter. It's 250GB. The main partition is 229GB. It shows that 170GB as used, with 59GB free space.
The strange thing is, the total size of all the folders within the drive adds up to only 93GB. So 77GB is unaccounted for. That's a lot. Before transfering anything, I scanned the drive with Malwarebytes, Super-Antispyware, and AVG A/V and found 8 or 9 infections, mostly trojans. I also did a defrag, which made no difference in used space. Also, IF his system restore was set at the max of 12%,that could be 30GB (where is that stored?). Either way, there is a lot of unaccounted-for used space. Could it all be a result of trojans and other malware building up for 5 years?

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77GB is unaccounted for
by Brechan / June 8, 2010 9:44 AM PDT

After looking at my own hard drive; Program Files (x86) uses up about 45GB, Windows uses about 5GB, and System Restore uses up 12% every time it creates a restore point (whether it be after installing an update, (un)installing a program, and the daily restore points) after 5 years of never deleting a single restore point, guess where all the used space is. It's in System Restore.
To delete these points, go to:
Start--Control Panel--System and Maintenance--Administrative Tools--Free up disc space--Disc Cleanup--More Options--System Restore and Shadow Copies " Clean up "
Cleaning up System Restore will take a few minutes, but you'll be able to retrieve a great deal of space (after only a couple of weeks, I can usually retrieve about 15 to 20GB of space)

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Already included
by rje49 / June 8, 2010 10:41 AM PDT

When you go to My Computer and open Local Disk "C" you will see several folders, including Program Files, Windows, Docs & Settings, etc. The accounted for 93GB includes all this- everything you see listed in "C". As for what is using the other 77GB, System Restore cannot be taking up any more than about 27GB (12% of the usable 230GB), which would still leave at least 50GB un-accounted for.
Seeing as I have this HD plugged in an extra drive via USB, I don't have the option of deleting it's restore points.

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what about temporary files
by Brechan / June 10, 2010 7:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Already included

Have you considered the space that temporary (web and other) files can take up, if never cleaned out, this could amount to some serious space.

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Temp files
by rje49 / June 10, 2010 7:48 AM PDT

Wouldn't all temporary files be included somewhere in one of the folders that shows when you open "C: Local Disk"? If so, then it's part of the 34GB "accounted for" used space.
This is looking like a tougher question to answer than I expected. I'm all for simply formatting the HD, because I think whatever is taking up most of that 77GB is not something one would want anyway.

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just found a program
by Brechan / June 10, 2010 10:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Temp files

that might be of some help for you, it's called Disk Analyzer Pro.
" helps you locate unwanted, space-wasting files so you can delete or archive them and get your computer running faster and better. It displays detailed information about the files on your computer, so you can identify unwanted or rarely used files, which can be moved, removed or archived from within the application. "

i tired it just now, and it's able to locate all the files on the hard drive, and show you exactly what is taking up all the space. here is the download link (14 day trial)

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Worth a try
by rje49 / June 10, 2010 10:44 AM PDT
In reply to: just found a program

Thank you. That may show interesting results.
Grandson just picked up his HD, but I'll tell him about it (with the link).

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More on System Restore
by rje49 / June 8, 2010 11:22 AM PDT

Sorry, I did in fact delete all restore points when performing "Disk Cleanup", the other day. I had forgotten about it - however, it did not reduce used space. Maybe it was previously turned off. I'll have to talk with my grandson about it.

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I use Auslogics Disk Defrag.
by PaaKDown / June 9, 2010 3:21 PM PDT

Probably you don't use the right defrag software.

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by rje49 / June 9, 2010 7:25 PM PDT

That's exactly what I used to defrag it - Auslogics. It made zero difference. Actually, I can't ever remember seeing any difference in disk space after defraging any HD.

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defrag software
by Brechan / June 10, 2010 12:29 PM PDT

It doesn't matter if you use the utility built into Windows or get a program off the web; all disc defragment programs put fragmented files together allowing the hard drive to read files more efficiently (leading to faster access times). Some programs will 'optimize' the hard drive, placing similar files in similar locations.
But disc defraggers do not clean up temp or junk files (in essence, they do not free up space on a hard drive).


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by stangram / June 11, 2010 10:58 AM PDT

I have this frustration with my wife and her HP desktop....Like a Car, you can't just keep driving it with out putting fuel in it, running diagnostics, making all he required maintenance 'to do's'....
You can't just keep logging on and logging off...and expect your unit to run like it was built to run.

-Photos and Video storage is a big item!, especially videos.

-Need to run 'Defragmentation' Utility at leas once a month.

-Need to run 'Delete Browser History' often, which includes History, Temprorary files (a big one), cookies, places visited, all of it. In Win 7 it's under 'Safety' in Internet Explorer 'SAFETY' put down. In XP, go to TOOLS, then 'INTERNET OPTIONS'...actually Win7 has access there also. RUN this utility at least once a week.

-There are other 'Disk Cleanup' programs, 'Driver Updates (aside from Windows Update) many of them to get into that a knowledgeable friend for recommendations! But if you just ran the Windows Utilities fairly often, it will take care of WASTED SPACE.

How that helps...It's "Computer "101" stuff


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All that should show?
by rje49 / June 11, 2010 11:22 AM PDT

Files like photos & video would have certainly been included in the visible contents of "C", as would temporary files, etc, wouldn't they?
I mean, if you go to My Computer, and click open "Local Disk C", what would NOT be included anywhere there? 34GB is there; 77GB is unaccounted for. That is one heck of a lot.
I've already done disk clean-ups, delted restore points, and defragged. Those steps hardly made a dent.
I'm still thinking most of that 77GB is malware fill.

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can help
by qweabab1 / June 11, 2010 12:36 PM PDT

I have the s<a style="color: #000000;text-decoration: none; cursor: text;" href="">am</a>e problem

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by rje49 / June 11, 2010 12:44 PM PDT
In reply to: can help

Can you explain a bit differently?

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will do
by qweabab1 / June 11, 2010 12:45 PM PDT
In reply to: can help

I have the same problem

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Nuke it!
by richteral / June 11, 2010 10:43 PM PDT

If I were in your shoes, I would ask the grandson to decide which files were absolutely necessary for his life, make a collection of them (there should not be too many, frankly), fence it off like Auschwitz and subject it to a series of stringent security scans. Dump the rest and apply something like D-BAN to the HD, to start from scratch. Grandson might need some schooling on computer security, too.

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Right on
by rje49 / June 11, 2010 11:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Nuke it!

Yeah, I saved all his personal files and such to his external HD and strongly recommended that he not use it for anything before formatting it.
My purpose of asking about all the used space was to satisfy my curiosity plus my endless craving for computer knowledge.

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Vanishing Space on Hard Drive
by shastus51 / June 13, 2010 8:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Right on

I had the same problem I found out it was Zone Alarm (ZA) Program.
If you have ZA Try This: First Disconnect from the Internet then Press and hold ctrl & shift right click the ZA Icon near clock click "Set Debug Level", from the box that opens select "Off"
Then Turn off ZA open My Computer double click C: Drive open Windows look for "Internet Log" folder open look for "tvDebug txt document Delete it then Right Click in the space Create New txt document call it tvDebug.log then Right Click this Document and select Read Only close all then Restart ZA restart Internet "Done" you space should be back and you shouldn't lose anymore, This Worked for me

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