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What's eating up my hard drive space?

by musicman707 / October 22, 2008 4:43 AM PDT

I have an older computer with two small hard drives installed. The master drive is 9.3 GB and the slave is 18.6 GB. (I used to have the larger drive as the master but it crashed and when I got it fixed I was advised to make the smaller drive the master.) Because the master drive is so small, whenever I install a new program, I always make sure to install it on the larger slave drive, which has over 5 GB of free space left on it.

I've tried to make sure the smaller master drive retains plenty of free space. Until recently my system information showed I had 1.7 GB of free space on the master drive. Lately though, for reasons I don't understand, I keep getting warnings that the free space on my hard drive is low, around only 200 MB. Of course, I do what I can to clear up space, but even so, suddenly I have only about 700 MB of free space on the master drive.

I compressed the drive to free up more space, and this brought it back up to about 1.5 GB of free space. Now again, this morning, I got a warning again that the hard drive free space is down to 200 MB, and that's with the drive compressed!

What gives?? I've run my anti-spyware and anti-virus programs, and they don't show any problems. What's eating up all the free space on my hard drive??

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Re: free disc space
by Kees Bakker / October 22, 2008 5:09 AM PDT

The OS is eating a lot of space and still growing. Every Windows update copies the old files to the system restore area and to a folder in Windows, than replaces the original with a copy and saves that also in the $hf_mig folder. That's 1 copy turning to 4. SP3 was about 500 Mb. So that update alone eats 1.5 Gb.

You can clear the System Restore (System Information Volume folder)space by turning System Restore off and immediately on again. You can use ccleaner to delete the $NTUninstall folder in Windows or do it manually.

My advice:
- turn off and on System Restore
- download ccleaner (free) and use it to clean what it finds
- then download treesize or clduw (both free) to analyze what's left


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Many thanks.
by musicman707 / October 22, 2008 5:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: free disc space

Makes sense. I'll try it. Thanks.

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Deleting the $NTUninstall folder
by musicman707 / October 22, 2008 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: free disc space

In trying to delete this folder manually, I did a search for it. I couldn't find a folder with this name, but instead found scores of folders with names that begin with "$NTUninstall" and then contain the names of the updates. Do I remove all of these? None of these? How do I know which folders to delete?

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Only Delete Those If You're Never Going To Uninstall...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 22, 2008 9:47 AM PDT

...the Windows Update which is associated with those folders.. Each time a Windows Update is applied to your computer, a new folder with a similar file name is created in that area.. If you choose to uninstall a particular Windows Update from the Control Panel/Add-Remove Programs section, the uninstall process uses that folder..

So, yes, you can delete the files with "$NTUninstalxxx" wording in them to save some space, (leave the one listed as "$hg_mig& alone.),but you'll want to be sure all those Windows Updates are running fine before doing so.

Hope this helps.


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by musicman707 / October 22, 2008 12:14 PM PDT

...for the help.

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Or time for an upgrade
by icepop4who / October 23, 2008 3:16 PM PDT

I'm sorry it's a bit irrelevant, but you're computer is ancient. You should probably consider getting a new system. Computer these days go for around $400 to $500.

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Yeah, I know...
by musicman707 / October 23, 2008 3:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Or time for an upgrade

When I get $500 extra on hand I'll probably do that. Meanwhile, I'm making do, though. Also thought about looking for a bigger hard drive, if I could find one cheap, since it's a previous generation.

I have the use of a laptop that's much more up to date, so I use that for some stuff, but I just prefer a desktop, ya know...?

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A bigger hard disk would be easy to find.
by Kees Bakker / October 23, 2008 6:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Yeah, I know...

The possible issues are:
- does the BIOS support a disk > 127 Mb?
- do you have XP SP2?

If both conditions are fulfilled, you'll easily install a new 250 Gb disk.


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I do have XP Service Pack 2
by musicman707 / October 24, 2008 1:32 AM PDT

But I don't know anything about what you said about the BIOS. What are you referring to, and how can I tell if it would support a disk (I assume you mean a larger disk)?

Thanks for the help.

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Depends on the BIOS and its version.
by Kees Bakker / October 24, 2008 4:27 AM PDT

Up to 127 Mb (that's what I wrote) you won't have any problems. Older computers might refuse to work with bigger ones.

The BIOS name and version generally is shown first thing in the upper left corner of the screen if you boot. Pressing pause generally pauses the boot so you have time to copy it to paper.
Or enter the BIOS setup (by pressing f1 or f2 or f10 or del or esc - or another key depending on your PC, you might see something like 'Press del to enter setup' early during the boot to tell you) and see if it tells you name and version.


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Two questions, then:
by musicman707 / October 24, 2008 4:35 AM PDT

1) Did you mean "up to 127 GB" as in the size of hard drive it might accept? Or what were you referring to there?

2) What version of BIOS am I looking for to accommodate a larger hard drive?

Shoot, if I could add even just a 75 or 100 GB hard drive, that would probably be plenty big enough for my needs. I don't do a lot with multi-media besides music, and I currently store that on CD-Rs

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In reference to the 127 kees is referring to
by inbiz4life / October 24, 2008 10:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Two questions, then:

I'm thinking he is referring to the RAM or Random-access memory but is now being called something else. Windows 98 was standard I think in the desktop to carry 127 , not sure about W95. To find what yours is right-click My Computer in your start menu then click properties. I don't know how to find the BIOS in an older machine other than how kees explained to. I have read about the BIOS before and just read it again and still not sure what it does, something to do with the starting up or booting up process of the computer. you can put BIOS in your search box and try and learn about it. If anyone reading this knows anything about how to find out what ethernet card or device or network adaptor, what ever the d a r n thing is referred to as, in a windows 98 computer when it is physically there and plugged into the motherboard but not in the device manager, please let me know so I can try and download the driver and install it. I looked at the circuit board the ethernet jack is mounted to and see REV AOI HOLLY with some numbers above it 74-50808-03 . I did see PCI Ethernet Controller under other devices when in Safe Mode but wasn't showing uo in regular mode and now is gone from the Safe Mode device manager all together

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RAM is not a problem.
by musicman707 / October 24, 2008 1:40 PM PDT

I have 1 GB of RAM. And in the grande scheme of things my machine is not that old. It's from the early half of this decade. The small hard drive is from an older computer I had sitting around. I originally added it as a slave drive, but then the disk on this computer crashed and I had to set the smaller disk up as the master.

As to the BIOS, I'm thinking Kees is talking about something besides RAM, but I could be wrong. I'm running XP SP2.

Windows 98--now that takes me back. It was sort of the Toyota Corolla of Microsoft systems. Didn't have as many bells and whistles as today's versions, but was a pretty sturdy OS. Unfortunately the device manager app wasn't as fully developed then, so you have to do a lot more manually with it.

Did you try putting the part number in Google to see what comes up? It might be listed somewhere on the internet. In Device Mgr. the card you're talking about may just be listed as a "Network Adapter." If you have a network adapter installed, it should show up on the task bar at the bottom right hand of your screen. It may give an error message saying "a nework cable is unplugged."

Best wishes on finding what you're looking for.

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The 127 Gb ...
by Kees Bakker / October 26, 2008 6:24 AM PDT
In reply to: RAM is not a problem.

was the size of the drive, indeed. Older BIOS'es might refuse to work with such a large hard disk. The specs of your motherboard might tell it.

It wouldn't be too difficult to find a smaller disk (like 80 Gb) on eBay. That's much more than you have now, and certain to work.


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Thanks, Kees
by musicman707 / October 26, 2008 8:05 AM PDT
In reply to: The 127 Gb ...

80 GB would be plenty of space for my purposes. I'll check ebay and the like.....

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If you run a tree in one printer,scanner,copier HP C4280
by raymond1956 / October 27, 2008 6:47 AM PDT

I have this type of printer scanner and i did encounter the same problem. I run window XP Service Pack#2.

If it's your case, check out on your O.S. drive, the files Documents and settings/"your name"/local settings/temp. When i scan, this folder is probably use by the H.P. software to store temporary files, before you accept it,(the scan). The soft live it there so it, grow's until you get the full drive message.

I have lately accept the software update, for that printer from H.P. and now it's no more a problem!

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