Hard disk space disappears for no identifiable reason!


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Hello all :)

I have been using this computer for about a month and the problem emerged since day one

I am aware that downloading files, creating files, chatting, recording, downloading mail, and browsing will use disk space, and that certain applications download/create files in the background. I'm used to the amount of disk space these things take up. In the past weeks, the amount of space I lose is very abnormal. Specially with the fact a barely use it, haven't even downloaded or installed any programs apart from Windows updating programs which didn't take more than 500 MB from my HD

I think about 30-40 GB of space has inexplicably vanished in the past weeks. I've gone from having about 230 GB free to 180 GB without installing anything apart that I set up an user account which is meant to my mum's use but she didn't use it yet. Right now, after restarting, I have 179 GB free, and that will disappear after the computer restart. Everytime I reboot about 1 GB is vanished from my HD. If I reboot twice a day then near 2 GB are gone!

Oh and the Scan Disk utility didn't show any problems with my HD and there are no programs running in the background comsuming too much whatever that shows up in the Task Manager.

I am using Windows 7 Ultimate

Any idea on what's draining my space??

Thank you folks!
 
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Hey there, Carol. Welcome to the site!

It's possible that the System Restore functionality of Windows is what is causing disk space to be used. This is normal operation and nothing really to be concerned with.

I recommend that you download and install Ccleaner. This is an excellent utility to clear unnecessary files from the machine. It is also great for your privacy, to use this because it gets rid of ways that websites can and do track you.

It is a very safe program to run as it will never damage anything necessary to keep on the machine. It is simply a very excellent program.

http://www.piriform.com/

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You can also go to C:/Windows/SoftwareDistribution/Download/ and delete all the contents in there. This will free some space and is 100% safe and good to do.
 
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Hey TorrentG how funny I was just Googleing for CCleaner when I received your reply! I will give it a go but I am a little afraid I'll tick something wrong for deleting and may damage my system by deleting important files? well I will make a backup and see if it goes all fine, I will post back.

Thank you so much :)
 
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You're welcome.

There's nothing that Ccleaner can or will remove that will cause any issues.

So feel free to check any boxes you want as it will all be fine, regardless.

I have everything checked, with the following exceptions:

All the ones under advanced. I do have Old Prefetch Data checked though.

The final 3 in the System section.
 
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Thank you for your support TorrentG :)

I've run the program and rebooted the computer and it made little difference, less than 1 GB more free space actually. I'd like to see if the System Restore functionality is doing this as you said, would you know what is the path to the backup folder on Windows 7? Also my windows folder says it has 10GB of files, is it normal?

Another thing I find funny is that with the "System Information" program says my Logical Disk is a 250 GB and then the Storage Device says it is a 220 GB -thats actually the amount of size it shows on "My Computer" (220 GB) but I bought it as a 250 GB laptop. I bought it with Windows 7 and remember having over 210 GB free, which I found odd as I bought a 250 GB laptop and was expecting at least 230 free GB but now only 179 GB lol
 
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Yes, that is completely normal to have 220 GB usable space on a 250 GB drive. It's the formatting of the drive that needs to be performed so files can be placed on it that is responsible for the difference. 100% normal.

Under normal conditions and without doing special things, you can not view the System Restore files. What you can do is go to the settings page responsible for it.

You can press the Windows key + Pause/Break key on the keyboard at the same time. Then click on System protection.

You can use this to delete old restore points or set it so that it will not make them at all. You can also set the maximum space allloted to the feature. It's recommended to keep it enabled in case you have some issues that may be difficult to otherwise repair, for you.

Yep, 10 GB, more or less is perfectly normal for Windows folder. Mine is 16.4 GB and I'm only using the smaller 32 bit version of Windows 7.

You're welcome.
 
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I think if I don't figure out what's eating my HD I will need to format it lol

...do you remember when we use to have a 20GB HD and would last forever? Now it looks so little no matter how big it is :-D

Thank you again for your time and all of your fast support TorrentG

Carolina
 
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Yes, I do. I had TI and Commodores in the 80s. My first PC of the 90s was from a friend and it only had a 1 GB hdd.

That's when I learned where just about every single thing that can be deleted safely was. lol
 

Nibiru2012

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A general rule of thumb to quickly convert the manufacturer's hard disk capacity to the standard Windows formatted capacity is 0.93 capacity of HDD from manufacturer for HDDs less than a terabyte and 0.91 capacity of HDD from manufacturer for HDDs equal to or greater than 1 terabyte.

This has to do with hard drive manufacturers basing the hard drive size on a decimal size. While Windows uses binary sizing.

Let’s take a real example, Seagate/Maxtor DiamondMax 21 hard disk drive with “250 GB”. It is announced as being a 250 GB hard disk drive, having 488,397,168 sectors. With this number of sectors we can easily find out that the capacity of this hard disk drive is of 250,059,350,016 bytes, or 232.88 GB and not 250 GB. So here is why your 250 GB hard drive is only formatted with 232 GB: it IS a 232 GB hard drive!

Here's a good article to read that explains it better: Hard Disk Drives Capacity Limits
 

catilley1092

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Yes, that is completely normal to have 220 GB usable space on a 250 GB drive. It's the formatting of the drive that needs to be performed so files can be placed on it that is responsible for the difference. 100% normal.

Under normal conditions and without doing special things, you can not view the System Restore files. What you can do is go to the settings page responsible for it.

You can press the Windows key + Pause/Break key on the keyboard at the same time. Then click on System protection.

You can use this to delete old restore points or set it so that it will not make them at all. You can also set the maximum space allloted to the feature. It's recommended to keep it enabled in case you have some issues that may be difficult to otherwise repair, for you.

Yep, 10 GB, more or less is perfectly normal for Windows folder. Mine is 16.4 GB and I'm only using the smaller 32 bit version of Windows 7.

You're welcome.
CCleaner has a page to view your Restore Points. On the left side of the CCleaner's main page, you'll see four options. Click Tools, then you have the options of Uninstall, Startup & System Restore. On the System Restore page, you can view and delete those that you no longer need. It's the easiest way to find your restore points on a single page.

Cat
 
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Hello all :)

Any idea on what's draining my space??

Thank you folks!
Hi Carol,

You can use this freeware utility which shows a graphical representation of the folders/files on your hard drive along with the file size info. The ones with the largest rectangle are the largest folders/files.
 
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I wonder if trojan activity could possibly consume extra hard disk space. When running my favorite registry cleaner (PCtuner by Quickheal, an antivirus company in India), I would pick up at least 600 invalid registry entries in a 3 month period before I switched to Avast AV. Now it's closer to 100. However massive amounts of invalid registry entries point to the leftovers of spyware activity.

I worked in Internet tech support for Comcast and in my experience of talking to around 600 computer users per month: I think that most people have trojans sitting on their computer regardless of how great they think their antivirus program is. Most AV programs grew up in an age where viruses where just about anarchy. Now they are about business, as in grabbing your banking info to drain your account. Unfortunately a lot of the big names make more money when you call them for support ($85 to $300) than they get from selling their software. So why should they make a serious effort to protect you?

Information moves over the web in hops. When you are infected with a trojan, your computer becomes part of a network forwarding keystroke logging from other infected systems. When I was infected: Kaspersky informed me that I had 42 connections open to the internet (it finally let me know after I gave up on finding anything wrong and was removing it from my computer: I switched to Avast and the problem disappeared after running its famous boot scan).

This type of unauthorized activity keeps your hard drive spinning when you aren't actually doing anything on your computer. Ultimately your drive will burn up prematurely. Your Internet experience will be slower than it should be and you will often experience inexplicable delays when trying to connect to a page or an object.

Internet providers have simply given up and keep throwing more and more speed at their customers. It only takes two connections to download most web pages. Customers blame the cable company because the speed problems evaporate when they move their computer to a different network, such as a public wifi spot, their office or a vacation home. However it's only because the trojan network can't find you at the new location.

You can get these buggers on any legitimate website. Kid's game sites and Facebook aps are the worst: nothing is really free. The website owner doesn't typically control which banners are shown. They come from a third-party banner network. The active X controls which help advertisers see where you are surfing, in order to serve up targeted ads also let anyone with a credit card to take out an ad and spy on you. Overseas, American identity theft is big business and they have plenty of stolen credit card numbers with which to take out illegitimate banner ads.

One lady who called in had $1000 yanked out of her banking account after buying a phone online. Another gentleman found charges for airline tickets from overseas on his bank statement.

I wonder if this kind of unauthorized activity consumes hard disk space as well.

Once your browser has been thrashed with bad active X controls, you have to go in and download a fresh copy after cleaning up the malware. Its always a good idea to have at least two browsers on your computer, in case Internet Explorer goes defunct you can always go in via Google Chrome and download a new copy. Even if you never use IE for surfing, you have to reinstall it after any kind of infection.

Contrary to popular belief, Macs, Smartphones and even Linux all run Microsoft Active X to surf the web. All of these devices get viruses and need protection.

Whenever I get a new computer I go in and remove all the factory programs using freeware called "Revo Uninstaller". If you simply use the Windows uninstaller, many programs leave behind hundreds if not thousands of files on your computer, which may end up causing you problems. So called "program updaters" are designed to spy on whether you are stealing the trial programs that came with your computer. Unfortunately this also opens a back door to other intruders.

The way they get even with you for removing one antivirus program is by telling you to reboot right away. This causes your system to come up totally unprotected and nasty things that weren't caught take over. The whole thing often dies within an hour. I've seen it over and over when people switch to from Internet provider to another. They have to remove from one "free" included AV program and install a new one and suddenly their computer becomes useless. You want to tell the computer that you will "reboot later" and then install a new Antivirus program BEFORE rebooting.

My step son has ruined both his mom's and dad's computer. If you have a kid who likes to play online games, take a few moments to research the process of restoring your computer to factory settings from the boot menu. Have an understanding with your kid: that if the computer freezes up during a game they should NOT try to turn it back on. You might get only one chance to even make it to the boot up menu. More damage is done when you bring the system up the second time and then all you get is NOTHING upon turning it on. Might not be a bad idea these days to have a $100 pawnshop computer for the kids. Try to stick with Windows Vista or later as they all have built-in factory recovery programs. Check to see that the factory recovery partition has not been removed.

I stick with the free version of Avast as I think the paid version has become over bloated and interferes with what you are doing: the free version is very lite and transparent. I wish more AV programs would do something about pop-up virus attacks and viruses that hop onto your computer from other computers at wifi spots. I haven't found ANY programs to defend against these issues so far. So I keep a backup snap shot of my personal optimized setup on my Acer Vista laptop. Whenever my computer does strange things: I simply restore it to that perfect point. (Note: this is different than the built-in system restore that comes with Windows.)

Of course you can lose everything when you do a full system restore: however I keep all my own data on a separate hard disk partition. I also back up critical files to my USB drive.

I realize this seems to be a little off topic: but I think the quantities of used disk space
Carol is talking about are much larger than can be accounted for with the other explanations offered.
 
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TrainableMan

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I realize the post is 6 weeks old but since WorkThis has resurrected it I will add that besides restore points as mentioned, if Windows Backup is enabled it could also be using additional space.
 

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