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michal

What's Eating my Free Space? A Windows XP Question.......

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Here's the scenario. My current computer is of a 1.2 gHz processor with a 40 GB hard running under Windows XP. Although its relatively low-end by today's standards it works well for me because I tend to keep it optimized; which means cleaning my hard drive regularly.Recently I've been noticing a relatively puzzling problem; which I'm sure may appear a bit obsessive to others....the free space on my C drive has suddenly dropped from 2.61 GB to 2.35 GB free.What is puzzling is that my C:drive - my boot drive - is a 5 GB partition that only contains Windows XP and the "Shared" files that some software like Norton Antivirus installs there. I never install any other software there yet over time the free space keeps decreasing.Windows Update is turned off and I haven't downloaded any updates in a while; I use AdSubtract Pro which allows me to erase my browser cache and any temporary files and cookies. I also run Disk Cleanup and delete Temporary Internet files and all System Restore points except the current one; and Diskeeper daily to keep my drives defragmented.As part of my cleaning routine I regularly delete files that are found with the following search criteria:*.bak, *.tmp, ~*.* - deletes all those stray files*.chk - deletes all the fragmented filesprefetch - deletes the files in the Windows XP Prefetch foldertemp - deletes all those orphan files and folders.After all this the reported free space is still decreasing. Now a .26 GB decrease may not be a big deal to most people but to me it means there roughly 270 MB of disk space somehow being wasted.Does anyone know what might be causing this problem? Is it simply that the routine that reports Free Space is incorrect? Could it be that Symantec LiveUpdate is causing the problem even though I always delete all Norton Antivirus updates except the current one?Appreciate your thoughts :-)

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I've had the same problem as you prior to changing my hard drive. I too have been clearing out the same files you did, but for some reason mine dropped from 1.34 GB to 800 seemingly overnight.My resolution was to change to a 120GB hard drive and partitioned my root dir to 20GB and (3) 33GB after that.Brent Hebert**Edit: As an afterthought, you may want to export your email to a separate drive other than your C: drive. This will definitey free up some space.

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You may want to do a search for some BIG files. At the start of the year I had much the same problem - except in my case the loss of HD space was 12x 1Gb files that had appeared for no reason. Possibly some sort of virus attack, although my AntiVirus software wasn't triggered. After "archiving" them to see if they'd be missed I got rid of them.Hope you solve the problem,Alastair

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Do a virus scan, just in case. I had an older computer with a hard drive that kept filling up rapidly. I'd delete a bunch of files, and then it would be full again. I did a virus scan and removed a virus. After that it stopped.

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't think I have any viruses; I've had both McAfee Antivirus and Norton Antivirus installed and neither of them reportee any viruses after full system scans. I keep my virus definitions updated so in all likelihood I'd know if there were a virus.But I'll still take the time this weekend to see if there are any unusual files laying around.

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Disk Drive use is always a mystery!!!some possibilities:1. your swap space, sometimes it is pre-allocated, some times simply grows ... you can check ... right click MY Computer/Advanced/Performance and see how your virtual memory is set up and where.2. using your internet browser whether I.E. or Netscape or whatever, usually eats up lots of space because both browsers save much of each screens contents in cache (disk) for quick loading. 3. temp files There are a couple of tools I recommend .. one is "Windows Washer" .. which is a neat utility which wipes out your internet browsing history and all the types of files you will never need or use but which take up space. Web: http://www.webroot.com ... certainly not advertising .. but I run periodically, yesterday for example, and it freed up 524 MB for me ... imagine? Another tool is Diskmapper 2 ... it shows you graphically every nook and cranny on your HDD and what is there. Always interesting. www.miclog.comAnd, I agree with you, and don;t think you are being obsessive at all, these day goodness only know what is being written onto your HDD without your knowledge .. even though you have firewalls etc.Good luck and happy hinting!!

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One way to research this is to do a find by "date".... Pick a start date of a month or two back, and use the current date as an end date. Once the find is finished, either sort by size or date order. You can identify a lot of surprises this way.... 270 MB can be reached quite fast. If you're an aircraft downloader, and don't delete the zip files, that can soak up 270 MB within a few weeks....-John

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Check for .dmp files in the windows partition.Particularly if for a reason or another yoy have reset your computer a few times. Also check for files according to size.Sometimes if you have installed new add-ons programs etc the installers, zip files etc have the nasty habit to reside permanently in temp directories (JohnCi if that is what you meant by deleting the zip files, then disregard the above).

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There's a service called "disk indexing" or something like that I think is turned on by default in XP. The purpose is to make file searches faster, but I believe that it uses disk space. The index itself is probably a hidden and/or system file that may or may not show up on a search.Dan

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Thanks for all the suggestions.Paul,The swap file size is set at 767 MB which is the optimal size for my 512 MB RAM. I also use AdSubtract Pro which clears out the files left behind when I close my browser. AdSubtract invariably finds more temp files than the default XP Disk Cleanup function.John,I never download files to my C: drive but I'll certainly use your suggestion of searching by date to identify any strange files.Vassilis,Fortunately no .dmp files; I always delete the files in the minidump folder so they don't accumulate.Dan,I have the indexing service turned off. I used the suggestions at http://members.internettrash.com/megapolon/winxptweak.html and http://www.blackviper.com/index.html to manage the services I use in XP Pro.As you can tell I've been fairly conscientious about keeping things well managed so its part of the reason why I'm puzzled about the change in the amount of free space available.

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Have another look at your email inbasket/outbasket etc... these files grow over time

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"The swap file size is set at 767 MB which is the optimal size for my 512 MB RAM."One suggestion (and I made recent comments in a H/W forum thread regarding this as well). The idea of fixing the swap file at 1.5x RAM has started to fade and is largely unneeded in these days of 512Meg+ systems. It originated in the days of 16-64meg, yet WAN admins like myself were getting saddled with apps that took far more than that. Sizing and fixing the swap file under those circumstances improved performance vs. a Windows managed swap file.Today in my internal courses, I teach my new staff to let Windows manage the swap file on all but our most RAM deficient systems, anything which run with less than 256 megs of RAM. In my case, that's about one percent of the 2000 workstations we support. My courseware may change if I start seeing applications that require swap file usage. I used to teach the fixed swap file method back when my systems were less than 256megs, and some apps were using on average 300-400 megs. The 1.5x formula was fairly safe--anticipating a "worst case scenario". To date, I haven't seen anecdotal reports of any popular app taking more than 400 megs, although multitasking can exceed that--something I don't do when using FS2002....Unless you heavily multitask, all the space dedicated to the swap file is just a waste--it won't be used. Perhaps in the future it will, but for the time being, free up another 767 megs. You'll likely find that the swap file is hardly used at all.

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Hi WorkingStiff.The obvious answer is to buy another harddrive, and quit worrying about it. You can get another 40GB for about $60 US. Save $10/week and it won't take long. :)Dick

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Dick,I suppose I could do that :-) But I already have another 20 GB hardrive that I scavenged from another computer and its almost filled with FS downloads and backup files.I'm planning to build another system when FS COF is released and I'll be sure to get at least 120 GB. Considering that my first computer had no disk storage and my second stored data on a cassette tape and you'll understand why I'm coming off obsessive about disk space.JohnCi,I misspoke...Windows XP is managing my swap file size and it allocated the 767 MB space. I didn't set it manually.Bert, I use both Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express as my e-mail software so I try to be cognizant about the amount of space they occupy. My .pst files are less than 10 MB in size so I'm sure that's not causing the problem.

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Hi WorkingStiff.When I was a kid we normally talked about airplanes, firecars and the other sex. Nowadays they talk computers. Why I say this? listen, when I upgraded my PC to win-xp and started with all this partitioning thing (C, D, E, etc.) like I learned in the old days of DOS, my grandson (then 15) came to me and said: Hi, Grany, with XP you need only C drive, that's it!!!If it would be my Lady I wouldn't listen, but my grandson?! So believe it or not, XP works fine with one partition only.I know, there are other opinions too (like; what about backup, where to keep my music, etc.) but a lot of Gurus say that one partition for a HDD in win-xp is enough. You can try it if you add another drive like Dick recomended above.Have funSeev

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