Used space unknown

i have 450gb hard drive, about 75gb is being used and I can see this on Windirstat.
there is also about 200gb of "unknown" and this is increasing daily.
What can it be, not system restore or shadow copies, I have looked at everything I can think of but still cannot find what is eating up my hard drive.

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  1. Hello and Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

    The tree view of WinDirStat should show you which folder has content filling up your HDD.
    Possibly it's hidden not permitting you to see the folders, as the hidden AppData folder. Might click on Windows Explorer, tools, Folder Options, View, and change the radio button to 'show hidden files, folders, directories' Then take another WinDirStat look. When done, change it back

    Occasionally a virus will begin filling up your HDD, so run a full scan with a good Antivirus software.

    Sometimes the Recycle Bin will fill up with 'deleted' files that you haven't cleaned out. Also the Temporary Internet Files or Temp or Tmp files may be filling up, if you haven't cleaned them out recently

    If you are running Win-7, click on Computer, then right click on your HDD, properties, then click on the Disk CleanUp button. It will search your HDD for disposable files, and give you a choice of what to 'clean up''. Choose the Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files, and Temporary Files, then OK
    See if that cleaned up you HDD.

    Lastly, if you are running the Norton Utillities, or similar applet, a 'hidden' recycle bin can store all the deleted files you 'deleted' from the regular recycle bin. In that applet or in the Recycle Bin, check empty hidden recycle bin, if appropriate.

    Hopefully that will get you a squeeky clean HDD.
  2. John
    Thanks for your suggestions which are much appreciated, unfortunately I have already tried all of these hence my desperate hope that somebody may think of something I have missed.
    On Windirstat all my files and folders show up as expected, around 75GB, but there is unknown showing of 217.3GB.
    I am speaking to Norton as there may be a possibility that they have a hidden cache file that is eating up my hard drive but the tech has spent nearly 2 hours remotely looking and can find nothing.
    Unfortunately I think I will have to wipe the hard drive and start again, I do have Acronis backup so will probably be ok but I am always reluctant to mess with the system. A relatively new computer running Windows 7 Professional.

  3. Hi Wendy,

    217GB shouldn't be too hard to track down!

    Make sure for tracking down the space usage that in Windows explorer \ Tools \ Folder Options \ View that both the 'Show files, folders, drives' is chosen and the checkbox is unchecked in 'hide protected operating system files' - you will see all folders on your computer.

    The brute force way to track down disk usage, is to bring up Windows explorer, and start at the top of the file structure, right click on each folder, and see how much disk space is used. Go down the structure until that 217GB disappears, and you know which folder it's in and can pin it down.

    Are you using Acronis True Image or Windows 7 Back-Up and restore that might be backing up your system on a default schedule to the same volume?

    Also, go to disk management, and in the table section at the top, it will show you each recognized disk, the capacity of each, and amount free.
    See if the disk stats match what you are seeing graphically.
  4. John

    Still no luck, on explorer can only find what I expect to be there about 75GB in total. Disk management shows 456.76 Drive space with 182.70 free, still 200+ missing!
    I do not use windows backup and it shows as being unconfigured but I do use Acronis for my backup.
    I always backup to an external hard drive but Acronis may be doing something extra but I wouldn't know where to look.

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