Free HDD Space Rapidly Increasing

Short story: My HDD space keeps increasing quickly. Is it deleting files? Do I have a virus? I have VERY important stuff on this computer!

Full story:

I have a laptop with a 160 GB HDD (140 something usable I think) and since I was getting low on space and I needed a lot of space to transfer some large files, I uninstalled some programs and deleted some files I didn't need. It started getting full a few weeks ago as I remember. So whenever I get too low, I free up some more space. I finally managed to get about 20 GB free and then I filled up about 10 GB (I needed some files from another computer for what I was working on). So anyway, at one point I checked My Computer to see how much space I had left. Then I checked it again a bit afterwards. It had increased by a number of a couple of GB even though I had just transferred more stuff (besides the 10 GB)! I checked again in a bit and it had 15 more GB free than before!

This is terrifying me. I'm afraid if I do a virus scan, important stuff could be deleted while I wait. I really need to know what to do. I couldn't tell if anything was missing, but I had so many files on it anyway, how would I know unless they were straight from my desktop or documents folder. I had Avast (free version) running, but I know it needed updated. I already have MalwareBytes on the computer, but it's free version so it doesn't do realtime. I have no idea what to do. I'm really hoping it's not a virus. Please help! In the meantime, I turned off the laptop and removed the battery. If you need more information, just ask.
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More about free space rapidly increasing
  1. I would suggest storing all the important files on an external hard drive, and then format the laptop hard drive just to be safe.
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