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Disappearing disk space?

Last response: in Storage
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April 3, 2009 3:16:35 PM

I use separate hard drives for storage and running the OS/programs. Lately, my 200GB OS/program hard drive has been mysteriously losing storage space and I don't know why! About a month ago, I had about 140GB free on the drive (which was has been roughly the case since I built the computer last summer). Last week, I only had 70GB free (I didn't install anything prior to this). Now I only have 55GB free (again, no installs).

I was concerned about where my storage space was going, so I tried running a few disk space analysis tools - WinDirStat and JDiskReport. BOTH of these programs are saying I'm only using 55GB of my storage (=145GB free) which is not consistent with what Vista is telling me.

My recycle bin is empty and I've tried running CCleaner. I'm running Vista SP1 and have Windows 7 installed on another partition of the same drive. Anyone know what's going on? I've never heard of this happening before!
a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 3:32:58 PM

A (very) common problem with Vista; absolutely nothing to do with your hard drive, it's probably system restore/shadow copy and index files (all of which are hidden files); if you search through the Vista section of this forum you'll find a number of similar posts.
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April 3, 2009 6:32:29 PM

Is it wierd that this just started happening in the last month or so, though? I had my computer for over half a year before noticing this.
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April 3, 2009 8:03:05 PM

Run a full disk check.

Mike
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April 3, 2009 8:26:01 PM

I ran one earlier this week and no errors were found.
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April 4, 2009 9:32:39 PM

Was it a FULL, all boxes ticked, disk check? :o  Did you use Event Viewer to check the result?

Mike.
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April 4, 2009 9:47:02 PM

Not sure if it was full or not. I followed these instructions:

Run Check Disk:

1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
2. Right-click cmd in the Programs list, and then click Run as administrator. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password or click Continue
3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: chkdsk /r
4. If asked to run this at the next restart, type y, and press Enter.
5. Restart your computer

To be honest, I have noticed some abnormal clicking of my hard disk and have noticed some corrupt windows files. I'm not sure if this is related or not.
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a b G Storage
April 5, 2009 5:26:56 AM

If you are hearing a clicking from the HD, It's likely dying. It's probably got some bad sectors on the disc. You may want to look at getting a new HD and copying your files to the new HD quick, before the HD dies completely.
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a b G Storage
April 5, 2009 6:07:59 AM

Another possibility . . . I'd never suggest it except it happened to me.

I had similar "losses" of disk space, and it drove me crazy. A search for "large files" finally gave me the solution.

A new game used a keybind that was ALSO my FRAPS hotkey. So, during game play, I would periodically record videos.

Yes, my disk had filled up with videos of my own game play.

Just thought I'd mention it :) 
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April 5, 2009 7:04:41 AM

Clicking? I'd be downloading MFG's diagnostics tools...
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a b G Storage
April 5, 2009 7:47:11 AM

I found windows vista has at least 2 hidden temp folders that are not cleared when you run the disk cleaner. Mine have been as large as 20gigs. However one of them does store program info that could prevent proper function if you delete the files within it.

Open my computer go to tool, folder options, view, then check "show hidden files and folders. you should be able to find these folders.

I've just cleared mine so i'm sorry I can't provide you with an exact location.
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April 5, 2009 1:51:29 PM

I'll hunt down the Samsung diagnostic tools and see if I can find anything. I began hearing the clicking last year quite a bit, and I ran some diagnostics which didn't find anything. Then the clicking eventually stopped so I forgot about it. It's happened a few times in the last week, especially when saving files, but it's still very sporadic.

I backup an entire image of my HD every night so I'm not worried about a catastrophe if it goes under. The drive's about 2.5 years old.
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April 5, 2009 10:31:43 PM

I haven't had a chance to run any diagnostic tools yet, but I was playing with WinDirStat again and found 103.3GB of "Unknown" disk space. According to <http://blog.windirstat.info/20061013/unknown-space/&gt;, this is most likely due to excessive system restore points, as MrLinux had mentioned initially. Now to figure out how to get rid of these...
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Best solution

April 6, 2009 12:52:07 AM

You may have already tried this but, with Vista, you can use Disk Cleanup to remove all but the last System Restore point.
Start Disk Cleanup, then click the tab named "More Options".
In there, click on the button named "Clean up" in the lower section named "System Restore and Shadow Copy".
It will take a while to process, so be patient.
When the dialog window opens up, click on the button named "Delete".
When it is done prcoessing that command, click on "OK" to finish deleting files and close the program.
From there, check in Explorer and you should see a lot more room.
If that doesn't help your situation, then it's not the System Restore & Shadow Copy files, it's something else.
But that worked for me when the same thing happened last year after I switched to Vista.
I now do this once a week to keep it under control.
I also turned off the Shadow Volume Copy service since I don't need it running for anything, but I left on System Restore to be able to keep one last-know-good emergency restore point.

Hope it helps you, too. :-)
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April 6, 2009 11:50:16 AM

Well, yesterday I had 48GB free on the drive and when I woke up this morning it was already down to 42GB. System restore is getting out of control!

I followed your advice CaptainObvious, and it boosted my free space from 42GB to 146GB... that's more like it. Thanks for the advice everyone!

Now what's the best way to keep this monster in control? Can I set it so it can only store a max of 1 restore point? Like I said, I create an image of my drive each night so I don't even really need system restore. However, having a little redundancy never hurts. Is this a bug in Vista or is system restore actually designed to use up twice as much storage as my actual data?
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 2, 2012 1:21:16 AM

spritemv said:
Not sure if it was full or not. I followed these instructions:

Run Check Disk:

1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
2. Right-click cmd in the Programs list, and then click Run as administrator. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password or click Continue
3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: chkdsk /r
4. If asked to run this at the next restart, type y, and press Enter.
5. Restart your computer

To be honest, I have noticed some abnormal clicking of my hard disk and have noticed some corrupt windows files. I'm not sure if this is related or not.


hello, i think i have a tested solution for the big missing of storage, i have lost more than 70 gb from my hard drive and finally yes i have found them iin the the backup files and killed them in cold blood, so you may go to backup and restor, hit manage space and then hit view backup you'll see every hidden gega in your computer(this was tested in window 7 and mostly will worck in all other sorts) .
long live the freedom space
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