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Hard drive filling up with crap?

Last response: in Storage
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February 14, 2010 10:53:22 AM

I have a homebuilt system and the primary HDD is rapidly filling up with crap, much more so than it should with what I've put on it. This happened before, I did a clean re-install of Vista, and within a couple of months I'm right back in the same position. WinDirStat shows that I have an "Unknown" file that is almost 200GB! Any idea what this is and how I can get rid of it?

My system:
MB - Asus M4A79
CPU - AMD 9500
8GB RAM
2 x 1TB HDD
Vista x64

Thanks!
a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 11:03:58 AM

What's that .package file that's huge (colour yellow in your picture)?

By the way, its much better practice to leave your C-drive for system/applications only, and write any user data (movies, pictures, whatever) to another volume. Thus, separating your system and user files is generally strongly recommended. It will also help keep fragmentation to a minimum. From the looks of it, your HDD performance will be much lower due to fragmentation and non-contiguous data addressing.
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a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 11:05:50 AM

Other than that, big system files are:
- hibernate.sys (hibernation file)
- pagefile.sys (page/swap file)
- System Restore
- SuperFetch
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February 14, 2010 11:06:31 AM

sub mesa said:
What's that .package file that's huge (colour yellow in your picture)?

By the way, its much better practice to leave your C-drive for system/applications only, and write any user data (movies, pictures, whatever) to another volume. Thus, separating your system and user files is generally strongly recommended. It will also help keep fragmentation to a minimum. From the looks of it, your HDD performance will be much lower due to fragmentation and non-contiguous data addressing.


Tha huge PACKAGE file is the unknown I'm asking about. I have no idea what it is! Any advice?
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a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 11:16:02 AM

Find the file using Explorer?
Be sure to un-hide the "hidden and system files".
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February 14, 2010 11:32:40 AM

sub mesa said:
Find the file using Explorer?
Be sure to un-hide the "hidden and system files".


Actually, when I looked closer at WinDirStat, that is not a PACKAGE file (color-coding is similar). It is simply listed as "Unknown". I've looked endlessly through Explorer, with hidden files shown, and can not find anything anywhere near this large. And, it keeps getting bigger!
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a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 11:46:52 AM

Do you see directories like "System Volume Information" on your C? If not, you have configured Explorer to hide system files.

Did you check out the system restore functionality?
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February 14, 2010 12:33:39 PM

sub mesa said:
Do you see directories like "System Volume Information" on your C? If not, you have configured Explorer to hide system files.

Did you check out the system restore functionality?


Yes, I did see "System Volume Information" and other sys files. I have done a system restore to an earlier restore point and it seemed to work fine, but this huge file remains.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks for your help!
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a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 12:57:45 PM

So can you locate in which directory this large file resides?
Open explorer, select all, properties and see if the file size is what you'd expect.
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February 14, 2010 1:30:43 PM

sub mesa said:
So can you locate in which directory this large file resides?
Open explorer, select all, properties and see if the file size is what you'd expect.

Whe I select all in explorer, it shows 137GB, about what I'd expect. When I look at 'C', it shows 287GB used space. The difference is the size of this "Unknown" file, about 140GB.
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a c 127 G Storage
February 14, 2010 2:04:06 PM

You did do a filesystem check (chkdsk) ?

Also, i assume you are using NTFS filesystem, and not FAT(32)?

I would have expected the 'unknown file' to be included when you selected all in the root of C:. Perhaps you need help from someone who knows more about Windows-specific issues like these.
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February 14, 2010 2:09:19 PM

sub mesa said:
You did do a filesystem check (chkdsk) ?

Also, i assume you are using NTFS filesystem, and not FAT(32)?

I would have expected the 'unknown file' to be included when you selected all in the root of C:. Perhaps you need help from someone who knows more about Windows-specific issues like these.


Yes to NTFS, and chkdsk shows nothing wrong.

Thanks for the help.
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February 15, 2010 1:02:47 AM

run disk cleanup (start-proograms-accersories-system tools-disk cleanup) and make sure you clean up all the hibernation files. that may help
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February 15, 2010 9:46:09 AM

shovenose said:
run disk cleanup (start-proograms-accersories-system tools-disk cleanup) and make sure you clean up all the hibernation files. that may help


How do I make sure I get hibernation files? I've run disk cleanup many times with little to no improvement.

Thanks.
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February 15, 2010 10:39:13 AM

- try to disable the system restore it is the main culprit.
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February 15, 2010 11:09:21 AM

kikireeki said:
- try to disable the system restore it is the main culprit.


How do I disable system restore? I see an option to turn off automatic backup; is this what you mean? Also, if I do so, will this huge unknown file disappear?

Thanks.
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Best solution

February 15, 2010 11:23:35 AM

Automatic backup! that explains a lot! if that is on then it is 100% the problem. yes turn it off it should remove the huge file and even if not you will be able to remove it manually or by disk cleanup.

btw to disable System Restore right click my computer > properties > system protection > system restore tab> configure > turn off system restore from all drives
this will save a considerable space and improve the system performance
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February 15, 2010 11:39:50 AM

kikireeki said:
Automatic backup? if that is on then it is 100% the problem. yes turn it off !


Kikireeki,
I went into system protection and turned off automatic backup, then deselected 'C' drive from system restore. This gave me a warning stating that all prior restore points would be deleted. I clicked 'OK', the drive whirred for a minute, and 140GB disappeared from my drive! THANKS!

How the heck could Vista use more storage space with restore points (140GB) than what actually exists as data on this drive (~135 GB)?

Anyway, thanks very much for your help. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a home server that I'll use as a backup device, so I won't have to rely on Vista to do this to me again!
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February 15, 2010 12:50:39 PM

You are welcome anytime! :) 
scottsr123 said:
How the heck could Vista use more storage space with restore points (140GB) than what actually exists as data on this drive (~135 GB)?


This was happening because the system restore was mirroring the entire system files (and not the whole drive) at every checkpoint made by user or windows update so the more checkpoints you have the more space you lose. It is a faulty heritage from XP that got even worse with Vista.
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February 15, 2010 2:50:41 PM

yes it will slow slightly.the files will take longer to find
start with http://ccleaner.com clears temp files and browser cookies
try
disk clean up
if it runs ~when it gives you can save
click other options
click on ghost files and system restore
let it run
click on delete files then ok
should save quite a bit of memory
hope this helps
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February 22, 2010 1:09:36 AM

Best answer selected by scottsr123.
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