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Hard drive filling up with crap?

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!
21 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about hard drive filling crap
  1. 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.
  2. Other than that, big system files are:
    - hibernate.sys (hibernation file)
    - pagefile.sys (page/swap file)
    - System Restore
    - SuperFetch
  3. 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?
  4. Find the file using Explorer?
    Be sure to un-hide the "hidden and system files".
  5. 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!
  6. 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?
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. run disk cleanup (start-proograms-accersories-system tools-disk cleanup) and make sure you clean up all the hibernation files. that may help
  13. 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.
  14. - try to disable the system restore it is the main culprit.
  15. 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.
  16. Best answer
    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
  17. 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!
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. Best answer selected by scottsr123.
  21. One thing you could of done to figure out if Shadowstorage (restore points) vss was the culprit(which it sounds like it was but this way you know how to verify for future cases etc). You could simply open up Command prompt (cmd) as administrator Start > type in cmd > right click and run as administrator.
    Then type in vss list shadowstorage. This will show you how much space is allocated to Shadowstorage (system restore etc). It will show you how much disk space is being used by shadowstorage as well. I do NOT recommend turning System restore off.. It is a great feature. Instead .. You should simply set a limit to how much space is allocated for Shadowstorage. GO back within Computer > properties > system protection > system restore tab> configure > turn system restore back on. Click on the C: drive in system restore and click configure. Now set a limit to vss. I recommend between 5-20%. It will show you how much disk space will be used by vss. Or a quick and easy way to set this is open Command prompt as administrator again. Type this command in vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /Maxsize=10GB. That will set system restore(shadowstorage) to a maximum of 10GB it will not go over 10GB. I NEVER recommend turning system restore off. I don't know many techs that do.
    If you have any questions. Give a shout!
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