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Disappearing space

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September 29, 2010 4:46:56 PM

Hi. I'm having a major issue with space on my C drive disappearing on my laptop (Acer, with Vista). Free space has been gradually disappearing since Sunday, from 2.6 GB to 1.6, from 1.44 GB to 1.10, and from 860 MB to 416 MB during the ten minutes I was in the shower, and still shrinking. The disk cleanup, CCLeaner, and emptying out internet caches yields no more than 10 MB, scans for viruses and spyware turn up nothing, I've removed all but the most recent shadow copy (and have long had limits on the amount of space they can take up), and testing out allocated space for virtual memory shows nothing. Applications that show the amount of space taken up by various programs and folders have been no help, since I've written down the results of each scan, and the tiny changes between them don't account for such huge and sudden disappearances. How does over 400 MB vanish in less than 10 minutes, where is this space going, and how can I get it back? (Note: I have over 8 GB in outdated and useless files on the laptop, but I'm afraid to free that space up if it's just going to disappear without a trace).

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a c 96 G Storage
September 29, 2010 4:56:06 PM

Run malwarebytes to see what it detects.
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September 29, 2010 9:16:26 PM

Done. 9 pieces of malware removed, though the free space only got up to 840 MB by the end of the scan, and when I restarted the laptop it had shrunk down to 595.
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a c 96 G Storage
September 29, 2010 11:10:04 PM

What kind of junk did it find? Also, did you update and run a full scan?
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September 29, 2010 11:26:39 PM

I updated and ran a full scan on both the C and D drives to be safe. 8 of the 9 malware removed were "Rogue.AdwareAlert" and the other was "Rogue.SpyCleaner". Two were under the category "File," one under Folder, two under Registry Key, and four under Registry Value.
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a b G Storage
September 30, 2010 10:41:05 PM

Clean out your temp files.
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October 1, 2010 1:40:17 AM

You could also try deleting System Restore files, as those can take up gigabytes of space.
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a c 96 G Storage
October 1, 2010 10:52:41 AM

Bostonpat said:
I updated and ran a full scan on both the C and D drives to be safe. 8 of the 9 malware removed were "Rogue.AdwareAlert" and the other was "Rogue.SpyCleaner". Two were under the category "File," one under Folder, two under Registry Key, and four under Registry Value.

So is it still building up stuff and losing space?
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October 1, 2010 11:51:57 AM

Bostonpat said:
Hi. I'm having a major issue with space on my C drive disappearing on my laptop (Acer, with Vista). Free space has been gradually disappearing since Sunday, from 2.6 GB to 1.6, from 1.44 GB to 1.10, and from 860 MB to 416 MB during the ten minutes I was in the shower, and still shrinking. The disk cleanup, CCLeaner, and emptying out internet caches yields no more than 10 MB, scans for viruses and spyware turn up nothing, I've removed all but the most recent shadow copy (and have long had limits on the amount of space they can take up), and testing out allocated space for virtual memory shows nothing. Applications that show the amount of space taken up by various programs and folders have been no help, since I've written down the results of each scan, and the tiny changes between them don't account for such huge and sudden disappearances. How does over 400 MB vanish in less than 10 minutes, where is this space going, and how can I get it back? (Note: I have over 8 GB in outdated and useless files on the laptop, but I'm afraid to free that space up if it's just going to disappear without a trace).


Things that take up space in OS partition include: pagefile, system restore files, temporary files, web browser cache, hibernation files.

The most probable thing imo is the virtual memory (page file) since it happened quite fast.

System restore could also be the culprit but as you said u have that limited already.

Try setting a fixed page file like 1024MB and not a range like 1024-4192 and see if it happens again.

You can also try a ' chkdsk c: /f ' sometimes free space gets wrongly allocated as used. Check disk can fix that.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 1, 2010 12:21:05 PM

If you had malware i would do a reinstall, but you could look at System Restore. If that malware has overwritten/infected alot of system files then the System Restore would grow alot; by removing these you would remove the uninfected versions and keep only the infected versions of the files.

Hence, personally i would reinstall from scratch and protect yourself much better. a PC with malware rarely runs great.
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a b G Storage
October 1, 2010 7:20:24 PM

^Agreed. I reinstall at any sign of problems I get. I love that snappy feel of a fresh install.

And to the OP:
Here a top things that eat space:
Internet Cache
Temporary Files
Recycling Bin (If you delete a lot of files)
System Restore Points
Volume Shadow Copies

Here are also things you may consider doing that can save a lot space depending on RAM:
If you never hibernate your system and don't need, disable and delete the hibernation file, it saves as much space as you have ram.
If you have plenty of ram, then consider disabling the pagefile. If you have plenty of ram, let the OS use the RAM, first off, its much faster and secondly, it saves as much as space as you have ram, so if you have 4GB of ram, a pagefile would be a whopping 4GB or more.

And Lastly, it could be an issue with the filesystem or OS not reporting used and free space correctly. Try doing a full disk check on start-up and see if it helps.
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