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What's eating my HD?

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#1
I have a one year old HP machine running Vista Home Premium x64.

It is in almost pristine condition since I have only turned it on a few times and done MS updates and a small amount of customization. (I've not done the latest 'patch Tuesday updates'. There are so many I'm waiting a few days to see if anyone runs into problems.)

It has 8GB of main memory and a 750GB HD. (I've filled out most of the 'specs' section on your site.) This is divided into two partitions: 685GB for C and 13.3GB for the D drive/recovery partition. (I realise there is a counting difference between the OS's GB and the HD vendor's GB).

Apart from deleting a little bloatware and uninstalling the Norton freebie I have made no changes to the system except to install ZoneAlarm Extreme Edition. I have not transferred any data from my old machine. I have not downloaded any movies or music or anything except ZoneAlarm. I have not surfed the Internet except to check out a couple of the MS updates. But something is eating up my HD space.

Two days ago a check of the C drive properties indicated I had consumed 118GB. Unhiding everything I could and adding up all the folder property sizes gave me a total of 30GB of identified usage. So 88GB was missing in action. The next day it was up to 120GB total and yesterday it was 123GB. at this rate I'll run out of disk space by next July without doing anything to my M/C.

An obvious contender for guilty party status was System Restore, but it is supposed to be limited to 38GB on that drive. I went into the Disk Cleanup function and it said I could delete 3.5 MB (yes MB not GB) of temporary files and suchlike. I went to the button to delete all but the latest System Restore points and it (seemed to lock up but) gave me back 20GB for a total of 103GB consumed and about 73 GB gone AWOL.

So, what's eating my disk?? And what can I do to stop it??

Jack

PS Today it got interesting. I switched on the new M/C and checked the C drive and it is down 42.3GB consumed. But this still doesn't explain what is going on and is still rather large - and who knows what it will say tomorrow.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps
Messages
9
#2
Vista stores a lot of useless crap, like old DLLs when you install service packs (in case you want to uninstall) and so on. Every time you install a patch/update, the old files are retained and must be cleaned out, for which purpose many utilities exist on the web including Microsoft's website.

Finished Installing Windows Vista SP1 ? Now Remove All The Junk Files

Service Pack Cleanup Tool In Vista SP2 To Clean up Old RTM & SP1 Backup Files » My Digital Life

and so on.

I also personally don't use System Restore, it's just a waste of space in my opinion. All I have ever seen inrestore images is copy after copy of the same viruses that have been on a client's computer for months or years.

Also, don't use a self-adjusting swap file, that's another space-eater. Make a partition, prefferably on another hard drive, that is about 25% larger than the size of swap file you need and then put the (fixed-size) swap file there. Some people like to keep a small (200-500GB) swap file on the C: drive and then put the rest elsewhere, to handle kernel dumps. If you don't know what a kernel dump is, just put the whole thing on the new partition. I use 4GB on my laptop because that's the largest 32-bit Vista will use (so my partition is 5GB to avoid the low-space warnings) and 500MB on my 8GB 64-bit Vista machine (because I really don't want the swap file to be used unless it really has to be to prevent crashing).
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    me
    CPU
    Intel E8400
    Motherboard
    EVGA 780i
    Memory
    4GB Corsair Dominator 1066MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    dual 9800GT (yeah, I'm cheap)
    Sound Card
    I think there's one there somewhere
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 2407WFP (1920x1600)
    Screen Resolution
    I said 1920x1600!
    Hard Drives
    Seagate 1TB ST31000528AS x2 (RAID0)
    WD Caviar 500GB
    WD Caviar 400GB
    Seagate 320GB ST3320613AS x2 (non-RAID)
    PSU
    Thermaltake 700W
    Case
    Thermaltake Xaser VI
    Cooling
    Zalman CNPS9700-NT
    Mouse
    Logitech MX518
    Keyboard
    Logitech G15
    Internet Speed
    512Mbps
    Other Info
    Stickers, lots of stickers, all over the place, even some AMD and Apple stickers just because I had them.

brummyfan

Brummy
Vista Guru
Messages
731
Location
Birmingham
#3

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Biostar
    CPU
    AMD Athlonx64 Dual Core 3800+ 2.0GHz
    Motherboard
    Biostar MCP6P-M2
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CIBOX
    Screen Resolution
    1280x800
    Hard Drives
    Hitachi 160GB

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#4
Hi Folks,
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps
Messages
2,456
Location
NY USA
#5

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron E 1405
    CPU
    2@2.0
    Memory
    4 gigs
    Graphics Card(s)
    integrated intel 945
    Sound Card
    integrated
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    300 gig internal
    Internet Speed
    10 down 1.5 up

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#6
Hi Folks, I just wanted to post a quick thank you for your ideas and helpful suggestions. I set out to say 'thanks' to you guys 3 days ago and guess what - as I was actually typing this note my worst fears happened and my old PC just died on me as I was hitting the keys. Luckily it was just the CMOS battery, though it took me 2 days of gut churning worrying to figure it out, and replace the battery with one from my garage door opener remote control!!!
It also took me all of yesterday, once my old M/C was working again to get my mail across. (What a totally useless piece of garbage the Windows Easy Transfer Program is. No help at all. And I have found so much to hate about Vista in 3 days that I could write a book on it. I am going to have to have a few words with Jim Allchin about that.) Anyway, enough whining. I will follow the links to acquire the clean up stuff from MS and give it a whirl. I will keep System Restore switched on, it saved my sorry backside 3 times on my old M/C, but thanks for the suggestion. Anyway, I'm stuck with Vista now and am busilly transferring tons of data from my old box, so, fingers crossed and thanks again, folks. Keep up the good work! Jack
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#7
BTW Brummyfan: Does your name mean you are from Brummagem in the Old Country? I lived there in the Moseley area in the early 60's, in my first programming job, (1st gen box, valves, engineer living inside it, 1hour uptime max, 1024 words (grand total!) of memory on a drum, no OS, no languages, no nothing, wrote code in hex). Anyway I still long for a trip to a pub for a plate of faggots, chips and peas. Certainly not to be had where I live now. Jack
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps

brummyfan

Brummy
Vista Guru
Messages
731
Location
Birmingham
#8
BTW Brummyfan: Does your name mean you are from Brummagem in the Old Country? I lived there in the Moseley area in the early 60's, in my first programming job, (1st gen box, valves, engineer living inside it, 1hour uptime max, 1024 words (grand total!) of memory on a drum, no OS, no languages, no nothing, wrote code in hex). Anyway I still long for a trip to a pub for a plate of faggots, chips and peas. Certainly not to be had where I live now. Jack
Yes Jack, not too far from Mosley. Despite all the rain and muggy evenings a pleasant place to live. All the best.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Biostar
    CPU
    AMD Athlonx64 Dual Core 3800+ 2.0GHz
    Motherboard
    Biostar MCP6P-M2
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CIBOX
    Screen Resolution
    1280x800
    Hard Drives
    Hitachi 160GB
Messages
9
#9
I have found so much to hate about Vista in 3 days that I could write a book on it.
Well, as of today you could use 7. Actually you could have been using it for months now if you downloaded the RTM version. For the most part I like Vista, I use both 32 and 64-bit versions, but in no uncertain terms 7 is leagues above Vista in almost every way. It could almost be called Vista SE (in the way 98SE made 98 even more awesome), except the improvement is even greater.

P.S.: I have two O'Reilly books on Vista, and they are great:

http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596529598/

http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596527624/

P.S.: However much you may want to turn off UAC, do not do it until you get a good, comprehensive antimalware package installed!
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    me
    CPU
    Intel E8400
    Motherboard
    EVGA 780i
    Memory
    4GB Corsair Dominator 1066MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    dual 9800GT (yeah, I'm cheap)
    Sound Card
    I think there's one there somewhere
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 2407WFP (1920x1600)
    Screen Resolution
    I said 1920x1600!
    Hard Drives
    Seagate 1TB ST31000528AS x2 (RAID0)
    WD Caviar 500GB
    WD Caviar 400GB
    Seagate 320GB ST3320613AS x2 (non-RAID)
    PSU
    Thermaltake 700W
    Case
    Thermaltake Xaser VI
    Cooling
    Zalman CNPS9700-NT
    Mouse
    Logitech MX518
    Keyboard
    Logitech G15
    Internet Speed
    512Mbps
    Other Info
    Stickers, lots of stickers, all over the place, even some AMD and Apple stickers just because I had them.

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#10
Hi GlassDeviant
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#11
Hi Glass Devieant, (again), I'm afraid I keep hitting the Enter button and sending short messages. sorry. Though I see you've got some technique for creating paragraphs and formatting your notes. Anyway I can promise you I will never turn off UAC. I love all the interruptions. That is also why I got ZoneAlarm and have it set to the highest control levels, because I like to know exactly what is going on on my system, and ZA warns me far more often than UAC. Furthermore I want MY PCt organised and run MY way. (I think ZA gives fair anti-malware protection with its use of the Kaspersky antivirus engine and signatures, though I realise Norton is generally rated higher.) So, I am the exact opposite of the sort of person MS is trying to please by hiding all the complexity and trying to predetermine that I should have a folder for My Pictures and My Videos and giving me glossy crap like Aeroglas instead of useful functions and so on. I believe I am old enough and intelligent enough to decide for myself how to organise MY machine, thank you. I did read a whole book on Vista before I ever turned on my machine, (by the same authors as the book on XP that I got long ago) and my impression at that time was that either the authors had slipped a cog or two between books or there was something awry with Vista. Now I know. As to windows 7, I may never get to it. I see no point in buying it standalone when I could put the $100 to $200 towards a new machine for which this would pay 20 to 25% of the total cost these days, (and in which the PC vendor includes an OS for 10% of the published software price). Besides, my Vista box will likely outlive me so I shall just have to work away at bending it to my will as best I can. Thanks to everyone for all your advice. Jack
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps
Messages
146
Location
England
#12
Turn system restore off then on again that got rid of 60gigabytes
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Custom Built
    CPU
    Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 Overclocked @ 2.90
    Motherboard
    ASUStek
    Memory
    OCZ DDR2 PC2-6400 Vista Performance Gold 4GB Dual Channel
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUStek ENGTX275 PCI-E x 1
    Monitor(s) Displays
    19inch benq
    Screen Resolution
    1400x900
    Hard Drives
    400 gb
    PSU
    700 Watt artic power
    Cooling
    Artic cooler
    Internet Speed
    4.70 mb/s download, 0.37 mb/s upload

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#13
Hi Johnny321321, I am fairly sure that on my system the space used for System Restore files is limited to a max of 38GB rather than 60GB. When I used the Disk cleanup to delete all but the latest System Restore point it gave me back 20GB. I presume if I follow your suggestion it will have a similar effect but that I will lose the latest Restore point, too, so I am a little cautious about doing this. System Restore makes me feel safer when I'm busy doing MS updates and adding stuff to my PC. On the other hand, when I did the above mentioned clean up and got back 20GB I then found that after I did a reboot I got another 30GB back. This was truly weird and I can conceive of no reason for it unless it was somehow related to the System Restore cleanup - a sort of delayed reaction. So...... now I am not sure. Unfortunately I've now started loading data from my old machine onto the new one so my whole disk situation is more obscure. I'll try researching your suggestion a little further and may give it a whirl once I am a little more comfortable with Vista and my new M/C. Thanks. Jack
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps
Messages
9
#14
tbh 7 really is $200 worth better than Vista. I didn't use XP until it was almost up to SP2, and Vista until it was SP1 and I needed to know it well enough to service clients. I have already bought 7 based on using just The RC version.

Windows 7 is much faster and has much lower system requirements, and you have a lot more control over your computer.

P.S.: Still not using System Restore (and never have) and still not having and problems except figuring what to do with all the extra disk space I have :)
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    me
    CPU
    Intel E8400
    Motherboard
    EVGA 780i
    Memory
    4GB Corsair Dominator 1066MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    dual 9800GT (yeah, I'm cheap)
    Sound Card
    I think there's one there somewhere
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 2407WFP (1920x1600)
    Screen Resolution
    I said 1920x1600!
    Hard Drives
    Seagate 1TB ST31000528AS x2 (RAID0)
    WD Caviar 500GB
    WD Caviar 400GB
    Seagate 320GB ST3320613AS x2 (non-RAID)
    PSU
    Thermaltake 700W
    Case
    Thermaltake Xaser VI
    Cooling
    Zalman CNPS9700-NT
    Mouse
    Logitech MX518
    Keyboard
    Logitech G15
    Internet Speed
    512Mbps
    Other Info
    Stickers, lots of stickers, all over the place, even some AMD and Apple stickers just because I had them.

jgardin1

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Canada
#15
Hi GlassDeviant, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree. System Restore saved my skin three times over 9 years with my old XP system, so, I love it, though I would prefer to be able to control how much storage it can use. (I'm sure there is a registry setting for that, but for now I'll just clean up its mess from time to time.) As to paying for 7, that's just not me. It would be like buying and installing a new engine for my car. Some folks are happy to do that, but I'd rather get a new car if needed. Its not the technical advantages or disadvantages of 7 that affect my decision, it's more likely a strong streak of parsimony. Besides, I presume you are a technical whiz since you devote time to answering stuff on this forum, but mytechnical competence began to shrivel back in 1967 when I moved from programming to full time management, so I am not overly attracted by the technology per se. The PC is just a (very, very) useful tool to me, same as my car. Best regards and thanks again for your help. Jack
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9400f
    CPU
    AMD Phenom 9750 quad core 2.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ? (ACPI?)
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3650
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207 Wide LCD Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    750GB Hitachi
    Internet Speed
    3.0 Mbps

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