Suddenly running out of disk space with no changes to system

I am suddenly getting error messages saying I am running out of disk space and programs are having trouble running because of this.  This system has been running without having anything added to it for over a year and, in fact, I removeds some things after I started getting this message, but it doesn't help.  I seem to remember something about swap files.  Can that be it?
Thank you,
Robert
rroxbyAsked:
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doebuckCommented:
These are the guidelines for housekeeping.

1. Go to Windows Explorer. Right click on C:\ drive and click on Properties. You should see your HD size and the amount of free space. Check if it's sufficient. (At least 30-50MB free space).
2. Leave minimum files on the root directory (C:\). Move your data into a folder.
3. Run scandisk, empty your recycle bin, and then run defrag.
4. Further things to take care of: Empty C:\temp and C:\windows\temp.


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iwinCommented:
Also check virus.  Better yet, check virus first then do the above.
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bchewCommented:
Also check how much space is allocated for "Temporary Internet Files" and browser history.
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AwmytieCommented:
    A lot of unneeded junk gets stored, duplicate ".dll" files being one of many examples.  Before deleting these, though, make a complete backup -- definitely be safe rather than sorry in this respect -- trying to find lost .dll's can be a pain.

     Start - Find - Files and Folders.  Type in dll and hit Find Now.
Expand to full screen.  Select View-Details Click at the top of the far left NAME column to put the several hundred of them  in alphabetic order.

     IF THE DUPLICATE IS IN \WINDOWS\SYSBCKUP leave it alone.

     Otherwise, for duplicate listings, right-click each, select Properties and click Version tab.  The one with the higher version number is the one to keep and it should be in \Windows\System.  Right-click the other ones and click Delete.  (This might become an all-day job.)

      I'm told there is a $10 shareware program that will do all of this for you at http://www.VB2Java.com but I haven't verified that.  Some of the .dll's can be pretty big files.
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AwmytieCommented:
   Depending upon how you configured Preferences, you e-mail program may be storing a batch of "Sent" files, most or all of which you probably have no need for.
    Select "Sent" in your browser.  If there are a lot of items, you can select one at a time and Delete it -- or you can select the top item of the list, hold down Shift and the Down-arrow key to highlight all of them, then hit Delete to make them all disappear.

    Of course, after you get rid of this stuff, you have to do what doebuck said in the first place.

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larrypaloozaCommented:
Sometimes info in the boot sector of HDD could get bamboozled and Scandisk will clear the bamboozlement.  Oh yeah, the bamboozlement causes windows to incorrectly know how much space is on HDD.
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GreywolfComputerCommented:
An often overlooked possibility is that the system -- or a program -- "hung" or "crashed" and the resultant CHK files are very large.  If a system just suddenly gobbles up HD space, I check in the root of the C drive for CHK files and delete them.  Very large TMP files or folders in the c:\windows\temp folder can do the same thing.  Restart the computer into MSDOS mode and delete the files in the temporary folder.
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mark2150Commented:
If you surf a lot, be sure to dump your browsers cache...

M
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lueurCommented:
You didn't mention if you checked your disk space to see how many MB were free when you got this message.  What exactly were you doing when you got the message?  MS apps like Word sometimes give this message erroneously when the real problem is with the document that is open.  It can be caused by copying and pasting a lot, or by creating documents with excessive tabs or other formatting in the document.  In addition, documents that are opened and used over and over tend to become corrupt and error messages like this can result.  
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AwmytieCommented:
    There are other things you can eliminate from the hard drive that eat up space.  Search to see if you have .BAK files (automatic backups that serve no use purpose once you've done whatever was backed up). You may also find .001 or .OLD files that can be safely eliminated.  Over a period of time, "history" files and "cookie" files can get large, usually well worth editing.
     Some files tend to be inordinately large.  You need to check to see if you are unnecessarily saving old graphics files -- Adobe, PrintShop, .pic, .jpg, .bmp, saved HTML files, etc.  Go to DOS mode and do DIR searches, look for files with large bit counts, .LOG files, .TXT files, anything that looks like something you don't need.  Are you storing programs you have long since abandoned?  (Like I kept the free StarOffice for ages even though I almost exclusively used Corel's WordPerfect -- some of us hoard -- especially when it's free.)

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rroxbyAuthor Commented:
Ok, I tried all this, except deleting the duplicate .dlls  There don't seem to be that many duplicates.  It didn't work.  In fact, something else funney happened.  As I was doing this, the free space on the disk was given as about 500 meg (on at 1.2 gig disk).  So I went throug the various suggested procedures and everything seemed to work ok and no problems arose.  So I was sitting here doing some net surfing and I got the same low disk space message.  I checked the disk space again and it now says 24 meg.  Where are 476 meg of disk space going in the space of an hour?

Thanks for any further suggestions.

Robert
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doebuckCommented:
hi rroxby,..

uh oh. better check out where are you getting the huge files. Check out
C:\temp
c:\windows\temp
c:\program files\network associate (mcafee)
                \netscape
                \internet explorer
etc..

right-click, Properties will tell you the size of the folder.
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rroxbyAuthor Commented:
Ok, I think I found it.  I have had an ftp server running on this machine that allowed anonymous uploads and sub-directory creation.  Someone unknown had created a nest of subdirectories with about a half-gig of files in them.  Netscape program files mostly.

But I still think something might be funny.  It now says I am using about 250 meg (on a 1.2 gig drive, leaving 900 meg free).  I don't think that I erased that many files.  We'll see.

All of the comments posted in response to this question were knowledgeable and helpful and they are much appreciated.

Thanks,
Robert
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