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Disk fills up unexpectedly, back to normal after reboot

Posted on 2001-06-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I have the following recurring problem on my Win 98 system.

I have on my C disk 2 Giga capacity with about 800 Meg free.
After some uptime (maybe hours or days) I suddenly get a mesage about the C disk being full (sometimes there are other strange behaviors that are due to a full disk).
When checking, the disk I see that it is nearly full.

I can't find the gicantic file.
I reboot (usually the machine eventually hangs).
After reboot I am back at 800 Meg free.

Please help.
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Question by:mco
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21 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:a.marsh
ID: 6220096
You can use Find->Files or Folders.. to search for files of a particular size - when it happens next try looking for files that are larger than say 700MB.... I don't think you'll find too many!

If you find the file, let us know what it is and we may be able to help further.

:o)

Ant
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Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220121
Thanks, but if you rea dthe question carefully you will see that I mentioned that I can't find the file (I used the 'find' command)
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Expert Comment

by:a.marsh
ID: 6220151
I see... you didn't actually say you had tried using the Find command though... :o)

Ant
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Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220162
sorry
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220199
Does this apply to you?
"Disk is full" error message when using Ditto? Tools to create a set of recovery diskettes in Windows? 98

If so, go here:
http://www.iomega.com/support/documents/10271.html

asta
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220212
Have you run maintenance (cleanup/scandisk and defrag)?  Also clear your browser's cache and temporary internet files.

Are your hard drives FAT32?

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q186/0/99.ASP

Is Windows 98 installed in default folder or did you install in the root drive?

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q194/3/61.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0&qry=c%20disk%20is%20full&rnk=11&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=W98

There are other causes, but late for a meeting, will return for an update and include the other possibilities.

Asta
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220213
configure cleanup to remove unnecessary files.  Check your system for old *.chk files, *.tmp files, ~* files and advise.

Asta
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

by:
xema earned 300 total points
ID: 6220238
Does this happens after a long use of internet or having several windows open?

The way I see it is that your Internet cache is set up very large or that the swap file, virtual memory, is under the control of windows.   The last statement will correct itself after a reboot.  Other option is the use of some application that does not release the resources after it has been closed, this also is corrected after a reboot.

Go to start>settings>control panel>System>Performance  I'm using a spanish version so use the last tab "rendimiento" in spanish>Virtual memory and specify the size of the virtual memory with a minimum and a maximum 1.5 times your physical memory.

Hope this helps
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Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220246
Thanks astaec, but none of the suggestions apply.

Note, my problem is not to know how to clean the disk and defrag it.

The problem is that it fills up occasionally (around 800M of fill-up), there is no big file. Then I reboot, and everything goes back to normal till the next time.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220253
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Expert Comment

by:Navid
ID: 6220254
I can think of a few reasons why you get this problem:
(1)
 If you are infected by a memory virus
Scan your computer with a updated ani-virus program
(2)
File allocation:
If you do not defrag your hard drive often, the distance between files will increase and giving wrong system information or performance errors. Defrag your drives as often as you can.
Test one thing and see what I mean: First check the free space of you drive. Now defrag it. You will see that the space the free space has increased. If it has been a long time ago you defraged your system, the space will increase a lot!
(3)
Long file names:
The number of files permitted in the root directory can vary because of long filenames. Windows sees it as less free space on your drives.
If you want to determine the fixed number of entries the root directory of a RAM disk holds,  fill each of your free RAM disks. you will get different results each time. What gives?
The number of directory entries in the root directory is indeed fixed, but the number of entries for each file can vary. An old-fashioned "short filename" uses one entry, but if even one letter of the name is lowercase, it will require two entries. Longer filenames require still more entries.
A standard 1.44MB floppy disk's root directory can hold 224 filenames of the form TEST0001.TMP but only 112 filenames of the form Test0001.TMP and only 74 names in the TestTest0001.TMP format.
There's a simple solution to this problem. Instead of copying files to the root directory or ram disk, create a single subdirectory and copy the files into it. Subdirectories can expand as needed, limited only by the disk capacity.
Good luck
Navid
 
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220260
That' probably your virtual memory (swapfile), which changes as you need, it's dynamic.
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Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220266
xema, it seems you are going in the right dirction.
Indeed usinf the Interner with many IE windows is normal for me.
Virtual memory is under control of Windows.
I do not think I am getting filled up by the IE cache - remember 800 Meg !, and I would have seen that.

I will try to change the virtual memory and see.

It still doesn't seem to be the direct reason, because this problem started to occur recently, after more than a year of use with the same settings.
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6220270
I've chosen to address this by creating a permanent swapfile (virtual memory) that is 3X my RAM, vs. what's recommended in the following excerpt, I'll include the link.  They recommend 2X or 2.5X, if I recall correctly:

____  Quote from link _____
Stop Windows 98 from Wildly Accessing your Hard Disk

Many users have complained about Windows 98 seizing up for up to a minute because of random, pointless disk activity. This is due to the way that Windows 98 is set to handle disk caching and virtual memory. Although Windows 98 instructs you to "let Windows handle disk cache settings" for best results, this obviously does not yield the best results. Here's how to eliminate the random disk activity and improve system performance:

Part One: Virtual Memory
Right click on My Computer, and select Properties.
Click the Performance tab, and then click Virtual Memory
Choose Let me specify my own virtual memory settings.
If you want to choose a different drive for your swapfile, run Disk Defragmenter first.
Specify the same value for the Minimum size and the Maximum size, so Windows 98 won't spend so much time resizing the file. A good size is roughly 2 1/2 times the amount of installed RAM (i.e. create a 40MB swapfile if you have 16MB of RAM).
Press OK, and then OK again, and confirm that you want to restart your computer.

Part Two: Defragmenting the Swapfile
Once you've set the swapfile size to be constant (see Part One), you won't have to worry about a fragmented (broken up) swapfile again.
However, you'll need to defragment it at least once for it to remain that way in the future.
If you have Norton Utilities, you'll be able to optimize the swapfile with Speedisk.
Otherwise, if you want to take the time, you can defragment it manually:
If you have more than one partition or hard disk in your system, defragment all drives first. Then, move the swapfile (using the configuration procedure in Part One above) to another drive, defragment the first one, and then move it back.
Although it's also possible to disable the swapfile entirely while you defragment the drive (and then re-enable it so it will be recreated whole), it isn't advisable because Windows 98 may not start without a Swapfile.

Part Three: Virtual Cache (only if you have 16 megabytes of RAM or more)
Open SYSTEM.INI for editing.
Add the following two lines to the [vcache] section (add the section if it's not there):
MinFileCache=4096
MaxFileCache=4096
These values, in kilobytes, regulate the size of the VCache, so you can stop it from filling up all available RAM and paging all loaded apps to disk. If you have more than 16 MB of RAM, then set the above values (both of them) to about 25% of the amount of installed RAM.

Part Four: RAM
You may've thought we overlooked the obvious - add more RAM! The more memory you have, the less frequently Windows 98 will use your hard disk, and the better your system performance will be.
Since Windows 98 isn't very efficient or compact (by any stretch of the imagination), you'll need to feed it as much memory as you can afford. 16 megabytes is the absolute minimum, but 32 is better. If you have the money, 64 or even 128 megabytes will litterally make Windows 98 fly.

____ END QUOTE ____

The Link for the above:

http://www.annoyances.org/cgi-bin/ce-showtopic/005_035
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220275
astaec, the swap files is seen by the 'find' command . It didn't grow too much.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6220277
astaec, the swap files is seen by the 'find' command . It didn't grow too much.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:tzWIZ
ID: 6220364
Hi guys,

I didn't read all the comments carefully, but what do you think of this:

I had a HDD that was having similar 'difficulties'. After a bit of probing, I found out that Norton Disk Doctor had marked the last 500MB of my HDD as "bad". (The drive WAS bad, but I wasn't aware of it). Something like that could be happening. I don't know, but just a thought... do you see where I'm going with this?

tz
0
 
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 6220385
I would also check the recycle bin options, either disable it totally, or set it for 1%.

I hope this helps !
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 6220462
All good advise above. I suggest combining some of the suggestions
1. set the virtual memeory to a perm min/max size
2> restrict the recyle bin size
3> set the temp internet size
also run msconfig from start -->run and uncheck all but systray and explorer, and reboot, and watch the free space. If it doesn't decrease, then recheck the programs on at a time, and monitor. when the free space starts to decrease, then you have the culprit
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:kjanx
ID: 6220740
go to the file system, trouble shooting,
checkmark,
disable 'synchronous buffers commits'
apparently the cpu is simultanously writing to the disk and memory
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:mco
ID: 6289011
It took me some time to try out the various suggestions.
Your suggestion prevents the disk from exploding since indeed it was the swap file.

I still don't know what made it grow suddenly, and I fear it is still the reason for system crashes (now probably due to no more swap space).
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