Hard Drive Full After format and installation of Windows

For the past week out of no where all of the free space on my hard drive on my computer was gone and I kept getting Low Disk Space warning from Windows. I have a Dell Inspiron 1100 with a 20 GB hard drive. I am running Windows XP Professional SP2. At first I thought I had a virus but Norton did not find anything and neither did Housecall.  Everything had been running pretty slow anyway so I decided to format the drive and re-install Windows. I reinstalled Windows, Office XP, AIM, WinAmp, and the drivers for my hardware. When I went to install Nero, it said I was low on disk space again. Does anybody have any ideas? Before I thought it was a virus but now I am starting to think the hard drive is going bad. I have not called Dell's tech support yet but I plan to eventually if I dont find anything out here. It is my personal laptop but I am using it at work until I get a new one that should be here in about a week or so, so this it pretty urgent. Thanks for any help you can offer me.
networxplusAsked:
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ridCommented:
Verify that the partition on which you install Windows is indeed 20 GB and not just a part tof the disk.
Check that the computer's BIOS recognises the drive correctly.
/RID
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
I have the drive seperated into two partitions. Primary partition is 16 GB and the logical is 4 GB. I do not have the laptop with me now. When I get home I will check the bios. But I have been running with the same partition setup for a year with no problems. Windows XP is installed on the 16 GB partition. When I reinstalled windows i deleted that partition and did a full format before installation.
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
I would like to add one more thing. Before I formatted the drive. I freed almost 4gigs from an image of another computer that i was temporarily storing on this laptop. There was about 3.75 gb free and with in 15 minutes the drive was full again.
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ridCommented:
You deleted the partition? Was it recreated? Or did XP happen to  install on the other partition?
/RID
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
I recreated the partition, did a formatted the partition and installed XP on the 16 gb partition.
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ridCommented:
It is really, really odd... Is it possible to take a look at the separate directories and their sizes, to get an idea of where all this space is consumed? I mean, a clean install of XP wouldn't have too many directories in the C:\ to look at and somewhere all this data must be stored... unless, of course, this is a HD problem. You should perhaps try some kind of hard drive diagnostic and check the health of the HD.
/RID
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
I looked through the folders on the C:. When I check the properties of the Windows folder, it says that it is 15.5 GB. When I go into the folder and select all and check the properties it says its only 2.21 GB.

I tried to download a hard drive diagnostic tool, but it did not work it said the zip was empty. The second partition has about 1.3 gb free. When ever i try and save any zip files to it they are empty. It will download the entire file and when i go to open it there is nothing in it. This happens when I try and save to the C: also. No matter how big the file is, it is always empty.

I never deleted the second partition maybe there is a virus some where on there. I have no idea. Could it be some kind of boot sector virus? I am running out of ideas over here.
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jamietonerCommented:
on an inspiron 1100 to run a quick hdd diagnostic at the boot screen press ctrl+alt+D should bring up a screen called the ide drive diagsnostics, its built into the bios, that will tell you if the hdd is bad. if that passes may want to run a lowel level format on the whole drive.
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ridCommented:
I'm beginning to feel this is some kind of problem with your HD. Running a diagnostic tool seems like a very good idea. If the built-in utility doesn't say either way, I suppose it could be worth your while to download and prepare something on another machine, like a bootable floppy with the proper tool on it.

/RID
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
I tried using the control+alt+D when the dell boot screen is up. Nothing happened. I have no tried a low level format yet or a serperate diagnostic program. I might have to get dell to send me a new drive. Any other ideas?
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networxplusAuthor Commented:
***I solved the problem.***

When I brought my laptop to work, I set it up to log on to a domain. So i disabled the welcome screen and the quick switching between users. When I did that for some reason Offline Files got enabled ( see: http://www.utexas.edu/its/windows/storage/synchronize.html). I have my laptop setup so the my documents folder is mapped directly to another computer where I store all of my documents, mp3's, etc ...

When this got enabled it tried to copy all the files in the my documents folder from the other computer onto the laptop. The problem is I have a 20gb hard drive with 16 and 4 gb partitions and there was almost 18gb of files in that folder.

Thanks to everybody who attempted to help me with this.
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