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Just deleted lots of files, but disk still shows almost full

Posted on 2006-03-28
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I thought I had plenty of room left on my laptop hard drive, but never-the-less was not overly concerned when I received an error message about hard drive space, because I do download a lot of audio and video.  However, I have since moved several audio and video files off my drive to another external drive and when I go to review the properties of my laptop drive, it still shows almost full.  

I have restarted the laptop, made sure the recycle bin is empty, and confirmed the files I mentioned are no longer there.  Yet the drive is still showing almost full.  Any ideas?
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Question by:lloydr1l
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jsvor earned 800 total points
ID: 16314823
Are  you running the Professional version of Norton AV by any chance? I know the Pro version of Norton has a built in tool, the Unerase Wizard, that still keeps deleted files on the drive.  You have to empty that for the files to be really gone.  How about have you checked your restore points?  Those can eat up quite a bit of space.  You could also try using the Disk Cleanup tool (under Accessories -> System Tools) to see if there are any files you might not have thought of deleting.
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16314910
I didn't actually delete them (sorry).  I moved them to the external drive, so Norton shouldn't really come into play, should it?  I do have Norton Pro.  I understand what you are saying about the other stuff and how to do it, but that's not really my question.  

Why wouldn't the free space show up after moving G's of files off the hard drive?
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 16314915
There are some folders that take up a LOT of space under your Windows folder. They have names like: $NtUninstallKB911564$.  These are for uninstalling XP service packs and hotfixes.  If you're sure that you will not need to uninstall those, then you can gain a lot of free space by deleting those folders.  All explained here:

http://windowsxp.mvps.org/Hotfix_backup.htm
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by:Irwin Santos
Irwin Santos earned 800 total points
ID: 16314917
Right click on your recycle bin.. choos Empty Norton Protected files & Empty Recycle bin
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16314920
you can also go to Windows\temp and delete *.tmp files  (do this in SAFE MODE)
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by:Antunb
ID: 16315335
click start >> run >> type: cleanmgr

run wizard and it will show any temp files, files in recycle bin etc....


you could also remove service pack uninstall files in C:\WINDOWS\

the folders called eg. $NtUninstallKB885250$

you need to show hidden files though, Tools >> folder options >> view tab
select show hidden files and folders

you can delete these files
HOWEVER NOTE:
you will not be able to uninstall any patches/service packs you may have installed. You do this at your own risk and files should be backed up.
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by:ptleitch
ID: 16315843
System Restore can sometimes take up several gigs and most people don't even use it.

You could try deleting all but the most recent restore point, or disabling it altogether.
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by:Steviek411
Steviek411 earned 400 total points
ID: 16315852
When you move  files/folders from one drive to another drive it does not actually delete the files. It only creates a copy on the new volume. Double check or even do a system search to make sure they are not there. Another thing you could do try downloading an application that will go through your system and show you what files/folders are taking up most of the room. Try www.foldersizes.com 
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by:Antunb
ID: 16315900
moving files does delete it from current volume and put it on the next.

also run a defrag
start >> all programss >> accessories >> system tools >> defrag
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by:Steviek411
ID: 16315970
Sorry Antunb. I disagree. I have tested this by moving a file from one drive to another within the same system and also tested this by moving a file from my local system to network share and it just creates a copy. The only way it will actually delete the copy is if you use a cut/paste command. Dragging the folders across volumes creates copies.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 16316094
Back before my last comment, the questioner said that he wasn't really interested in finding other things that can be deleted in order to have more disk free space, but what he was really asking was:

>Why wouldn't the free space show up after moving G's of files off the hard drive?

About the only reason I can think of for that happening is that somehow the file system got messed up, and so while the moved file names are no longer present in the directory, the file system thinks the file space is still not free.  How to correct this?  Try a CHKDSK and see if the problem is corrected.
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by:Antunb
ID: 16316134
I have tested this, and when i move to a different volume the origional goes.
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Author Comment

by:lloydr1l
ID: 16316407
I am sorry for any confusion.  I think the issue could have been originally stated better than I put it.  Thanks to all the responses on how to recapture space, but LeeTutor is right.  I am trying to figure out why after moving gigabytes of files, the properties of the drive do not reflect this.

To be specific.  I selected the files and did a cut and paste from my local laptop hard drive, to an external usb hard drive.  And again, I have refreshed, restarted, checked the recycle bin, and the original directory.  
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by:Antunb
ID: 16316475
I think when you defrag it will reflect it correctly
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 16316503
lloydr1l, did you try to run CHKDSK /F on your drive, in order to detect and fix any file allocation errors?  For the syntax of the CHKDSK command, see this page:

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/chkdsk.mspx?mfr=true
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16316698
Just did a chkdsk /f.  After the scan a message did mention something about free space, but before I could read the rest the system restarted.  Any log files on this?  Also, I am still in the same situation.  Perhaps now I will try defrag.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 16316825
Not sure whether the following web page is correct or not, and I am not currently logged in under WinXP, but this page tells where to find the chkdsk log file:

http://forum.pcstats.com/archive/index.php/t-18142.html
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16320271
Here is the latest.  I did a test where I "deleted" about 2 g's of files from the hard drive, then checked the properties of the drive which did reflect that the free space had been increased two g's.  But since there still was the issue of what originally happened, I started a defrag to see if that would find the other space.

However, I received a notice that I only had 8% of available space to defrag and I really needed 15% to defrag.  So I hooked up my external drive, and right-clicked a directory that contained over 3 g's of data and dragged it over to the external drive.  I confirmed on the popup menu that I wanted to "move" the data.

I then checked the external drive to see if the files where there (yes), checked the original location to see if they where gone (yes), then checked to see if the drive's properties reflected this, NO!  So again, the same thing happened.

So obviously something happens when "moving" files.  Deleting seems to work, but the process of moving a file does not reflect on the original drive.  What could be causing this?
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Expert Comment

by:amitojduggal
ID: 16320572

Hey lloydr,
You can also try removing recent system restore files

Do this
MY computer--->Accesories--> system tools--> disk clean up-> select the drive you want to fre space from and then remove recently created restore files
This will free up a lot  of space

Amitoj
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Author Comment

by:lloydr1l
ID: 16320703
Thanks for the reply amitoj, but the question isn't so much about clearing up drive space, but rather what is going on with the fact that the OS is not reflecting the free space after moving files off the hard drive.
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Expert Comment

by:NicoLaan
ID: 16322076
Does it also work the other way?
When you move from the external to local, it does or doesn't show more free space on external drive?
Maybe a mallware scan can help???
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16323670
When you move versus delete, it keeps a copy on the system in case you don't have a 100% transfer.  To free this space up, right click on the recycle bin empty trash.
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16323727
Nicolaan....everything is normal the other way.

irwinpks....I'm not sure that is correct, but at any rate as mentioned I have already emptied the recycle bin.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16323881
go into your \windows\temp folder..notice *.tmp files????  if so, delete them.

In addition, restart your computer, go to my computer and notice the size remaining, did it change significantly?
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by:Steviek411
ID: 16324386
Why dont you try downloading an application like www.foldersizes.com and see what it shows you? You will be able to see what files/folders are taking up room on your system, especially check the directory/drive where the original files were that you removed. You could also compare the results to what Windows is showing you.
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Author Comment

by:lloydr1l
ID: 16324550
irwinpks
Thank you for trying to help me, but me thinks you might have skipped over the info a little. :)  As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I'm not looking for ways to trim down my drive, and the things you've mentioned I've done.  What I am trying to figure out is why the free space that should be there after moving files isn't showing up as free.

Steviek411
I just downloaded the foldersizes program.  I'll see if it helps.
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by:ptleitch
ID: 16324626
@lloyd1l  i think he understands this but is suggesting that when you move files it still stores them temporarily incase the move doesn't succeed.
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16325431
ptleitch
I forgot to mention in that post that the Temp folder only contains 1 256 byte file.  
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by:lloydr1l
ID: 16326296
OK...I think I know what's going on now, maybe.  Using the program foldersizes showed me basically what I expected except for one thing, and that was that my Recycle Bin had over 3 g's of data in it.  I thought it was empty because I knew I had emptied it and it showed that it was empty.  

I have Norton Pro, and even though someone pointed this out, it didn't click that I had to go through an extra step to empty "the protected" files.  I knew about it, but just didn't think about that step for some reason.  I still don't understand why Norton would only protect files that were moved and not deleted, but that is for another question.

As for this one, I will go back and review and give points to 2 people.  The first one who mentioned using Norton Pro, because that was the answer, and the first to mention foldersizes, because this program led to my realization that Norton Pro was behind this.

Thanks to all who participated and helped me resolve this.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16328051
jsvor 1st mentioned it but in a multi-step way... by entering Unerase Wizard, versus what I mentioned by Right-clicking on the Norton Protected Bin, and executing my 1st comment. Beyond that are viable solutions if you are trimming everyting possible.
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16332524
cool. thank you!
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