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Windows XP Disk Space Accounting Anomaly

Posted on 2007-04-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have a new Lenovo X60 running XP with SP 2 and all patches.  The hard disk is 88.7gb (using Properites on the C-drive, 69.8 used and 18.8 free).  69.8gb used is over twice what I'd expect to see for this particular user.  I have checked the properties of each of the top level folders and the total is 33gb (using Windows explorer).  When checking this, the Folder Options in the View tab of Windows Explorer has "Show hidden files and folders - ON", "Hide protected operating system files - OFF", and "Remember each folder's view settings - OFF" (if that makes a difference).

Any idea what is using the extra space?  Diskeeper keeps telling me it doesn't have enough free space to defrag the disk adequately.

Gary
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Question by:garypaulhunt
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Expert Comment

by:jasfout
ID: 18836814
That  is likely the problem... the drive is so fragmented.
Try defragging anyway or better yet backup some files to another device to free up space until the drive is defragged then move the files back.
Often when drive is severely fragmented it takes more than one pass to get it defragged
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by:garypaulhunt
ID: 18837225
I've already run 3 passes of diskeeper defragmentation.  It now says that it can do no more until there is more free space available.  It didn't occur to me there could be that much fragmentation to double the used disk space.  But I will try your idea of moving off files and see if I can then defrag and move files back on.  I'll let you know if this solves the problem.
Gary
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by:FixingStuff
ID: 18837833
You can also try a "incremental" defag approach using CONTIG.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/contig.mspx
Works for me in these cases.
fs
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johnb6767 earned 168 total points
ID: 18837841
Run a chkdsk /f /r on the drive and see if it corrects the amount of free space that is being reported. Chkdsk can easily fix that if it is the cause....

start>run>cmd
chkdsk /f /r

select yes to schedule it on the next boot, and reboot the system....
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by:FixingStuff
ID: 18838620
I agree with John... CHKDSK needs to be run first, then deal with disk space and defrag.
fs
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Expert Comment

by:glenn_1984
ID: 18845570
If the above does not work:
I had this problem about a year ago.  No amount of chkdsk or defrag would clean it up.
Eventually I had to back the drive up to tape, reformat and restore.
All my free space came back.
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by:garypaulhunt
ID: 18845632
I now have 50% free disk space.  I have run DSKCHK 4 times and diskeeper lite 4 times.  Diskeeper now ends gracefully in about 1 minute, but tells me the disk is still excessively fragmented and needs to be run again.  Another run does the same, with no apparent changes.  The stats show about 150 fragmented files and thousands of excess fragments (whatever they are).

I have removed all the user files from the system except for a handful which I can't remove (see below).  The properties on the C drive show a used space of 44.2gb (about 50% of the disk).  But when I add the top level folder sizes together, they add to only 11.9gb including a 2gb pagefile and another 2gb system file, both on the top level.

The files I cannot delete are nested very deeply in the My Documents tree (13 levels).  The message is "Cannot delete <filename>: The file name you specified is not valid or too long.  Specify a different file name."  I can rename the files and folders to a dual character name, but this makes no difference.  I cannot delete the top level folders either.  Some of the lowest level files don't respond to the DEL key and don't show a DELETE option when I right click on them.  The user has full permissions on the entire drive and all subfolders.

I have also run System Mechanic 6 Disk Repair in Full mode and it shows no problems.  I have also run a full NAV scan as well as a Windows Defender scan and neither detected any problems.

Where is that 32gb of disk space gone?  Is it related to the files I can't delete?  Most importantly, how do I fix this?

Thanks, Gary
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Assisted Solution

by:FixingStuff
FixingStuff earned 166 total points
ID: 18845997
Try using DIRUSE from the reskit. It will show space used by system, hidden dirs like System Volume Information which may contain restore information that can really add up.
fs
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Expert Comment

by:veedar
ID: 18862212
You may want to run a tool like WinDirStat to show disk usage....

http://windirstat.info/
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Assisted Solution

by:jasfout
jasfout earned 166 total points
ID: 19209174
A fewmore things in addition to scandisk/defrag:
1.Make sure virtual memory is set to 'system managed'
2.Disable/restart 'system recovery' (to delete history)
3.Double check for malware. I ran into a similar situation where malware attacked/placed a file in the 'c:\program files\Common files' directory which devoured/fragmented the entire drive. (Note: NAV is no longer useful for anything but eating up system resources)

>Where is that 32gb of disk space gone?  Is it related to the files I can't delete?
That is also a possibility. You can try moving/copying the files then delete the originals using moveonboot http://www.gibinsoft.net/gipoutils/fileutil/index.htm
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