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losing hard drive space for no reason

Posted on 2007-04-04
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I am running windows Vista home premium on a dell dimension e520 and after some initial problems with mouse freeze and some unusal activity with both dvdrom drives, I think i have another problem; the hard drive is 160gb which is partitioned thus: 10gb to the D: drive and 140gb to the C: drive, thing is after load some software and downloading some updates from microsoft my C; drive is down to 120 gb, there is no way (and i am aware that vista is quite a large os) I have used that amount of space!!! can any of you guys help me out, it is really pissing me off.
Thanx a lot
Paul
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Question by:Paul_Flynn
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11 Comments
 
LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:NickVd
NickVd earned 300 total points
ID: 18852906
The standard install size for vista is roughly 15gig... The math adds up for me :)
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:b0fh
b0fh earned 100 total points
ID: 18852913
Download WinDirStat or TreeSize and figure out what is using up your disk space...

WinDirStat     http://windirstat.info/
TreeSize     http://www.snapfiles.com/get/treesize.html
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:Mark
Mark earned 100 total points
ID: 18852935
Spacemonger looks like it can show you whats in there according to size.
http://www.sixty-five.cc/sm/v1x.php
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 900 total points
ID: 18852937
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 900 total points
ID: 18853007
All those programs recommended don't work.

At least, not that I've seen.  They DO report SOME information, but if there's anything on the computer you don't have access to (like the System Volume Information) then you do not get those numbers included.

There is ONE program that will show you the correct disk usage - it's available from Microsoft and it's a command line tool that was first available in the NT resource kit (or maybe it was 2000, but in either case, it should still work on Vista).  
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=955d7f2f-73d9-4018-9dd7-42da210e62ee&displaylang=en

I think you'll find most of the missing space is in C:\System Volume Information (I think that folder is still used in Vista - not in front of my vista machine to be certain).

Also, you don't have 160 GB of space.  You have 149 GB (as reported by Windows).  If you bought a drive advertised as 160 GB, they advertise it based on the assumption of 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes.  BUT, that's not correct - the computer views 1 GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes (2 to the power of 30).  Divide the computer's version of 1 GB by 160,000,000,000 bytes and you get 149 GB that Windows will report to you.  Now adjust your calculations accordingly and you're missing 11 GB or so - which would not be at all surprising to me if it was taken up by Volume Shadow Copy (if you're using the right version of Vista) and System Restore information.
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Author Comment

by:Paul_Flynn
ID: 18853171
Thanx for the quick response, is there any way to switch off the volume shadow copy?
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 900 total points
ID: 18853203
Why would you want to?  It's there to provide backup copies of your documents in case you accidentally delete them or change them in a way you didn't mean to.

I'm not sure off hand, but I'll check when I get home and in front of my Vista system.
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:Ryan_R
Ryan_R earned 200 total points
ID: 18853691
Vista is also indexing parts of your HDD for faster searching - this takes up some space
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LVL 59

Assisted Solution

by:LeeTutor
LeeTutor earned 200 total points
ID: 18854606
According to this page:

http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/4ac505e6-dd8b-4ae7-80fa-b9d77cd8104d1033.mspx?mfr=true

talking about Shadow Copy, it says:

This feature is automatically enabled in Windows Vista. You can enable or disable the feature for each available volume using the System Protection tab in System Properties in Control Panel. To view or change the settings, click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties. In the window that opens, click System Protection.

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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:NickVd
NickVd earned 300 total points
ID: 18854662
You're nowhere near running out of space... I wouldn't even worry about it until you got down to 10 or so gig free.  By that time, prices for hard drives will drop to the point of 500gig drives for well under $100 so the point of 10 or 11 gig becomes inconsequential.
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:DRZCM
DRZCM earned 200 total points
ID: 18861255
Vista uses a more thorough caching of your programs and settings for quick restart.  This is why it starts up from scratch so quickly so long as it is to the account it shut down from.  The system reserves this HD space and as such is not reported as free.

DR. Z
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