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Losing hard drive space while running Windows 7 with XP mode as virtual mach

Posted on 2010-09-24
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Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I'm running Windows 7 with XP as a virtual machine. I've installed Oracle 8i within XP which seems to be running just fine for the past few months. However, the other day I noticed I only have 4.3 GB left on my C:\ partition (total is 66.7GB) and I seem to be losing almost a GB per day!.

The Oracle DB is for development only so it is not growing anywhere near the rate that's being added to C drive. My other data is on the D:\ partition about the same size as C. Each night I usually hibernate the XP mode although I always shut it down for the weekend.

I've already lost about 500MB this morning and as best as I can tell the the file "Windows XP Mode.vhd" (Virtual Machine Hard Drive Image) is what's growing. This may have been happening from the get go back in May when Windows 7 was installed and it's only now that I noticed the problem.

Has anyone had this experience with the XP mode in Windows 7?
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Question by:uomobello
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by:Lotok
ID: 33755247
The main things that will eat disk space will be

Paging file
Database Backups
Restore Points

It is worth checking the size of your XP profile in C:\Documents and Settings\
right click the directory with your username and choose properties, see the size.

If the profile is growing then potentially there are files being saved to or growing within Application Data directory (Hidden Directory). A growing file would be something like Outlook OST file but the level of growth you mentioned would be excessive for that.
It is more likely large files are being saved to there by an application.

Let me know once you check these things.
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by:Lotok
ID: 33755329
Worth mentioning is the ability to change the disk from expanding to fixed size.
Right click the VMC file and choose settings.
 Select the VHD on the settings list and there is the option to 'change'.

If the HDD space for Win 7 has priority, then I would do that. There is also a compact option which I warn you takes a fair while to do.
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by:uomobello
ID: 33863529
Here's what's been happening since my last post. The C: drive got as low as 2.15 GB and then increased to a high of 5.65 GB. It seems to fluctuate between those numbers while the computer is on. The VHD file is NOT what's changing while this fluctuation is going on.

I have accounted for most of this space being used on the C drive. I guess I never realized how much space the XP mode with the database in it would use. As an example, there's a hiberfil.sys file in C that I assume is used by XP when it goes into hibernation - this is 2.8 GB by itself.

The question now seems to be why would the free space on the C drive increase or decrease by 3 GB within a day? As far as I can tell, the database is not causing it but I can't be sure right now. I'll have to look into it further.
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by:Lotok
ID: 33863725
You may have answered yourself there.If the XP VM is placing a 2.9gb hibernation file on your C:\ drive, then removing it, replacing it, removing it, etc you will ofcourse see a fluctuation.

Have you tried moving the VM to another drive? Even as a temp measure to see if you can isolate the file causing the problem?
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by:uomobello
ID: 33875294
Well, as I can tell that hibernation file never goes away. Before leaving on Friday I shutdown the VM, just started it now, and the hiber' file is still sitting there with a 'date modified' of 10/11...today.

I didn't know you can move the VM to another directory. I seem to remember Windows & didn't give you an option of putting it in another partition. That would solve my problem. Do you know how to do that? I'll research the possibility.
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by:Lotok
ID: 33876461
Manually transfer the VHD to the new hard drive. Then create a new VMC, choose the existing VHD option and point it to the new location. It should then default the VMC to the same directory but if not there is an option during its creation to select where to save it.
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by:uomobello
ID: 33876846
It does make sense that moving the VHD will make it easier to isolate where the memory loss is but I'll keep that option as a last resort. I have an Oracle DB installed in the VMC and moving the VHD and recreating the VMC would require me to reinstall the database. Not a huge deal but certainly a chore I'd like to avoid if possible.

Still, as best as I can determine, the space used by the VHD/VMC does not change throughout the day as the available space on my C drive does. Oracle is taking up about 13-14 GB and yet the VHD is about 30 GB. Seems unnecessarily large to me.
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Lotok earned 500 total points
ID: 33886068
You dont have to recreate the VMC if you know where the file is. You shouldnt have to reinstall Oracle if your database is on the VHD. It is not like moving a real HDD from one machine to another, you dont have the driver compatibility to worry about.

Moving the VHD over to another drive and moving VMC too if you know where file is will work as its all self contained.

How big is the paging file?

14gb - DB
2-3gb - Paging
3gb - Hibernation
xxgb free space
1-1.5gb OS
xxgb installed apps / Used storage

If you fill in the XX's with a number it may help account for space.
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Author Comment

by:uomobello
ID: 33888760
Seems too easy. However, I just read  some Help files in Windows XP Mode and if I'm reading it correctly, all I have to do is move the VHD file. Then change a setting within the virtual machine that points the virtual machine to the new location of the virtual hard disk. When I open the virtual machine again it will now use the virtual HD from the new location.

The only thing that virtually scares me is having Oracle installed on this virtual thing. I'll back up the DB and give this a try tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Author Closing Comment

by:uomobello
ID: 33888945
To answer your question about file sizes in C, the paging file is 3.66GB and hibernation is 2.75GB. Adding everything up, I think I've accounted for all the space used. Just never realized how much space the VHD  would use with the DB in it and thought I'd seen space usage not nearly this high at some point. Moving it to the other partition should fix my problem......THANKS!

I will let you know how the move works out.
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by:Lotok
ID: 33888976
Great, Glad I could help.
Dont sweat over moving the VHD. It is just like picking up a physical server or workstation and moving to another room. Its all contained nice and safe :)

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Author Comment

by:uomobello
ID: 33908452
You were 100% correct! Just copy the VHD to another directory, point to it within the VMC settings and startup the virtual machine...couldn't have been easier. Still had network connectivity with the VMC as a separate entity from my main computer, Oracle worked as if nothing had changed. When did a Microsoft product get so logical and straightforward?

Thanks again!
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by:Lotok
ID: 33908594
Yea so far its probably one of the things they have done the best. Maybe learnt a little from VMware though.

Anytime, Good to hear its all up and working.
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Expert Comment

by:Battspur
ID: 39134655
Hi there
I too have a similar issue.
I have a virtual XP running Autocad within Windows 7.
I am losing 1GB+ a day off my C drive
I am down to 28 gb left !, but my XP C drive stays I have 100 gb.
I am running Nortons antivirus on both.
Will this solution help me
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