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Why Does A Windows 7 64 Bit Installation Seem To Grow Larger With Time?


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#1 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:06 PM

Hello. This is a non-emergency situation, but any answers to ease my brain itch would still be much appreciated :crazy: . After installing a custom version of Windows 7 64 bit SP1, and all my auxiliary software, on a 30 GB partition on my laptop there were 20.0 GB of free space remaining. Now, a little more than six months later, the free space is down to 18.6 GB. Why? Every three or four weeks since I did the install I've followed the same procedure: I update Windows; I update all other programs; I make a new restore point then use "Disk Cleanup" (every option ticked) and "Disk Cleanup/More Options" under "C:/Properties" to free disk space and delete all but the newest Restore Point; I run CCleaner; I do a "System Disk Monthly" defrag using MyDefrag 4.3.1; then I back up the partition using EaseUS ToDo Backup 3.5. For the first about four months after doing the above I was left with 19.9 or 20.0 GB free space, but sometime in the last couple of months--I've been extra busy so I'm not sure exactly when it started--the remaining free space dropped under 19 GB. For the life of me I can't figure out why. I've added a few new programs since first creating the partition, enough to account for, being very generous, 300-400 MB, but in my mind there are still about 1+ GB of occupied space for which I can't account. Given the above information it seems to me that the only place this extra "stuff" could be is in "C:/Windows", but using WinDirStat doesn't show any abnormally large files or folders. Please, does anyone more knowledgable than I know if it's normal for Windows to grow with time? Are there unnecessary Windows files being kept after updates? Thanks in advance for any help.

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#2 noknojon

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:41 PM

After installing a custom version of Windows 7 64 bit SP1, and all my auxiliary software, on a 30 GB partition on my laptop there were 20.0 GB of free space remaining. Now, a little more than six months later, the free space is down to 18.6 GB.

Hi -
It is normal to lose some free space, as you are installing and using programs that all take up space.
All the required updates, and all the extra programs (look in Programs and Features) do take some space.

From where did you install the custom version of Windows 7 64 bit SP1 ??

Thank You -

#3 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 06:48 AM

Thanks for your time, noknojon. I made the custom Windows 7 64 bit SP1 myself using the freeware program RTSe7enLite. While I realize that it's normal to lose some free space after installing new programs and Windows updates, as I typed in my original post I can account for, maximum, 300-400 MB in newer programs and am left with 1+ GB of occupied space for which I've no explanation. For the first four-plus months after I installed my custom Win 7 and followed my cleanup-consolidate-backup routine my free space remained consistently 19.9-20.0 GB, but somehow the last couple of months--while following the exact same routine--my free space dropped to 18.6 GB. I'm just wondering if someone knows of a massive update I didn't notice in my haste while keeping Windows up to date (NET Framework 666?) or if there's some hidden folder where Windows keeps backups of backups or anything to this effect.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:05 PM

System Restore...or certain cumulative backup programs running in real-time...will also contribute to fluctuaations.

Additionally...my understanding of how MS.NET works is that it is constantly updating Windows components in the background.

Louis

#5 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 09:18 PM

Thanks for your input, hamluis. I've System Restore limited to 358 MB, and I make a new Restore Point then delete the rest while following my cleanup-consolidate-backup routine. Also, I've no backup programs running as I manually backup on a regular basis. According to WinDirStat my Windows folder is 10.1 GB, with Microsoft.NET accounting for 897.9 MB of that. I remember when I first did the installation that the Windows folder was in the neighborhood of 8+ GB. Considering the handful of new programs I've installed there's still 1+ GB of new "stuff" in my Windows folder. Does this seem normal, for Windows to grow by 1+ GB in a couple of months? I'll keep searching for an answer and post it if I find it.

#6 hamluis

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:17 PM

To be honest...I don't pay attention to the size of Windows or how much free space I have available...since I graduated to something larger than 20GB hard drives. I don't see the necessity.

I allocate 20GB for installing XP on a partition...I increased that to 50GB for Win 7 (for no apparent reason, other than I have lots of hard drives and my smallest is 250GB or 320GB...I use the smallest drives for installing Windows.

I'm kind of mystified as to why you are tracking your drive space usage so fervidly...but I expect things on my systems to change with the ebb and flow of usage. As long as I don't get error messages and my systems seem to function well...I move on.

The one thing I've learned from dealing with the various versions of Windows over the years...there is no error or impairment of the system or Windows when you give it plenty of room...while the reverse is not true.

Louis

#7 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 11:20 PM

hamluis: I think your use of "fervidly" is misplaced :) . As I typed in my original post, I've a brain itch that needs scratching. Honestly, I've simply noticed recently that, despite no change in my usage, the free space on my Win 7 install is slowly diminishing and am curious as to why, nothing more nothing less. Luckily I'm not a cat :whistle: . I've been reading about the "C:/Windows/winsxs" folder (Wikipedia: Side-By-Side Assembly; The Secret Of Windows 7 WinSxS Folder) and am thinking that this is most likely the culprit. WinDirStat shows this as 4.5 GB, and from what I've read it just keeps growing and growing, a bit like The Blob. Now to see if it can be culled...

Edited by LouieChuckyMerry, 23 December 2011 - 11:33 PM.


#8 RB_Kandy

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:13 AM

Something else to take into consideration is your MFT will grow with time. the more files go on your computer, the larger the MFT gets. I'm really not sure how big MFT's are, or how fast their size grows. And your registry is going to grow even after you uninstall things. Though I doubt added files make the registry grow to a noticeable point.
As others have said, Windows, and various programs auto update themselves. I should mention that sometimes temporary backup files during something like an adobe update don't always get erased. This was a huge problem about 4 years ago, as it was taking up 4+ gigs because the backup files weren't deleting after update.

Another thing to consider is your virtual memory/page file/swap file or whatever we're calling it these days. It can start out as half the total of your RAM, but grow infinitely to make room for your RAM when loading lots of programs. Once it grows, it doesn't shrink(at least i don't think it does). It just remains as reserved space for the swap. Though I'm pretty sure that when the page file grows, you get a prompt telling you that the maximum swap file size isn't enough may windows expand it? or something like that.

If your virtual memory is growing considerably huge, you can always set it to a fixed size. But I wouldn't worry about the virtual memory, because it normally comes with a reasonable cap, and a warning that it needs to expand, and if it does grow, than that's proof you needed a bigger swap file.

Also, something else, I think if you index your HDD, the more files you put on their the bigger the file index gets. But I'm assuming it would take hundreds of thousands of files or even millions to suck up a gig of space (again, I'm assuming).

#9 hamluis

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:30 AM

<<hamluis: I think your use of "fervidly" is misplaced>>

Apologies...I make mistakes all the time and I've perhaps become too accustomed to such :).

Louis

#10 rotor123

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:49 PM

One other possibility is Microsoft updates. On this particular XP Pro system I'm typing on they take up 1.19Gb in the Windows folder.

I just looked at my Windows 7 computer and they are using over 400 Mb.
Windows\softwaredistribution then the download folder.

Edited by rotor123, 24 December 2011 - 02:19 PM.

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#11 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:48 PM

RB_Kandy: thanks for your ideas. After checking, my MFT is 91 MB and my registry is 162 MB. I'm far from expert, but neither seems out of hand. My pagefile is fixed at 256 MB, I disabled indexing on all drives almost first thing post-install, and the only Adobe software installed are a couple of Flash Player plugins.

hamluis: no offense taken. I just don't want people to think that I'm more obsessive than I actually am :wink: .

rotor123: thanks for your reply. I actually came across that topic while reading about the "C:\Windows\winsxs" folder. I had 50.6 MB in the folder and have added it to my CCleaner "Include" list.


After searching for and reading about the "C:\Windows\winsxs" folder until my eyes were practically bleeding, it seems there's nothing that can be done about it. It'll just keep growing and growing and there's no way to stop it, as it's a mandatory part of the OS. For anyone who installed SP1 after already having Windows 7 installed (that is, as opposed to people who's install disk already had SP1 included), it's possible to recover quite a bit of disk space by cleaning up the remains of the service pack: Cleanup Winsxs After Windows 7 SP1 Install . Please note, if you use the above method then you can no longer uninstall the service pack. Thanks again to everyone for their time and may your new year be prosperous.

Edited by LouieChuckyMerry, 25 December 2011 - 09:49 PM.





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