Windows Vista Home Premium (...I know...)
What happened/is happening: I have had a couple malware (correct term?) over the past couple months. The first one was an IE redirect, which I removed successfully(?) with MBAM. That is when I believe some very bad things started happening, which I wasn't immediately aware of.
So, time passed, then one day I got a low disk space warning. I checked and I had some lowish number of GB of space left...3-5 GB or something. And I knew I should've had more than that. And I checked on it periodically (several times per day) while continuing my normal comp use, which I will say I no longer download anything to speak of (tv shows, movies, music, etc). And I watched these few GB of free space disappear for no apparent reason over a matter of about 2-3 days, all the way down to literally "0 kb." Using disk cleanup and with restarts, It might fluctuate back up to 100 MB. I deleted some large movie files that I've had for over a year, giving myself back 8 GB or so, then I watched the same thing happen to that free space over about 3 days: disappear to who-knows-where.
So, then I happened to get another malware, and I once again called on MBAM. This is when I start to notice a couple things and make a connection. When using MBAM the second time (about a month later, without using inbetween) I noticed that it took a lot longer to perform a "quick scan" and that it had A LOT more files to scan in the quick scan. Which, makes some sense if my hard drive space is disappearning.
Here's a couple facts: the first couple times I ran MBAM quick scan (related to the first malware) it scanned about 190,000 files, and it took about 5 min. After the space disappearing, when using related to my second malware infection, it scans over 1,000,000 files, and it takes hours. Every time I run MBAM now it finds more files, and takes a lot longer. Most recent quick scan: 1,400,000 files, and took 15 hours to complete.
Most importantly, perhaps, I noticed that it spent the overwhelming majority of time scanning this directory:
"C:\USERS\OWNER\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\<weird dir of 8 letter and numbers>\<long weird files usually ending in .js>"
So my hypothesis, which I can backup to a theory, is that for some reason my computer started storing massive amounts of temp internet files, and quickly eats up any free space on my hard drive. One thing I can't make sense of is why it continues to happen when I'm not browsing the net, and not even using my computer at all. E.g. I go to work, come back, and in that time I've lost 100's of MB, if not a GB. Also the fact that I don't believe it was happening before the first time I ran MBAM, means that something changed which started this.
If I go to Internet Options > Browsing History settings button > View files, it opens the folder which has these files, which, interestingly appears to be in a slightly different directory then where MBAM scans it: "C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files"
So it contains about 1000-1500 .txt cookies, but doesn't appear to contain the million or so files totaling my multiple missing GB. But when I click on that folder and view properties, it does show that it contains thousands of folders, over a million files totaling 20-some GB. I turned on viewing of hidden files, and still nothing shows other than the aforementioned cookies.
I've searched on the disappearing space, no one seems to know the cause, or to be able to fix the problem. I've searched about these hidden temp files. I don't kow if CCleaner works for these or not. I finally found an article which had information that I hadn't read anywhere else, saying that basically (some info about) your entire browsing history is permanently stored on your computer, and that the only way to access/delte it is through true DOS mode. I suppose I could believe that, but again, anyone would notice 10's of GB filling up for no apparent reason, so something is definitely "wrong" with my computer compared to a "normal working" one.
At this point I'm pretty much resigned to reformatting and reinstalling Windows, unless someone has a magic fix. If you need additional info, let me know. To be honest, I doubt if I'm interested in installing 5 programs and posting their logs and such. In terms of rate and speed of a successful fix, I'd probably rather reinstall.
Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and respond. Sorry if I posted this in the wrong section...
Edited by Powder Bandit, 05 September 2012 - 11:47 AM.