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Missing files


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#1 Selrahcgnol

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 10:51 PM

In XP the C:\ icon in My Computer pulls down to Properties and gives 8.56 GB as the used disk space. In taking all files off this computer and onto a backup drive, no compression used, I get a total of 6.54GB In all files. Where are the missing 2GB? As Administrator I can see all the files, even the hidden ones. Did Microsoft or somebody else put 2GB of unseeable files on this older computer? I noticed that deleting files puts them in the Recycle Bin, and if you go into the Recycle Bin and selectively delete files, it erases the words of the file name out of the Recycle Bin but does not actually delete the files. Only emptying the Recycle Bin actually deletes the files, and of course it deletes all the files. At that point I had only 36MB of free space on the whole hard drive, and could not take them out of the Recycle Bin because it does not MOVE the files, as it says it does, but it copies the files, then deletes them from the recycle bin. At a point in the process you have two copies of a large file, one where it used to be and one in the Recycle Bin, and the computer can't handle it. Doing a defragmentation didn't help, and it was a real challenge to do a defrag, since it needs 15% free disk space. I had to offload everything except core files, such as WINDOWS and Program Files, just to free up enough space to do a defrag. CHKDSK didn't help either. I scheduled a CHKDSK and rebooted. It found 3 MB of free space, big deal. One thing that is interesting is that the entire C:\ drive usage is listed in Properties of C:\, but you do not see the usage of the Recycle Bin.If you go into the bin you can see the total bytes of each file and add them yourself. It doesn't add up. The files in the Recycle Bin must be compressed, about 2:1.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 11:31 PM

There are things that occupy space on a drive without being present as a file that can be copied individually. The shadow copy service maintains backups, and system restore points for example.

There are utilities that can help to show what space goes to in drives, e.g. WinDirStat:

https://windirstat.info/

As always, if you download and install this or any other utility, look during the install process for any possible "extras" that may be being installed like toolbars, don't just immediately accept a default installation option.

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#3 Selrahcgnol

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 12:07 AM

Thanks Moderator,
What is really important to get off this old computer is downloads of things that can't download any more, old letters, files, C programs I wrote years ago, courses I paid to get, project documentation, etc. if the super hidden files or other top secret stuff is just adware or toolbars that came bundled with downloads, then I don't need it. I don't know what it is. That's the problem. 2GB out of a total of 8.5GB is an awful lot of stuff to not know.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:16 AM

Well, that isn't what I said at all...

However, if your stuff was stored in the default locations like My Documents, Downloads etc, copying your User folder found in C:\Users would bring across the files saved by that user account. My user name folder on this system shows as having 21GB of content when I bring up its properties.

If things have been saved in places only you know, like code saved to a named folder on C:\ or under programs' home folders, you'd need to check that those locations were also copied across.

Another way to do a complete backup is to store an image file of the entire drive onto a backup drive. That way it doesn't particularly matter if you remembered correctly where everything was, it's all there - the entire drive contents. At any time in the future that image file can be mounted to appear as a drive temporarily on any computer, its contents searched and any wanted files extracted. Several utilities can do this, including varieties of Acronis TrueImage, and respected cost-free alternatives such as Macrium Reflect. An image also has the advantage that it can be compressed, so your full drive content may go into an image file of say 3.6GB

Edited by Platypus, 11 September 2015 - 01:19 AM.

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#5 Selrahcgnol

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:49 AM

Thanks again,
Problem with that approach is, if the computer comes across a file that is open and in use by another file, it halts with a message. The estimated time to do the backup is in the hundreds of minutes, so I walk away and do something else. When I return I find it stopped a few seconds after I left and sat there doing nothing for a couple hours. Now there is a partial backup and I have no way of knowing what has been backed up and what has not. The computer does not back up the files in the alphabetical order I see them on the screen. I tried Macrium. They let you do a free backup, give you a long key, and that's it. When you want to go get the files off the backup disk you find they want $ to allow you to retrieve them, and you can never find that key when you need it. Since the backup drive is so huge anyway, just back them uncompressed. Also, the computer halts the transfer if you try to copy a critical system file, .ini files, etc and asks if you really want to copy this file. There are many other instances of the darn thing stopping, too numerous to list. If I sit there and copy each file tediously it does not do this. When I finished I found 2GB missing. That was my question. I thought they might be in the Recycle Bin since that is not seen when you look at the individual files inside C:\. But no, there was at one time more than 3GB in the Recycle Bin, as per adding it up, but it only yielded 1.2GB when cleared, thus files in the Recycle Bin must be compressed. By the way, emptying the recycle bin allowed me to go from 36MB to 1.2GB of space and was a long way toward allowing a defrag. And a lot of the critical stuff I want is in Program Files, and scattered around in various other files, including the registry. Whenever I transfer a useful program that I downloaded and try to use it, the program always comes up with "can't find........" and it lists a long directory tree starting with WINDIWS or Program Files, or Documents and Settings, or nttools, etc. The writers of these programs scatter critical files all over the place. Many times the company that produced this device is out of business, and the driver needs files that are buried. I have chased these files down through 10, 11, 12 subdirectories and found at the end a single 4 digit number totally buried where you may never expect it to be.

#6 Platypus

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 09:14 PM

You've tried to use the demo mode of the commercial Macrium product. Macrium Reflect Free is a reduced feature set version that is free for personal use:

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

As you said, you cannot effectively use copying as a backup method for things like system files which are currently in use, or software installations. But they are not things you individually need to backup anyway, as you cannot restore these types of installations into Windows by copying. You are wasting your time trying to do something that simply doesn't work.

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