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150 GB of invisible data has maxed out my drive, and I can't find it!


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#1 BeachcomberNC

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:47 AM

My faithful old Win 7 machine has a 297-GB primary hard drive, which Windows tells me is almost entirely full. But trying to find where I could delete files, I checked the properties of EVERY directory, and the data volume numbers add up to less than 150 GB. So I have to conclude that somehow some invisible (and probably evil) force is using my drive and hogging my resources. I'm also noticing, in Windows' Task Manager, the running processes never seem to be accounting for enough RAM to almost routinely max out what's available. I have Kaspersky as my anti-malware application, and it never seems to spot anything remarkable. Can anyone suggest a way to find whatever it is that's hiding from Windows, so I can hunt it down and kill it?



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 12:40 PM

Download WinDirStat. This is will show what and how much is using your drive. 

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/windirstat/

 

Disabling hibernation should free up some space on the drive if you see a hiberfil.sys file on your hard drive that is GB in size. After disabling delete the file.

 

https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tr-dojo/delete-hiberfilsys-by-disabling-windows-hibernate-function/

 

I would also look at your System Restore settings and see how much of the drive is allocated to System Restore.

 

https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/quick-tip-shrink-the-size-used-by-windows-7-system-restore/

 

Make sure Windows 7 backup is not enabled and if it is you can delete old backups.

 

https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/618-backup-files-schedule-turn-off.html

 

https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/628-backup-user-system-files-delete-backups.html

 

Use CCleaner to delete all your Temp files. Do not use the registry cleaner.


Edited by JohnC_21, 24 February 2018 - 12:47 PM.


#3 BeachcomberNC

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:01 PM

All good suggestions; the simple answer is that it was something quite elementary: almost 120 GB of temp files! Foolishly, I had let myself believe that new, improved system utilities allowed those little buggers to be automatically cleaned up, not like the old Win 3 days when manual removal was necessary. Seems it still is. Anyway: I now have almost half of my drive space available to me. Thanks.



#4 joseibarra

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 12:53 AM

Perhaps this will known Windows 7 issue:

 

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3112358/microsoft-windows/windows-7-log-file-compression-bug-can-fill-up-your-hard-drive.html


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#5 DavidLMO

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 01:49 AM

While that does not seem to be the cause here, it is helpful for peeps to keep this in mind as I have seen it pop up many times as a problem.



#6 joseibarra

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 02:43 AM

How do you know that does not seem to be the cause here since the OP did not specify where the temp files were located?

 

The Windows disk cleanup tools are quite lame...


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#7 BeachcomberNC

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 10:25 AM

Now that you mention it, the CBS log file issue did seem to have been the chief cause of my problem. So thanks again for that insight. I have taken precautions as outlined in the linked article, and hopefully won't have quite such a big hassle again.



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 10:54 AM

joseibarra, thanks for that link. I never came across this bug. It's crazy that Microsoft has not attempted to fix it for years. Probably too much trouble.



#9 Joe C

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 02:11 PM

joseibarra, thanks for that link. I never came across this bug. It's crazy that Microsoft has not attempted to fix it for years. Probably too much trouble.

Probably because fixing bugs in Windows 7 won't help their cause to get you into using Windows 10



#10 joseibarra

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 02:04 AM

When there are big hunks of storage missing that is the first thought (easy to check and resolve), subsequent thought are the usual secondary suspects.


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