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Solved: Hard disk appears full but it isn't


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podley's Avatar
podley podley is offline
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23-Mar-2009, 12:42 AM #1
Unhappy Solved: Hard disk appears full but it isn't
Hi all

Someone else has posted a similar problem, however, it was for Windows Vista, hence, the solution was Vista specific.

My specs are: Lenovo Thinkpad with Windows XP Home edition (2002 version), Service Pack 3, 1GB RAM, 60GB hard drive, Intel Celeron CPU @ 1.46GHz.

My C drive shows that I have 50GB although it supposedly came with 60GB. I'm assuming 10GB is the space allocated for partioning. Not sure though. Soooo out of the 50GB left, my computer is telling me that I've got 3.12GB free space, hence, I've used approximately 47GB. When I look at what I actually have on my computer I have:

Documents and settings - 4.29GB
Programme Files - 3.18GB
Windows - just under 5GB
The rest of the files on my computer - 2.6GB.

Total then is approximately 15GB

So where is the rest of my hard drive I ask myself (approx 35GB)? I've taken just about everything off my computer (music, pics, large document files) and have saved it on 2 external hard drives.

Do I need to look elsewhere to find my hidden 35GB?

Thanks very much for your help
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aasimenator aasimenator is offline
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23-Mar-2009, 01:08 AM #2
you need to see whats hidden.

you can run cleanup tools like Ccleaner (freeware) to remove temporary files
You also try to run disk cleanup from start>all programs> accessories> System Tools & then run disk cleanup.
It will analyse & show you whats taking up the space & then check mark the list & click on ok to clean them.
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23-Mar-2009, 02:19 AM #3
Files take more space on the drive than their sizes. The MFT takes 12.5% of the drive. Shadow copies and System Restore takes some amount. Hidden files and folders take more. The space used on the drive will never be equal to the sizes of the files added together. That is not the way the file system works.

If it is a 60 GB drive, then you should have a total of 55 GB's of space. That is not really very much for a modern installation.

After you unhide the hidden items, you may be able to see where a lot of the space is located with:

Disk Pie
TreeSize
Xinorbis
AssessTree
Directory Size Calculator

The Documents folder is susally the main culprit, but if you do burning and the images are not being deleted, those can add up pretty fast.
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podley's Avatar
podley podley is offline
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23-Mar-2009, 02:33 AM #4
Hey guys

Thanks for the replies.

I check to see whether I had the "show hidden folders" option ticked and it was ticked so I was able to see those.

I did file cleanup and defragged the C drive and that created a little bit of space so that's good.

I downloaded SpaceMonger (suggested elsewhere on this site) and it showed that files do indeed take up more space on the drive than their sizes. Quite a bit more.

Probably need to get a bigger hard drive ay?

Thanks again.
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23-Mar-2009, 02:55 AM #5
You can make the internet cache smaller in Internet Options. 20 MB's is plenty. You can also reduce the amount used by System Restore. So there are ways of getting some space, but even if you just had an external drive for storing your own files, you would be able to expand a lot without buying a new drive.

(PS. In the Properties of a file, it will show you its size and also its "Size On Disk", which is larger.)
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