1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Ext Hard Drive Showing Full but actually only half full Vista

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by hoody, Apr 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. hoody

    hoody Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Hello, have been searching the net for an answer to this question with no satisfactory answers.

    System details,
    Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit
    Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 2,4GHz
    2GB Ram
    500GB Packard Bell External Hard Drive - USB connection

    I have a 500GB external hard-drive and Windows Vista is currently telling me it is full. When I check the hard-drive properties in Explorer it also shows up as very close to full. However when I select all folders on the hard-drive and check properties the size is only approx half. i.e 216GB

    The drive system is NTFS and I have made sure in "Folder Options/View" that hidden files and folders are shown.

    Does anyone have an idea what this could be ?
     
  2. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    9,028
    Welcome to TSG!

    Did you disable System Restore for the External drive?

    When you select a group of files and right click and choose properties, it only totals the sizes for files you have access to, which does not include Restore Points or Shadow Copies, When you right click the drive on the other hand, it shows the allocated size of all files by reading the $Bitmap file; it doesn't total up all the files.

    With the drive connected, right click Computer, then click Properties.
    Click Advanced System Settings
    Click the System Protection tab
    Wait for the system to stop searching (could take a few minutes)
    Is the USB drive checked? If you uncheck it, that should delete the Restore points and Shadow copies. Before unchecking it, I would check the current usage and settings.

    You'll also want to check the Max Size settings for SystemRestore/Shadow copies. Some systems have no limit set, so they can get filled with restore points.

    To check the current allocation and usage:
    Open an Elevated Command Prompt:
    Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, press CTRL+SHIFT+Enter
    Type vssadmin List ShadowStorage
    This will list the limits on each drive, and the current usage.
    You also use vssadmin to set the maximum size. (no more friendly slider like in XP)
    vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=30GB

    HTH

    Jerry
     
  3. hoody

    hoody Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Hi Jerry,
    thanks for the detailed explanation. I think we may be almost there. I checked the System protection/system restore and the external hard-drive was not checked. So no shadow copies etc for system restore.

    However I do make backups to the external drive. There are 3 folders visible which appear to be for the backups, and I thought that was all however perhaps there are hidden folders for backup too ? Any ideas ?
     
  4. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    9,028
    Usually, the difference in size is from files in folders you don't have access to, like the System Volume Information folder. A right click will show a size of zero, and a left click will give an Access Denied message. If you have the system set to show hidden folders as you've said, they should be visible though.

    Just in case you missed a setting, can't hurt to double check:
    To change View Settings to show hidden/system files:
    In Windows Explorer, click on Tools | Folder Options -> View tab
    Check the following:
    Display the contents of system folders (not present in Win2K/Vista)
    Show hidden files and folders
    Uncheck the following:
    Hide extensions for known file types (WinXP/Vista)
    Hide file extensions for known file types (Win2K)
    Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)

    Windows does have ways of hiding folders though. This could also just be an error in the $Bitmap file.

    If you have access to a Windows XP system, you could use the Disk Defragmenter to analyze the drive (Vista's defrag doesn't have this feature; if you have a 3rd party defrag tool, it may give you some info). It can often find files that are hidden (and fragmented), so you at least know where they are. Having the exact path to a file can let you get into even the supperhidden folders that windows normally hides.

    You could also run chkdsk on the drive. This has to be done from an elevated Command Prompt:
    Click Start
    Type cmd into the search box, then press CTRL+SHIFT+Enter
    If UAC is enabled, you'll be prompted.
    When the command window opens, the title bar should state Administrator
    type chkdsk X: /F where X: is the Drive letter of the external drive.

    You can use one of these to see if it can spot something. TreeSize Free will flag folders it doesn't have access to, so I'd try that one first. All three are useful though.

    Hard Drive space usage
    WinDIRStat
    TreeSize Free
    Disk Detective

    Jerry
     
  5. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    The MFT takes 12% of the drive and the mirror more. Each file takes more space than it's size, sometimes up to twice the space of the file size. The total number of files and folders will never add up to the same amount as the used space.

    Admittedly, however, you have a whole lot of missing space.

    If you originally created that external drive's partitions on the Vista machine, connecting it to an XP machine may erase the partition. But is is a good idea to check the drive from another machine since a rootkit on yours could hide files on the external.
     
  6. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    9,028
    It's my understanding that the $MFT Mirror contains only the first 16 records of the $MFT. $MFT records are 1-4 KiB in size, so the mirror is at most 64 KiB; or has that changed in Vista's version of NTFS?
    And shouldn't the space reserved for the $MFT that is not being used should still show as free space?
    Are you referring to slack? The right click | Properties will show the actual size of the files, and the size on disk, which should include the slack space. Or am I missing something?
    I've heard of XP deleting Vista System Restore points/Shadow copies (it's not enabled on this drive so shouldn't be an issue).
    I wasn't aware that XP can also delete all but the most recent of Vista's Complete PC Backup files according to this article, so if that's what you are using Hoody, might not be a good idea to connect it to an XP system.

    Is this the same issue Elvandil, or something else you are referring to? It doesn't seem to matter which OS created the partition.

    If something else, do you have any links to info/reports? I didn't find anything, but maybe my "google foo" is sleeping.

    Hate to suggest something that could cause that.:eek:

    Jerry
     
  7. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    The XP logical disk manager service will sometimes delete Vista partitions. That is a different issue. They are easily restored with Testdisk. But XP does not recognize their structure (apparently not alwats, though. This seems to happen the most with externals that are moved between OS's).

    Partially-filled clusters are marked as filled when measuring disk space.

    The MFT size stays the same unless enlarged for more file space or manually. Small files may be contained totally within the MFT and have no representation on the drive elsewhere.

    In any case, the point is that the total space used by all the files and folders is greater than their total size (but not almost double).
     
  8. hoody

    hoody Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    OK, I've had a bit of time to look further and this is what I have found.

    Using windows explorer and right clicking on M:/ in the root directory it tells me (with pie chart) the following,
    Used Space : 464 GB
    Free Space ; 1.41 GB

    When I highlight all folders in M:/ I get the following info
    Location : All in M:/
    Size : 215GB
    Size on disk : 215GB

    When I use Tree Size free it tells me at the top of the window that M:/ has 221GB used. However it also says that System Volume Info (access is denied).

    So there are 2 questions.

    1). How to get access to the system volume info
    2). could this be as simple as a virus which falsifies/doubles the size of the files on the drive ??

    If 2 is likely, any ideas on an effective virus remover.

    Thanks, Hoody
     
  9. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    9,028
  10. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/822287

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice