Solved: Hard drive appears full, but is not

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pablohoney42

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Oct 7, 2008
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3
Hi

Windows tells me 120gb of my 140gb HD is full. When I add each folder up manually, it comes to 55gb.

WinDirStat tells me I have used 55Gb, yet on another screen it tells me I have only got 20Gb left of my 140Gb HDD.

Hidden files are set to show, restores settings are at lowest. I have a partitioned drive (8GB D: drive) with my recovery image etc and that is OK.

Of note - I had a Windows crash a month ago, I recovered the PC to its day 1 state thanks to the CD that came bundled with the PC. I did however lose all my manually loaded music files from my CD collection (pre-crash I had about 120GB used up, thanks largely to my music collection, but if they have disappeared from view, why does my HDD still say about the same space is taken up).

I think either - windows explorer is wrong or I may have recovery images hidden on my C drive (with all of my music files hidden), yet they dont show up anywhere.

Any ideas?

PS - I am au fait with PCs but not an expert. All I can tell you is - files on C: are NFTS though the D: drive is FAT32. I use XP SP2.

Many thanks

Paul
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
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Welcome to TSG!

The missing space is likely in folders to which you do not have access permissions. The System Volume Information folder is one such folder. If you right click it and check properties, it will show a size of 0, though it probably has 16.8 GB of files in it (12% of your 140 GB drive). If you try to view it, you get an access denied message.

In WinDirStat, hit F7, (or click Options | Show Unknown) and you'll see the missing space as Unknown.

If you did a Non-destructive Recovery, your music files are probably still on the drive, but in a folder you don't have access to.

Hard to say where it is stored, but check in the Documents and Settings folder.
The normal folders here (in addition to one folder for each user) are:
Administrator (may be Owner on some systems, may not appear at all if never used)
All Users
Default User
Local Service
Network Service

These last three are hidden

It may be named Documents.old, or may look like this where username is the old username username.computername, but the key is if you click it you will get an access denied message. Also check in the root of the hard drive (C:\).
You may just have to go through each folder to find the ones you can't access

Once you find it, you can take ownership of the folder to gain access
How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP

Sometimes all that is needed is to add your username on the security tab. That's all that is needed for the System Volume Information folder, you don't have to take ownership.

HTH

Jerry
 

pablohoney42

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
3
Hi Jerry

Good stuff - I took your advice regarding WinDirStat and now that I have changed it to 'show all files' I do indeed have an UNKOWN with about 60Gb in it.

As you suggested, I suspect also that this is resident in a folder called Compaq User (showing as 0 bytes and access denied).

I have another Compaq folder with numbers after the word 'Compaq' which was created after the crash.

I am the sole account on the PC, so guess that makes me Admin?

So - if the Compaq folder to which i can't gain access does have the files pre-crash it would be good to get in there.

First problem - is access denied for good reason? Might there be a conflict if I open it and click on anything?

Second problem - I can't seem to take ownership of it. I right click and there is no security tab - there is no such tab on any of the folders. Same happened in safe mode. Any suggestions....many thanks for getting me this far, really appreciated my friend.

Paul
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
9,028
Access Denied for system folders like the System Volume Information folder is a good thing, keeps you from messing with things you shouldn't.

For the Compaq User folder, it's just a result of the re-install. Access to files on NTFS drives is based on permissions set for groups and/or users. It's not the name of the group or user that matters, its the Security ID (SID) that is randomly assigned when the Group or User is created. Re-installing Windows creates new SIDs for the groups and users even if the group/user name is the same as it was in the previous install, so Access is denied. If you create a user, delete that user, and immediately create another user with the same name and password, it will still have a different SID.

Not sure why you aren't seeing the Security tab.

Which OS are you running, XP Pro or Home?
If XP Pro, did you disable Simple File sharing?
If XP Home, when you reboot to Safe Mode, do you still only see your account, or is there also an Administrator account? If there is an Administrator account, try logging into it. If you haven't used that account before, and haven't set a password, leave it blank.

If none of the above, let me know and I'll see if I can find something else that would cause this.

Jerry
 

pablohoney42

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
3
What can I say!

You're a star mate, many thanks indeed!

I managed to start it in safe mode and then when I looked at 'properties' of the folder in question there was a security tab there.

I managed to then change permissions, delete all the crap, save the music files and move them to my other PC - freeing up about 56 Gb in the process.

Great stuff - and I have learnt a lot in the process. Many thanks again - it was a good thing you did.

Paul
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
9,028
You're Welcome Paul!

If your issue has been resolved you (and ONLY you) can mark this thread Solved by using the Mark Solved button at the Top Left of this thread (above the first post) :)



Jerry
 
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