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Windows 7: Where is my disk space going?


29 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Where is my disk space going?

OK - I know this type of question has been hashed, re-hashed and re-re-hashed, but I will ask anyway.

Disk properties on my 300 GB C drive show:
· Used space 185GB
· Free 94GB

When I check folder by folder using any number of methods it adds up to about 105 or so GB used. This includes hovering over folders in Explorer, and using a utility called Free Disk Analyzer. So where's my missing 70 to 80 GB?

I would swear up until a few weeks ago I was using only about 1/2 that space - around 100GB. I did not add anything that would make up even a fraction of the additional usage.

I am using Windows 7 Pro.

I know there can be a number of explanations, but I am still wondering if anybody has suggestions. I did a bunch of analysis but with the huge number of files on drives these days, you really have to know what you are looking for or you’ll be slogging through forever.

Thanks for reading this.

Wooleysdad

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 Apr 2011   #2

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wooleysdad View Post
OK - I know this type of question has been hashed, re-hashed and re-re-hashed, but I will ask anyway.

Disk properties on my 300 GB C drive show:
· Used space 185GB
· Free 94GB

When I check folder by folder using any number of methods it adds up to about 105 or so GB used. This includes hovering over folders in Explorer, and using a utility called Free Disk Analyzer. So where's my missing 70 to 80 GB?

I would swear up until a few weeks ago I was using only about 1/2 that space - around 100GB. I did not add anything that would make up even a fraction of the additional usage.

I am using Windows 7 Pro.

I know there can be a number of explanations, but I am still wondering if anybody has suggestions. I did a bunch of analysis but with the huge number of files on drives these days, you really have to know what you are looking for or you’ll be slogging through forever.

Thanks for reading this.

Wooleysdad
Try this;

WinDirStat - Windows Directory Statistics

Restore points and a lot of other stuff can use a lot of space.

You might also like to try this;

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

This can remove old restore points, and a lot of other stuff.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7
 
 

MIke - Thanks very much. I will try those. I have CCleaner but have probably not made optimal use of it.


I just wanted to add - is it possible that slack space because of allocation unit/cluster size could cause this? It doesn't seem likely to cause such a discrepancy..

Wlooeysdad
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


29 Apr 2011   #4

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wooleysdad View Post
MIke - Thanks very much. I will try those. I have CCleaner but have probably not made optimal use of it.


I just wanted to add - is it possible that slack space because of allocation unit/cluster size could cause this? It doesn't seem likely to cause such a discrepancy..

Wlooeysdad
Cluster sizes can affect the used space, especially if you are using a large number of small files. But it wont normally make much difference on a "Standard" home user PC.

Usually, the "lost" space is being taken up by all kinds of system files. Windows ( and unfortunately Windows 7 as well), is a very "dirty" system, it produces all kinds of rubbish that just eats space. You have to give it a clean now and then.

You should also use the built-in disk cleanup utility. Right-click on the drive you want to clean, choose "Properties";

and then "Disk Cleanup" in the box to the lower right of the pie-chart;



The space which can be freed up will be calculated,




and you will be given checkboxes for items you wish to delete;



Just check them all and let the utility delete them.

If you have never done this before it can take a while, and will free up a lot of space.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7
 
 
I like Mike

Mike - You nailed it!! It was the restore points. I just added about 46 GB of disk by removing about 15 points. Of course I now realize I probably have this set much too high. And now I see how CCleaner can do other stuff. And I can't spell my own nickname (last post).

Thanks again Mike!

Eliot (easier to spell - yes, that's how it's spelled)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #6

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wooleysdad View Post
Mike - You nailed it!! It was the restore points. I just added about 46 GB of disk by removing about 15 points. Of course I now realize I probably have this set much too high. And now I see how CCleaner can do other stuff. And I can't spell my own nickname (last post).

Thanks again Mike!

Eliot (easier to spell - yes, that's how it's spelled)
I don't mind how you spell your nickname. "Wlooeysdad" or "wooleysdad". It must be you, or the user nickname would be different !!!

My pleasure. Run the disk cleanup and you will get even more back.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #7

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Also, although you may get varying opinions on this, I prefer not to use system restore, or Windows Backup either. I use imaging and file backup as my backup strategies, and I want to keep my system images small.

Restore just bloats the image size, and I have never found it to be very reliable anyway.

I don't use Windows Backup for the same reason. I have these things disabled.

I keep my system and my data separate. I can image my system in just under three minutes, and I use an incremental file backup for data.

This is what I use to do it;

Free Download EASEUS Todo Backup Freeware and Trial version. Complete Backup and Restore Software for Windows & Linux.

it is free for home users, and I have found it to be first class. I image at least once a day, more often if I am installing or trying various stuff. ( Which I do a lot). The Windows stuff was just too unreliable.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
The Windows stuff was just too unreliable
That is my observation too. Even since XP times all Windows backup facilities were flawed. It all seems to come out of the same MS development group - and they do not seem to learn.

The OEM products are a lot better and reliable. I use this one for imaging. But Mike's option is good too. With Windows imaging I trashed 3 CDs in the first step trying to burn a recovery disk. Now I image thru cmd (Wbadmin) if I want to use windows facilities - which is rare.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #9

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote:
The Windows stuff was just too unreliable
That is my observation too. Even since XP times all Windows backup facilities were flawed. It all seems to come out of the same MS development group - and they do not seem to learn.

The OEM products are a lot better and reliable. I use this one for imaging. But Mike's option is good too. With Windows imaging I trashed 3 CDs in the first step trying to burn a recovery disk. Now I image thru cmd (Wbadmin) if I want to use windows facilities - which is rare.
I still use Macrium on a couple of my XP machines, mainly because I never got around to changing it, and it works!

Unfortunately, Macrium will not run on this machine. Or to be more accurate, the boot recovery media will not run. It also does not run on a lot of machines with certain graphic cards, or on-board graphic chips.

I have messed on installing it using BART PE, ( the Macrium forums had a link showing how to do this, don't know if they still have), but this is an awful mess on, and not at all suited for the average user.

If it runs, then great. I also found it to be reliable.

I do find the incremental file backup in the Easeus product to be very good indeed, and the new version ( 2.5 ) has further added enhancements. Also, it is very fast. At least as fast as Macrium, possibly a tick faster, ( which up to using the Easeus product, and testing many others, I thought was the fastest). This incidentally includes various professional commercial products.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2011   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Mike, you made me curious. I think I will try Easeus one day. A long time ago (on Vista) I had a bad experience once with it. Since then I had not touched it. But I am sure that was either my own mistake or it has been corrected.

But the Macrium boot disk problem I have not seen myself. I run it on 6 PCs (desktops and laptops from 2007 to 2010) plus on a few of my friends systems. And have made recoveries on all those systems. Must be a driver restriction in the Linux part.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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