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Windows 7: C drive space disappearing

16 Nov 2014   #1
Silta

Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit
 
 
C drive space disappearing

I'm constantly losing space on my C drive and the situation seems to be getting even worse recently: every time I use the computer I lose at least 0.5 GB of space on C, which means that getting on my computer twice a day costs me 1 GB of space. I keep deleting files or moving them to D. Usually, after an unpredictable amount of time, some space (but always less than what's been lost) is freed up for no reason that I can see: last week I had 6 GB free and then suddenly the free space was 10 GB even though I'd done nothing. But today the C drive was down to 2 GB even though I've moved files to D drive, and I'm getting desperate since moving stuff does nothing about the actual problem. I deleted 12 GB of photos, but all that free space has vanished.

I've tried some of the suggestions I've seen online, but the most space I've ever freed using cleanmgr has been less than the 0.5 GB I now lose every time I use the computer. I always clear my internet history when I close a browser. I just deleted 4 GB of old Windows Updates, but I've lost more space than that this week alone. The virus scan shows nothing. I'm wary of trying stuff like deleting System Restore; I'm a total amateur and my computer language isn't English, which makes instructions harder to follow since I have to try to interpret and translate terms I don't know.

What could explain the speed at which I'm losing so much C drive space? Why does some, but not all of it, reappear without me doing anything (this is something I haven't seen people mention when they write about disk space problems)?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Nov 2014   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

It could be restore points being stored in the shadowstorage. Those are between 500MB and 1GB each. You can check that with this command in an eleveted command prompt:

vssadmin list shadowstorage

The number listed under Allocated is the amount that was taken. If the Maximum seems to be too big for you, you can resize the shadowstorage. Post back and I give you the command if you tell me what size you prefer.

In addition you can run WinDirStat. That will give you a nice listing of everything that is on the C partition - except the shadowstorage.

https://windirstat.info/
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2014   #3
Silta

Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit
 
 

I right-clicked Command Prompt to run it as an administrator, but when I wrote vssadmin list shadowstorage it replied that there had been an unexpected error. That might mean I have to use the Finnish language version of the command, but I haven't yet been able to find a translation by internet searches.

I installed WinDirStat. According to it, I have 301 GB in Users, 20.5 GB in Windows, 11 GB in Files and 14.1 GB in ProgramData/Program Files (x86)/Program Files, so the C drive is 346.6 GB. My D drive is 80.6 GB so C+D is 427.2 GB: though I can't remember the exact number, when I bought the computer it was said that it has around 500 GB space. 70 GB is missing, perhaps that is shadowstorage.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Nov 2014   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Try this:

Press Start > Right click on Computer > Properties > System Protection (third dow on the top left) > Highlight C: > Configure. Now you should have this little window which tells you the story. With the 'Max Usage' slider you can change the size of your shadowstorage.


Attached Thumbnails
C drive space disappearing-2014-11-16_1450.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2014   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

If you go to control panel/system/system protection/configure you should see a slider under "disk space usage".

How much is "current usage" next to that slider?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2014   #6
Silta

Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit
 
 

Thanks to the advice, I found System Protection for C. Current usage: 12,11 GB. Max usage: 3% (10.00 GB). Does this mean that shadowstorage only takes up 12 GB right now, or that there might be several restore points but the biggest and newest is 12 GB?

"Delete all restore points (this includes system settings and previous versions of files)": if it deletes everything including system settings and you can't select what happens, is it potentially risky?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2014   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If the Max is set to 10GB, then 12GB is an overflow. This is an error. I would set the slider to zero and Apply (you lose all restore points. Then I would reset it to 3% or even less and create a new restore point.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2014   #8
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

I'd suggest running Treesize Free first, to see exactly where the space is going.

It may not be restore points that are the cause.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2014   #9
Silta

Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit
 
 

I installed Treesize. For most folders it gives the same size as WinDirStat, but it also shows a Recovery folder with 164 MB (last changed 2010) and System Volume Information with 6.8 GB (last changed today 17.11.2014). According to Treesize's numbers, C+D drives is 439.5 GB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2014   #10
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

Show all files on your hard drive:

Open My Computer, Tools menu, Folder Options.
Click on the View tab.

Check Show Hidden Files, folders and drives.

Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files [Recommended].
Click Apply then OK.

Try Treesize and WinDirStat again, see if more is shown.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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