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Windows 7: Hard Drive Filled Up

24 May 2018   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Hard Drive Filled Up

I have 4 Dell computers all running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. On all my computers, the primary (C:\ Drive) contains only the operating system, program files, and stuff needed to run the machines. All data files on all the machines are stored in a logical partition on an extended drive. Although the 4 machines are somewhat different with respect to installed applications, the hard drive on one of the computers is getting eaten up by something (see the attached image - red text column). I am at wits-ends to determine what. Nothing seems out of line with respect to the size of each folder on the C:\ Drive as reported by Windows Explorer. From this, I can only account for about 47 GB of hard drive usage, but Windows Explorer reports that 309 GB of the drive is used. With respect to the problem machine (red text) it is a computer I bought from a refurbisher, all others were bought new from Dell. Is it possible the refurbisher hid some large files on the drive? Someone, please help me.

Attached Thumbnails
Hard Drive Filled Up-comparison-table.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2018   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Restore points are a number one cause of "lost" HD space, stored in the "system volume information" folder (which you don't account for). By default also you don't have read access into it. See if you delete restore points if space comes back.

BTW, summing space used by each file isn't a good way to get the total space used. That's affected by your access permissions, links and other issues that Windows Explorer is totally unaware of.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2018   #3

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

Excellent points Alejandro85!
Also, run
Disk Cleanup
or preferably
Disk Cleanup : Extended
CCleaner - Delete Junk Files
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 May 2018   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Reply to Alejandro85

Thanks for your suggestions, but the restore points don't seem to be the problem. Just to make sure, I went into Control Panel, System, System Protection, Configure, and turned off the system protection, then clicked the button to delete all restore points. I rebooted the system and checked the properties of my C:\ drive. The same thing - a lot of space used up, but no reason why. My max usage for restore points was only set to 4% of the disk, or about 16 GB. I had run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter several times before, but neither of these did any good. So, I'm still looking for the cause. I've also run CHKDSK and Disk Management and found no problems and that the disk is healthy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2018   #5

Windows 7 HP 64

Fist set Windows Explorer to show system folders and files and uncheck hide protected operating system files (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Folder Options)

See how big is C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download.
Is where windows store downloaded updates. Delete all them but the recent ones.

See if there isn't Win 10 installation files on a c:\
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2018   #6

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

Try disabling Hibernation. You don't actually have to have hibernation; but the image files it creates can take up a lot of space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2018   #7

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

Agree with mrjimphelps!
JohnHD, did you run disk cleanup extended with all options checked and run CCleaner with default options checked?

Give this a look see:
WinDirStat - Windows Directory Statistics
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 May 2018   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Reply to Megahertz07 and mrjimphelps

Thank you both for your suggestions. There is no Windows 10 installation on the machine in question, and I do not use hibernation - it is a desktop so really no need. I did check the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download file and found some old stuff (which I deleted), but the files I deleted were really not all that big and it did not may appreciable difference in the amount of hard drive space being used. So, still looking for the culprit as to what is causing a drive that should have roughly 50 GB of contents being filled up to 390 GB.

As I noted in my original post, the machine in question was purchased from a refurbisher, so I wonder if the refurbishment process left some stuff on the C:\ drive that is hidden from Windows? I've run CHKDSK (booted to the command prompt mode) and there are no bad sectors. I guess my next step is to try the Disk Cleanup-Extended to see if that surfaces anything. But for now, I'm still at a loss as to what could be chewing up all the hard drive space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 May 2018   #9

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

Jim didn't say that you used hybernation, if it's enabled, it uses hdd space, quite a bit actually.
Hibernate - Enable or Disable - Windows 7 Help Forums
Make sure it's disabled.

Did you look at your files with WinDirStat - Windows Directory Statistics
Run CCleaner too default settings after running disk cleanup - extended with all boxes checked.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 May 2018   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Making Small Progress

Since the file left by the hibernation function in Windows 7 was mentioned as a possible problem, I did a little more delving into this subject, even though my selected power setting DOES NOT have the hibernation option enabled. I found the following blog which I found most useful:

Delete hiberfil.sys by disabling Windows Hibernate function - TechRepublic

If I correctly understand the article with respect to Windows 7, if any of the available power setting options have the hibernation option enabled, a hyberfil.sys file is created even if the user does not use a power setting option that has hibernation enabled.

I tried the suggested fix, deleted the hiberfil.sys I found on my hard drive (only 6+ GB), rebooted my computer and verified that the file was gone and did not reappear. This worked. Now on to the task to find the remaining, useless files that are chewing up some 390 GB of disk space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Hard Drive Filled Up

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