What is using so much hard drive space?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by ND Dad, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. ND Dad

    ND Dad Guest

    My Vista is working fine but…I am on my mission to find out what is on my
    hard drive. Be gentle with me I am retired and not an expert, just and old
    EE who thinks this should work better.
    A few months ago I purchased a new IBM T61 Laptop (Vista Home Premium) to
    replace my IBM R32 Laptop (XP). I got a 100 GB drive since my old laptop had
    80GB with only 35 GB used I thought I would be okay. However, after migrating
    programs over my new T61 shows 58 GB is used (I can only account for ~ 40 of
    it), 28 GB free and some 14 GB is used for some system stuff. Vista is ~10 GB
    vs. ~4 GB for XP so that is not the only issue.
    Some software like my Garmin Map Quest did not work after I migrated it
    over. Garmin set me an update. This could be one of my problems. I know all
    my Garmin stuff is ~ 4 GB but I can only see ~ 1.8 GB on the file structure
    list. When I look in the install/uninstall program function I see it all but
    not when I look at it from a file perspective. There may have been a few
    other programs like this too. I have tried some of the suggested disk clean
    stuff, stopped the recovery function, defragmented and some space has been
    freed up. Some suggestions from this site have been helpful so I thought I
    would try this site again.
    The seemingly excessive disk space use prompted me to go on a mission to
    find out why and where all the stuff is. I am not a computer expert but I
    tried to unhide every file I could find, checked properties and size. I have
    even tried using some old stuff like Command Prompts to get directly to my
    hard drive. Did bring back some memories of the good old days when you could
    actually see what is on your computer but…did not work or I least I could not
    get at what I wanted. Last time I used any of that stuff was in the eighties!
    Ideally I would like a tree with all major branches and all memory used. Even
    using directory (DIR) functions I could not see everything. Again I am not
    expert at this. I have unhidden all the files I can but I think some of my
    migrated software is invisible still, Garmin for sure. There may be other
    software not completely compatible with Vista too. It was an adventure
    migrating stuff over. I did make a clean copy of recovery disks before I
    started so I guess I could go back. I am very frustrated I can’t see
    everything on my hard drive. Cutting the data several ways I only get to ~ 40
    GB of the 58 used.

    I would like to find out what and where all this disk space is being used.
    One of you really smart and helpful folks on this site may know about a
    really great program to show me what is on my drive and where. (If try to
    clean this one any more I am afraid I will break it).

    If I really need 58 GB I will upgrade my hard drive. Don’t really want to go
    back to XP if I can figure this disk space use out. I just don’t see how I
    got to 58 GB in Vista when my old machine still shows only 35 GB for
    essentially the same stuff. Old XP machine is still running great…better that
    me…but I like my new one better and want to fix it if I can.
    ND Dad, Feb 18, 2008
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  2. ND Dad

    Guest Guest

    Probably Microsoft Windows System Restore, Expectually If You Create Extra
    Restore Points Before Installing Software Of Any Kind, Just FYI. With
    Windows Vista It's Usually A Good Idea To Have At Least A 160 GB Hard Disk
    Drive, If You Are Really Having Troubles With Disk Space Than I Would
    Recommend A 250 Giga Byte Hard Disk Drive, Especially If You Keep A Lot Of
    Music, Movies, Or TV Show Download's Installed On Your Computer's, Just FYI.
    Guest, Feb 18, 2008
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  3. On the Bridge, Feb 18, 2008
  4. to clarify.. Im reffering to the part on that page that says:

    The More Options tab is available when you choose to clean files from all
    users on the computer. This tab includes two additional ways to free even
    more disk space:
    On the Bridge, Feb 18, 2008
  5. ND Dad

    MrHope Guest

    in addition to the stuff mentioned above, the c:\pagefile.sys (virtual
    memory file) could be taking up a lot of space. If you have enough RAM
    and your programs don't complain, consider turning virtual memory off,
    and then deleting the c:\pagefile.sys.
    MrHope, Feb 18, 2008
  6. ND Dad

    Ken Triebold Guest

    Vista will dedicate up to 15% of the size of your hard drive to system
    restore. Therefore on your 100gb drive about 15gb can go for system restore.
    You can reduce the amount that is reserved for system restore by following
    these instructions (Note: Try 3gb as the example shows):

    From an elevated CMD prompt:
    vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /on=[drive letter]: /For=[drive letter]:
    /Maxsize=[maximum size]

    MaxSize must be 300MB or greater and accepts the following suffixes: KB, MB,
    GB, TB, PB and EB. If a suffix is not supplied, MaxSize is in bytes. If
    MaxSize is not specified, then there will be no limit to the amount of space
    it may use.

    For example, if you want System Restore to use a maximum of 3GB of space for
    the restore points on drive "C:", you should type the following:
    vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /On=C: /For=C: /Maxsize=3GB
    (Note: Resizing the storage association may cause shadow copies to

    For other information:
    Type vssadmin /? and press Enter to see the list of available options.

    If you want to know how much space has been allocated and the maximum amount
    of space that can be used by System Restore type the following command:
    vssadmin List ShadowStorage
    Ken Triebold, Feb 18, 2008
  7. ND Dad

    C.B. Guest

    ND Dad,

    As Kevpan815 suggested, it may be the System Restore points using some
    of your hard drive space. If you wish to delete all restore points prior to
    the latest restore point you can do so using the Disk Cleanup application
    located at Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.
    Open Disk Cleaner, select and/or accept the prompts and let it run. In
    the Disk Cleanup window, under the Disk Cleanup tab, you should uncheck
    Hibernation File Cleaner if you are using sleep or hibernate or if you are
    using a battery backup system on your computer. You may also want to uncheck
    the boxes for Windows Error Reporting. If you don't want Vista to repopulate
    all your thumbnails after you run Disk Cleanup you should uncheck the
    Thumbnails box. Click on the second tab, More Options, and then click on the
    Clean up tab under System Restore and Shadow Copies. OK the following
    prompts and all the previous restore points will be deleted. Unfortunately,
    you must delete all prior restore points as there is no method to keep just
    a few.
    You are probably already aware of how to use Disk Cleanup but I
    provided the information anyway. I am not insinuating any lack of knowledge.
    I have provided some links in the event you are unfamiliar with the manner
    in which System Restore works. On Vista you do not have the option to use a
    slider to adjust the size of the space allotted for System Restore as you
    did in XP. In Vista you must change the size by using a command prompt.

    These articles relate to System Restore:




    This article relates to the Hibernation File Cleaner Box in Disk


    If deleting the previous restore points does not free up the
    anticipated amount of disk space you may wish to read the following article:


    C.B., Feb 18, 2008

  8. You should *never* run without a page file, no matter how much memory
    you have. If you did so, you wouldn't be able to use all the RAM you
    have. That's because Windows pre-allocates page file space, in
    anticipation of possibly needing to use it. Although that
    pre-allocation speeds up page file use if it's needed, in most cases
    if you have enough RAM, that pre-allocated space is never needed and
    never actually gets used.

    But if there is no page file, that pre-allocation has to get made in
    real memory (RAM) instead. That means that the space for that
    pre-allocation (and it can be substantial) is tied up and not
    available for any other use.
    Ken Blake, MVP, Feb 18, 2008
  9. Yes.. dont turn off the pagefile.. you can turn off hibernaton if you dont
    use it though
    On the Bridge, Feb 18, 2008
  10. ND Dad

    Mr. Arnold Guest

    Mr. Arnold, Feb 19, 2008
  11. ND Dad

    SG Guest


    Well you got a lot of good answers, but there is one more place not
    mentioned that can and will grow quite large and that is "C:\Windows\winsxs"
    folder. However, do NOT delete anything from this. Do a Google search to
    find out more, to much info to post here about it.

    All the best,

    You will never be forgotten my friend
    SG, Feb 19, 2008
  12. ND Dad

    ND Dad Guest

    Thanks for all the good ideas and links. It will take me some time to sort
    through them to see what works and what does not work. In the mean time I
    ordered a 250 GB hard drive to replace my 100 GB. (I am an old hardware guy
    and like tinkering anyway) If any of these ideas make a dramatic improvement
    I will let you know.
    ND Dad, Feb 19, 2008
  13. ND Dad

    Hiriseguy Guest

    Same problem here.
    Go to http://windirstat.info/
    and download this tool (free) to see what program is hogging space on your
    Mine showed windows update added 95 gigs since March 17! My drive is only a
    160 gig. Why the files are so big I don't know yet. Hope MS can answer this.
    Hiriseguy, Mar 23, 2008
  14. ND Dad

    lucidica Guest

    lucidica, Dec 4, 2012
  15. ND Dad

    Tam isone

    Dec 9, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I am using 320 GB hard disk .
    Tam isone, Dec 9, 2012
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