Disk space usage mismatch


G

Guest

I'm running a Dell Optiplex GX620 with a 250 GB SATA drive and I've noticed a
weird thing about the disk space reporting with Vista Beta 2. I performed a
Custom fresh installation of Vista over top of my existing XP setup (which
may account for some of the extra data...read on) which as I figured out
later does not actually format the drive and perform a "fresh" install.
Either way, after all was said and done (and now after 2 weeks of running
Vista) my local disk C: properties reports I am using 64 GB of the 232 GB
available on the drive. I thought that was a little much so I opened up C:
and showed hidden files and folders and highlighted the entire contents of
the drive and checked the properties and only 22 GB of data were reported. Is
Vista just reporting incorrect data here or is there some kind of extra
hidden stuff that is causing a 66% disparity?
 
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R

R. C. White

Hi, gdavidson.

In addition to Hidden files and folders, did you also check to show System
Files? It will ask "are you sure"; if you are the Administrator, say Yes.

Old-timers (like me) prefer to use the Command Prompt window and the Dir
command with the /a switch to show All files, even if Hidden, System or
other attributes are set. And, when we want to see Everything - and are
willing to wait for thousands of files to scroll - we might use the /s
switch, too, to see all subdirectories and the files in all of them.

To see your entire Drive C:, type:
dir c:\ /s /a
and wait a while. At the end, you should see the total number of files in
your Drive C: - and the total bytes they use.

It will take almost that long just to see all the operating system files in
the \Windows folder tree:
dir c:\windows /s/a

A couple of large files that most users don't know about are hiberfil.sys
and pagefile.sys. These are the files that Vista uses to hibernate your
drive and for your virtual memory; together they use about 3 times your
installed RAM, by default. Don't delete them, of course, because Vista
needs them. Just know that they are there.

I've never owned a Dell, but my understanding is that their computers have a
"hidden" partition holding files that you would need if you had to restore
your computer to its like-new condition. I don't know how big that
partition might be on your computer.

I'm very confused by your description of just how you went about installing
Vista. There are two methods, Upgrade and Clean Install, just like there
have been in earlier versions of Windows. Upgrade does not reformat your
HD, but deletes your WinXP operating system and installs the Vista OS in its
place, migrating your applications and settings in the process. If this is
what you did, you probably will also find a very large folder tree named
\Windows.old. (Since I've not been successful in getting Vista to Upgrade,
I'll let someone else tell you how to get rid of this folder - or if you
should.) A Clean Install can be done without reformatting, but a reformat
is best. The reformat, of course, wipes out all existing applications and
data, along with the WinXP files, and starts fresh; after installing Vista,
you must reinstall your apps and restore your backed-up data files. It is
not at all clear to me whether you Upgraded or Clean Installed.

RC
--
R. C. White, CPA [RC]
San Marcos, TX
(e-mail address removed)
Microsoft Windows MVP
(currently running Windows Mail 7 in Vista x64 Build 5456)
 
G

Guest

Thanks for the response RC. I initially performed an Upgrade install so I
knew about the Windows.old folder and included that as well as the system
files (pagefile and hibernation file) in my searches. Recently, I did an
entire rebuild including using an XP disc to fully format the drive and then
installed Vista on a completely clean partition with nothing else after a
full backup. I still have the same problems, and I've noticed that every day
I come back to work, a few more GB of hard drive space are being used. After
the inital install, 218 GB of the 232 total were in use and that seemed
normal and pretty much jived with what I got when searching the C drive. But
now 4 days post-install, I'm down to 199 GB of the 232 total after installing
about 3 GB worth of data and programs. Each day in the morning I would look
at the C drive and 2-3 more GB were being reported in use that weren't in use
the day before.
 
M

Mark D. VandenBerg

I wonder if "Superfetch" and or search indexing is responsible for what you
are seeing?
 
G

Guest

I discovered the problem. It was the System Restore feature that was taking
up all the space. Once I disabled it, all of the "missing" disk space was
restored.
 
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M

Mark D. VandenBerg

System Restore was using that much space? It must care deeply for your
well-being!

You can manually over-ride the amount of space available to System Restore
but for the life of me I can't find it!
 
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