Mysterious huge file on hard drive

  Awestruck 17:18 18 Jan 09
Locked

After a severe cleanup and a purge of all unused programs and files a friend has only 3.56 GB left on his 35GB hard drive. His My Docs folder plus progs plus recylcle bin plus Windows comes to 10.85GB. Although Windows XP only takes up 4GB his Windows Folder reports a total of 24GB. What on earth could be taking up 20GB? I have read the FAQ on this topic and the only clue is the possible size of the Restore folder but 20GB??

Any clues about the missing 20GB, it is not a hidden file. I have scanned several times with his anti-virus program and two anti-spy programs.
Regards
Awestruck

  MAT ALAN 17:25 18 Jan 09

click here

this will tell you what it is...

Having said that if its not hidden you should be able to tell whats in it..

  mooly 17:28 18 Jan 09

Just a thought, have you tried deleting restore points and shadow copies in disc cleanup. Can't remember on XP, but in Vista you click the more options tab.

  Switcher 17:28 18 Jan 09

It could be the System Restore files.

  Sea Urchin 17:34 18 Jan 09

system restore takes a maximum of 12% of the drive - that would be just over 4GB on a 35GB drive.

  Switcher 17:43 18 Jan 09

Very true Sea Urchin I forgot about the % setting for system restore files.

  Batch 17:54 18 Jan 09

In Windows Explorer, try right clicking on the drive and selecting Search. Then specify a minimum file size for Search to return (e.g. select the "Large (more than 1MB)" option) and let it run. Then sort the files by size (click on the Size column heading) and you'll be able to see any particularly large files.

hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys should be there and are likely to be largish (hiberfil.sys should be the same as the amount of memory you have, with pagefil.sys "broadly" in the same sort of ballpark, but will depend on your settings).

On my 1GB memory system (without system restore enabled), hiberfil.sys is 1GB and pagefile.sys is approx 756MB. After that next largest file is driver.cab which is a relatively small 60MB.

  Jak_1 19:43 18 Jan 09

Don't forget formatting reduces the size so that needs to be taken into account also. A 35 GB drive is a small drive. You say that the system plus my docs comes to 10.85 GB, what you don't say is what and how many other programs are on the drive and what data files they have built up. Windows also takes part of the drive for use as a swap file to help out with memory.
So all in all I would think that there is little amiss!

  Awestruck 15:36 01 Feb 09

Hello Jak_1
I did spell out total program size plus the rest, you probably missed it as I abbreviated it to 'progs'. It all came to a total which should have left 20Gb.

I will try all the suggestions given and let you know the result.

Regards Awestruck

  Awestruck 16:09 06 Feb 09

Thank you for the tips. Especially I thank Mat Alan for recommending TreeSizeFree.exe. This showed up the rogue 20Gb file.
It was actually a folder C:\WINDOWS\Installer and this was packed with 200 *.msp files each about 100MB in size.
An item on the internet warned me against deleting them unless the files were orphans. A Microsoft utility called MSZap.exe was recommended for highlighting orphans but I could not locate it anywhere on the internet. Eventually I found a microsoft article /kb/27453 which gave me a long winded way of detecting orphans and I am plodding along with that with some success.
These pesky *.msp files come from MS updates (SP3) for Office Pro 2003.
Every day an update (SP3) for Office Pro 2003 tries to install and fails. This produces another orphan *.msp file. I must find out how to stop this. I will start another thread for this purpose.
Regards
Awestruck

  woodchip 17:20 06 Feb 09

Turn off Auto Updates Do them Manualy

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