Low memory on c:

Acer Travelmate 4060
January 11, 2009 at 05:01:44
Specs: XP Home SP3, PM 800/.99GB
I have received an alert advising that there is low memory on my c drive. The c drive is 44.8GB with only 251MB free. Under properties, the folder 'WINDOWS' has 34GB in it but when I go in and total the files and folders (including hidden files and folders) they only add up to 5.03GB. That means that there is 29GB I can't account for and the reason for the warning. Can anybody tell me where this missing memory is?

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January 11, 2009 at 05:11:08
A comment regarding file size ---
In Windows XPs NTFS file system, one Sector on the harddrive
amounts to 4,000 bytes. If a file is 1,000 bytes in size,
then that file will take up a full Sector, and you will lose

If a file is 40,001 bytes in size, the it will use 11 Sectors,
and you will lose 3,999 bytes of space.

Right click on a file,
then click Properties,
then look on the General tab,
you will see two pieces of information, "File size", and "Size on Disk".
"File Size" might be 100 bytes, and yet
"Size on Disk" would be 4,000 bytes.

I find LOG files in Windows that show
0 bytes of File Size,
4,000 bytes of Size on Disk.

You can try this to improve things ---
Description of the Disk Cleanup Tool in Windows XP

Another thing I notice that is taking up space is
EVENT VIEWER logs. Go into Event Viewer then right click
each catagory (System, Security, and Application),
then click "Clear all events".
When Prompted to Save, do not save.
Also check all the files in
The Prefetch folder is quite large.
I have deleted all files there, even
Layout.ini, at times without problems.
It will rebuild itself over time.

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January 11, 2009 at 05:37:44
Also you can go so far as to remove Uninstall folders for any Windows Updates you have.
An example of a folder is ----

So see this ---
XP SP3: Post Installation Cleanup

Note ---
You will then NOT be able to remove any installed Updates via Add/Remove Programs.
After all the cleanup do this ---
How to Defragment Your Disk Drive Volumes in Windows XP

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January 11, 2009 at 06:55:05
Chuck makes an excellent point. If the updates are more than a day old, and you've rebooted, you can remove them. Then remember to empty the Recycle Bin. Delete all tmp files (Local Settings\Temp) for all profiles. That's a very good place to start.

If you have System Restore enabled, you could turn that off, reboot, then that would give you lots of space. Then, turn System Restore back on.

You could download CrapCleaner, installing and running it as well.

"So won’t you give this man his wings
What a shame
To have to beg you to see
We’re not all the same
What a shame" - Shinedown

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Related Solutions

January 11, 2009 at 07:34:10
Jennifer, they now call themselves CCleaner. I don't know if a Google for CrapCleaner will generate good links.


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January 11, 2009 at 09:30:19
Oops. Tanks OTH. I Googled,and the first hit was the correct site "CCleaner (formerly Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool." so it's still a valid search term. :)

"So won’t you give this man his wings
What a shame
To have to beg you to see
We’re not all the same
What a shame" - Shinedown

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January 11, 2009 at 09:48:30
And just to add, I suggest your download & install CCleaner Slim which doesn't have the Yahoo Toolbar (which is technically spyware).


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January 11, 2009 at 11:12:18
Thanks for your replies. I have ccleaner installed and have run both it and diskcleanup prior to posting. I'll try the other suggestions and let you know.

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January 11, 2009 at 22:41:15
I have checked the 'size on disk' of the Windows folder and it is 5.53GB, so that still doesn't add up. The Prefetch folder only has 3MB in it. I've moved the uninstall files (380MB) but the memory increase on C was only 27MB. I left the computer on today at home whilst I went to work and the available memory on C went down from 241MB to 163MB without any input whatsoever. With moving my uninstall files that leaves me with 190MB free, i've also moved all programs to D drive and I've got nothing else to move. It feels like something is eating the memory. Does anyone have an answer as to why the properties of the Windows folder would say size on disk 33.8GB but entering the folder, selecting all and properties then says size on disk 5.13GB? Where is the remaining 28 gig?

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January 11, 2009 at 22:57:18
I've also just realised that my C drive is FAT32 not NTFS, would that have something to do with it?

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January 12, 2009 at 06:09:07
FAT32 with a drive that size would have more slack space. That is the difference between used clusters and the actual file sizes.

That is the reason why Microsoft recommends using NTFS. Below is a table showing cluster sizes. Keep in mind a 1kb file still occupies the entire cluster.

Cluster sizes

for FAT32 are as follows:
512MB to 8,191MB = 4KB
8,192MB to 16,383MB = 8KB
16,384MB to 32,767MB = 16KB
Larger than 32,768MB = 32KB

NTFS - All partitions on a PC = 4KB default

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January 12, 2009 at 06:31:54
Fat file system has smaller sectors on HDD ???

Overview of FAT, HPFS, and NTFS File Systems

Description of the Low Disk Space Notification in Windows XP
(and how to turn it off)

Did you set Disk Cleanup to remove Restore Points ????
I have read that System Restore creates a new Restore Point every day that the computer sits
idle, and left on.
You said
(including hidden files and folders)
Does that include the 'Protected system files' that are also hidden ????
You must uncheck the HIDE box.

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January 12, 2009 at 08:22:02
In addition to all of the above are you using something like GoBack?

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January 12, 2009 at 22:14:42
I unhid the protected operating system files and found 28.7 gig in a folder called installer. Does anyone know what all that space is and if there's any way to delete or move to another hard drive?

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January 13, 2009 at 03:10:02
What are the extensions on the files inside the folder?

That seems like a huge amount of files for an installer/s.

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January 13, 2009 at 04:36:51
I looked at my Installer folder. It contains many MSI files, and only 29 MB.

Here is another article that has a long list of what can be deleted ---
How to reclaim disk space on a Windows XP-based computer that has a hard disk capacity of 4 GB or less

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January 13, 2009 at 05:24:03
There's 250MB in msi files, folders and other file types. Then there's 2700 msp files taking up the remaining 28 gig

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January 13, 2009 at 06:07:52
Well you should know the history of your computer but I don't understand how there can be so many files. If they are installer files they can be deleted. Have you tried running the cleanup tools recommended above? Have you installed WinXP on top of itself multiple times?

FYI, My entire WinXP folder is just over 3GB

Go to Start> help and support> Tools> Disk Cleanup. Follow the directions there.

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January 13, 2009 at 13:06:06
I have not 'played' with the operating system at all. XP was installed when I purchased the computer and I have not had any need to reinstall anything. The computer is about three years old and remains 'on' pretty much 24/7.

I've found the following regarding msp files:
File used to update the Windows operating system and other Microsoft programs; typically included with security updates or Microsoft hotfixes.

Does that mean they're just a bunch of security updates and the like (linked to the uninstaller folders in the WINDOWS folder?

If so can they be removed?

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January 13, 2009 at 15:03:51
You still haven't said if you ran Windows Cleanup. That operation is totally safe. If you haven't run it yet, do so and see what affect it has.

The problem is that every service pack and update Microsoft released for WinXP would not add up to anywhere near that amount of space.

I would recommend you backup your personal files, if you haven't and then remove those files. If you have an external drive then copy them over and then delete them.

I didn't attempt to calculate the slack space for a FAT32 partition with say 3 or 4GB of data. the cluster size on your system is 32KB, so I guess it might take that much space.

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January 14, 2009 at 00:00:49
I'm running disk clean-up daily at this point with very little effect (read 50kb maximum), is that what you mean? I've deleted all previous restore points and all personal files and programs have been moved off c drive. Still the Windows folder gets bigger every day.

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January 14, 2009 at 05:34:33
I can't explain the size of that folder.

"I would recommend you backup your personal files, if you haven't and then remove those files. If you have an external drive then copy them over and then delete them".

Additionally, if this folder is growing you may have some sort of infection. Perform a full AV scan.

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January 14, 2009 at 05:56:41
AH, found these at M$ ----

Duplicate .msp files are created in the %Windir%\Installer folder when....

In an MS forum, a person said it cleaned up the Installer folder by using this msicuu.exe ---
Description of the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility

Hope you are happy now.

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January 14, 2009 at 13:09:05
Hope I'm happy?

Prior to your message I investigated the msp files and decided to delete them. I've gained 30GB on my c drive without incident. (In case you wish to help anyone in a similar situation) (A quick google search for 'msp file' shows this isn't a one-off).

Don't bother responding to this message as I won't be returning to this forum. Sorry for taking your time.

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