Memory almost full but can't identify why

March 18, 2010 at 12:33:32
Specs: Windows XP Pro SP3, E4500/1.99GB
I have a Lenovo Thinkcentre PC, with windows XP. I'm having a problem with the PC in that although I use an external hard drive to make sure the PC hard drive is not full and have very little saved on the actual PC, when I look in properties on the 'C' drive by right clicking on the 'C' drive icon, it is showing that there is 118GB used and only 26.1GB free space (total capacity 144GB). But when I go into the 'C' drive and manually explore all the different folders, there is nowhere near this much space used. Probably less than 5Gb that I can account for. I think it is drastically slowing my system, and also every few days I get a message that my computers performance is degraded and that I should defragment. I was under the impression that you didn't need to defragment anywhere near this frequently. Any ideas what this could be? Any advice much appreciated! I'm not great with PC's! I even thought of getting more memory for my PC, but that was scuppered when i can't even find out what model PC I have!: When I look in control panel in the general tab, I get the info: 'Lenovo Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 Duo CPU E4500 @ 2.20GHz, 2.19GHz, 1.99 GB of RAM'. In the computer name tab it gives 'full computer name' as 'LENOVO-D45C47F7'. And somewhere else i got the no's: 'LMBKV51'. Unfortunately none of these are lenovo models which I can find on the lenovo website!

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#1
March 18, 2010 at 12:57:23
"Memory almost full". For info, memory is usually taken to be RAM rather than Hard Disk (HD) space. For most users 2GB of RAM is fine.

If you are not showing hidden files and folders then this might affect what you are seeing on the HD. There are also system files which don't normally show. 5GB of HD seems miniscule, so you are probably only looking at part of the picture.

Have you run a virus scan lately? Try MalwareBytes freebie too.

If you use IE go to Tools > Internet Options and delete your Temporary Internet Files (an option when you hit Delete button). While you are there, use the Settings button to reduce temporary internet files down to 50M.

Consider "CCleaner Lite" freebie which will remove a lot of unnecessary stuff.

After that see if you have any unnecessary programs in Control Panel > Add-Remove Programs. Don't touch anything you are uncertain about without advice.

some other bloke...


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#2
March 18, 2010 at 12:57:33
"near this much space used. Probably less than 5Gb that I can account for"

I doubt that. Windows alone uses like 10 GB. Are you sure you looked at all of the directories because a typical system could have 1000ns and it would take a while. I recommend you use a utility to show you which directory is using the most space like...

http://download.cnet.com/1770-20_4-...

Folder Sizer is not free but it has a 30day trial so you can use it until you figure out what is using the most space then remove it.

If I had to guess it would be your temporary internet file cache. When was the last time you emptied it?

<edit>

Oops, sorry Derek we must have posted at the same time.


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#3
March 18, 2010 at 13:00:14
First of all, your post says memory full and your description says hard drive full. Click start > All Programs > My Computer.
Right click C drive , scroll down to properties. In the C drive properties choose the "Tools" tab and select "Check Now" button under Error checking. Check both check boxes! Click "start" and click yes to the pop up window. Restart your pc. Your computer will boot up and run tests for bad sectors and fix them. After it completes, log back in and choose start > all program > my computer > Right click c drive choose tools tab , Click defrag now. In disk defragmenter, select the drive and go down to the "defragment" button. Let the computer defrag. After it completes.....
No go back to your c drive and see if the remaining hard drive space has been recovered. Report back if it has not.

note: I have seen 10 gb drives missing 5 gb of space!

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Related Solutions

#4
March 18, 2010 at 13:23:20
The reason for frequent defraging is more likely do to constant files being writen then deleted from his computer. I like the following idea already posted...

"Have you run a virus scan lately? Try MalwareBytes freebie too."

her is the place to download by the way...

http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php

because if he has a bot or he is hosting a bit-torrent on his computer it would cause all of the symptoms he has described but it is only an assumetion because it is more likely that he does not have and under standing of what is on his computer because he thinks he should only be using 5GB of space.

If he empties his internet cache and doing a virus scan will most probably fix the problem.


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#5
March 18, 2010 at 22:01:21
Don't forget to check how much space system restore is set to use. It can grow very large if allowed, just reduce the allowed size, and windows will remove the oldest restore points while leaving newer ones alone. Thereby freeing up space.
And use disk cleanup before defrag to dump alot of junk too.

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#6
March 18, 2010 at 22:02:36
If you do not know what RAM to use, go to Cruicial.com and let them scan your system and show you what RAM you can use.

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#7
March 19, 2010 at 04:25:26
Many of the ThinkPad/ThinkCentre systems have a feature called "Rescue and Recovery" that can be used to either repair a damaged system or to restore a complete system image. More information can be found here:

http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/think/thin...

Rescue and Recovery can use up a lot of disk depending upon how it's configured. Besides backing up your "stuff" it can also save complete system images.

-- kptech


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#8
March 19, 2010 at 12:16:04
What are you talking about? This is a diskspace issue. Read the posts before replying.

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#9
March 19, 2010 at 12:54:38
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

I think the issue is though that I'm NOT using that much hard disc space, but my system is failing to recognise that. I have made all the hidden folders visible, and while someone correctly said that I would have more than 5GB, I have got nowhere near as much as 118GB. It just seems to be that my PC THINKS I am using this much but when looking at ALL individual folder sizes I am not. Is this feasible to be the problem and has anyone heard of this occuring before?

Thanks :)


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#10
March 19, 2010 at 13:31:49
Well, I've never heard of Windows misreporting file/folder sizes but life can be full of surprises LOL.

Just for fun, with all system and hidden files showing, I highlighted the whole block of files and folders on my C drive. Eventually the numbers stopped churning and the free space was the same as that given by right clicking the drive itself.

Is yours the same? It seems to me the only way to wrinkle it down is to exmamine blocks of files/folders - tedious I know.

some other bloke...


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#11
March 19, 2010 at 13:43:24
Again have you tried Folder Sizer yet?

http://download.cnet.com/1770-20_4-...


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#12
March 19, 2010 at 14:01:49
For info only, I once used a program called "Folder Size for Windows" and I had to dump it because it proved (eventually) to be reason my Windows Explorer kept crashing.

NOT to be confused with similarly sounding "Folder Sizer", given in the links from "ace omega", which I have not tried and for all I know is OK in this respect. It could be a useful tool in your situation.

some other bloke...


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#13
March 19, 2010 at 15:53:52
I ran the tree size programme which seems to confirm what I think; that the space used, and the space the PC is reporting is used, does not match up. As I've put basically anything of any significant size onto my external hard drive, I really don't know what is causing this problem and what to do. I am reasonably computer literate is terms of using basic office packages, internet, etc, but this has got me totally bamboozled!

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#14
March 19, 2010 at 15:55:12
I do not know how to post a screen shot of the findings of the Tree size programme, I made it into a jpeg; if someone can tell me how to do this I could post it so more experienced people than me could have a look? Thanks :)

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#15
March 19, 2010 at 19:56:17
Your system restore folder AND your virtual memory (paging file) may not show up in this program AND does not show up when you look into 'my computer'. You should definately look into the size of your system restore folder, and into your paging file.

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#16
March 20, 2010 at 05:04:14
The paging file is "pagefile.sys" and system restore is the folder "System Volume Information". These are both on the root of C and are only visible if you have protected operating system files showing.

What's the time?


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#17
March 20, 2010 at 05:26:33
Hiya, thanks, I looked at the paging file, it says it is 2,095,104KB. When I did a search for system restore files I come up with the system restore shortcut which is 2KB and a 14KB registry mechanic file (which i believe is one of the ones someone advised me to download). In the system properties folder I checked and system restore is set to use 6% (9004MB) of disc space, so I don't think that can be what it is.

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#18
March 20, 2010 at 18:17:42
No, system restore is not a small 2KB shortcut. It has (by your own definition) got to hold 9G worth of information.

You don't seem to be tackling this the right way. "Search" only tells you about what MS thinks you need to know (a mere fraction of reality).

You need to show "hidden files" and also "protected operating system files". The settings are made in Control Panel > Folder Options > View. Among other things a grayed out looking folder will then appear on the root of C, called "System Volume Information". This is what contains your restore data.

I realise that system restore and the paging file probably only account for some 11G but it's a start.

Similarly, Registry Mechanic is a "program" and even just the unpacked download is way larger than 14KB, so this must also be a shortcut and not the program itself. If you are somehow mixing up little shortcuts with actual programs then you are going to be wildly out. Have you looked, for example, at the sizes of c:\windows and its sub-folders, also c:\program files?

My general feeling is that your disk usage is likely to be all accounted for somewhere if you look in the right places, rather than this obscure idea of the system misreporting usage. Did you ever go through the procedure I tried on my machine (2nd para of my #10)?

What you need to do to free up space is uninstall any programs that are unnecessary. Almost all "programs" are likely to have been installed on the C drive (including Windows itself). Only videos, pictures and other data files are usually stored secondary HD's.

For Info:
It is good to "show all file extensions" and "hidden files". It is not so good to permanently show "protected operating system files" because all sorts of odd-ball files can pop up all over the place (even sometimes on the desktop). In your case you need to "temporarily" show the latter while you check out the sizes - but don't delete anything.

What's the time?


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