Win XP 20GB system drive show less free-space

January 10, 2011 at 00:16:05
Specs: Windows XP, 1GB-DDR1
Happy New-Year-2011 to all!

I have this problem. My OS-XP is installed in C-drive of 20GB space. There is no other data in the C-drive. Yet, of late, size of C has been swelling. It has reached such a point that, it now shows only 350MB of free space in 20GB. When I investigated thoroughly, I found that it has only 6 GB of actual data in it, all else was hyped. i.e. it must show 14GB of free space. Following was the procedure of my investigation,

• Show all Hidden files, even system files. It all adds up to, just 6GB
• Uninstalled all less-used softwares.
• Tried C-cleaner
• Tried Disk-cleanup
• Tried emptying the recycle-bin
• Tried defragmentation/scandisk
• Tried anti-virus scan

Nothing has helped so far. I need to fix this problem, without Formatting the Hard-disk. Please! Someone bail me out of this...


See More: Win XP 20GB system drive show less free-space

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#1
January 10, 2011 at 04:59:33
System Restore Files ??

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#2
January 10, 2011 at 05:53:23
@X86
No!
I cannot do that..
Since, the system-restore is off on my PC and there are no restore-points to delete.
Thank you anyway, for the suggestion.


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#3
January 14, 2011 at 02:48:42
Hello!
Why is it that no one is replying?
Where have all the experts gone?

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Related Solutions

#4
January 14, 2011 at 02:54:35
Is this a complicated problem or what?
C’mon Experts! You can save the world later. Please help me with this one 1st.

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#5
January 14, 2011 at 03:07:20
How did you work out '6GB' of data?

If there was a problem with misreporting free space, running chkdsk c: /f (and saying yes to run on restart) should fix it.

But I suspect you just haven't found everything! (how big page file? Is hibernation enabled?)

The installer folder in \windows tends to get large. You haven't got any system dump files lying around?


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#6
January 14, 2011 at 17:02:30
"I need to fix this problem, without Formatting the Hard-disk." -just2011

Why don't you want to format your hard drive? If you have no other solutions, this may be your last resort.


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#7
January 14, 2011 at 17:47:39
@Steve Dunn

1st things 1st. Thank you for your valuable time & comments.

I already mentioned it. When I say 6 GB, I have considered all (hidden & system, as well) files in C-drive. But this 'misreporting-of-free-space' thing, I have no idea. So, as per your directions, I will run "chkdsk c: /f (and saying yes to run on restart)' & get back to you.

Further, pagefile.sys is worth 1.48 GB. And yes! hibernation is enabled. I know, I can secure about 1GB of space by disabling it but then I am afraid, if this problem is left unsolved even that 1 GB would go down the drain.

Moreover, installer folder in \windows is just around 40 MB. Regarding 'system-dump-files', I don't know what on earth is that. ( yeah ! I am a novice).


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#8
January 14, 2011 at 17:53:36
@Dude375

Yes of course! I understand that. But, hey Dude! I am just trying out all the options before going for the eject-button. I hope you see my point.


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#9
January 15, 2011 at 00:09:02
@Steve Dunn

Hi Steve!

Tried ‘chkdsk c: /f (and saying yes to run on restart)’.
Didn’t get any favourable result.
It still says 350 MB free space.
What Next ??


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#10
January 15, 2011 at 09:49:01
Right-click on "my Computer">properties>Click on System Restore tab> uncheck the box that says " Enable System Restore".

This doesn't solve your problem but it might free up 12-15% of space.


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#11
January 15, 2011 at 13:10:50
@Dude375

Tried, Right-click on "my Computer">properties>Click on System Restore tab>.

But, the check-box " Enable System Restore", is already disabled. I suspect the following,


" 1. System Restore requires at least 200 MB of available space on the hard disk (or the partition that contains your operating system folder). For best performance and protection, you should allocate more space.

2.By default, when the operating system installs System Restore on your computer, it allocates approximately 12 percent of the available disk space to System Restore to archive restore points."


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#12
January 15, 2011 at 13:30:02
I am thinking it's the page file. Set to no page file and reboot and see how much space you have then. You can then set it back to system managed or whatever it was before.

Likely


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#13
January 15, 2011 at 13:56:33
@likelystory

Will you please elaborate?!!
If possible, step-by-step approach.


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#14
January 15, 2011 at 14:17:58
Right click on my computer icon then left click properties in the drop down menue then click the advanced tab then in the performance area click on settings then the advanced tab in the virtual memory area click change. Make a note of whether custom size is selected if it is make a note of the size in the adjacent boxes, or if system manged size is selected. Select No Page File and click on set. Then just click OK. You should be prompted to reboot. If not just keep clicking OK until you are back to the desktop and reboot the system. Then check to see how much free space you have. You can then go back and set the page file back the way it was.

Likely


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#15
January 15, 2011 at 15:16:26
With system and hidden files/folders invoked, what amount does it say if you highlight all the folders and files on the root of C at once, then right click and look in Properties? It might take a little while to run through. This should substantially agree with the used space you see when you right click the C drive itself and go to Properties.

It is then a case of breaking it down folder by folder until you find what is using it. Whether it is the page file or anything else you should be able to account for it. Recheck to ensure that setting ALL folders/files visible has properly taken.

If you are "absolutely certain" you are doing the above right then it must be something like a corrupt Master File Table, so you'll likely have to reformat and maybe buy a replacement HD.

No idea what you mean by "all else was hyped".
http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=e...

We all live on a ball.


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#16
January 16, 2011 at 00:07:00
@ likelystory

Hi!

Thanks for the detailed set of instruction. It was easy to follow. Selecting ‘No Page File’ enhanced my free-space by 1GB (was taken again after deselecting ‘No Page File’). There is a large chunk yet to be conquered.


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#17
January 16, 2011 at 00:07:32
@ Derek

That’s the issue, my friend. As I have already said, the quantity- ‘with system and hidden files/folders invoked & highlighting all the folders and files of C at once’, DOES NOT AGREE with the, ‘used space that you see when you right click the C drive itself and go to Properties’(And I am sure, I have selected each & every file in C).

Speaking about that all-else-was-hyped thing, Forget it! There was nothing technical about it. Sorry to all who were confused by that one.


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#18
January 16, 2011 at 00:07:56
@ likelystory

@ Derek

So, I have secured 1+1 GB i.e. 2GB of additional space after setting-off pagefile & hibernation. However, it only counts as limited-success since a large chunk of space is yet out of my reach.


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#19
January 16, 2011 at 00:08:43
Right now there would be at least a few of you, who would be thinking,
“Why the hell, I am avoiding formatting C, which certainly is the easiest way out of this mess…”
To all those, this is the answer.

This is not the 1st time I have encountered this problem. It has happened to me twice earlier. But then the problem was not of this magnitude (i.e. I had lost 2 - 4GB) and moreover on earlier 2 occasions I escaped the situation by formatting C. Only this time, I thought of taking the bull by its horns. I also wanted to know, if I was the only one to face this kind of thing or does it happen to others too.

Additionally it also occurred to me that, this problem should be presented to experts (since I am not one) for analysis. And here I am!
I sincerely hope, the experts here would be able to provide a lasting solution to this one, soon.


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#20
January 16, 2011 at 06:07:21
What you describe is abnormal and points to a corruption in MFT. Reformatting might well put it right but from what you have just added this is likely to cure the symptom rather than the underlying cause.

All manner of things can cause corruption and hardware should not be precluded. Any connection problem inside the machine could do this, as would oxide on edge connectors (particularly RAM). Even a faulty HD is possible although the symptoms would be a bit unusual.

I know of no test that will properly pin this down. There are RAM and HD tests which would be worth running, otherwise a trial and error approach is about the only way forward.

There would be nothing lost by typing chkdsk /r in the Run box and let it check the HD on bootup to see if that either helps or unearths something. It will take quite a while to run through.

We all live on a ball.


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#21
January 16, 2011 at 09:17:14
@Derek

Hey Derek!

What is MFT?
Master-FAT-Table or Master-File-Table?
I am asking because mine is a NTFS-partition...


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#22
January 16, 2011 at 09:45:44
My bad, I should have said Master File Table.

We all live on a ball.


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#23
January 16, 2011 at 14:57:33
@ Derek

Nothing came out of 'chkdsk /r'.

Tried educating myself regarding MFT. In doing so, learnt about-
'boot from floppies or bootable CD-ROM to Recovery Console and run CHKDSK utility'.

Do you think, this will help?


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#24
January 16, 2011 at 16:18:27
If you have run chkdsk using the usual reboot then there is no need. The other methods are used when you have a more serious problem and are unable to run it the normal way.

I am beginning to think that the answer to your earlier "Is this a complicated problem" is looking a bit like yes. There are too many possible reasons why this could have come about.

For the heck of it I checked out my own XP and get hardly any disparity at all when comparing highlighted files & folders to the amount of used space the C drive itself is showing. It's a new one on me and I'm about out of ideas. Maybe someone else will come along with some fresh thoughts.

We all live on a ball.


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#25
January 16, 2011 at 16:36:42
@Derek

Hope so!

Anyway, it was nice interacting with you. Thank you very much for all the help.


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#26
January 16, 2011 at 16:46:37
Sorry but my curiosity is still getting the better of me.

Does it all add up in the C Drive Properties Window itself?
ie. What are the figures for:

Used space
Free space
Capacity

We all live on a ball.


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#27
January 16, 2011 at 16:56:31
@Derek

as of now,

Used Space: 18.8 GB

Free Space: 1.18 GB

Capacity: 20.0 GB

I have disabled hibernation now.


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#28
January 16, 2011 at 17:40:25
OK thks - well at least something adds up. I'm amazed you managed to defrag with it that full (which I suppose could add further weight to the idea that it isn't). In the unlikely event that something comes to me I'll pop back.

We all live on a ball.


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#29
January 16, 2011 at 18:15:17
Have you ever compressed files on that machine?. Can't say I've ever used it but wondered if the C drive might then show their "decompressed" size. Just thinking aloud really!

We all live on a ball.


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#30
January 16, 2011 at 19:18:46
I know I am probably reaching here but do you have a regular backup scheduled?
Do you send and recieve a lot of email on this computer? If you use outlook express it saves everything to your hard drive even deleted mail. There is an option in outlook express to clean this up.

Likely


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#31
January 16, 2011 at 19:35:38
I don't know what virus protection you are using so try running http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

This may show something different and if not it is a free scan.

Likely


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#32
January 17, 2011 at 01:26:03
Just thought, of sharing the following information with everyone:-

MyComputer>C>right-click-properties shows me this,

Used Space: 18.8 GB
Free Space: 1.18 GB
Capacity: 20.0 GB

&

On entering C-drive with system and hidden files/folders invoked, what I see is

ProgramFiles-folder = 1.19 GB
Windows-folder = 1.68 GB
Documents&Settings-folder = 622 MB
pagefile.sys = 1.56 GB …
(I have disabled hibernation, today.)
All these add-up & show just 5 GB. (I.e. when I ‘SelectAll>right-click-Properties’)


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#33
January 17, 2011 at 01:32:22
@Derek

Yes!
It did alert me on ‘less-free-space-available in C’ when I tried to defragment, but was kind enough to proceed with the available space.

No!
I haven't been into the Compression/Decompression business, ever.


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#34
January 17, 2011 at 01:49:14
@likelystory

No scheduled-regular-backups! No Outlook-express in use.

Until today I was using ANTIVIR. Now I have installed AVG. This particular problem has nothing to do with my Antivirus-shifting-decision. AVG has gulped more space compared to ANTIVIR & has increased my troubles. But I hardly doubt any virus-act in this case, since there is no other trouble whatsoever with my PC & traditionally viruses are famed to trouble the PC in more than one way.

However I will take your advice & try http://housecall.trendmicro.com/


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#35
January 17, 2011 at 08:09:33
20 gigs is getting old...perhaps when you formatted there were a bunch of unusable clusters marked by windows so the actual "usable" size is somewhat less than 20gigs. 20gig isn't very large for windows once you start installing software and doing windows updates. At some point you will need a larger drive.

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#36
January 17, 2011 at 09:38:40
@HopperRox

Let me clarify here that, at the onset all was well i.e. the 20-GB-Cdrive had actual 20 GB of space in it. It was only after few days of formatting that the issue developed. I am pretty sure about it.

And yes I agree! 20 GB is not huge if one starts making full-fledged use of the PC.
But my dear friend! In this case I am being punished for the crime that I did not do.
Meaning, I do not have heavy-softwares in my PC.

About those usable/unusable-clusters I would like to know more.


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#37
January 20, 2011 at 13:17:55
Give me some more Ideas ! PPPlease..

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#38
January 20, 2011 at 13:57:12
@ likelystory

Nothing fishy, has come out of 'http://housecall.trendmicro.com/' scan..


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#39
January 23, 2011 at 00:48:55
Hi!!

There is news for everyone…

Just thought, I should share this last (possibly last) piece of information rather news, with all who tried their best to help me out, in last few days. My PC crashed yesterday. So, the torture is over. I have formatted & everything has returned to the normal now.

A big biG bIG BIG THANK YOU! To all the Experts, for their invaluable advice, time and efforts. Thank you also, for listening to my pleas with patience and responding to them with all seriousness without caring to differentiate between the silly & not-so-silly ones.

Although there won’t be much from my side to add here in future, yet I will be watching this space as & when possible. Hoping to see, someone coming out with a lasting solution to this problem! So Experts, please do not hold your thoughts back and instead post them here generously. If not me, at least someone else-in-need will derive the benefit.

THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!


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#40
January 23, 2011 at 09:37:10
Thanks for keeping us posted.

How are you off for free space now?

I'm just wondering if it is too full it might cause too much activity in the remaining space, resulting in corruption. I know it "shouldn't" but there are a lot of things computers shouldn't do LOL.

We all live on a ball.


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#41
January 23, 2011 at 19:50:59
@ Derek

Right now,
MyComputer>C>right-click-properties shows me this,

Used Space: 8.59 GB
Free Space: 11.4 GB
Capacity: 20.0 GB

&

On entering C-drive with system and hidden files/folders invoked
Select All>Properties says
7.70 GB

For the time being, I have formatted the C-drive only. Shortly I plan to format the whole Hard-Disk. I think that would settle it, once for all.


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#42
January 24, 2011 at 07:42:12
That looks reasonable and eliminates my rather dubious idea in #40.

We all live on a ball.


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#43
January 31, 2011 at 00:52:38
I am watching!
No answers yet?
I guess! Someone who understands Hard-Disks in & out can get to the root of this problem…

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#44
January 31, 2011 at 00:54:29
I think ‘how-exactly-do-HardDisks-store-memory’, holds the answer to this issue...

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#45
January 31, 2011 at 08:15:21
Sorry if I missed it somewhere but did you format FAT32 or NTFS?
I doubt it's the issue but see the first limitation here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463

Response 3 here might be of general interest:
http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...

You are not entirely alone with this reported size diminishing issue. It has
appeared on various forums but with no solution - only the usual cleanup
suggestions.

We all live on the same ball.


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#46
February 1, 2011 at 13:12:58
@Derek


Took a look at ‘http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463’ , but mine is NTFS.
&
'Response3 at http://www.computing.net/answers/wi... was informative, especially that slack-space thing.
Thanks.
But still, I will keep my fingers crossed!


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#47
March 14, 2011 at 18:47:29
Hi!
Ising XP. I have a similar problem in loss of space.
I resolved the Hibernation & Page files.
Still some less space of 3 GB.
Somebody mentioned Compressed File.
I did see some compressed file.

Pls advice how to check compressed files and varify memory loss with decompression.


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#48
March 17, 2011 at 14:10:13
@SunGen

As i have already said, (# 33) I never tried Compression/Decompression (Frankly, I don't know what it means or does). But going by the dictionary-meanings of the words 'Compression & Decompression', I think Uncompressing the files will only consume more space on C: drive leaving you little or no free space, which you do not want, as you need more space not less!


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#49
March 17, 2011 at 16:31:12
just2011

I'm no fan of compression but at any given time you would only decompress the one (or ones) that you are using, leaving the rest compressed. This should not therefore be too much of a hit on HDD space.

Has the problem stayed away so far?

Please come back and let us know how you got on.


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#50
March 19, 2011 at 02:25:54
@Derek

Nice to hear from you Derek! Good to see that you are keeping a tab on this one.

As of now there is no problem. The current status shows,


***
MyComputer>C>right-click-properties shows me this,

Used Space: 11.7 GB
Free Space: 8.29 GB
Capacity: 20.0 GB

&

On entering C-drive with system and hidden files/folders invoked
Select All>Properties says
11.5 GB
***


If something goes amiss, I will surely let you know.
Once again! Thank you for asking.


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#51
March 19, 2011 at 11:33:01
I'lll keep watching. Thx for info.

Please come back and let us know how you got on.


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#52
April 13, 2011 at 04:00:54
Hi everyone! I am back but this time, have a different problem. Hence have started another discussion at,

http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...

Need all your expert-opinions on this one too.


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#53
April 17, 2011 at 18:04:56
Hi all!

My Current status is,

***
MyComputer>C>right-click-properties shows me this,

Used Space: 11.8 GB
Free Space: 8.12 GB
Capacity: 20.0 GB

&

On entering C-drive with system and hidden files/folders invoked
Select All>Properties says
11.6 GB
***

So there is no problem as of now!


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#54
April 17, 2011 at 18:06:38
Strange that reformat didn't fix it in the past.

Computers can be weird sometimes.


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#55
April 18, 2011 at 23:59:55
@Derek

Yes! they surely act weird sometimes..
& with this episode I have concluded that Computers can even fox the experts.
At least on few occasions!


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#56
April 19, 2011 at 02:32:31
Hi all!

I have started another discussion titled ‘How to Turn-On the System-Restore in XP?’

Anyone interested in this topic can visit & post their advice here,
http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...


Thanks in advance.


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#57
July 7, 2011 at 02:40:41
I guess! The problem is back. Though not at a bothering-magnitude, at least as of now…

***
MyComputer>C>right-click-properties shows me this,

Used Space: 12.1 GB
Free Space: 7.85 GB
Capacity: 20.0 GB

&

On entering C-drive with system and hidden files/folders invoked
Select All>Properties says
10.5 GB (it includes pagefile.sys worth 1.99 GB)
And Hibernation is disabled.


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#58
July 7, 2011 at 10:40:24
Geez, maybe it's rodents.

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#59
July 8, 2011 at 01:36:20
@Derek

Hey Derek!
Nice to hear from you again !

No not rodents !!
I think my Hard-disk is being Haunted by spirits. ;-)


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#60
July 8, 2011 at 10:01:54
Ooops, sorry, that red bit (now removed) wasn't meant for you - I forgot to delete it.
I use it because we get so many posters on here that we don't hear from ever again.

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#61
July 8, 2011 at 23:16:45
@ Derek

Yes! I can understand.


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#62
July 9, 2011 at 07:32:45
Yes, it would be nice to be able to help but having scratched my head all it got me was splinters. Without re-reading the whole post to refresh myself, I suppose it is possible that it's an ailing HD although the symptoms are unusual.


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#63
July 9, 2011 at 08:41:26
@ Derek

Oh Don't worry ! I am not in an a dire need of solution for this one. If it becomes unbearable, I will surely go for Formatting-of-C.

Its just that I wanted the Experts here to know about the current-condition. I am only playing a dutiful Reporter.


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#64
July 9, 2011 at 11:45:16
Sure thing. Thx for keep in touch.

http://www.skeptic.com/downloads/te...


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#65
August 10, 2011 at 08:55:50
If a process is using the file, it won't show up correctly when you select all and do properties, but will show up as being used by looking at the drive properties. Stop the process and re-rerun, the correct size should be reflected. For me it was Apache.

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#66
August 13, 2011 at 19:08:42
@ elfasdf

Yes! what you say is right but that has not helped in my case.


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