Vista HDD Lost Space

By Predict ยท 16 replies
Jul 7, 2009
  1. I have a 465 gb HDD and I only have 174 gb free. I deleted most of all my games, and programs that I dont use. I did the remove program feature in control pannel, and "Disk Clean up" option in My computer. I have 291 gb used, and I cant find where they are all at. What im asking is there any programs that I can download that will scan my computer for all the files and the sizes, so I can delete what I dont want.

    I also noticed on vista. When you use the search option it sucks. I can never get it to search the hole comp like I could on Xp. What I need is something that can search my hole HDD so I can see what is taking up all my space.

    PS. I dont have any huge games installed like wow or any thing. I just have a few things like sims,war3. Nothing over 8gb worth

    Also using VISTA
  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hi Predict,
    you might try looking at your winsxs files, they are(we are told) crucial for dll. compatibility, and should not be deleted. it is also a huge file. your pagefile also can take quite a lot of space depending on how much ram you have and how it is set.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Download this:

    Run it and choose C:\ for the scan path. It will scan your entire hard drive and make a trippy graphical representation of your storage usage. Large squares indicate large amounts of data and when you hover over squares, a box highlights all of the squares contained withing a single folder. It's a great way to get a visual of what's going on.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I'll just add to Rick's post....

    1) I haven't tried Rick's posted tool (but will give it a try!) but also checkout Jdiskreport. It also provides graphical charts (you choose to sort and disply by file type, or directory or size etc) AND you can click to drill down into its results

    2) As for trying to resolve missing disk space: Also be advised that all Microsoft File Explorers will ONLY show you sizes for files and folders for which you have privileges!! So even admin users (by default) will see 0 file size for a folder like C:\System Volume Information which is user system checkpoint/restore folder and is HUGE!

    /* EDIT */ vs. most non-MS explorers which usually show you all the real space!
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    interesting Rick, i was using Windirstat, looks very close to what you recommended
    looks as though SequoiaView doesn't work with vista?
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164


    heres what widirstat looks like

    Attached Files:

  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Yes, it uses tree cushion maps which is the same 'technology' that Sequoia View uses. It looks similar. If you'd like to compare, you can see it in action here:

    Yes: the XP version works with Vista.

    Based on that though, I don't really see your 'missing' space represented.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Okay, I just tried out WinDirStat. It has some more bells and whistles than Sequoia View, but there's one thing that makes SV easier to use for a quick data overview: it highlights root folders in addition to files as you hover over them.

    To sort of 'emulate' this in WinDirStat, you need to collapse all of the folders so you just see C:\, Users, Program Files, Windows etc. Once you do that, you can select a folder like "Users" in the top pane and it will draw a box around all of the files contained within "Users". This helps you get a visual of how much space "Users" is taking up and how big all of the 'blocks' are inside of it. Same thing for Windows, Program Files etc...

    I really like the cushion tree map stuff because huge files and huge globs of data stand out, making it easy to find lost space.
  9. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    i just put that there because i was curious about sequoia, Predict is the one with missing space. i suggested that the winsxs files might be the culprit.
    see all that blue and gray on the image?....that's all winsxs on my machine, huge .dll compatibility file, the files are superfluous and redundant.....but you cant delete them without major repercussions. (at least thats what my research leads me to believe)
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Oh, Whoops. :haha:

    Yeah, the winsxs folder may account for a huge portion of the space taken up. I'd say on the average system though, it "only" takes up about 8-15GB. That's hardly a dent in the 300GB he's used. You're also right that it shouldn't be touched.

    This isn't just winsxs though (I wouldn't think so, at least). For example, WinDirStat says your computer's DLL and SYS files (the majority of what you'll find inside the Windows and winsxs folders) are taking up about 30GB. That's very similar to my system too, but at the moment, I have only 60GB worth of data TOTAL.

    His space is most likely being used elsewhere, but where? He said he got rid of nearly all of his games and uninstalled the applications he doesn't use. He also said that his person stuff probably isn't over 8GB. Surely he doesn't use over 200GB worth of applications? :)

    Hopefully he'll find what's going on. I'm curious where else his space may have went.
  11. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    LOL Rick,
    i am really curious as well, and this has the potential to be a big problem if predict has actually 'uninstalled' any unwanted programs and is going to directly delete files (some shared) because the next post will be"computer will not boot".
    LookinAround brought up the idea that C:\System Volume Information may be the problem here and my next step would be to check the settings for system volume and check what % of the HDD's are being dedicated to the system restore. although it seems to me that there is a limit to how much HDD space it can take up, much more than, but like the registry.
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    System restore can take up a large percentage of your disk. You have to type in a command to limit the space in Vista though (MS didn't put a GUI in it for this purpose, like they did in XP and Win 7)

    The magic command is (Feel free to 5GB to whatever amount you feel comfortable with):
    vssadmin resize shadowstorage /On=C: /For=C: /Maxsize=5GB
  13. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    okay here is what i was talking about....15% if you let it run at default. i guess that could be it.
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184


    Window loves to hide things (as we all have come to know).

    If you want to see stuff in MS Explorer (and specifically sizes in C:System Volume Information) see this MS KB. I know the KB is about XP but the same about unhiding files and folders and changing the Security permissions should apply to Vista as well (tho some exact steps may vary... Give a yell if you have any problem resetting/seeing them)
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    hey LookinAround,
    im fine with my system restore, it is predict that is missing his HDD space :) (see Rick) LOL
    thanks for the tip though!
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Hey red1776

    Well then... let me also just quote Rick :D
  17. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    @ LookinAround :haha::haha:;) re-quote of the day! lol
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