Help with maxed out hard drive

Messages
2,299
Location
Cincinnati
I have a Toshiba laptop with a 120GB hard drive. The O/S is Win XP and the processor is a Pentium dual core. It has 3GB of RAM. The problem is the hard drive is suddenly down to only 5% capacity. My wife mainly uses this machine and she finally mentioned numerous warnings appearing in re: hard drive capacity. I "unloaded" pictures and music from the hard drive and most of the programs that were infrequently used. That freed up absolutely minimal space on the HD. So, I ran Malwarebytes anti-malware (no issues), disk cleanup and I de-fragged the HD. It took almost four hours just to run MBAM in the "quick scan mode!" If I go to the control panel and look at "add/remove software," the biggest program is probably Office Standard 2003 with the Professional upgrade. Starry night Pro, Google Earth/Chrome, I-tunes, you name it, I've removed it. There is still only 6 GB of free space left on the HD. Now, I'm giving this puppy to my mother-in-law. I could delete every program except the O/S and re-load Office and whatever other minimilist program she may need. Would that help? What am I missing here in terms of why the HD remains mostly full?
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
With that stuff, you should be using 20-40GB MAX. Something strange is going on. Can you do me a favor and post a screencap of the "pie" graph of your C Drive? Open my computer, right click on the C drive, click properties. When it opens, click printscreen, open MS Paint, CTRL+V, and save. Then upload to photobucket or something.
 
Messages
129
Location
Panama CIty, Florida
Empty the trash. All the deleted stuff is being saved for you in the trash basket. Buy a bigger drive and a USB external adapter. Use a utility to duplicate the contents of the existing drive onto the larger drive. Replace the drive.
 
Messages
1,340
Location
Louisville,KY
If you have restore CD or partition, just reinstall Windows with partition quick formatting option. It will erase everything including worms and other non friendly pets if you have them. It will be easiest and fastest way for you to clean it up, then just install office and some antivirus and give it to her.
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
Quickest way: open my computer, right click on the C drive, click properties. When it opens, click "Disc Cleanup." Agree, reformatting and reinstalling OS would be the best option, but takes a lot of time.
 
Messages
1,340
Location
Louisville,KY
Originally Posted By: friendly_jacek
Quickest way: open my computer, right click on the C drive, click properties. When it opens, click "Disc Cleanup." Agree, reformatting and reinstalling OS would be the best option, but takes a lot of time.
Agree, if PC is not infected. P.S. OP said he ran disk clean up.
 
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Messages
40,825
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: 2010_FX4
Install the free version of Treesize and run it. You will easily see what files and folders are taking up the space. Treesize Free Hope this helps!
Yup! Disk Space Fan is another option.
 
Messages
2,074
Location
Wisconsin
I also think it is likely that you haven't emptied the recycle bin. Programs don't go there after you uninstall them, but all your music and photos will be in there and still taking up space on your hard drive.
 
Messages
1,724
Location
Cocoa, FL
Originally Posted By: KeithS_NW_Ohio
Download and install ccleaner. It'll clear out old temp files, and clean up you registry
+1 there wink It finds stuff that the Microsoft cleaner will not clean wink Sure, it'll give you some strange pop ups, etc. "liability" type stuff.....but just let it all go. After you do the clean up, then go to the registry tab, and clean the registry too. But really....honestly, if you intend on giving this computer and/or hard drive to another party.....? I'd recommend Darik's Boot and Nuke smile It's a free, open source app that basically runs off a floppy (or CD-R with CD drive set as first boot priority if floppy A: drive is not available :P), and allows you to completely wipe the disk drive...... Bottom line, before you give it away, you wanna make sure all your important details are OFF of it, and something like DBAN or "Eraser" (shareware, $$$) is the only sure-fire way to be sure it's all cleaned up.....
 
Messages
17,838
Location
Silicon Valley
Is there some sort of restoration point or check points that was kept? I think that's probably the only way it can load up so much without downloading lots of movies.
 
Messages
895
Location
Midwest
Download Windows Update Remover from http://www.tech-pro.net/windows-update-remover.html The screenshot shown on that page shows two options: Uninstall Update or Remove Backup Folder. You're going to want to use the "remove backup folder option". Its a bit of a pain with this program as you can't just highlight them all and remove all the backup folders at once. You'll have to click the remove backup button for each update on the machine so it might take you 5 minutes or so to remove all of them, but you will definitely get several GB back in free space assuming your XP box has all the current updates. Also, if you have the windows system restore function running there should be an option somewhere in the Disk Cleanup tool to remove all but the most current system restore point (don't have my XP laptop handy or I'd give you the step by step walkthrough). Finally, CCleaner is also a good choice as already mentioned. Make sure you have the following options checked off as in the screen shot example below (if they are available as options on XP - this screenshot is from a Win7 box). In particular pay attention to the "memory dumps, chkdsk fragments, windows log files, error reporting, old prefetch data, user assist history, and IIS log files" Also under Options -> Advanced, uncheck the "only delete Windows Temp folders older than 24 hours" As a final note, when using disk cleanup you can have it compress old files and folders as well to free up some more space.
 

dkryan

Thread starter
Messages
2,299
Location
Cincinnati
Thanks for all of the helpful replies. I normally clean out the recycle bin weekly and I do so if I have a "deleting party" like I did when the photos and music went to the external HD. I had run disk cleanup before posting, as well as MBAM. After posting and reading the replies, I ran Check-it registry checker and downloaded CCleaner and ran that software, too. I have Norton Internet Security 2011 on this machine, so I ran a full scan (deep scan) using that software. Then I used Revo Uninstaller to remove more programs. Taking Buickman50401's advice, I ran the Windows Update Remover program. A mere 397 update files sitting out there! And way too long to delete having to do so one at a time. But I did delete all of them except one. For some reason, it would not allow me to delete an IE update file that was downloaded last week. I now have 14.4GB of free HD space, twice as good as when I started, but nowhere near where it should be. I can have Disk Cleanup compress the C drive, old files, and subfolders, but it indicated it needed 23 hours to complete that task. I have the Toshiba Recovery and Applicaton DVD sitting next to me, still in its original wrapper. And I've copied the important programs and files to a WD external HD. Should I just nuke the hard drive and load the DVD and go from there? The recovery disc has my O/S on it right? Thanks again.
 
Messages
527
Location
Seattle, WA
First of all I wonder if you have a lot of bad sectors on that disk and the HDD is reading those as occupied space? You should test the HDD it might be failing. Another thing try running chkdsk /r and if you see no improvement try running sfc/scannow.
 
Messages
11,284
Location
Spring HIll
hint for C-cleaner, run it for every user of the computer. It only cleans out IE/web browsing junk for the logged-in user. If more than one user login on the system, re-run it to clean out as much as possible.
 
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