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I've recently moved house and computers. I had two 160GB drives in my old comp, and I took them with me. I plugged the first into my new computer and copied all the data across fine. The second drive shows up as having ~6GB free of ~150GB usable, but I can't find most of that data. In explorer if I select all from the root, the size comes to ~9GB. I have it set to show hidden and system files. Also WinDirStat shows only ~9GB for the whole drive, and nothing extra appears when running DIR /A from the command line. I've done a scan for errors from within explorer asking it to fix where found. Completed OK, still shows only ~6GB free. Oh and that figure's the same from the Computer screen, and from Disk Management.

So where's mah stuff gone?!

Old comp: XP
New comp: Win7



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Are you sure you're not losing a 0 somewhere? 9+6 = 15, which seems quite convenient.. – Dentrasi Mar 9 '10 at 22:45
You said you did a scan for errors. Did you actually use CHKDSK from the command line or did you use the error-checking utility built into Windows? I seem to have better luck with the former actually being able to repair disk problems over the latter. – TechParadox Mar 9 '10 at 22:52
@dentrasi 9GB found + 6GB free = 15GB accounted for... out of 150GB usable. Sorry just grokked what you're saying. Definitely no zeros missing! – Andy Mar 9 '10 at 23:08
@TechParadox I used the Windows method, I'll try it from the command line and see if anything comes up, thanks. – Andy Mar 9 '10 at 23:08

Maybe your files for some reason have attributes that prevent them from even showing up in Explorer even though you told it to display hidden files.

  • On the command line you can try to list files with hidden or system attributes. I can't try it out right now but according to the above manual this should display hidden and system files: dir /a. If you discover such files, you can remove the attributes using attrib.

  • An easier way might be to use a Linux LiveCD (like Ubuntu, Knoppix etc.) and see what it can see of your files. Often Linux does not care that much about hiding files like Windows does it.

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+1 for the Linux LiveCD suggestion – Josh Mar 9 '10 at 23:51
Thanks, I have a parted magic USB stick, so when the chkdsk is done, I'll give it a go. (I've tried with dir /a btw.) – Andy Mar 10 '10 at 0:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Bleedin file permissions of course! I was running as an administrator and didn't think twice about permissions. Anyway, added full permission for my new account and propagated: everything's ok.

Thanks all.

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I don't think your stuff is gone, but I do think your computer is compromised and a bunch of malware has been hidden on your drive. Do a search on SU here and check out some of the other posts on how to scan and detect malware and spyware and see what turns up.

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Thanks for the quick answer Tom! The current computer is brand new and is using McAffee. The drive was definitely full (of nice legitimate data!) when I took it out of my old computer. Doesn't it seem unlikely that malware has taken up ~144GB of that drive?! If you still think it's worth giving the new computer a thorough check I'm happy to do that, but I'm generally quite careful with it, and 144GB just seems a bit too big! Thanks again. – Andy Mar 9 '10 at 22:59
It does seem highly unlikely, and I could easily be wrong (I hope I am). As for scanning for malware, I find it definitely doesn't hurt as you've indicated you had checked the file system previously. I doubt its a fragmentation issue, as the most I've seen that account for to be about 4 gigs out of 160 gigs total, and that was after several months of extremely heavy use. – Tom Mar 9 '10 at 23:31
Thanks. I'm running chkdsk at the mo. I'll run it through McAffee and HouseCall this evening, though my heart's not in it. Wish I had my old comp to test it in... – Andy Mar 9 '10 at 23:40

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