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On my mother's Lenovo laptop, Windows XP claims that the hard drive is almost full. According to the properties window, 52.7 out of 55.2 GB is in use:

Drive C properties

By deleting temp files from Internet Explorer, System Restore, Recycle bin, Windows Update, System Cleanup, I managed to free up about one GB. That's still > 50 GB in use, which still is a lot more than I expected. Hence, I gave good old WinDirStat a spin, and here's the output:

WinDirStat

It might be hard to read here, but the first line says that the total amount of disk space in use on drive C is 24.3 GB. So Windows claims usage of 52.7 GB and WinDirStat can only account for 24.3 GB. Where is the other half of that disk space being used?

I hope someone has an answer, or some tricks or tips to do further research.


UPDATE: The laptop in question has an SSD hard drive. I am aware that these disk (at least the earlier ones) have a limited life-time. Could the symptoms described be caused by wear and tear on the SSD?

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8 Answers 8

On the same property windows, click on the second tab, then Check Now. Check the "Automatically fix file system errors" box, then Start.

alt text

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Windows misreporting diskspace is often cured by the disk check utility. You will probably have to reboot to allow it to do it's job. –  Tog Nov 19 '10 at 13:37
    
Yes. Alternatively you can run Chkdsk.exe. Hit Win+R, type chkdsk and press Enter. –  gulbrandr Nov 19 '10 at 14:09
    
No luck from chkdsk. Thanks for the tip, though. –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 20 '10 at 11:55
    
The laptop in question has an SSD hard drive. I am aware that these disk (at least the earlier ones) have a limited life-time. Could the symptoms described be caused by wear and tear on the SSD? –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 20 '10 at 12:03
    
I believe that check disk is useless on solid state drives. –  qroberts Dec 6 '10 at 13:54

Lenovo installs a pretty useful application called "Rescue and Recovery" on most of it's systems. This applications performs full scheduled backups of your system to your hard drive, which you can access on boot by pressing the "ThinkVantage" quick-key on your keyboard.

Most probably the used space that windows is reporting incorrectly is the hidden portion of the disk that Lenovo's software is using up.

Search for Rescue and Recovery in "C:\Program Files\Lenovo\Rescue and Recovery" and start up the application to check for the backup regime that's running.

You SHOULD also be able to access the software from the Control Panel under "Lenovo's Enhanced Backup and Restore".

Good luck!

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Disk management interface in Windows' "administrative tools" reports about a separate Lenovo recovery partition. Whatever is stored in this partition shouldn't affect the available disk space on the Windows partition, right? –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 20 '10 at 11:58
    
I don't think so. Windows partition and recovery partition take its own, separated parts of the hard disk total capacity and they don't affect each other. –  Wacek Nov 20 '10 at 14:46

Another possibility is that the "extra" space is consumed by ADS or files hidden by some rootkit or other

from here on is an edit: ADS == Alternate Data Streams
How to locate:
http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/altds

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What is ADS, and how do I check for it? –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 20 '10 at 11:56
    
i edited the answer to include answers to the question in your comment –  hbdgaf Nov 20 '10 at 18:50

I've seen a similar issue where VSS was taking up a lot of the disk. Try running this to see if it tells you how much space VSS has.

vssadmin list shadowstorage

Also, make sure you're running WinDirStat with Administrator rights, otherwise it can't see everything on the disk.

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Just had the exact same problem with a Lenovo laptop. I was able to fix the problem after reading akseli's response. The Rescue and Recovery backups were occupying 24GB of the 61GB partition.

If you have a hidden folder called either C:\RRtemp or C:\RRbackups then this is where the hidden data is stored. WinDirStat cannot access the folder, so it fails to report the data.

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Maybe you didn't clean up your partition enough. Download and run CCleaner to be sure - it's one of the best cleaning tools.

Also, a few gigabytes may be taken by swap and hibernation files (pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys on my Vista) - they are usually located in the root directory of your disk (C:\) and they have "hidden" attribute set.

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What do you mean I "didn't clean up" the partition enough? pagefile.sys is the giant, greeen box in the WinDirStat screengrab. Hibernation has been disabled. –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 26 '10 at 9:00

It's quite clear from your screengrab that your "Documents And Settings" folder occupies more than 20GB of your HD's space. If i can see well, you have 35000 files in this folder (more than the files of the Windows folder).

You must navigate in the Documents & Settings tree , using windirstat, and give us some more information. I guess there is some LARGE video files or a dvd-rip or many many hidef photos in some folder below "\Documents and Settings\%user%\Application Data" folder..

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Where do you see "more than 20GB"? The first line "C:" lists 24.3 GB, but the second line "Documents and settings" lists 7.9 GB. –  Jørn Schou-Rode Nov 26 '10 at 9:02

System and backup files can not be listed inside Windows Explorer even with admin account. This free tool can reveal this information: Folder Size

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