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I just installed Win 7, but did not format the drive. Windows shows that 122 GB of drive space has been consumed. Clearly this seems strange, so I selected everythign under the C: drive (including hidden) and only 18GBs is shown. Is there anyway to find out where the extra 100 GB went, and how to recover that space?

I deleted the Windows.old directory and ran disk cleanp already.


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How big's the harddrive (or rather, the partition)? Could be reserved space for system restore (which you see even with hidden/system files visible so would not be counted by your test), which tends to default to a certain % of the partition IIRC. – DMA57361 Nov 29 '10 at 13:54
It's a 750 gb drive, Windows 7 - Showing 698 actual GB in Windows with 576 gb free. – portagemonkey Nov 29 '10 at 16:15

Many times, its in the windows side by side assemblies. My c:\windows folder is showing 18GB used, when its really about half that. (Just got a new computer, old one showed over 30GB) If that is where the space is used, it is not actually using that much, it is the way that windows counts the hard links that the files use.

Hard links are used to point to the same file many different times, instead of actually hosting the file: IE, have one copy of a DLL, and then 5 other spots where it points to the same DLL. (but just points to it). That way, they can easily point to different versions of DLL's without the wasted space of storing them all. The way windows counts disk space used, it would count all 6 instances of the DLL. I have seen where the windows folder takes up over 80% of the drive space when you look at it, yet only 50% of the drive is used.

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Type Win+R to get the Run command, then type in diskpart and press enter. An MS-DOS box will come up, type in RESCAN, then LIST DISK.

This will give you a list of your partitions with their status and size. You may find you did not partition correctly in the first place and have a bunch of free space that isn't partitioned. In which case, I would recommend formatting the hard drive and reinstalling windows 7 onto a smaller partition, formatting the remaining hard drive space to NTFS. You could get away with just formatting the free space into NTFS, but this wouldn't be best practice in my opinion.

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