Computer Keeps Running Out of Space

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I have a computer that keeps running out of hard disk space. I don't think I'm adding a gig of data every couple weeks with new web pages, reports, and graphics.

After deleting unused program, large programs, music, emptying the browser saved files, and deleting older emails, it is still a recurring problem.

Is email spam potentially still being saved (using Thunderbird) and it is hogging my system?

I've noticed while watching long marketing videos my computer always starts complaining about being low on space. Are the videos possibly being cached somewhere?

I feel like I'm getting down to the bare bones with needed files, but within a couple weeks after clearing a gig of space once again there is not enough disk space to adequately run Windows.

Ideas? (The computer is running Windows XP.)

.
#computer #running #space
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    my computer always starts complaining about being low on space.
    Are you sure it isn't memory (running low)?
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  • Profile picture of the author RS3RS
    Go to your file directory, see what's using that much. Check the total size of the program files folder, then check your documents folders, etc. until you find the culprit. A virus scan might be in order as well, just to make sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Miranda
    Like Istvan said, it is probably virtual memory (aka: RAM) that is causing the problem. If you run out of virtual memory (RAM) it will start using your hard drive space and RAM. If you are running out of space also on the hard disk you will get similar errors.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Steven Miranda View Post

      Like Istvan said, it is probably virtual memory (aka: RAM) that is causing the problem. If you run out of virtual memory (RAM) it will start using your hard drive space and RAM. If you are running out of space also on the hard disk you will get similar errors.
      OK, I understand. But when I turn off and restart the computer it is still low on disk space. That shouldn't be a RAM problem - or could it still be the issue?

      .
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Steven Miranda View Post

      Like Istvan said, it is probably virtual memory (aka: RAM) that is causing the problem. If you run out of virtual memory (RAM) it will start using your hard drive space and RAM. If you are running out of space also on the hard disk you will get similar errors.
      RAM is REAL memory not to be confused wth "real memory mode" or "real memory mode memory", which are different things.

      When someone at M/S was working with all th graphics, etc... they realized that it would be VERY complicated optimizing etc... so they had SEVERE mmory problems and added what they called VM. It is a LOUSY variant of it, subject to leaks, etc... But VIRTUAL memory isn't ram at all! It is OFFLOADING and RELOADING ram from HARD DISK!

      And you should probably make sure you have a bit over 100GB FREE on your disk. As I recall the last time I checked, with an earlier variant, but still probably about the same, less than 50GB can cause out of memory problems, etc... and less than 100GB can be SLOW!

      Of course needs DO depend on what you do etc...

      BTW many things including videos and internet pages ARE cached on disk.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
    Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

    I have a computer that keeps running out of hard disk space. I don't think I'm adding a gig of data every couple weeks with new web pages, reports, and graphics.
    If it's a Media Center PC, check to make sure it is not recording TV shows, etc. The drive on my Media Center PC once was almost entirely taken up by TV shows I didn't know I was recording. I must have pressed a button one night when I was watching a news show that came on the same time every night and ran for an hour.

    After noticing that an enormous amount of disk space had been inexplicably consumed, I looked in the Media Center library. The machine had been recording that hour-long show for weeks and weeks. I deleted all those recordings, and hundreds of GBs of storage space returned.

    Patrick
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    Have you thought of upgrading your computer? Either buy a new one, or just upgrade to a larger hard drive and perhaps more RAM.
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  • Profile picture of the author RS3RS
    It sounds like a hard drive issue more than RAM. Your C: drive should still have plenty of space, even if some virtual memory is being used.

    If you don't want to delete stuff, maybe buy an external harddrive and move a lot of stuff onto that. Or add a bigger internal drive.
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    • Profile picture of the author steve129836
      If you are still running XP you've probably got a fairly low specification computer by todays standards. However for must stuff it should still be fine. As others have said you may want more RAM or just get a larger drive.

      One other tip I highly recommend you try is downloading Glary Utilities by Glarysoft, its freeware and will clean up your system and fix a lot of problems it works wonders with XP systems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Brian, are you using Mcafee or Norton's antivirus programs? If so they constantly save
    profiles and eat up some serious hard drive space.

    Another thought is that your system is optimised to save videos, webpages
    you visit in the temp folder while/after you watch/visit them. It's done so
    that the next time you go to a site the browser only has to download data
    that has changed since your last visit. It's to speed up loading of the pages.

    Just a couple of thoughts.

    When I notice my systems drive getting low on space I'll drag folders containing
    large files and drop them on my external drive.

    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Delete your system restore files. You can make a new checkpoint by turning system restore back on - but those files will take up gigs if you don't dump them now and again.

    Check and see which programs are attached to your start program. You don't need a lot of them to actually start automatically. Unhook the ones you don't need (for example adobe - it will start when you need it, it doesn't need to always be running).

    Get Crap Cleaner (it's free) and clean out your cookies. Dump your trash in your email - dump all temporary files. Clear your browser history.

    Go through your files and dump any old pictures and documents that are no longer needed or used. (i.e. - clean house).

    Then defrag your computer.

    You wouldn't believe how much stuff piles up if you aren't paying attention.
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    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Brian, try opening all the browsers you use and deleting the history. It's possible they are eating up disk space with cached videos, audios, and other files. You can set a maximum disk space size for cache in each browser, and you can set how long files are kept in cache. I set that to two days, which may or may not be best for you, depending on how you use your computer.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Michael, I'm using Kaspersky.

    Sal, I'm looking into that. Never used the system restore so I don't know what the settings are.

    Steve, my entire hard disk is "only" 60 Gig. Of course, as a child our first IBM PC saved programs on cassette tape.

    Dennis, thanks, I've been clearing and decreasing the space allowed.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      Michael, I'm using Kaspersky.

      Sal, I'm looking into that. Never used the system restore so I don't know what the settings are.

      Steve, my entire hard disk is "only" 60 Gig. Of course, as a child our first IBM PC saved programs on cassette tape.

      Dennis, thanks, I've been clearing and decreasing the space allowed.

      .
      Well, maybe you're just not doing as much. Yeah, I think it may have been MB, instead of GB anyway, but better safe than sorry. Still, as I said, it can vary. Of course, MSDOS, and many other O/S don't use virtual memory at all. LINUX/UNIX are FAR better.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Brian:

    Yes, video files do get cached on your hard drive while viewing.

    With everything you've told me, it might just be time to get a new hard drive in there. If it's that close to full, nothing you do is going to really help like simply getting more hard drive space.

    In most cases (assuming you got a spare bay in the computer case available), it's simply a matter of just installing a second hard drive, and moving as much stuff as you can over from the old one (just click and drag all those documents you saved for clients over the years...it's that easy)...and voila, your computer can breathe again.

    So what the heck are you waiting for? Get over to Fry's electronics, get a second hard drive, and get this done now.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

      So what the heck are you waiting for?
      Sounds like a plan. Hopefully the new drives still work on my old computer.

      Despite having 2 desktop PCs, 2 laptops, iPad, Kindle, and on and on, I mainly use the one old computer because it has my programs, I know how to use them, and it would be even a bigger pain in the neck trying to find install disks (if still have them), registrations, etc., trying to port programs to a new PC - only to find they are not supported.

      Been there and done that too many times.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
        Brian,

        If you have Skype, uninstall it (save any important messages/conversations first) and use it on your other computers. I use Revo Uninstaller (be very careful what you delete!).

        I'm finding Skype is adding a couple of GBs a year to my registry, so if you've had Skype on your computer for a few years it could be taking up 10 - 15% of your hard drive.

        Martin
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      • Profile picture of the author Sherry Driedger
        I would definitely not look forward to having to re-install my main computer either, but there comes a time when we all face having to bite the bullet on this one.

        It might be worth the expense for you to take the system in for a new hard drive. A good tech should be able to determine if there are any limitations on the size/type of hard drive your system can support and then image the old drive to the new for you.

        By the way, a tech may also be able to image your current hard drive on to another system as well, providing the new system supports the operating system being used on the old. I've done this and all I needed to do was ensure it booted into safe mode, so that I could remove the old motherboard drivers and install the new ones before it was allowed to go fully into Windows. This does not always work if the old drive is IDE and the new one is SATA.
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    I had a similar problem, turns out my automatic backup was saving each and every backup to my hard drive. When I deleted all my old backups, I had plenty of space again.
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  • Profile picture of the author M A Kay
    Probably its the memory that causes the problem..better uninstall unnecessary application or else reformat your unit once in a while so viruses will be demolished too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tashi Mortier
    Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

    I have a computer that keeps running out of hard disk space. I don't think I'm adding a gig of data every couple weeks with new web pages, reports, and graphics.

    I've noticed while watching long marketing videos my computer always starts complaining about being low on space. Are the videos possibly being cached somewhere?
    First of all: This has absolutely nothing to do with your RAM, it just makes no sense.

    I rather agree with all those saying that these are your cached files from your browser etc.

    Here is a remedy for that:

    Download CCleaner and have it run whenever your system starts (you can disable cleaning cookies etc. so that you don't always have to login again)

    Also, go to your browser settings and set the cache limit to a lower setting. 500 mb are more than enough.

    You can also get a program called WinDirStat, this will walk through your hard disk and show you the folders that use up the most space. So you can find what eats up your precious free hard drive space.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    How large is your hard drive anyway? Try using CCleaner to free up some space.
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    I offer CPA coaching and investment opportunities for those SERIOUSLY interested in making money directly or indirectly with affiliate marketing. PM me for details.


    Read More about CPA/Affiliate Marketing on my Blog
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      A quick follow-up regarding the cause of the problem:

      I'm using the Mozilla Thunderbird email program.

      When you delete an email it is not deleted off your computer. You have to compact your email folder to actually clear off disk space.

      It means the daily onslaught of spam and emails with large attachments gobble up your disk space. In addition to deleting, compact your email folders to keep your disk space from disappearing into a black hole.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        A quick follow-up regarding the cause of the problem:

        I'm using the Mozilla Thunderbird email program.

        When you delete an email it is not deleted off your computer. You have to compact your email folder to actually clear off disk space.

        It means the daily onslaught of spam and emails with large attachments gobble up your disk space. In addition to deleting, compact your email folders to keep your disk space from disappearing into a black hole.

        .
        That explains only part of the problem Brian. Truth is, at 60 gig entire HD
        space, you've probably outgrown this drive or at coming darn close to it.

        My PC has dual 320 gig drives so I never have to worry about this problem.

        I know upgrading is a PITA but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and
        do it. I can't even count how many times my PC died and I had to go through
        the entire reinstall process. It's not fun, but afterwards, I was glad I did it.

        In today's world, 60 gig is a drop in the bucket.
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      • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
        Thanks for the update. As there are many threads on the WF where a problem is posed but we don't hear about the outcome.

        I believe that we are in the same age group (backing up to cassette.) Let me encourage you to make the leap to a new system. You will be glad you did. You may also kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

        If you're not looking forward to the process, I'm thinking a couple hundred bucks to a BestBuy-Geekanoid-type would make their day (or two) and save you tons of work.

        Just a thought.

        Joe Mobley



        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        A quick follow-up regarding the cause of the problem:

        I'm using the Mozilla Thunderbird email program.

        When you delete an email it is not deleted off your computer. You have to compact your email folder to actually clear off disk space.

        It means the daily onslaught of spam and emails with large attachments gobble up your disk space. In addition to deleting, compact your email folders to keep your disk space from disappearing into a black hole.

        .
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        .

        Follow Me on Twitter: @daVinciJoe
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  • Profile picture of the author Rick B
    A 60 gig hard drive can get filled up pretty fast today. I had one that size until I purchased a new laptop last Christmas. I just checked and there's 81 gigs worth of stuff on the new one.

    By the way, if you work online you might consider doing what I did. I upgraded the old laptop to a 320GB drive and kept it as a back up computer in case the new one breaks or gets a virus. I also sometimes have one computer running a macro or something while I work on web stuff with the other one.

    The upgrade cost me $99 and I didn't even shop around for a better price.
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    It could be that there is an indexer somewhere, you could run one of the many cleaners out there that will empty your temp files
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