Low Disk Space?

I seem to have filled my hard drive with junk beyond its ability to function. I keep getting this pop-up message saying “Low Disk Space: click here to see crap you can eliminate” but when I click on it, I get all sorts of files I don’t recognize. One huge area leads to a lot of folders, all labeled with a series of numbers and letters I certainly never created, like “AY2030SH1,” that are all lots of KB big. When I click on them, I get a message that says something like “If you remove this file, the world as you know it will be destroyed. Continue?” Anyone know how I can figure out if this is an essential file, or just some junk I downloaded off Youtube that I couldn’t care less about?

I’m hoping that some technologically astute person will give me a hand here, because if I have to go in to my IT people to help me distinguish my ass from my elbow, that file will turn out to be from YouPorn and involve S&M with underaged animals.

I’m not really technically astute but I had the same thing happen to me last year.

It turned out to be a program running that I wasn’t even aware of. The program was saving some sort of configuration snapshot every time I booted the computer in case I ever had a problem and needed to revert to an earlier configuration.

Over time, these configuration files filled the hard drive. I deleted them and then disabled the underlying program and I everything was fine.

When you click on the “click here to remove garbage files that can be removed” button it honestly does take you to a list of files that are really garbage and can be removed.

For the most part they are temporary internet files and temp files - located in the C:\documents and settings[your username]\local settings\ folder. They are what they say they are - temporary files that were created when you surfed the internet (your “cache”) and when you installed programs.

They are not needed. They are not malicious. They can and should be trashed if you are low on disk space.

Thanks. I’m concerned about the folders (not files) with names like “AY23540M” and “BJ85743P”–they won’t open up without my “continuing” past a scary sounding warning popup, so I’m not sure what these are. Would it help you diagnose if copy the exact names and numbers of these files the next time this popup appears? These folders are huge.

Where are these files?

Sorry…I meant to mention that the folders are temporary folders containing temporary files. They can well and truly be trashed. Honest!

Folders need to be named something, so the computer names them with random combos of letters and numbers that are unlikely to duplicate any folder (or file) names you’re using yourself.

The “are you sure?” pop-up is probably the standard “are you sure?” pop-up that you get whenever you’re deleting files – there’s no special force behind it because they are these files and not files that you named.

These aren’t the files I’m looking for? I can go about my business? Move along?

Okay, the pop-up just popped up again. When I highlighted the folders another pop-up said “This page has an unspecifed security flaw. Would you like to continue? YES/NO.”

WTF does that mean? I’ll keep it open until I hear from someone. You’d think they could give more useful information than that, wouldn’t you?

I wasn’t allowed to copy the highlighted folders, but their exact names were 2RNR2RLQ, 3YIOKMOP, etc. Does that mean anything to anyone? There’s also a single file (looks like a WordPerfect icon to me) called “index.dat”–can this be zotzed as well?

I dunno how else to tell you…just delete the files. Say yes to the security flaw thing. Just get rid of the stuff.

I’m kinda slow that way. :smiley:

Okay, I hit “YES” (still curious about why they think someone would casually press “YES” to something called “an unknown security flaw,” without providing much more information, like what kind of flaw it might be, but whatever…) and now it’s telling me that I “cannot delete StatisticsReport_new[2].htm: it is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using the file and try again”? What’s going on here?

Thanks. I appreciate the help.

Close your browser and try again.

Anything in a temp folder that’s older than the last time you turned on the PC is ripe for deletion. The whole point of a temp folder is to provide a temporary home for scratchpad type stuff that does not need to be saved forever. Well-behaved applications will take out their trash when you shut them down, but if a program crashes, the files get orphaned.

Another category of file that’s almost always safe to clear out is the uninstall folders that get dumped in the C:\WINDOWS folder - they’ll look like NtUninstallKb938464 and will most likely be shown in blue. These are the removal packages for all of the hotfixes and patches from Microsoft.

Can I tag along on this topic as mine is similar. It is good to know that you can delete those files–I alwasy stopped when I got to the same screen. But I am wondering if my low disk message is because I haven’t deleted these files.

I try and do a disc defrag and it says I need to have 15% free space and my C drive only shows 6%. My D drive has something like 8.2G free yet I dont’ know how to put more of the free space into the C drive. (I am not at that computer and I may have the C and D drives reversed)—but can I move some of that open space into the other drive easily? Or if I delete these temp files am I likely to get that drive to a size that I can defrag?

any help or thoughts?

The safest things to move from one drive to another are media files like word documents, mp3s, etc.

Programs are a mixed bag but will most likely fail if you throw them around.

You can also, if necessarily, run defrag repeatedly to get good results even with lower-than-recommended free space, assuming your defrag utility will even let you attempt it.

Yes and no. No, your disk space is low because it is low, not specifically because of those files. You need to delete SOME files - not particularly THOSE files. Windows is helping you clean up your drive by saying “here, you can delete all of these files safely for sure. These are the ones we are absolutely positive that you don’t need.”

No you can’t really easily “transfer” that free space. They are two separate drives that would defrag separately. Most defrag programs require you have a certain percent free in order to be able to work - usually 10% or more. Your program needs 15%.

What you need to do is delete those temp files going by the help from Windows. Then empty your Recycle Bin. If you still are not up to 15% free on C:, you need to delete more junk. Surely there’s stuff you can delete. I’d start with large photos and/or videos and/or music files in your My Documents folder. You can also go to Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove programs and remove programs you may not need anymore.

After you delete stuff be sure to empty your Recycle Bin again.

A good tool for helping keep things neat and tidy is Tune-Up Utilities. It’s worth the price, I think, but their free trial is completely full. If you give them your email address you will get offers from time to time with a coupon code and that makes it extra worth the price.

I haven’t used Tune-Up, but I get good results with CCleaner, which is freeware.

Kill everything in your temp directory.
Kill all the stuff that the removal program says can be removed.
Get an external hard drive and move stuff like word docs over to it.

IIRC that message appears when disk space goes below 10%. So if you’ve got a 1 TB drive, you could have 100 GB left. How much space do you actually have left?

Apart from temporary files, System Restore information is another space hog. To limit this use the vssadmin command:

C:\Data>vssadmin resize shadowstorage /?
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Resize ShadowStorage /For=ForVolumeSpec /On=OnVolumeSpec [/MaxSize=MaxSizeSpec]
    - Resizes the maximum size for a shadow copy storage association between
    ForVolumeSpec and OnVolumeSpec.  Resizing the storage association may
    cause shadow copies to disappear.  If MaxSizeSpec is not
    specified, there no limit to the amount of space it may use.  As certain
    shadow copies are deleted, the shadow copy storage space will then
    shrink.  MaxSizeSpec must be 300MB or greater and accepts the following
    suffixes: KB, MB, GB, TB, PB and EB.  Also, B, K, M, G, T, P, and E are
    acceptable suffixes.  If a suffix is not supplied, MaxSizeSpec is in

    Example Usage:  vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=D: /MaxSize=900MB

Note that you must run this from an administrator-level command prompt.

Another fine utility I use for diagnosing where the space has gone is Treesize Pro.

I thought I should mention that my older windows XP computer routinely gave me this message. I finally tracked it down to the Dr. Watson logfile that Windows creates everytime an error occurs…mine was routinely growing to over 3.5 GB!! I suspect it has to do with my anti-virus software crashing the system repeatedly when it reboots after an update. I had to completely disable all logging features of this program (just selecting the “do not append” option doesn’t work)…this appears to have finally stopped the file from eating up all available space until I couldn’t even boot into anything but safe mode. Dr. Watson is pretty much useless trash, anyway. Has anyone ever gotten anything useful after reporting the crashing errors to Microsoft? I sure haven’t. And despite what they say about Vista, I find that it is very stable compared to XP; I’ve never had any issues at all with it.

So, at a bare minimum, I recommend that you search for the logfile and just delete it. It’s probably eating up more space than you think.