techies only: mindless boring pointless computer question...

…at least for anyone who isn’t me and so doesn’t need to know the answer 'cause they don’t have this problem.

Anyway, my hard disk is getting to the point where I’ve used up a good sized chunk of the available space and I’m occasionally having to clean up the temp files and so forth to get enough space for the computer to work properly.

This next bit has happened a few times and it’s puzzling me: Sometimes I’ll run out of space and delete a few things and get maybe an extra 200Mb. The next time I turn my computer on it will say that I’ve only got 15-20Mb on there, and act like it. If I then delete something completely insignificant (say a 2kb text file) I will then suddenly have all those missing Mb back again.

Any ideas as to what’s causing this? It’s more inconvenient than anything, but I’d at least like to know what’s going on.

You didn’t say, I’m hoping you’re on some flavor of Windows?

A few things come to mind:

  1. By default, the maximum size of the Recycle Bin is 10% of disk space. By right clicking on the bin and choosing “Properties”, you can reduce this.

  2. Number of days to keep history in your internet browser. Set it low.

  3. Windows Swap File. In Win98, this is under Control Panel/System/Performance/Virtual Memory. You can safely reduce this, although it can impact performance. (If you really reduce it far and you don’t have much physical memory, applications may crash. Caution.)

Hope this helps.


Assuming you aren’t playing with a compressed disk it’s likely Your swap file is taking as much additional space as it can once you free up the un-needed stuff. With 20 gig disks going for less than $ 100. you really should get a bigger drive if you’re running that close to limit.

Yeah, sorry. Win98.

I clean out the Recycle bin as soon as I fill it, and I’ve set my browser history to delete after 5 days. Did all this ages ago. I thought it would be the swap file too, however this happens as soon as I turn on the computer. I didn’t think swap files were created until you started running programs, and anyway, that’s not really the problem so much as why when I delete a tiny and insignificant file so much space gets freed up.

So basically, I free up the space on the drive so that there’s, say, 500Mb free (as I did the other night). Dumped it from the Recycle Bin and so it’s gone from the drive and I have all the lovely space. I turn the computer off and go to bed. I wake up in the morning and turn the computer on and it’s running SLOOOW. I check the amount of space and there’s only 17Mb free. I think “weird…” and shutdown and restart the computer. Same again, only 17Mb free. I delete a *.txt file on my desktop (maybe 2k worth of space) and suddenly my computer says I’ve got 500Mb free again and it’s running fine. I’m just wondering what the hell happened. It’s happened once or twice before and I’m just interested if anyone has any ideas as to what could be going on in there.

I’ve got a 6G HD, which isn’t all that much but it’s adequate for my needs at the moment.

MWA-HAHAHAHAHA I laugh at your 6gig hard drive. I bet your using about a 400mghz processor or so right? YOU NEED TO UPGRADE. Take it from me I used to have the same problem you did and boy did I get pissed! I’m just teasing you around. Like others said upgrade your hard drive it’s cheap and fairly easy to do yourself. Heck all you need to do is find a friend that is a computer freak and have them help you. Good luck on getting that jalopy runnin’ good :wink:

How do you check your free space? At the DOS prompt?

You might have an Explorer bug. Did you update W98?

Do you still have a lot of *.CHK files? *.Tmp files? etc…did you run scandisk? did you run defrag from DOS?

I’ve been having a similar problem at home. My computer tends to lock up when I’m on AOL if I’ve left it on for a long time, such as while I’m at work. If I shut it down and let it sit for a while, everthing’s fine again. I thought it might be that the free space on my C drive was getting low, so I switched my HDs to make my 15Gig my C drive. I’m also planning to double my RAM to 128Meg, hopefully that will solve the problem. If not, that means I probably have a memory leak somewhere…

BTW: if you haven’t changed your C drive to FAT-32, do it. This will improves the way the computer interacts with the HD and give you some additional space.

Stand back, folks, I’m a professional computer geek! Heh… I’ll bet dollars to donuts it’s the swap file. The Windoze default swap file settings are evil.

  1. Convert your drive to FAT-32 if it’s not already running FAT-32

  2. Defrag it (I think that might be done automatically after FAT-32 conversion)

  3. Go to control panel, system, performance, virutal memory, and set “Let me specify my own virutal memory settings.” Make the minimum and maximum values the SAME, and set them to 2-3 times as much RAM as is in the machine. I use 3x, but 2x is probably fine in most cases.

  4. Click OK and ignore Windoze’s warnings.

What this will do is keep Windoze from dynamically (read: “whenever it feels like it”) resizing the swap file. You’ll always know how much free space you have and the system will be faster, too (resizing the swap file is annoyingly time-consuming).

Pestie, your idea sounds good, I’m just not too sure about FAT-32. What is it? Some sort of disk compression program?

I check the free space in the My Computer thingie by clicking on the C: icon and looking in the margin on the left side of the screen.

I get rid of my temp files regularly.

I run scandisk and defrag etc. through windows, not DOS (is there a major difference?)

No, FAT-32 is not compression. I’m not sure how to describe it, what I said earlier about it improving how the system interacts with the drive is about the best I can do. Converting from to FAT-32 from FAT-16 will definately free up additional space because the system will start making better use of what is already there. I had to do this with my 15Gig drive in order to get the maximum free space without compressing anything.

big_yellow_kingswood, FAT32 is not compatible with all programs. Use it with some caution.

Why not run System File Checker first? Simply hit RUN: type in SFC & read & do what it says. nice. free program comes with W98.