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  1. #1
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Lost: 300 gigabytes of valuable drive space!


    By Fred Langa

    Most Windows and PC troubles fit into patterns, but every once in a while a truly weird, never-before-seen problem crops up.In a novel and mysterious case, a reader's hard drive suddenly fills up with hundreds of huge files.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/08/19/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 15:04.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    You forgot that 32 bit windows will normally only user 3 out of 4 Gbytes available, the other Gbyte is lost to the I/O pages.
    This allocation can be reduced by a setting in the boot.ini file.

    Peter.

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    I think there's a mistake here. With a 32-bit OS the video RAM is addressed from the maximum 4GB even if you have a dedicated graphics card. That has been my experience on several systems. The bigger the graphics card's memory, the less system RAM is left. If it was only onboard graphics that caused the problem people wouldn't be losing such vast amounts of system RAM.
    Alan Vallis
    http://mywitsend.co.nz

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    There's definitely a mistake there, Alan; time for a short holiday Fred?
    The consumption of memory addresses below 4GB can be drastic on high-end gaming systems with large video cards. For example, I purchased one from a boutique gaming rig company that came with 4GB of RAM and two 1GB video cards. I hadn't specified the OS version and assumed that they'd put 64-bit Vista on it, but it came with the 32-bit version and as a result only 2.2GB of the memory was accessible by Windows. You can see a giant memory hole from 8FEF0000 to FFFFFFFF in this Meminfo output from the system after I installed 64-bit Windows: Device Manager reveals that 512MB of the over 2GB hole is for the video cards (256MB each), and it looks like the firmware has reserved more for either dynamic mappings or because it was conservative in its estimate
    From Mark Russinovich's blog on Technet: Pushing the Limits of Windows: Physical Memory

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    3 Star Lounger
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    As an aside to Fred's last comment

    And isn't this a strange topic? A few years ago, 4GB seemed vast. But now we're routinely bumping up against its limits. Yow!
    I can remember years ago at the local computer club when an average PC ran on 4Meg, someone brought in their computer to show off Myst and the general poo-hooing that went up about the "decadence" of have 64Meg of memory JUST to run a game!

    It really makes me smile every time I think about it.
    "Heading for the deep end"

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    New Lounger
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    Regarding "Resources for replacing a noisy laptop fan", I have found that older laptops may not really need to have the fan replaced to cut down on the noise. In many cases, if you clean out the dust that collects on the fins next to the fan, you will find that the fan will run slower and quieter. To remove the dust, you need to temporarily remove the fan, pull out the dust, and then put the fan back. Instructions for replacing the fan can usually be found in instructions that can be downloaded from the manufacturer's web site.

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    New Lounger
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    Fred quite often suggests Piriform CCleaner utility (free) to help clear the clutter and I do use it. I also use PC Tools Registry Mechanic (you buy). An interesting aside is that if I use CCleaner first and Registry Mechanic last, Registry Mechanic finds lots left to do. If I use Registry Mechanic first and CCleaner last it finds little left over, so that's what I now do. But why should that be I wonder?

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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwilym Shephard View Post
    Fred quite often suggests Piriform CCleaner utility (free) to help clear the clutter and I do use it. I also use PC Tools Registry Mechanic (you buy). An interesting aside is that if I use CCleaner first and Registry Mechanic last, Registry Mechanic finds lots left to do. If I use Registry Mechanic first and CCleaner last it finds little left over, so that's what I now do. But why should that be I wonder?
    They are written by different software engineers. There will be different interpretations on what 'needs' to be cleaned and of course different understandings of the registry, installed software and the OS in general. If they were all equal there would be no need for two, what fun would that be?
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Of course. I suppose the point I was making is that one appears to be doing a hell of a lot more; and that I suppose on that basis it is the utility of (my) choice with CCleaner picking up the crumbs

  10. #10
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    With regard to losing 300 G of disk space to multiple small files, I have seen this when I have interrupted a program that cleans free disk space. I think Eraser uses this strategy. If allowed to run to completion, all the small files disappear. It sounds in this case like some utility that performs this function has been started and continues to run, but never finishes. Not surprising since creating 300 1 G encrypted file can take a looooonnnnngggggg time.

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    I have had exactly the same thing happen on my laptop. I noticed one day that the disk's icon was red and that I was down to less than 10% free space on a 500 Gb disk that was recently about 40% filled. Scary! I'm pretty disciplined about what I download and install, and there was just no way I could have eaten up that much disk real estate in such short time. After hunting around, I finally made the same discovery of hundreds of large files eating up the space in the root of c:, all created the same day within minutes of each other a couple of week earlier. Having no clue as to what program could legitimately have caused all these files to have been created, I erased them all, recovered the free space, and nothing similar has happened since.

    David Corliss' explanation makes eminent sense. I do occasionnally run disk utilities, and I may indeed have stopped a process that I found would run too long, and it left all those temporary files behind.

    Thank you John Willoughby for sharing this, Fred for posting, and David for advancing a good explanation. I will sleep better now...

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    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Haas View Post
    Regarding "Resources for replacing a noisy laptop fan", I have found that older laptops may not really need to have the fan replaced to cut down on the noise. In many cases, if you clean out the dust that collects on the fins next to the fan, you will find that the fan will run slower and quieter. To remove the dust, you need to temporarily remove the fan, pull out the dust, and then put the fan back. Instructions for replacing the fan can usually be found in instructions that can be downloaded from the manufacturer's web site.
    Dust build-up is certainly a frequent cause of a noisy fan. I was having a similar problem - in fact the fan was running at full speed almost any time I asked the CPU to get off its back side and do something. Simply blowing hard into the vent was all that was needed! Applying a vacuum cleaner nozzle to the vent may also be worth trying - but with care - you may spin the fan up to well beyond its design top speed.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Bell View Post
    You forgot that 32 bit windows will normally only user 3 out of 4 Gbytes available, the other Gbyte is lost to the I/O pages.
    This allocation can be reduced by a setting in the boot.ini file.

    Peter.
    Here is the boot.ini setting I use:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=5
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin/3gb/ userva=2560

    My OS is Windows Home. As a flight simulator hobbyist I need all the available ram I can get. With this setting, plus a 1gig Nvidia card, my flight sim sails along without stutters, pauses or even BSOD.

    Sherm

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