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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Angry

    Hi, everyone. I've been intending to get involved here since December, but it took a crisis to get me here. So I hope you don't mind that my first post is a desperate cry for help.

    For some time now, I've been having major performance problems on my 64-bit Vista Ultimate system with 4 GB of RAM. I have a 250-GB hard drive with several partitions, two of which are Windows partitions: primary drive c: for system files and logical drive e: for data (no drive d: currently). Both partitions appear to be pretty close to full, which I have thought was largely responsible for my problems, so I've been working to free up space.

    The symptoms come and go. Usually, everything works pretty well for several hours, after which the system becomes pretty much unusable. All applications regularly freeze up with "Not Responding" messages, I type and nothing appears, I click and nothing happens. Usually several tries and long waits will give results, but it will take 20 minutes to do a 2-minute job. I've reduced the number of startup and background processes, but to no avail. Recently, things have gotten worse. A reboot takes half an hour or more, and after rebooting, symptoms are even more serious than just described -- I can't do anything at all. Strangely, after a second reboot, things are much better. (That's the situation I'm in right now; no telling how long it will last.)

    I've been working for several weeks to remove applications and clear unnecessary files, but have made little headway, and the space I have cleared doesn't seem to have helped. And now, today I discovered something very strange. I checked the sizes of all the folders on my c: drive to see which were the largest and would give the most promise for increasing free space. When I added the sizes all up, there was about 40 GB (of 88) unaccounted for! I've wanted to defrag but haven't been able to because there wasn't enough free space, and I can't imagine that there would be that much slack space, anyway.

    What's going on? Do I have a virus? Or is there some other explanation for this situation? (If so, I'm sure I'll be highly embarrassed and feel quite silly if the solution is simple, but at least I'll have a solution.)

    Suggestions?

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Keith, Welcome to the Lounge finally. New perspectives are very welcome.

    Do you clean your temp files and internet files periodically? do you use hibernate? have you lowered the default size of your System Restore folder? These are all ways to regain space.

    CCleaner can help with cleaning many of the temp. and temp. internet files.

    If you do not need hibernate you can disable it and reclaim the space of the hiberfil.sys file. Raed this article from Microsoft to do this. The hicerfil.sys file can occupy 3 GB or more space.

    There are many sites that show how to trim the max. size used by restore points. Here is one of them.

    There are most likely other ways to reclaim space as well, but these may give you enough to defrag. I would use a 3rd party defrag utility such as Auslogics Disk Defragmenter to accomplish this.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  3. #3
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Russell View Post
    Hi, everyone. I've been intending to get involved here since December, but it took a crisis to get me here. So I hope you don't mind that my first post is a desperate cry for help.

    so I've been working to free up space.

    The symptoms come and go. Usually, everything works pretty well for several hours, after which the system becomes pretty much unusable.

    . And now, today I discovered something very strange. I checked the sizes of all the folders on my c: drive to see which were the largest and would give the most promise for increasing free space. When I added the sizes all up, there was about 40 GB (of 88) unaccounted for!

    Suggestions?
    Keith,
    Hello...and Welcome to the Lounge... Sounds like you have a real "mess" on your hands.Just a few questions that might help you get some of the "free" space back
    1. Is your system "Hibernate" enabled? (you can save several GB here)
    2. Check on the size that the "Recycle Bin " is set to (right click and select properties )
    3. How many restore points do you have ? You can adjust (set up) for the maximum number

    As far as the other problems sounds like some kind of "overheating problem" ... you can download this free program to check on this http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html Is your PC a desk top... ? if so, open it and check to make sure all fans are up.... especially the CPU fan..Any way this is a start Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    At least three things to do:

    1. run CCleaner (download the Slim build from the bottom of this page). I suggest you remove the ticks from all the Internet Explorer options except that in front of Temporary Internet Files. Click on the Analyze button, and, when it's finished, then on the Run Cleaner button.
    2. run TreeSize Free to see what is using up all the disk space
    3. download and install Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (the free version). Once you have installed it, click on the Update tab, and on the Check for Update button, doing an update. Then click on the Scanner tab, then on the Perform fuill scan radio button, then on Scan. Go away and have a meal.


    See you you get on...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    The long boot time could indicate the hard drive is really struggling to survive, and if you really are losing disk space from the stated size and symptoms are getting increasingly worse, that's almost a lock for a failing hard drive that is dropping sectors.

    If you have imaged to another drive, good, continue on with the other procedures, but if not, I'd suggest doing that first.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your replies, everyone. They've been very helpful, and I'll post an update after I've tried your suggestions. Right now, though, I have another serious problem.

    I am unable to back up my system because I can't get my PC to recognize an external USB hard drive. I have had this problem in the past with a USB flash/thumb/jump drive, but because only one of several behaved this way, I didn't suspect anything wrong with my PC or software. However, I hadn't backed up for a while, and the other day when I tried to back up to my external Western Digital drive, Vista didn't find it. Again, I cursed the manufacturer and blamed the hardware.

    So today, I went down and bought another drive: a Seagate Free Agent Desk this time. I brought it home and plugged it in -- nothing. It doesn't show up at all in Windows Explorer. The only indication that it's there is that Safely Remove Hardware shows it as a "USB Mass Storage Device." When the Western Digital problem showed up, I was running the Zentimo USB manager, and it identified the drive as "the drive with no media"!

    Any ideas on this one?

  7. #7
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Russell View Post
    Thanks for your replies, everyone. They've been very helpful, and I'll post an update after I've tried your suggestions. Right now, though, I have another serious problem.

    I am unable to back up my system because I can't get my PC to recognize an external USB hard drive. I have had this problem in the past with a USB flash/thumb/jump drive, but because only one of several behaved this way, I didn't suspect anything wrong with my PC or software. However, I hadn't backed up for a while, and the other day when I tried to back up to my external Western Digital drive, Vista didn't find it. Again, I cursed the manufacturer and blamed the hardware.

    So today, I went down and bought another drive: a Seagate Free Agent Desk this time. I brought it home and plugged it in -- nothing. It doesn't show up at all in Windows Explorer. The only indication that it's there is that Safely Remove Hardware shows it as a "USB Mass Storage Device." When the Western Digital problem showed up, I was running the Zentimo USB manager, and it identified the drive as "the drive with no media"!

    Any ideas on this one?
    Keith,
    Hello...This is really another topic that should be "re-posted" .However.. Check in "disk manager" (after connecting ) and you will probably find that the disk has not been assigned a drive letter... So it won't be "seen" in windows ..Right click on it and give it a letter assignment from the "drop down" Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred J Usack View Post
    Keith,
    Hello...This is really another topic that should be "re-posted" .However.. Check in "disk manager" (after connecting ) and you will probably find that the disk has not been assigned a drive letter... So it won't be "seen" in windows ..Right click on it and give it a letter assignment from the "drop down" Regards Fred
    Wow, that was easy! Thanks, Fred. Now...that drive letter was assigned for years -- can you tell me how it got "unassigned"?

  9. #9
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    Windows initialises disks (puts an identifying mark on them) so it knows what it's supposed to do with them. Maybe another program changed the ID?

    cheers, Paul

  10. #10
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Russell View Post
    Wow, that was easy! Thanks, Fred. Now...that drive letter was assigned for years -- can you tell me how it got "unassigned"?
    Keith,
    Hello... Don't know why things like that happen ... I chalk it up to "System Buggyness" and looks like you found one I have ideas how,... but my " Woopin Helmet" is in the shop...being repaired from the last beating i took for posting why not to install "patches and updates" As soon as it's returned and have some free time i will post about my "adventures " with running my "OS's without them. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    One likely cause is that you have a drive mapped as E already. When you plug a hard drive in to the external USB, it might want to map as E:

    Not sure if all versions of windows have this, but you can right click on my computer, then click manage, then click storage manager. Look and see if the drive is shown there, then if so, change the leter to something like M.
    [/quote]
    So today, I went down and bought another drive: a Seagate Free Agent Desk this time. I brought it home and plugged it in -- nothing. It doesn't show up at all in Windows Explorer. The only indication that it's there is that Safely Remove Hardware shows it as a "USB Mass Storage Device." When the Western Digital problem showed up, I was running the Zentimo USB manager, and it identified the drive as "the drive with no media"!

    Any ideas on this one?
    [/quote]

  12. #12
    Lounger
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    Keith,

    Getting back to the original issue.... I would take a serious look at printer drivers, at least to eliminate that as a possible cause. (No, really. It sounded to me at the time, at best, "unlikely." But... )

    We traced very similar symptoms back to printer drivers which were not working well with Vista. Sometimes a reboot would "fix" the issue, other times it would take several/many reboots before the machine would begin to operate normally. Nothing in Task Manager suggested anything in particular was grabbing the processor, but the machines would just crawl along. Finally one day (since my machine was one of the ones affected), I just started killing processes. When I got down to spooler.exe (the Print Spooler process), and killed it, my machine came back to life immediately.

    In the end, finding updated printer drivers helped us immensely.

    I would look at what printers are installed, removing any printers and driver files not absolutely needed. Then I would look for updated drivers for printers that need to remain. Might be worth a shot.

    Jim

    P.S. Apologies if this posts twice, I didn't get any kind of confirmation when I posted the first time, and couldn't find my reply. So, trying again.

  13. #13
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    As to the drive letters not staying put, USB and eSATA drives under Windows do not have permanent drive letters assigned to them unless you manually assign them a drive letter. And the lowest available letter (Windows default assignment) may not be the best choice, as other USB devices and sometimes even internal partitions, will take over the assigned drive letter (E through F, G or H) and the external drive loses its place in the Windows drive-letter queue. Then the drive disappears due to this conflict. I use external USB drives under both Windows XP and Windows 7, and I manually assign their partitions permanent letters starting with K or L. This has reduced this sort of disappearing drive conflict to near-zero.

    As for the disappearing hard drive space under Vista, you do not say whether this is 32-bit or 64-bit Vista. I have a friend whose 64-bit Vista kept increasing the amount of drive space used, and no matter how he cleaned or pared-down Vista, the increase kept happening. He reinstalled Vista-64, and the problem went away. This was very mysterious, but it appears that it can happen when older 32-bit programs are installed into 64-bit Vista. I have not heard of similar issues with Windows 7 or 32-bit Vista. So if all else fails, maybe a Vista reinstall and a reinstall of any 32-bit programs would help.

    Vista and Windows 7 do not perform well on nearly-full hard drives or partitions, so leave ample headroom when configuring these OSes onto a hard drive. 64-bit Windows takes a lot more space and will expand much faster than 32-bit Windows. So make generous allowances for this possibility. Hard drives of huge capacity arr cheap and available, and swapping out a smaller drive for a newer, bigger drive is not very difficult, even in a laptop computer. Especially for 64-bit Windows, don't skimp on drive/partition headroom.
    -- Bob Primak --

  14. #14
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    Do a full inventory of your data whether it's pictures, videos, applications or documents. Check their properties & add up the total file size & compare with what is shown in My Computer. If the total sum of your data is less than what is reported, then there are some hidden files lurking around in your system. Go to Folder Options in Control Panel & check the 'Show hidden files & folders' . Do a disk cleanup & checked all items. If after doing all this & still it didn't show any improvement, got to do something drastic. First disable UAC & System Restore & do a reboot. Do a defrag preferably use a 3rd party like Defraggler or My Defrag. After that you should see some great improvements.
    When I first install Vista Ultimate 64bit a year ago, I disable both the UAC & System restore right from the start. Never have any problem with storage or not recognising external storage devices like thumb drive, external HDD or storage media. I did that with Win7 Ult 64bit on another system
    Intel CoreI7 P55/ 8Gb 1600 RAM DDR3/ NV GTS 570 1Gb PCIe/ HDD X 3 = 6TB/SSD x 1 128GB/ BDRW X 2/DVDRW x 2/ Corsiar 850W PSU & running on Win10 Pro 64bit

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