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Enchantra
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I'm cleaning my Father's computer as his hard drive seems to be over flowing and his computer is running S L O W. I updated his firewall and am currently running newly updated spyware removal tools. I've gone through My documents, and I'm trying to figure out where the heck all his HD space has gone to. He only has like 4 megs of space left.

 

One of my next places to attack is add/remove programs and disk cleanup.

 

Something I'm specifically looking for is saved movie files or saved image files. It's a long story but I'm essentially doing detective work. If you know of places such things can be hidden, let me know. Thanks.

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Just about anywhere, seriously.

 

Try (this assumes the C drive is the root level):

Open 'My Computer'

Go to 'Tools > Folder Options'

Open the 'View' tab

Under Advanced settings change the radio button under 'Hidden Files and folders' to 'Show hidden files and folders'

Note: if he is running Vista and IE7 you will also need to un-check 'Hide protected operating system files' in order to see Internet temp files; when you are done re-check this box!!

 

Okay, go to

C:\Documents and Settings\<profile>\Local Settings\Temp and clean that sucker out (you may have to sort by date and delete anything with a date older than the day you are cleaning)

Also check:

C\Documents and Settings\<profile>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet files

 

If you have Internet access on that computer go here and download CCleaner, it is an absolutely fantastic program (and it's free!)

 

This does disk cleanup and low-level registry cleaning.

 

Also, don't forget your friendly Windows search engine. From the desktop hit Ctrl+F and type in wild cards like: *.jpg, *.avi. *.mov, *.mp3, etc.

 

Don't forget to defrag when done! A lot of space is lost to unusable sectors on your HDD due to file fragmentation.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks Wyrmgear. I did delete the temporary internet files already, there actually wasn't much in there.

 

His computer is a bit old - It's running Windows 2000 professional edition and he uses Firefox because I made him use it after I had to fix his computer a few times due to him using IE and getting spyware and virus attacks.

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There is one more file that is really tough to find, its only an issue if he is running Outlook for his email though. Attachments opened from an email and then saved tend to up in this file if you are not paying attention to where they are being saved. Its actually part of this string:

 

C\Documents and Settings\<profile>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet files

 

add a back slash at the end and add the file name. What's the file name? Good question its different on every computer. The easiest way to find it is to open an attachment from an email in outlook and then do a save as and see the name of the file its trying to save it into.

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Another low-probability Outlook item that I only mention because it's something that's been a problem for me: old calendar items, particular if they have attachments. As far as I can tell, they never go away unless you manually delete them, and they can build up over time.

 

(If there aren't any attachments, the total space used probably isn't that much, but if there are....)

 

You can search for items over a certain size or before a certain date and delete them from the calendar. With some computers, this can get you quite a bit of space back.

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He doesn't use outlook, so that's not an issue.

 

Well I went looking, and only found a few things to clean off. None of what I cleaned off would have eaten up this much HD space. So at this point I'm assuming he just has to many programs on there and needs to clean them off. I'll have to sit with him and point to icons and ask him if it's needed.

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always remember to empty your recycle bin and to defrag the computer, this will group like objects together and get rid of bits and pieces of old crap. It may recover a little space and add a little speed to the old 'puter.

 

You may also think about wiping the hard drive and adding then adding programs that you want.

 

Sometimes spyware or malicious software slows everything down as well. there are tons of free software that aids in getting rid of that crap. try spybot & adware,

 

You may also experience a lag in speed if you are running Norton 2008 and you have an internet connection service that is slower than what cable provides.

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It is probably program and system files using all the space. It seems that you have looked in the obvious places. Also, is the drive partitioned?

 

If he has Windows, Office and Java installed it is amazing how fast space gets eaten up by the regular updates that these three get, especially if it is an old PC.

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This topic served it's purpose guys. I'm done playing with his computer.

 

His computer has been defragged only weeks ago.

Recycle bin has been emptied by me more times yesterday than I care to count.

I removed duplicate copies of programs.

I removed spyware. (I always use spybot and ad-aware)

I updated his antivirus and firewall.

I did file searches and didn't find what me and Mom needed from his computer.

He doesn't use outlook.

He uses Firefox.

There is no Norton anything on his computer.

We are on a high speed cable modem. The router is in my room, my computer is the hub (Pentium 4)

 

At this point I've done everything I know how to do to try to do what needed to be done. Short of uninstalling whole programs, there's not much else I can do to make that thing stop crawling.

 

Does his computer run any faster? A bit, but not much. A computer that takes five minutes to boot is a bit of a drag if you ask me. However he's going to be arriving home today, so I won't be touching his computer again for maintenance until he runs off someplace again.

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Old people's computers are a nightmare to work on. You never no what they are actually doing, and even when they are in front of you...they can't tell you.

 

Anywho, things to consider are also the various log files generated by some programs (I've seen some of those get HUGE), backups (a lot of software will create unique backups every time they autosave - and never get rid of old ones depending on settings used) and plugins (probably not much of a concern for your father...but I have dealt with Photoshop problems relating to too many plugins).

 

In most cases the log files are junk. Although they are useful to certain people when troubleshooting, the vast majority of users can't decipher the contents. They are also usually safe to junk.

 

The backups and save points become more of a delicate issue but are quite a likely problem. With several years worth of updates floating around (many of them still installed even though they are obsolete) as well as the various system restore points which get created by the OS, utilities and maintenance software...it gets to be a mess. In many cases you can gain almost half the used space back by uninstalling software and updating specifically with the latest version as opposed to the latest set of updates (in terms of the OS using the latest bundled update).

 

If it were me...Format C:\ and reinstall Windows. It's 2K Pro - so you have a significant amount of control over what the users can and can not do. Install the basics and stuff that you have seen him use more the once a week. Create a user account and lock him out of everything except running software (won't even be able to download the latest version of flash...). It may seem a bit extreme, but in the long run he will be happier (less crap to deal with on the desktop, faster PC) and so will you.

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Now that I re-skim this post: What are you really trying to do and who can and cannot know about what you are trying to do? You, Mom, and Dad are all working towards the same result, right?

 

Okee/MG

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How big is the total capacity of the drive?

 

At this point I'd start from the root (C:\) and look at the Properties of each root folder. This will calculate the size on disk for that folder and all sub folders / files. I think you'll quickly find one that's way larger than the rest and hogging up most of the space. Then start drilling down in that folder, so the next level down do the same, look at size on disk for each sub folder... again you should see a major offender. Track it down :)

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Okay, I know you're done, but in case anyone comes here looking cause they have a similar issue:

 

Older computers will seem slow if you are accustomed to newer ones. PC's of that time frame had slower frontside busses, chipsets, lower memory bandwidth, etc.

Older machines also had significantly less storage space, so it is really easy to run out fast.

 

Also, for slow booting:

Go to Start > Run and type in MSCONFIG (can't remember if this is supported Win 2K)

Go to the Startup tab

Un-check unneeded items - if you don't know what they are, Google them. 99.5% of the time you will find an answer

When you reboot check the little box that says 'Don't display this again' (or some such)

 

If you have plenty of HDD space, check your swap file size, as I recall Win2K will only allow up to 4GB (4095 I believe) - Your swap file augments your system memory, though it is slower (orders of magnitude- volatile memory reads in pico seconds, non-volatile in nano... I think).

 

Anyhow, as with any older piece of equipment, patience is key. The usable life span of an application PC (Office, Internet use) is approximately 5 years, a gaming rig (well, a good one) will see maybe 3 years. Folks will argue these numbers, but this also considers soft and hardware upgrades. If you want to take home your Office 2007 work and put it on your home machine running Win ME.. well, you will get frustrated very fast.

 

As far as rebuilds (or re-stages as we call them here at work), I wipe my HDD (with Disk Scrubber) and re-install my OS at least annually. It is surprisingly easy, especially if you take the time to get all your drivers before you wipe the disk, and it keeps the machine running fast.

 

At any rate, sorry you couldn't get better results...

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