Increasing Hard Drive Issue

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Increasing Hard Drive Issue

Postby dizzyflower28 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:26 pm

I noticed recently my hard drive has been increasing quite rapidly. I had approx 90 GB & it's ballooned to 135 GB within the past few days. I'm quite alarmed by this as I haven't downloaded or imported any files that big.

I have ZoneAlarm Security Suite, I have the firewall set to high. It's up to date. I used ZoneAlarm's AntiVirus check as well as Avast's free version. I've also used F-Secure's Rootkit. No problems with ZoneAlarm or Rootkit. Avast found two problems: it was claiming it found a virus (MozEmbed.exe) for Woopra (which is a webstat program), so false alarm there. Then it found another virus under c:\system volume information\...\A0061635.exe. I'm not sure if that means anything. Just to be safe I added those to Avast's Virus Chest. For troubleshooting purposes, I also disconnected my ethernet cable for a little while but my hard drive still increased slightly.

I also have used SequoiaView & WinDirStat to view all the file sizes on my hard drive. Nothing real alarming with SequoiaView, saw a pagesys file that was about 2GB...not sure if that's ok. I chose the "unknown" option in WinDirStat & it showed something about 50 GB in size which would explain the total of 134 GB.

I'm no expert but I do know a little about taking care of computers. Any ideas as to what may be causing this? I'm concerned it may be a virus. Hopefully my computer isn't a zombie.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:00 pm

If hard drive space is shrinking, blame it on the OS for not deleting those useless temporary files and other trash after updates.. and also for IE being a very sloppy hoarder of all files! Not uncommon to find more than 300 MB of useless Web files in the IE folder. They only get dumped when they 'expire' or the cap limit is reached.. but never really get dumped, unless the user does so after every session.
Take a look in the main Windows folder.. there may be hundreds of update file folders, all useless, taking up space. If you want to save them, create a separate folder for "updates" and zip all those other folders into that.
another waste of drive space are all those file names with zero storage needs. Each sector of the hard drive has 512 KB storage capacity. And for every "zero-length" file, you plug that 512 KB space. Get enough of those files, and your drive is suddenly full! The MS Office program also creates a zero-length file known as Mscreate.dir which can be found almost everywhere on the drive! Useless feature!!!
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Postby fussnfeathers » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:16 pm

Would also help to know what programs you're running that require internet usage.

When you ran your virus scans and the like, did you do this from safe mode, no networking? Doing security sweeps from regular operating mode, even with the ethernet cable disconnected, won't allow the scanner to remove files in use, and in some cases, won't even see them as a problem.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:37 pm

Karlsweldt wrote:If hard drive space is shrinking, blame it on the OS for not deleting those useless temporary files and other trash after updates.. and also for IE being a very sloppy hoarder of all files! Not uncommon to find more than 300 MB of useless Web files in the IE folder. They only get dumped when they 'expire' or the cap limit is reached.. but never really get dumped, unless the user does so after every session.
Take a look in the main Windows folder.. there may be hundreds of update file folders, all useless, taking up space. If you want to save them, create a separate folder for "updates" and zip all those other folders into that.
another waste of drive space are all those file names with zero storage needs. Each sector of the hard drive has 512 KB storage capacity. And for every "zero-length" file, you plug that 512 KB space. Get enough of those files, and your drive is suddenly full! The MS Office program also creates a zero-length file known as Mscreate.dir which can be found almost everywhere on the drive! Useless feature!!!


I actually ran CCleaner the minute I noticed this increase thinking maybe that would help but it didn't. :(
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:47 pm

fussnfeathers wrote:Would also help to know what programs you're running that require internet usage.

When you ran your virus scans and the like, did you do this from safe mode, no networking? Doing security sweeps from regular operating mode, even with the ethernet cable disconnected, won't allow the scanner to remove files in use, and in some cases, won't even see them as a problem.


I never thought of running it in safe mode. I will try that. I just completed a thorough scan through Avast AntiVirus with no viruses found.

I tried doing Windows System Restore, I installed a Java update on Saturday so I restored it to that point. It brought the HD down to 115 GB & it had gotten as high as 149 GB. It should be @ 90 GB though.

Again, I saw through WinDirStat, under "unknown" option something that said 50 GB but there's no directory info since it's unknown. :(

I'm not sure what to say about what programs require internet usage. I know that quite a number of programs can access the internet without the user knowing. I have Anonymizer, ZoneAlarm, Avast, The Weatherbug that run in the toolbar & would require a constant internet connection. I use Mozilla Thunderbird & Firefox, pretty much never use IE8.
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Postby fussnfeathers » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Using Photoshop? Perhaps stopping renders midway through? If you're using a single drive with the program and the scratch disk on the same drive........you'll get that. If you've got a second drive, try swapping the scratch drive to that HDD.

Just a thought.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:27 pm

Yes, I am using Photoshop & was beginning to wonder if that was the culprit. I had something similar happen quite awhile ago if I remember correctly. I was wondering if it was some temporary file but haven't really found anything, not really sure where to look either...

I changed the scratch disk preference in Photoshop to my other, slightly less reliable, hard drive. It would be nice to find this file that keeps growing though. I'm really stumped... :(
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Postby Karlsweldt » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:47 pm

Many viral forms operate in 'stealth' mode, mostly unseen by an anti-virus program while the OS is operating in 'normal' mode. But if the OS is in 'safe' mode, those viral forms might not be active, and easily found.
There are actually two "temp" folders, one in the Documents and Settings, under the primary user and/or Administrator. Could be many files there. And the main "temp" folder is within the parent OS folder. Look for those zero-length files, as I noted. They are notorious space wasters. If you cannot see all the files in all folders, then the OS is not allowing same. Set the Windows Explorer to 'view all files', including hidden ones.
Photo shop and other similar programs, plus the Windows Word program, save every temporary file. You have to delete them manually. Look for the tilde (~) as the start letter of a file name.
If you cannot see all files and folders on a system, check out "Total Commander" from www.ghisler.com/ which is the best file viewer/editor/manager going. It works seamlessly with Windows. Not expensive to own. You can see every file on the system.
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Postby evasive » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:51 am

most likely something like WinSXS stuff, they sort of killed off the shared libraries idea...
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:25 am

I always keep all of my files showing & not hidden. That's why it's so hard to find the problem...it's not showing up yet when I chose "unknown" under the WinDirStat program it does show a massive file but you can't see it in Explorer. I've attached a picture of the scan, I think the problem file is in yellow. I'm running my computer in Safe Mode right now & am running a deep virus scan in ZoneAlarm. I think it may have something to do with Photoshop but really am not sure. I also did a simple search for any ~PST.tmp files but haven't come across anything.

Image
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