Increasing Hard Drive Issue

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Postby dizzyflower28 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:14 pm

Just finished running all the tests using Unhackme. Nothing came up at all. I don't know what to do anymore. :-|

I'm at 147 GB out of 640. It should be around 90 GB.

Is there any way this is Photoshop's doing?

Should I do a system restore?
Last edited by dizzyflower28 on Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:01 am

I just downloaded AVG Antivirus and am running more tests to see if this software comes up with anything else. What I have noticed most recently that's quite odd is that the HD size fluctuates. Soon after I started up my computer the size dropped from about 149 GB to 139 GB. Then it was at 139 & 140 now it's at 142. This has happened both with the network cable unplugged & also plugged in. I haven't seen my HD get higher than 149 GB. Is this a sign of a virus? What about a Windows or performance issue?
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Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:08 am

Windows has a large 'virtual' file for its operations. Sort of a running, non-volatile backup for what is in memory. It can change size depending on what programming is running. It would be a hidden file, normally not seen.
Go through these steps.. Start>Help> type in virtual and look down the list for virtual memory, managing. This will explain one reason for why a hard drive capacity may change, if system memory is not adequate.
Going to a restore point of July 2009 may be drastic. Discern when the problem first appeared, and pick a restore point from just before that. You may otherwise loose a lot of links and programming access, installed since that date.. not to mention any user names or passwords that have changed. Backup your password/user name lists and any other important links. You can always choose a restore date further back, if that is not a solution.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:23 am

The virtual memory is set between 2046 and 4092. I have 2 GB of DDR2 PC8500 Corsair XMS2 memory installed in my computer if that helps any.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:36 am

dizzyflower28 wrote:The virtual memory is set between 2046 and 4092. I have 2 GB of DDR2 PC8500 Corsair XMS2 memory installed in my computer if that helps any.

Could be an issue, if there are a lot of background programs in operation. Check the Task Manager for memory usage (performance).
Rather than filling all memory slots and risking a performance degrade, try 2 x 2 GB modules in the same slots. Ensure they are compatible with the mobo design.
Most newer mobo designs use a dual-channel memory setup, where there are two different colors for the slots. The installed memory should be in pairs, in the same color slots, not in different color slots. The owner's manual will detail how to properly install memory and what values can be used.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:03 pm

Under physical memory in the win task manager, available physical memory is approx 980500. PF usage is ranging around 969 MB. Do you think this is no longer a virus problem? I've run AVG in safe mode and nothing was detected.

As far as system restore, it won't go back past April. I did try an earlier date this month but it didn't fix the problem. I have a system restore point set to July but that was through Advanced System Care instead of the windows version. I'd rather not have to go back that far but the few restore points in April haven't fixed anything.

I checked my HD capacity & it reached 150 GB about 10 min later I checked and now it's down to 122 GB. I DON'T UNDERSTAND! (pulls hair out, lol!)
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:07 pm

I've observed my HD over the past few days, it doesn't get past 150 GB and it will decrease to about 120 to 125 GB before going back up again, it just keeps fluctuating.

I'm thinking of doing a system restore back to July 3rd. Do you think this would get rid of the problem if it were a virus? I really don't want to do this but I've tried everything I could think of without any success.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:02 pm

After running all those S&D programs to sanitize your drive, likely there is a 'clean slate' so to speak. But only if the Windows restore feature has been disabled, so when the system is restarted Windows does not rebuild what was taken away.
The purchased version of good anti-virus and Firewall programs do have rootkit detectors, as well as malware and other features. And are more proficient than the 'free' versions.
To determine what programming is causing the shifts in capacity, disable one program at a time from becoming active on start up. But avoid any security programs, as this may allow an open "back door" for malware and virus forms.
You should have the security updates for Windows set for auto-download, and you install them as they appear, when you want to install them.
Have you run a 'Hijack This' scan yet? May be worth doing, and posting the results here for scrutiny by the pros.
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Postby fussnfeathers » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:51 pm

Deleting Restore Points

There are three known safe ways to delete restore points stored on your computer. These ways are described below:

Disk Cleanup - Launch the Disk Cleanup tool and then select the more options tab. On this tab you will find a section for System Restore. If you press the Clean Up button for that section, Windows will delete all restore points except for the most recent one.

Turn off System Restore - Just by turning off System Restore all your restore points will be deleted. Unless you want this to happen, be careful that you don't mistakenly delete all your restore points by disabling system restore.

System Restore runs out of storage space - If system restore runs out of the storage space that has been allocated towards its use, it will delete the oldest restore point in order to create space for the new restore point.


Do the first one of those three. If you've got System Restore points going back nearly a year, or more, somehow, delete all but the last one. That will clear up all the space used by those old restore points that are pretty much pointless after all this time.

Since you're stopping at 150GB, and you've not said........do you happen to have a 1.5TB hard drive? Assuming you do, even doing a restore back to a point in July isn't going to accomplish anything. You need to get rid of those ancient restore points. As a rule, I do this once in awhile anyway, if I even have System Restore turned on. Most of the time I don't, its more effective and productive just to do an image ghost once a week or so.
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Postby dizzyflower28 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:14 pm

So after many attempts at trying to figure out the problem, I decided to be on the safe side, to completely reinstall windows. Then come to find out, other computers on my network are doing the same thing. AHHHH!

I was concerned that I may have had a virus that many antivirus programs couldn't detect. Then I thought what do these computers have in common program-wise. Turns out the whole problem is ZoneAlarm. I turned it off and presto...no more growing hard drive. I searched the ZA forums and sure enough other people were having the same issue. I'm glad I didn't go to the drastic measure of reinstalling windows on the other computers.

Now I just have the arduous task reinstalling everything on my computer. Ugh,...

Well at least I know I have a clean computer at the moment. :)

Thank you to all who have suggested and helped me along the way, I appreciate it!
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