Why does my hard drive lose space even if im not installing anything?

Question

I have 180 gb on my D drive and 20 gb on C. For the last few days my C drive has been disappearing causing low disk warnings. I've uninstalled unnecessary programs to bring it back up over the 200 mb Windows likes to have. Several times. Without any new installs my hard disk C is smaller every time I check. My system has been on 40 minutes and my hard drive has went from 185 mb to 93 mb and I've done nothing during that time. Also when I check my drives the capacity is showing lower than it really is. i.e. my C is showing 13.9 gb capacity and D is showing 129 gb capacity. It used to show 20 and 180 respectively. I've run Norton and Spybot. Everything checks clean. This morning I transferred all major programs to D and left it with 389 mb on C. It's now down to 90.9 mb. I've lost another 3.9 mb in minutes. Please help!

Answer

This question was answered on May 10, 2006. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

If you are running a default install of windows Xp this is the most likely cause:

Since you have only 512MB of ram your XP install will be relying upon your paging file quite a bit. Your paging file is what your computer uses as another sorce of RAM ( although it is slower since it is on your hardrive compared to your actual ram ). By default Windows has the paging file set to expand as often and as much as needed to accomidate your RAM needs, and since your paging file is located on your C drive by default, this is why your C drive keeps shrinking, since it is being uses more and more as a paging file as you give it more free space, the paging file is expanding to try and give you better system performance.

If you wish to change this, right click on my computer, go to Properties, and then the advanced tab. Click on the settings button in the Performance area and then click the change button under Virtual Memory. You will have a couple different options, and what i suggest is if you dont mind losing the disk space, select custom size and make the paging file 1.5x the ammount of ram you have or more. Which in your case would be 768MB, or to give you a bit more set it to 1024MB ( 1 Gigabyte ).

Need Help with this Issue?

We help people with technology! It's what we do.
Schedule an Appointment with a location for help!

Author

Posted by Darren of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on May 10, 2006