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Disappearing Hard Drive Space


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#1
Golden Butterflies

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I don't even know for certain when this problem began. I just remember looking over my drive information when dealing with a USB memory card reader and realizing that I'd lost 10 GB of storage space somewhere along the way. My hard drive space was always in the 50-somethings, but when I checked it was down in the mid-forties. That raised a red flag, so I began to pay closer attention to the drive space. Over the course of a few days, several more gigabytes of space disappeared and then it seemed to level out.

I ran disk cleanup and got rid of some files I no longer needed while backing up some of my data just in case. During the process, I watched the amount of free space climb to larger than it should have (considering how much space I cleared). It stayed there for a while then plummeted by five or so gigabytes down to another level. It stayed there for a couple of minutes then lost 200 MB of space.

It stayed that way for a few days, then one day I started it up and another 100 MB of space was gone. I observed the hard drive space over the course of my time using the computer that day, and it kept fluctuating by 100 MB - sometimes gaining and sometimes losing. This was while I'd not saved, altered, added, or deleted anything of such a substantial size.

Now, it has settled into this bad and terrifying habit of eating 100 MB at a time - mostly randomly but often when the system is booted. Sometimes it returns the space for an hour or so then takes it back, but it usually just eats away at it. Over the course of the week, I've gone from 54.1 GB free space to 53.8 GB of free space and all I've saved is roughly 42 MB worth of music and image files. In fact, it jumped down to 53.9 GB and then, when I hadn't saved or altered anything it decided to jump down to 53.8 GB.

This is becoming faster and more worrisome as each day passes, and I have no clue what could be wrong with my computer. Obviously, I don't want to have to buy a new one or face losing everything that's on this one (I couldn't afford a new one, anyway), so any help would be greatly appreciated.

For reference, I'm using Windows Vista Home Premium on an HP Pavillion dv7z notebook computer (the AMD-processor version of the dv7). I'm no longer familiar with how to find the details of my hard drive aside from how much space it claims is being used, but I'd be glad to share if someone would tell me what I need to explain and how to find said information.

The only things that I can think of doing that may have caused problems are: I began playing the game ADOM for Windows (Beta version 4, I believe), originally from a local installation but then from a USB flash drive installation; I used a friend's flash drive to install software for my new mouse; my battery died completely (I just installed the replacement today); my computer suffered through two power outages and one low-voltage 'surge' (which the surge protector claims to have caught); I burned backup copies of two of my DVDs with almost-cracked hubs; I tested a layout online in IE and encountered an ad that froze the fickle browser; and I moved a few files around to clear off my desktop from clutter.

If anyone can help, please do. I'm afraid that my hard drive space is never going to stop vanishing at this rate.
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#2
tholley

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I would run an antivirus scan, as well as Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware just to make sure it is not malware related.
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#3
Golden Butterflies

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I did run an antivirus scan, but I use AVG and the definitions are way out of date. (Unfortunately, I'm stuck with a super-slow internet connection that just times out every time it's faced with the monstrous size of the updates.) I know there's a place on this forum which recommends other anti-virus solutions, but out of curiosity since it's a very important factor for me: Is there one of those that you (or any other member, if they happen to be reading) would recommend from personal experience as having small (no larger than 5MB) and infrequent (once every two weeks, perhaps) updates? Is there even such a thing, anymore?

I'll definitely have to try running Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware, though. I really didn't place much possibility on it being virus or malware related, but I suppose it's better to find out for certain.

Edited to add: Upon the next boot since the thread was originally posted (the boot to run it tonight), the storage space has gained 100 MB and now says that it's at 53.9 GB again. I don't believe this to be accurate, however, because it dropped by 100 MB to get there in the first place and I hadn't saved nearly that much data.

Edited by Golden Butterflies, 25 July 2010 - 12:47 AM.

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#4
tholley

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Malware has a tendency to create problems like you are saying. I would recommend starting a new topic in the Malware Removal section and let the experts take a look...

http://www.geekstogo...alware-removal/
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#5
rshaffer61

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I suggest you go to the Malware Removal and Spyware Removal Forum and run all the steps located in the
START HERE. These self-help tools will help you clean up 70% of problems on your own.
If you are still having problems after doing the steps, then please post the reguested logs in THAT forum.
If you are unable to run any of the tools then start a new topic in the malware forum and put this in the subject line...I am unable to run any malware tools

If you are still having problems after being given a clean bill of health from the malware expert, then please return to THIS thread and we will pursue other options to help you solve your current problem(s).

Add a link to this topic so that malware tech can see what steps have been taken here
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