Disappearing disk space on Vista

The hard drive space on my Vista machine recently dropped to almost nothing, and I was really confused what was going on. I used my favorite disk space visualizer (WinDirStat). However, I couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I found that the following steps cleared it up:

1. Run Disk Cleanup (search from Start menu)

2. Choose “Files from all users on this computer”

3. When it’s done scanning (which can take forever), select the More Options tab

4. Select Cleanup under System Restore and Shadow Copies

This freed over 40 GB for me! I think that what happened is that the Zune software touched all of my media, which created shadow copies of each file, using a bunch of space. Shadow copy space must not show up for utilities like WinDirStat.

There’s a useful article on My Digital Life on how to limit how much space will be used. My was set to unbounded space.

Comments (2)

  1. brettryan says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out a way to post to your blogs on the DM-V-VM pattern but they’ve all got comments disabled.

    I wanted to alert you that this post


    has a Conditional("Debug"), this will always ignore the method as it should be Conditional("DEBUG"). Try it for yourself, in your test cases put some logging messages when the method is envoked.

    I also have one reservation. What if the model was created on a thread other than the UI thread? 🙂

  2. Mike Brown says:

    You know, I’m cool with the shadow service taking as much space as it wants. Believe me it’s saved my butt a couple times.

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