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What can I delete on my hard drive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Annie05, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    I have 156GB hard drive with only 200MB left of free space. I put all data on an 1000GB external hard drive that I am able to but I still keep bumping up against the limits on the C drive despite virus checking, doing disk cleanup and dumping programs I don't absolutely need. I ran TreeSize Free and it shows that 137GB is Windows and 132GB is Windows Installer. Can I get rid of any of that? What do I look for?
  2. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    Try a program like space sniffer or WinDirStat. It shows your files in a graph type representation with larger blocks equaling larger files. Do you see any particularly large files that might be the suspect? Your Windows Installer folder probably shouldn't be that large.
  3. DavidGP

    DavidGP MajorGeeks Forum Administrator - Grand Pooh-Bah Staff Member


    Only adding a question at this stage in What Windows version and Service Pack are you using? as it opens up a few options and the routes to achieving those.

    137GB for Windows is huge, even with the installer files and even if the actual Windows component files where copied to the HDD, that would only account for a few GB tops. If you can copy and past the actual path to those file locations to the Windows Installer for us that would be great (eg. C:\Windows\ ) or post a screenshot and attach as per HERE, you may need to crop an image to the relevent parts for attach size limits.

    I would when running an app that looks for space used to un-hide files, then run the scan.

    Then if size is still large, then run some maintanence routines as per HERE and then check with the app you have been checking with, after that things like checking System Restore space used, disable hibernation (if not needed) could be things to try, but Windows version used will help narrow down things to try.
  4. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Hi David,

    Windows XP version 5.1 Service Pack 3

  5. DavidGP

    DavidGP MajorGeeks Forum Administrator - Grand Pooh-Bah Staff Member

    Hi Anne

    Cheers for that as it will allow us to aim you in the right direction to steps to app locations etc

    I would try the other things I mentioned out like the maintanence steps (the guide is good and uses a tool many of us here use to remove alot of unwanted space), and then run the space scanner you have and if possible attach a screenshot of the space used and post the path to the large areas of space being used up.

    Quick question when you ran drive cleanup tool in windows did you also clear all bar the current System Restore point also?

    Can you also go into Disk Management (Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management, then click the Disk Management option in the left hand list and post a screenshot of whats shown for space used in your hard drives.

    example of mine below to give you an idea

    Attached Files:

  6. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Some more info.
    Windows Installer has 27850 files. I attach a screenshot of graphic representation of c drive and also a path listing for windows installer.
    Also attach computer management screenshot.

    Will do maintenance routines later but done most of them recently.

    Attached Files:

  7. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    When I have done Disk Clean Up I have never selected to remove previous restore points. Should I do this?
  8. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    Those pics are way too small. Can you zip up larger versions and attach them? Zip files can be up to 2mb so you should be able to attach normal size screenshots.

    As far as restore points, I'd hold off on deleting them for now since I doubt they are the true culprit. You have something else going on if the Windows folder is 130gb. See if you can give us a bigger screenshot so we can see what files are what.

    Edit: I think XP reserves 10% of the HD for System Restore so you could possibly free up to 20gb of space by deleting restore points and changing the amount of space reserved for them. But I'm guessing you are having a problem with failed updates downloading multiple or times or something like that causing the actual eating up of space.
  9. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Sorry try these?

    Attached Files:

  10. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    The files taking up space are definitely in C:\windows\installer. I'm not real familiar with that folder so I hope David can give some advice.

    Can you go to Start>Run and paste this command into the run box. It will put a file installdate.txt in the root of the C: drive so just open My Computer and click on C: and you should find the file. Attach it to a post here and it will give David a list of files in the folder. It should help to show which files are similar or downloaded around the same time.

    dir C:\windows\installer /od > C:\installdate.txt

    Edit: I'm running Win7 and had some permission issues with that command. You may want to do a Start>Run and type in cmd and hit <enter> to open a command window and then copy paste that command. That would allow you to see if the command gives an error or not.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  11. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    i attach installdate.txt. Had to zip it too.

    Attached Files:

  12. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    It looks like you have a continuing problem where you are getting multiple (often more than 10 copies) of a lot of your updates. Its been happening for a couple of years and seems to still be happening.

    Let's see what David has to say. I'm sure he will have some input and probably has more knowledge of what is important in that folder and what can be deleted and the best way to go about cleaning it up.
  13. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    I just wanted to correct that that folder doesn't contain updates but uninstall information for various programs so you don't want to haphazardly delete duplicates.

    I'm not sure why you have so many duplicates. The fix I found uses a command line version of the MS Cleanup Tool which has been discontinued because it could potentially cause problems. I'm still going to advise to wait to see what David recommends.
  14. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Hi Sach2, DavidGP

    Thanks Sach2 for your warnings/info. Now very desperate to know what to do since deleted more than I want to from my programs and files. Maintenance
    didn't do much. Less than 200mb free space.
    David- can you tell me if I can delete or move the installer files to my external hard drive?

  15. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    It looks like David usually visits the forum on Saturday mornings. So you can use my proposed method as you see fit if you want to get it done or see if he stops by Sat. morning. I sent him a PM to remind him of this thread.

    The only reservation I have is that the MSI cleanup tool had some problems with Office 2007 and because of those problems it was discontinued. Many people have used it since then with no problems. Because you have thousands of duplicates in that folder, I can't see any other way of cleaning it up without using a tool. The alternative would be to copy the 132gb of mostly trash data to your external but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    I'm going by this guide and have read several similar posts that seem to have success. The command including the "g!" is specifying to delete only orphaned files that are not referenced in the registry. If it were me I would run the command to clean up the folder. Here is a more detailed link.

    You can download and install the cleanup utility here. After installation, you are not running the cleanup utility but running an included program from the command line. If the cleanup utility starts after installation just click exit to quit.

    Then go to C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Cleanup folder and copy msizap.exe to the C:\ folder. Open a command prompt, Start>Run> type in cmd and hit OK/Run.

    In the command prompt get to the C:\> prompt by typing cd.. and hitting enter. May take more than once to get to just the C:\> prompt. Then type or copy/paste the following and hit enter:

    msizap !g


    msizap !g > zapresults.txt (This version will save a list of deleted files.)

    After the command finishes check the size of your Installer folder which should be significantly reduced.
  16. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Thanks, Sach2.

    I will wait for David. But thanks. I may do this. I have Office 2003 so maybe the problems will not transpire. Incidentally in my desperation to ease up some space I have moved $hf_mig$ from the windows folder to my external leaving an empty folder of same name and so far no negatives. Not sure what it is but it was nearly 1.5GB worth of space.
    On close last night there were 19 updates! Happens every night.

  17. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    2 nights later and freeing that 1.5GB by moving $hf_mig$ to my external drive and I am down to 490mb after failed windows updates on close.
    So I have disabled windows updates and now hard drive space is no longer being eaten into.
    David must be away so will wait one more week to see if he has some advice about deleting some of installer......

  18. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Hi DavidGP,

    Are you ever coming back.....?
  19. theefool

    theefool Geekified

    You can still wait for David to reply, but you could use wise disk cleaner 7. It has a "feature" to "slim" down your computer. I've used it a few times with no issues. The slim feature does go through your windows\installer folder for xp, and other folders for vista and 7. Again, I've used this on computers that I don't care if they get ruined. But, mostly just to see how the slimming feature works. So, far no problems.

    The free version has an "ad" you can opt-out of. But, I use the portable version, which doesn't have that ad. Anyway here: http://majorgeeks.com/Wise_Disk_Cleaner_d5436.html

    Or the portable: http://wisecleaner.com/soft/WDCFree.zip

    Again, you can wait for David to confirm.
  20. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Hi DavidGP,

    Are you coming back.....? Can I have your suggestion?
  21. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Finally got courage to try msizap !g and it worked !!! reducing my installer file from 132GB to 1GB. So far no unwanted side effects. Now just need to figure how to stop it building up again through failed Windows updates. Any suggestions how I do this?
    Thanks everyone.

  22. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire


    This gives us a cleaned up starting point to figure out if it is a particular update causing the failures of subsequent updates. A couple of things to try for a few days:

    1) Run this command every day or so for about a week to give us a list of current files in the installer folder. It will keep adding a new listing each time you run it, so every day or so would be good.
    This will show how fast things are building up.

    2) In a few days go to Start, Windows Update (or Microsoft Update) or Start, All Programs, Windows Update (or Microsoft Update) and click on Review your update history on the left. Look for any updates with a red X starting from April 30. Write down the name and KB number and date.

    Post back with the failed updates from after April 30th and attach the install_dates.txt file. We can look for a pattern of which update might be causing the problem and try to install it manually.
  23. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    here are the failed updates (all Office 2003) and the listing.

    What can I do to get them to update successfully?


    Attached Files:

  24. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    I'm going to have to take a closer look. It appears the first failed update is from August 21, 2009. I'll have to go through some of those KB numbers to figure out which one that is. I don't see any critical updates in that list. I'll definitely go through them but you may want to consider making a new post in the Software forum regarding failed Office updates. I don't use Automatic updates so I rarely if ever update Office and don't have any experience troubleshooting those updates.

    I'll post back with what I find.
  25. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    I don't know if it helps. I have a listing of all updates going back in time. The first one that repetitively fails day after day is KB971931 for Junk Email Filter (on 16 July 2009) before being progressively added to by others.
  26. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    I don't see that one failing in the current list. Go ahead and try to manually install the lastest junk email update that is failing and see if you get a specific error. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28476

    That might tell us something. As far as I see there are now 10 updates that are repeatedly failing. They are not all recent releases. I'm going to go through them all now to find the oldest one.
  27. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    Ignore that last post and try installing this oldest failing update, manually. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11403

    Please note if you get any errors and try to give the exact error.

    Edit: I wanted to add that if you just want to opt out of automatic updates for Office 2003 that is an option as well. It would solve your space problem with very little risk. I doubt security update for Office 2003 are really critical for the average home user.
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  28. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Thanks. I tried to install these updates and got the error message: the update cannot be applied. That is all it said.

  29. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    I'm going to have to read up on possible solutions. That second link was to a re-released update that was intended to resolve a problem where the original version prevented subsequent updates. I'll see if I can come up with a solution.

    Does Method 1 here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/821549 work to tell you if you have service pack 3 installed for Office 2003. If any of the programs show version 11.0.8173.0 then we know you have SP3 of Office. That would eliminate one possible problem. (I'm fairly sure you do but just want to verify.)
  30. Annie05

    Annie05 Private E-2

    Problem with method 1 is the only Office program showing up here is compatability pack for 2007 office system version 12.0.6612.1000.
    When I go into Word it is version 11.8307.8221 SP3
    Outlook is 11.8217.8221 SP3
  31. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire

    Ok, so you have SP3 installed, I figured so much since the current failing updates are all relatively small.

    It is going to take me a while to sort through some MS links to try to figure out where to go from here. I was hoping that re-released update would solve the problem. I find the MS links difficult to understand and rarely to the point. I'll take some time to see if I can find something relevant or a more clear cut fix.
  32. sach2

    sach2 Major Geek Extraordinaire


    I haven't found a large number of others experiencing trouble with any particular one of your problem updates. I'm just posting to give a list of the "kb" numbers (sorted by date of release) in hopes someone on the board can find a solution. Guys, please google these numbers and find anything relevant! I see 10 updates that are failing in Anne's Windows\Installer folder between April 30, 2012 and May 04, 2012. You can see that they aren't particularly new but all relate to Office 2003 programs. I use manual update and rarely update Office so I a unfamiliar with these problems. It looks like each Office program has a security update and then Outlook has a few junk mail filters. The dates are in English format so Day of week/Month/Year.

    kb973705  Security Outlook   2003  21/08/2009
    kb2251399 Security Word      2003  28/06/2010
    kb2284695 Security Publisher 2003  01/10/2010
    kb2464588 Security Powerpoint2003  24/02/2011
    kb2509503 Security Office    2003  03/03/2011
    kb2553072 Security Excel     2003  26/07/2011
    kb2553111 Outlook Junk Mail  2003  16/08/2011
    kb2597035 Outlook Junk Mail  2003  17/11/2011
    kb2597112 Security Office    2003  22/03/2012 
    kb2598292 Outlook Junk Mail  2003  28/03/2012
    The txt file attached shows the duplicates of those .msp files. They can be matched up with the KB(numbers) by date. Most have been downloaded 8 times in 5 days and others only 7 times. I haven't found anything that says one particular update could be causing the problem.

    I'm hoping someone can get us a lead on the problem. :)

    Anne, one other thought is that you should defragment your C: drive if you haven't done that since you cleaned up the Windows\Installer folder. With that much junk data removed it would definitely tidy things up.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012

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