Occasionally I’ll come across a drive using a disproportionate amount of space considering its content. Sure, Office uses more disk space than you expect, and nobody really remembers where that DVD rip ended up. But when your drive appears 99% full out of nowhere, it’s time to do a little digging and figure out what went wrong.
Today my 250GB system drive was 99% full. I could CTRL-A the visible folders and see about 70GB of used space. Similarly, if I CTRL-A with hidden folders shown, I will have about 82GB used. WinDirStat doesn’t shine any light on this; it’s telling me I have 82GB used on this drive.
Next step, CHKDSK from elevated command prompt. Reboot, CHKDSK runs, no errors. Same 99% disk usage.
CCleaner doesn’t find any temp files, downloaded files, Windows update files, or internet cache to delete. Nor does Windows Disk Cleanup.
Now I’m getting concerned: there are no hidden files, no temp files, nothing I can see that is using up that extra 130GB of space on my drive. I decide to do what I know not to do: run Disk Defrag.
Every SysAdmin and every PC enthusiast knows not to defrag an SSD. The wear-leveling technology dictates that there is no advantage to sequential storage, no benefit to consolidating your data on contiguous blocks. But I’ve tried almost everything, and I like visual applications.
Disk Defrag instantly shows me what I should have known: I have a Recovery folder on the root of C:\ with no attributes. I can’t view it in Explorer
and changing the attributes doesn’t help
This was a folder I use when recovering or undeleting data from external drives. I know how deep this folder goes (hundreds of characters) and I’ve had no luck using subst to map this folder to a letter drive.
So, another third party tool to the rescue: Unlocker! Be sure to download from MajorGeeks or FileHippo and be careful to avoid the PUPs it may be bundled with.
Unlocker has a command line option and here are the switches:
I just CD to c:\ and type
c:\program files\unlocker\unlocker.exe c:\recovery -D
and wait a few minutes for the delete the folder and its contents. Now c:\ drive has almost 50% free space and all is well.