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Disk capacity connundrum

  1. Jul 19, 2009 #1
    I just picked up an older computer (Dell with XP) to substitute for and eventually augment a machine that has turned boat-anchor on me (I'll get to that one at a later date). The main problem is the readings I get from "my computer" of the remaining "free space". Sometimes it reads as low as a few hunderd kilobytes. Other times as high as 17 gigabytes (from a total of 40). These readings can occur a few minutes apart - - - it's quite confusing. Does anyone have any idea why?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2009 #2


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    Maybe the disk is compressed? Still shouldn't jump around like that. If you suspect that this is a platter or drive head failing, I'd buy a new hard drive, back up anything important and then reinstall Windows.
  4. Jul 24, 2009 #3
    Thanks. The disk isn't compressed, however I'll have to get a new drive anyway. This one is going to be completely full once all the updates have been added. The previous user apparently never bothered with updates.
  5. Jul 24, 2009 #4


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    Possibly it's the swap file?
  6. Jul 25, 2009 #5
    Have you tried the disk defragmenter?
    I am not sure it will help but it may be worth a try.
  7. Jul 29, 2009 #6


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    It is the swap file. Unless you tell it otherwise, it grows and shrinks according to how many programs you are running at once. It temporarily stores stuff for which there is not enough room in memory at any given moment in time.
  8. Aug 2, 2009 #7
    Thanks, the swap file answer seems to be a likely one. In any case, the disk has been replaced with one considerably larger, and that should hopefully solve the capacity problems. There's ample disk space for now and the forseeable future.

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