Help me understand, please...

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Cozzer

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My laptop.
C: drive with Win10 operating system and the programs I've loaded over the years.
External D: drive, to which I save whatever takes my fancy, to various named folders and sub-folders. My choice.
So far, so good.
Came to save something to D: yesterday, only to find that it's full.
Checked each drive to see "why", and came across the cause of my question....
C: has a directory/folder named "Documents", whereas D: has one named "My Documents".
They are enormous in size. More than 50% of the disk capacity in the C: drive's case.
But I have never (knowingly) saved anything to either....so what the hell is in them?
I searched for an explanation last night, but ended up totally baffled....

A quick glance in the C: Documents folder revealed many other folders, with names of programs long since forgotten about and uninstalled years ago, plus a sprinkling of jpegs and miscellaneous, seemingly random files.

The D: My Documents folder is a little different. Mainly individual files as opposed to folders, but on the face of it, a completely random selection.
I've spotted a few file names I recognise, but as far as I'm aware they're saved to a folder of my choice...are these duplicates and taking up disk space? In other words, if I deleted one, would my file elsewhere get zapped as well?!

Can someone guide me - in plain English - as to what these Documents and My Documents folders are/are for, please?!
 
@Cozzer

Unplug your external drive.
  1. type "Disk Cleanup" in the search bar and click on it to open it.
  2. select C drive when it asks you for which drive you want to clean.
  3. when it finishes "thinking" it will present you a screen telling you how much space you can save (make a rough note of the amount of space it reckons you'll save).
  4. Ignore those folders (for now). Click the button at the bottom left labelled "Clean up system Files"
  5. Then it will disappear and you'll be asked again which drive you want to choose.
At this point it will feel like you've been there before but wait. When it comes back it will look 3 above, except there will be no button in the bottom left.

If you scroll down the list of folders, there should one that says "Temporary Windows Installation files" - I would expect this to be un-ticked and large.

Tick all the folders and hit OK at the bottom.

Might take 1-10 mins to finish and when it does, check the free space on your C drive - should be more free space.

Do that & report back.

Then "we'll" have a look at the external drive. ;)
 
@Cozzer

Unplug your external drive.
  1. type "Disk Cleanup" in the search bar and click on it to open it.
  2. select C drive when it asks you for which drive you want to clean.
  3. when it finishes "thinking" it will present you a screen telling you how much space you can save (make a rough note of the amount of space it reckons you'll save).
  4. Ignore those folders (for now). Click the button at the bottom left labelled "Clean up system Files"
  5. Then it will disappear and you'll be asked again which drive you want to choose.
At this point it will feel like you've been there before but wait. When it comes back it will look 3 above, except there will be no button in the bottom left.

If you scroll down the list of folders, there should one that says "Temporary Windows Installation files" - I would expect this to be un-ticked and large.

Tick all the folders and hit OK at the bottom.

Might take 1-10 mins to finish and when it does, check the free space on your C drive - should be more free space.

Do that & report back.

Then "we'll" have a look at the external drive. ;)

Good man!
I'll give it a whirl right now and report back.

EDIT : well, it released just short of 500MB, but the Documents folder still remains gigantic at 130GB.

In answer to a reply below this - Thanks, by the way, seanf! - I do have TreeSize Free installed, and it's showing that Wondershare DVD Creator is occupying 117GB in the Documents folder!
Stranger yet, it doesn't appear in Program Files or Program Files (X86)!
(Probably a freebie from some years ago, but uninstalled)

Can I simply delete it, and the associated 600 files and 202 folders that it claims?!
 
Last edited:
I'd be wary of disk cleanup, I've found in the past it'll delete things you want to keep. For a quick fix I'd say try clearing the cache of any web browsers, including long forgotten one such as Internet Explorer. I'll give fuller advice tomorrow.
 
I'd be wary of disk cleanup, I've found in the past it'll delete things you want to keep. For a quick fix I'd say try clearing the cache of any web browsers, including long forgotten one such as Internet Explorer. I'll give fuller advice tomorrow.
Never had an issue with it ever - Recycle Bin and some noddy folders are it's main target. Unless you select System files in which case you get to select the windows update rubbish it downloaded and not got around to deleting itself. Now if someone has things in the Recycle Bin and wants to keep them - what can I say. :D

I did find Chrome got very bloated recently and I had to do something which escapes me at the moment. It wasn't the usual clear cache type of thing tho.
 
If you want a breakdown of exactly what is using all the space in those folders you can use the excellent TreeSize to show you (make sure you download the free version not the trial of the other ones). From there you might be able to identify why the files are appearing in locations you are not expecting

Sean
 
OK..I enter the "you can't be serious consideration".
I use fiverr.com and select a top quality provider on such geeky occasions.
It costs me between £5 to £10 to get someone from wherever in the world to safely carry out 'geeky' stuff that I can't be bothered with.
So far I have had no problems and I continue to use the service.
 
I think when Windows does any updates it needs to clean up after itself and not just leave a mess that just accumulates with every update, just leave enough so you can revert to the previous before updating a get rid of all else so what is microsofts reasoning for burying your pc in unwanted files.
 
Depending on your level of comfort at this type of thing I'd recommend you save anything you think is important to an external drive, take a note of all your programmes you actually need and associated licences and then re-install a fresh copy of win10 to your laptop. You can get a genuine copy from microsoft for free as it knows your pc has a licence already.

You will be amazed how much faster it will run with a fresh install. My 10yr old laptop with a new ssd and win10 install is now about as fast as my new work laptop that is 8 years younger.

If I were you I'd rework how you use your second drive. I'd suggest you use the laptop harddrive to save everything and then every week or so plug in the external device and backup to it. Currently if your external drive fails all your files will be gone (unless you have a bkup not mentioned)
 
... Now if someone has things in the Recycle Bin and wants to keep them - what can I say. :D

True story.
I was once involved with the roll-out of an updated business accounts system for one of our main High Street banks, which involved checking that the customer had (1) received either the 46 floppies (!) or the new-fangled CD, and (2) if they required assistance with the installation.
I lost count of customers who asked if I could give them their password (!) but I especially remember the small painting/decorating company book-keeper who genuinely kept the company accounts in....yes, you're ahead of me...the Recycle bin.
She was the only person who dealt with it, and she knew where it was, so there was "no problem"....:giggle:
 
OK..I enter the "you can't be serious consideration".
I use fiverr.com and select a top quality provider on such geeky occasions.
It costs me between £5 to £10 to get someone from wherever in the world to safely carry out 'geeky' stuff that I can't be bothered with.
So far I have had no problems and I continue to use the service.
OK-again..I see if you sign up to Fiverr.com via me you get 10% discount of your 1st order. I also get 10% discount if I refer you.
My advice about using the fiverr service is not the 10% discount but you may wish to consider it.
 
True story.
I was once involved with the roll-out of an updated business accounts system for one of our main High Street banks, which involved checking that the customer had (1) received either the 46 floppies (!) or the new-fangled CD, and (2) if they required assistance with the installation.
I lost count of customers who asked if I could give them their password (!) but I especially remember the small painting/decorating company book-keeper who genuinely kept the company accounts in....yes, you're ahead of me...the Recycle bin.
She was the only person who dealt with it, and she knew where it was, so there was "no problem"....:giggle:
I remember in the early 1960s sitting in a lecture hall and being instructed by a home office youngish guy how to 'fight a fire' in the new risk called a computer room. We were told large electric machines of a strange type would be in that large room and the machines would be called computers. Discussions about automatic CO2, dry powder etc etc but never water systems were being considered. What a time to live we have now visited the moon and beyond and have phones with bigger 'brains' than those that took us to the moon. But we still like making sawdust on frequent occasions.
 
Good man!
I'll give it a whirl right now and report back.

EDIT : well, it released just short of 500MB, but the Documents folder still remains gigantic at 130GB.

In answer to a reply below this - Thanks, by the way, seanf! - I do have TreeSize Free installed, and it's showing that Wondershare DVD Creator is occupying 117GB in the Documents folder!
Stranger yet, it doesn't appear in Program Files or Program Files (X86)!
(Probably a freebie from some years ago, but uninstalled)

Can I simply delete it, and the associated 600 files and 202 folders that it claims?!

Go look in the WonderShare DVD folder and see "what" is there. I suspect that is\was the output folder for when it created\ripped DVD's.

See if any of the folder\file name make any sense - it might hold disk images or video files, so worth checking they aren't anything important. ;)
 
Go look in the WonderShare DVD folder and see "what" is there. I suspect that is\was the output folder for when it created\ripped DVD's.

See if any of the folder\file name make any sense - it might hold disk images or video files, so worth checking they aren't anything important. ;)

Afternoon...
The curious thing is that I don't remember even using the W'share job, other than perhaps giving it a trial when first downloaded! It was certainly uninstalled many, many years ago.
Many of the folders/files within were gobbledegook, so I took the plunge and wiped 'em all. In a second, the documents folder reduced to 13GB instead of 130!
I've had time to check the contents of the external drive's folder...essentially it's full of PDFs, miscellaneous text files and some odd "read me" type HTML jobs. What they're relevant to, God alone knows.
Any files I recognised as "important" to me, title-wise, I've moved to a memory stick, prior to me checking to see if the "same" files are also saved to a folder of my choosing!
As I wrote earlier, I have never consciously saved anything to either of these two folders, so I admit my ignorance as to what's going on!
Anyway, job's a good 'un as regards C:....I await your advice regarding D:!

(I've just realised - I haven't expressed my thanks to you for your advice and time! I'm very grateful....)
 
Afternoon...
The curious thing is that I don't remember even using the W'share job, other than perhaps giving it a trial when first downloaded! It was certainly uninstalled many, many years ago.
Many of the folders/files within were gobbledegook, so I took the plunge and wiped 'em all. In a second, the documents folder reduced to 13GB instead of 130!
I've had time to check the contents of the external drive's folder...essentially it's full of PDFs, miscellaneous text files and some odd "read me" type HTML jobs. What they're relevant to, God alone knows.
Any files I recognised as "important" to me, title-wise, I've moved to a memory stick, prior to me checking to see if the "same" files are also saved to a folder of my choosing!
As I wrote earlier, I have never consciously saved anything to either of these two folders, so I admit my ignorance as to what's going on!
Anyway, job's a good 'un as regards C:....I await your advice regarding D:!

(I've just realised - I haven't expressed my thanks to you for your advice and time! I'm very grateful....)
I'm happy you got it sorted! :D

Always happy to help folk out*. ;)

[* except for the "do it for me, 'cos I can't be bothered' brigade :rolleyes: ]

If you use Chrome - be worthwhile checking the Cookies, type

chrome://settings/content/all

in the address bar and see how much the Storage Size is and then scroll down to find the "big" ones. I don't usually delete all the cookies from the (one level) up screen, purely because I don't want to be logging back into sites. Order by Data Stored and you may be somewhat surprised (Argos was in the GB range :oops:)
 
Thanks, gents...
I've found out what's hogging D: drive.

Me.

I've a lot of music theory data files, far too many youtube keyboard/guitar tuition videos, all in one main folder containing dozens of others broken down to different categories.
In fact, the My Doc's folder is a mere (relatively) 6GB.

Time for a bit of housekeeping, methinks. Or a larger capacity drive, of course....

My original question still hangs though... What's the purpose of the My Docs and Docs folders?! I have re-read the so-called explanation courtesy of Google - through Brave by the way, not Chrome - and I'm honestly none the wiser.
 
Thanks, gents...
I've found out what's hogging D: drive.

Me.

I've a lot of music theory data files, far too many youtube keyboard/guitar tuition videos, all in one main folder containing dozens of others broken down to different categories.
In fact, the My Doc's folder is a mere (relatively) 6GB.

Time for a bit of housekeeping, methinks. Or a larger capacity drive, of course....

My original question still hangs though... What's the purpose of the My Docs and Docs folders?! I have re-read the so-called explanation courtesy of Google - through Brave by the way, not Chrome - and I'm honestly none the wiser.
Microsoft stopped using the "My" naming convention after Windows 7. Instead, and in Windows 10, the folders are simply "Documents," "Pictures," etc. Windows 10 still has a symbolic link for "My" folders; that's for older software (quite old, at this point) that is hard-coded to "My Documents" etc.

The default location for your documents in Windows 10 is C:\Users\<your account username>\Documents

So if you have a "My Documents" folder on your external drive - I bet you copied your documents folder from the C drive to the D drive once upon a time (W7 or earlier). and that's why it has the older naming convention and not the current one.

Hopefully makes sense.
 
Microsoft stopped using the "My" naming convention after Windows 7. Instead, and in Windows 10, the folders are simply "Documents," "Pictures," etc. Windows 10 still has a symbolic link for "My" folders; that's for older software (quite old, at this point) that is hard-coded to "My Documents" etc.

The default location for your documents in Windows 10 is C:\Users\<your account username>\Documents

So if you have a "My Documents" folder on your external drive - I bet you copied your documents folder from the C drive to the D drive once upon a time (W7 or earlier). and that's why it has the older naming convention and not the current one.

Hopefully makes sense.

Perfectly, thank you.
I know I jumped from 8.1 to 10. I wonder if I also moved some other stuff from an even earlier laptop...maybe.

The D: "version" has some (to me) strange files in there : quite a number of dynamic link jobs (e.g. install.res.1028.dll), a few *.ini files, even a setup exe file for a website design program dated 2014!

As little as I knew, I thought dll files lived in Windows/System, so what the hell they're doing here I've not a clue!
 
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