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How large a hard drive do I need ?

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paulm

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Morning all,

I need to get a new laptop pc, this one has taken to switching itself off a few times every day, usually when the lid is closed, and then gives an unexpected system failure message and has to be rebooted. A bit tiresome and I expect is only going to get worse as it seems to be getting more frequent. The power inlet socket is also loose and the thing only charges up sporadically.

So anyway, decided I like the idea of the newish SSD hard drive machines as slimmer. lighter faster. less damage prone etc, but only available at any sensible price at up to 256 gb, so thought I would check what disk space I'm using currently, and thinking that I could store pictures and music in the Cloud if need be to help.

That's where it gets confusing, as I've run Windows Explorer (Windows 7) as administrator and can see that the C drive is using something like 270 gb of available space, yet when i right click and look at properties on each of the dozen or so folders listed on the C drive, they only total 50 or 60 gb, most of which is Windows itself at 32 gb. My documents, pictures and files are less than 10 gb, and programs something like 20gb in total. So around 60 gb.

What is using the other 200 gb ?!!!

I've selected to see hidden files, emptied recycle bin, and there are no other user profiles set up on the machine, so more than a bit confused !

If a new machine had a 256 gb SSD drive, would that be the usable space for me, or would Windows 8 and anything pre-installed reduce that down significantly before I even start transferring stuff over to it ?

Don't really want to get locked into getting another large mechanical drive if I can help it, but don't want to get an SSD one and find I'm out of space before I can even get everything transferred over !

Any thoughts or guidance welcome :)

Cheers, Paul
 

spinks

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Open to being shot down here due to my lack of knowledge on computery type stuff but wouldn't the other 200gb of hard drive be used up by the operating system itself?? Why not go for the best laptop you can afford never minding the memory size and buy a usb hard drive to store all your pictures, music etc etc....you can get 2 terrabytes (thats alot apparantly) of external storage for about 70 pounds now!!
 

Pete Maddex

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If you open my computer an right click c: and select propertys it will show you a pie chart with the used and free space on the hard disk.

250gb should be fine but don't forget that sshd can totally fail with out warning so you will need some form of external backup.

Pete
 

DanielPatten

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it really depends what you plan to use the laptop for? what programs would you be installing.

if its predominately for browsing the internet/using office then 250gig should be plenty, most if not all new laptops will have usb3 ports meaning a 2tb usb3 external hdd is a possibility for media etc

worth noting that ssd are becoming the hdd of choice not only because of stability but for faster response times, less heat and less noise in high end pc's however laptops use more economical processors to make battery last longer so i really dont think you will notice a huge difference between mechanical and solid

I build pc's for friends and family etc and have only ever seen 1 total mechanical hdd failure where the data was unretrievable and that was in an external that had been knocked about, usually system failure problems are due to software issues (everytime you install/change/update a program it changes your system files, overtime they can become corrupt) and can be rectified without replacing hdd

if you really want stability and dont need portability get a pc

with regards to the missing 200gig, empty your recycle bin, files in there are still on hdd, then defrag hdd go to -start/all programs/accessories/system tools/disk defragmenter make sure laptop is plugged in it will take a while

regards

Dan
 

Graham Orm

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Just looked at mine, it's an old Dell prolly 8 or 9 yrs old. It has 232 GB but is only using 148 GB at the moment. That has crept up over the years. I have probably a few thousand photo's from my previous business plus ten years of family photo's. All my music, and masses more including the Sketchup program which I imagine isn't small. I think you have a problem with something there over filling the HD and it possibly relates to the shutting down.

I'm fortunate that I have an excellent repair shop locally that I've used for years. They sort all our problems for a reasonable price, and have replaced the lid on mine 3 times (hinge design fault). I'd suggest you find someone like that who will I imagine will find the problem quickly and replace the broken charging point too.

EDIT Dan is on the money....Defrag!
 

Jonzjob

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Never mind having saves with an SSD, you NEED to back up and save your data with whatever drive you use.

I have a hybrid SSHD in my MacBook. It's part SSD and part HDD, revolving disk. About 6 gig of the 1 Tb is SSD. That holds all of the most used programmes and makes it much faster tan a standard HDD without the cost of an SSD, but I doubt you would get one in a new machine? The basic rule of thumb is that you should get as much memory and disk space as you can afford. You will grow into it believe me..

There isn't an OP out there that takes 200 gig of disk. No idea what is taking it but it ain't your Ooperating system.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... quirements
 

Graham Orm

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I use Dropbox cloud backup and a separate hard drive once every now and again. Safer than sorry as I keep all my business stuff on here too.
 

mseries

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you may have some unused space which is not in any partition and hence is not visible to Windows or you may have a recovery partition or something that isn't mounted and visible to Windows. Windows explorer isn't a good tool for investigating your disk, it only sees what is mounted.


My new windows 7 laptop used about 34GB in total with windows and 15GB for the Lenovo recovery partition. I installed Linux Mint alongside and it used <10GB for the OS.
 

paulm

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Hi guys,

It's the pie chart thing in windows explorer that's telling me the C drive is using 270 gb, but in trying to find out what is taking up all that space (because I knew I didn't have that much in the way of pics, music etc), looking at the folders displayed on the first level of the C drive only stacks up to 60 or 70 gb including the windows 7 operating system and all visible and hidden files.

As mentioned I've emptied the recycling bin, doesn't need defragging, the analysis shows only 1% fragmented. Would that create more free space anyway, doesn't it just re-order the space that is being used ?

In any event we're not looking to create an extra gb or two of space, I've lost around 200 gb somewhere to something it seems ?!!!

I do back up regularly to an external ssd plugged into a usb port, so okay on that front.

Just need to understand what is taking so much space when I don't knowingly have much in the way of pics, music, data or programmes. Once I understand that I can then decide on a new ssd based machine or a dinosaur 1tb mechanical drive one !

Many thanks, Paul
 

paulm

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I wondered about whether windows explorer would show everything. I've looked at the Device Manager too and the system is reserving 0.1 gb on the disk, but no other partitions or anything showing. Is there any other tool for this kind of thing perhaps that would be better ?

I'll try googling for that and see what I can find....

Cheers, Paul
 

DanielPatten

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when you right click on folders to view properties if there are lots of files in the folder it can take some time to tally the file size up meaning it could show 1gig for example and then jump to 20gig then to 40gig etc etc is it possible you clicked off the properties on a folder before it had chance to fully tally?

to check if there is more than 1 partition on the disk do the following

go to control panel, change view to large icons if its in categories, click device manager, open disk drive tab, right click hdd to be viewed and click properties, go to volumes tab and click populate button

will tell you whats allocated and where

hope this helps

Dan

edit: must have been writing this as you posted
 

RogerS

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It's interesting just how much 'clutter' we accumulate on our drives. I've also got thousands (probably) of photos but do I look at them? Nope.

I had/have a huge iTunes library of nearly 300GB mostly stuff downloaded off-air. Unindexed. Countless "Afternoon on 3's". Then when I decided it was time to upgrade to Mavericks from Snow Leopard I needed that space to partition a copy of Snow Leopard. So I moved that huge iTunes library over to an external drive. Have I used it since then? Nope.

As I said, some of us just accumulate 'clutter' !!

PS No idea about your missing 200GB, sorry.
 

artie

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Just for your info I am running windows 8.1, its been running for a number of years, I have many programs installed, some photos and a few videos.

Total used space is 114 GB
 

KevM

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You can try running 'Disk cleanup', right click on your hard drive in explorer, go to properties > General > Disk cleanup

This will tell you what's using a lot of your space, you can also click on the more options button and remove 'System restore points and shadow copies'. If you've never cleared these they can use up a huge amount of space, you only really need your last system restore point (unless you're always tinkering - in which case you don't need to read this). Some updates, e.g. Service Packs need some pretty hardcore tinkering to clear their left-overs, but can yield some pretty large returns. If your machine had been crashing regularly it's probably also got a large number of memory dump files, designed for diagnostics and almost entirely useless to people who regularly walk outside in daylight.

Another, potentially huge, space hog is your browser which caches pretty much everything you look at on the internet so that they can re-load static content faster the next time you go to a particular page. If you want to clear this just press Ctrl+Shift+Del together in your browser and a clear browsing data dialogue box will pop up, be aware that clearing cookies and passwords, while useful in many circumstances, can force you to login to websites again.

As others have suggested you may also have hidden partitions containing the Windows installation media, rescue utilities etc.

A useful (free!) utility that will do most of this for you auto-magically is CCleaner, a useful (free!) utility for showing what's using your disk space is WinDirStat.

For my money a 256GB SSD is more than fine for most people as their primary OS drive, with external USB3 hard disk drives as required for photo storage, backup etc.
 

dzj

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Try Total Commander instead of W. Explorer.
Maybe the System Restore option is taking a lot of space.
Nothing that Format C wouldn't fix. :)
 

Rhossydd

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paulm":1w16n19c said:
That's where it gets confusing, as I've run Windows Explorer (Windows 7) as administrator and can see that the C drive is using something like 270 gb of available space, yet when i right click and look at properties on each of the dozen or so folders listed on the C drive, they only total 50 or 60 gb, most of which is Windows itself at 32 gb. My documents, pictures and files are less than 10 gb, and programs something like 20gb in total. So around 60 gb.
I assume you've looked at the hard drive 'as administrator' by going into Computer Management, then looking at Disk Management. (maybe not the best place to look around if you don't fully understand what's going on there)

There it will show you how much of the physical disc is allocated to each partition. You need to understand that 'drive C' is only an allocation of space(a partition) on a physical disk.
So you may find that of a 256gb physical hard disk, 100mb is allocated and marked as system reserved, then 'drive C' is part of the remaining space eg 240gb, or on a different system you might find 'drive C' is only 100gb and another partition is created to just store data and called 'drive D' although both reside on a single physical disk.

If you look at 'My computer' you should see all the partitions across all physical disks in the section 'Hard Disk Drives' (yes possibly confusing if there's more than one partition on a physical drive), then there's a bar graph showing how much of the drive(partition) is used. There you'll probably see that you have a lot free on drive C.
What is using the other 200 gb ?!!!
Nothing it's almost certainly just sitting there free waiting to be used.

Most systems will have plenty of spare space on a 256gb drive, unless you store an awful lot of photographs or video. In that case, don't bother with the cloud, it's too slow, just store everything on a cheap external hard drive. (and don't forget to keep at least two copies on different media of anything important to you)
 

nanscombe

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Are you sure that the disk size isn't 270Gb of which 60Gb is actually used?

In which case the other 200Gb(ish) would be free space.
 

paulm

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Hmm, disk cleanup only yields 0.75 gb, worthwhile but not addressing the bigger issue. Just analyzing with CC too but expect it will show much the same.

Downloaded WinDirStat by coincidence in the meantime after googling and have run that but not sure what the results mean !

It shows the C drive as being 80 gb or so and then lists below it the various folders and their sizes, which I guess are subsets of the 80 gb, in which case it's telling me what I thought at the start, that the Windows Explorer pie chart thing is misleading massively when it says that 270 gb is used ?

I'll take a look at the system restore stuff in a minute if CC doesn't pick it up....

Cheers, Paul
 

Graham Orm

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KevM":2ce7v2pe said:
You can try running 'Disk cleanup', right click on your hard drive in explorer, go to properties > General > Disk cleanup

This will tell you what's using a lot of your space, you can also click on the more options button and remove 'System restore points and shadow copies'. If you've never cleared these they can use up a huge amount of space, you only really need your last system restore point (unless you're always tinkering - in which case you don't need to read this). Some updates, e.g. Service Packs need some pretty hardcore tinkering to clear their left-overs, but can yield some pretty large returns. If your machine had been crashing regularly it's probably also got a large number of memory dump files, designed for diagnostics and almost entirely useless to people who regularly walk outside in daylight.

Another, potentially huge, space hog is your browser which caches pretty much everything you look at on the internet so that they can re-load static content faster the next time you go to a particular page. If you want to clear this just press Ctrl+Shift+Del together in your browser and a clear browsing data dialogue box will pop up, be aware that clearing cookies and passwords, while useful in many circumstances, can force you to login to websites again.

As others have suggested you may also have hidden partitions containing the Windows installation media, rescue utilities etc.

A useful (free!) utility that will do most of this for you auto-magically is CCleaner, a useful (free!) utility for showing what's using your disk space is WinDirStat.

For my money a 256GB SSD is more than fine for most people as their primary OS drive, with external USB3 hard disk drives as required for photo storage, backup etc.
I already use C Cleaner, excellent tool. I've just downloaded WinDirStat...wow! Thanks KevM !
 
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