Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

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Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:26 am

Hi,
I have a Windows 8 system running on an SSD. I have a mechanical drive as storage.
Windows 8 correctly identifies the system drive as an SSD

I relocated all my user profile stuff to the mechanical drive using the "Location" tab in the properties of each folder.
It shows Local Disk as having 57.5GB used, but if I check the file contents of every root level directory (even with "show hidden items" ticked), it equates to just 25GB.

How can I work out what's taking up all the space?

Thanks guys,
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:58 am

I would guess a paging file and hybernate file are taking up the rest. Try turning on the option to show protected system files in control panel and look again.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:56 am

Did you empty the recycle bin?

If this wasn't a clean install, did you make sure that you deleted the windows.old folder?
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:42 am

WinDirStat (http://windirstat.info/) is a good tool to see what is taking up all of your space visually.

Then there is the Sysinternals du (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysi ... 96651.aspx) tool for the command line.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:58 am

How much RAM do you have? By default, Windows will create an equally-sized page file on your disk, so if you have 16GB, the page file will also be 16GB.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:05 am

Yeah, I was going to say paging file, or hibernation. Yesterday I lowered my paging file to 4gb since I had ran out of space on my SSD. (I was temporally holding a bunch of files, so I don't necessarily need a bigger SSD.)
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:20 am

RhysAndrews wrote:Hi,
I relocated all my user profile stuff to the mechanical drive using the "Location" tab in the properties of each folder.
It shows Local Disk as having 57.5GB used, but if I check the file contents of every root level directory (even with "show hidden items" ticked), it equates to just 25GB.

How can I work out what's taking up all the space?


Did you untick 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)'? If you didn't, it will not show things like the pagefile and hibernation file.

If you don't have a laptop, you can disable hibernation by following this guide. (Also works in Win 8 ).

I've read somewhere that there is a bug where windows calculates temporary and backup files for updates twice. Don't worry, they don't actually take up twice the space, it's still available.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:16 pm

Something a lot of people don't realize. Windows now copies all the install files local to the windows installation. This has been true since Vista. Ever notice that windows never asks you for the install disk anymore?

Some will complain, but ask yourself how many of you immediately copied over all the cab files or the i386 directory for past version?

They make up a good chunk of that space but that is the price for convenience.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:14 pm

No sane person invests in an SSD just to disable hibernate/page file. Disabling or adjusting either or both will just free up minor amounts of space (depending on how much RAM you have; I'd say spending 8 GB out of a small 60 GB SSD for the page file and hibernate file are good uses) only for the OS to eat up again. Windows 7 (which I would guess applies to 8 as well) has a bad tendency to clutter up drives. What I ended up doing was moving the entire Users folder, but that works best on a fresh installation. (Google/search the seven forums for it.) After that, not much can be done, so it's up to identifying installation and temporary files that are cluttering things up.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:18 pm

I'm going to assume that the WinSXS folder is still retarded in Windows8.

Microsoft's excuse was "oh, but they're not real files, they're just hardlinks"
In the real world, it still meant you ran out of space on VM's and small SSD's and things still ground to a catastrophic halt.

20GB WinSXS folders are not in the least bit uncommon.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:32 pm

C-A_99 wrote:No sane person invests in an SSD just to disable hibernate/page file. Disabling or adjusting either or both will just free up minor amounts of space (depending on how much RAM you have; I'd say spending 8 GB out of a small 60 GB SSD for the page file and hibernate file are good uses) only for the OS to eat up again. Windows 7 (which I would guess applies to 8 as well) has a bad tendency to clutter up drives. What I ended up doing was moving the entire Users folder, but that works best on a fresh installation. (Google/search the seven forums for it.) After that, not much can be done, so it's up to identifying installation and temporary files that are cluttering things up.


We must be crazy then because my wife's school laptop has 12 GB of RAM and I've disabled hibernation on it to save 12 GB on her 128 GB SSD. Seeing as win8 + SSD boots up in 10seconds and her standby and battery life are very good, it was worth the sacrifice, especially since the essential programs she needs for school take up a lot of space (AutoCAD alone was 10 GB+ of space).
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:33 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I'm going to assume that the WinSXS folder is still retarded in Windows8.

Microsoft's excuse was "oh, but they're not real files, they're just hardlinks"
In the real world, it still meant you ran out of space on VM's and small SSD's and things still ground to a catastrophic halt.

20GB WinSXS folders are not in the least bit uncommon.

Well, they are partially correct in that hard links themselves occupy an insignificant amount of space. For files which are being used elsewhere in the system, the WinSXS links do not contribute meaningfully to disk space usage; the number you're seeing when you look at the size of the WinSXS folder includes a lot of files which are actually being double-counted.

The problem is that all of the files needed to uninstall service packs, etc. are also kept hanging around in case you ever want to roll things back. And these files are also hard-linked from the WinSXS folder.

If you don't care about being able to roll back changes, you can get rid of the unneeded files: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2592038
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
C-A_99 wrote:No sane person invests in an SSD just to disable hibernate/page file. Disabling or adjusting either or both will just free up minor amounts of space (depending on how much RAM you have; I'd say spending 8 GB out of a small 60 GB SSD for the page file and hibernate file are good uses) only for the OS to eat up again. Windows 7 (which I would guess applies to 8 as well) has a bad tendency to clutter up drives. What I ended up doing was moving the entire Users folder, but that works best on a fresh installation. (Google/search the seven forums for it.) After that, not much can be done, so it's up to identifying installation and temporary files that are cluttering things up.


We must be crazy then because my wife's school laptop has 12 GB of RAM and I've disabled hibernation on it to save 12 GB on her 128 GB SSD. Seeing as win8 + SSD boots up in 10seconds and her standby and battery life are very good, it was worth the sacrifice, especially since the essential programs she needs for school take up a lot of space (AutoCAD alone was 10 GB+ of space).

This means users have to save their work and probably should not run the battery bone dry.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:We must be crazy then because my wife's school laptop has 12 GB of RAM and I've disabled hibernation on it to save 12 GB on her 128 GB SSD. Seeing as win8 + SSD boots up in 10seconds and her standby and battery life are very good, it was worth the sacrifice, especially since the essential programs she needs for school take up a lot of space (AutoCAD alone was 10 GB+ of space).

This means users have to save their work and probably should not run the battery bone dry.


Which is why I recommended the OP disable his hibernation file only if he wasnt using a laptop.

For the wife's laptop, we weighed the pros and cons and decided the extra space was more useful than being able to hibernate. Since her laptop gets around 6-8 hrs of battery life, we thought it was unlikely she'd be unable to find a power outlet when the battery does run dry. Oh, and plus, I gave her my car charger for my old thinkpad.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:47 pm

just brew it! wrote:Well, they are partially correct in that hard links themselves occupy an insignificant amount of space. For files which are being used elsewhere in the system, the WinSXS links do not contribute meaningfully to disk space usage; the number you're seeing when you look at the size of the WinSXS folder includes a lot of files which are actually being double-counted.

The problem is that all of the files needed to uninstall service packs, etc. are also kept hanging around in case you ever want to roll things back. And these files are also hard-linked from the WinSXS folder.

If you don't care about being able to roll back changes, you can get rid of the unneeded files: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2592038


The article you link notes it, but it's great advice to repeat again. Run the Clean Up Wizard. Do both your local profile and the clean up system files option.

Windows 8 dynamically resizes the pagefile over time based on your demands. It will get smaller, considerably so, as time passes if you have lots of RAM.

You can shrink the hiberfil.sys while retaining it's use by using the following command: powercfg /h /size 50

You can check the follow directories with an Admin Command Prompt and empty them out:

c:\windows\temp

del /s *.*
rd /s <tab key>

The first will purge all data from the directory recursively. The second will remove the target directory recursively.

c:\users\<username>\appdata\local\temp

Each of your user profiles will have this temp directory. Use the same two commands above to purge the info.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:12 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
C-A_99 wrote:No sane person invests in an SSD just to disable hibernate/page file. Disabling or adjusting either or both will just free up minor amounts of space (depending on how much RAM you have; I'd say spending 8 GB out of a small 60 GB SSD for the page file and hibernate file are good uses) only for the OS to eat up again. Windows 7 (which I would guess applies to 8 as well) has a bad tendency to clutter up drives. What I ended up doing was moving the entire Users folder, but that works best on a fresh installation. (Google/search the seven forums for it.) After that, not much can be done, so it's up to identifying installation and temporary files that are cluttering things up.


We must be crazy then because my wife's school laptop has 12 GB of RAM and I've disabled hibernation on it to save 12 GB on her 128 GB SSD. Seeing as win8 + SSD boots up in 10seconds and her standby and battery life are very good, it was worth the sacrifice, especially since the essential programs she needs for school take up a lot of space (AutoCAD alone was 10 GB+ of space).


If you're running a laptop with nothing but a medium or small SSD, that's a different story. (Particularly with 12 GB of RAM combined with not opening up a lot of applications at once) However, a lot of people (in general on the web, not here in particular) are suggesting to disable the hibernation and paging files on systems with 1 small/medium SSD and lots of HDD space. That's bad advice (particularly for application-heavy users who use 4-8 GB RAM systems, and users who need hibernation and bought an SSD partially to speed up the hibernation process) and doesn't solve the problem of Windows eating up SSD space on a multi-drive installation/system in the first place.

Hope that clarifies my troll-ish post earlier.

Anyways, I found the link I was talking about earlier. http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/18 ... ation.html

It does take a lot of time to do, but I think it's one that'll save a LOT of space in the long run. My AppData folder is at just over 1 GB so far and will expand much more as I go. With a 60 GB SSD, I ended up being unable to install 3DS Max because it demanded extra C:\ space (more than I had available) for no good reason. I got fed up with things the way they were and found that link, read about, and ended up doing a clean install to get the Users folder off of the SSD. I should not have to upgrade my SSD when I have plenty of HDD space (2 TB, enough my needs if I manage my files properly) just because of crippled OS file management. In any case, I hope this solution helps out the OP, and it's a better long term solution than disabling paging and/or hibernation. (Particularly if the OP uses hibernation and/or doesn't have enough RAM 100% of the time. [Considering the possibility that it may be DDR2 RAM, or that the DIMM slots may be packed, which in either case, is not as cheap to upgrade.])
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:16 pm

I only move Downloads/Desktop/Documents/Music/Pictures/Videos. For AppData and temp folders, moving them to mechanical may defeat the purpose. Browsers and apps do access their caches under your profile, and SSD will speed up those operations. Granted if you only have a smallish SSD then there is not much choice.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:33 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:WinDirStat (http://windirstat.info/) is a good tool to see what is taking up all of your space visually.

Then there is the Sysinternals du (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysi ... 96651.aspx) tool for the command line.


Another big thumbs-up for WinDirStat; one of the first things I install. One reason I like it is because it sorts directories in descending order by size. Every new version of Windows File Explorer that DOESN'T have this functionality is always a little bit disappointing to me.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:You can shrink the hiberfil.sys while retaining it's use by using the following command: powercfg /h /size 50


Thank you for that information - I had read that the default hiberfil.sys in win 7 and 8 is 75% of RAM, but didn't know that you could further compress it down to 50%. I'm going to have to try that out on my wife's laptop later today.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:30 pm

Flying Fox wrote:I only move Downloads/Desktop/Documents/Music/Pictures/Videos. For AppData and temp folders, moving them to mechanical may defeat the purpose. Browsers and apps do access their caches under your profile, and SSD will speed up those operations. Granted if you only have a smallish SSD then there is not much choice.


That caching adds up to a lot of space with enough programs. Perhaps moving just the Documents/Desktop folders to the HDD would be better for some, but when the time comes when other folders in the User directory should be on the HDD instead, it's a risky move to make. (And only works with the special procedure mentioned earlier.) Perhaps if you have a larger SSD and don't end up installing many programs, it's not too bad.

I suppose part of the issue is whether or not you want to have to constantly clear the temp folder for a little more speed. It's not like the SSD isn't being put to good use without those folders on it; HDD's can still handle the tasks, and the SSD has other things to do anyway. Then again, without some numbers, it's hard to tell.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:21 pm

Hi guys,
Thanks for your help, I had completely forgotten the protected system files option.

Indeed, it is the hibernation file and page file that are taking up the space. 13.3GB and 16.7GB, respectively.

I have 16GB of RAM, and my computer is a desktop.

I do put my PC to sleep often, and sometimes for a day or more at a time, so I have hybrid sleep on. Power saving is a big thing for me =)

The page file setting is default, would anyone recommend I change it at all? My SSD is 50% full so it's not really a problem right now I just wanted to make sure everything was in order.

-Rhys
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:45 pm

RhysAndrews wrote:I have 16GB of RAM, and my computer is a desktop.

I do put my PC to sleep often, and sometimes for a day or more at a time, so I have hybrid sleep on. Power saving is a big thing for me =)

The page file setting is default, would anyone recommend I change it at all? My SSD is 50% full so it's not really a problem right now I just wanted to make sure everything was in order.


You could try RyuConnor's suggestion to reduce the hiberfil.sys size by 50%. That would also alleviate some write wear on your SSD every time you hibernated. Just enabled it on my wife's win8 laptop and the hibernation file is only 6 GB for 12 GB of RAM.
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Re: Windows 8 SSD - what's taking up all the space?

Postposted on Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:12 am

Is there a way to symlink the hiberfil.sys file? I know you can do it for a whole directory, but that won't work on the ROOT of C. Is there an easy way to move that huge hibernate file to another drive?

EDIT: never mind... found my answer =(

Symbolic links do not work at boot, so it's impossible to redirect e.g.:

folder containing hiberfil.sys (if it's configured to be outside root directory)
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