No space on a disk

A past customer actually remembered what I said about her computer needing a good audit check and clean up (most don’t) and asked me to fix her computer which was “running slowly”.

I started it up in Ubuntu to do some backups, and and it was almost immediately apparent what was causing the obvious symptoms, the main 40GB had drive has less than 1 megabyte of space left, and the second 40GB disk was almost empty. As the household concerned has at least two teenage girls, I somewhat uncharitably thought “no surprises there”!

So I did a bunch of things just to get it going, moving a few hundred megs of unnecessary stuff onto the d: drive, then running various clean ups, optimizers etc to grab back about a gigabyte, as well as clean up registries and other good to do things. But it was obvious I was never going to get much space back like that. I did a de-frag analysis, just to see how bad the disk was. knowing that there was not enough space to actually do a de-frag but interested in just why it was so slow. The bar came up almost completely red, which even for a completely full disk struck me as extreme. I had a quick look at the log, noted a couple of big files, but carried on with my planned clean ups.

I was doing a windows disk clean up, watching the compress stage gradually building up the free space (up to about 2.5 gig by this time) when I decided to have a look at the log file, and print it off, as I had never really looked at a de-frag log file before. Part of the log is a list of the most fragmented files, and right at the top was a file as follows

Fragments     File Size         Most fragmented files
249,491           11.18 GB      Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe.exp.log

Doesn’t look good does it? About 27% of the hard drive taken up with a log file! I checked out the file, and it hadn’t been updated for a couple of years, so I figured it was safe to remove. Except that windows wouldn’t let me. So I did a quick search on the web, and there were a few others with the problem, and the most likely cause is a bug in the internet explore customer experience program, just creating huge files, eventually filling the disk.

So back into Ubuntu, delete the file, replace it with an empty file of the same name and make it read only – to keep whatever is using it happy.

Back in windows I now have 13.5GB of space available, more than enough to do a de-frag, and after that I will continue with the windows disk clean, and follow up with a full antivirus run, just in case there is a malware cause to this file being created. Super Anti Spyware had already shown nothing, which is always a good sign. Hopefully the result will be  a clean, fast computer again. And girls, if you are reading this – my apologies, all that facebook, itunes etc has not yet filled the hard drive.


Dave Glover is a director of Signs of Success Ltd. married to Lynn (the other director of SOS) with 3 grown up kids. We live in Whitby, in New Zealand. After 30+ years in IT as everything from Trainee Programmer to Project Manager, Dave now runs a Computer Maintenance and Sign Making shop near his home.

Posted in Computer Stuff
One comment on “No space on a disk
  1. Wiki says:

    I recently had a similar problem. I decided to do a defrag as my laptop was running VERY slowly, and to my surprise, an error box popped up saying I do not have enough disk space to defrag!

    I have a 160GB drive and the week before, I had only used 80-ishGB of it. After an hour of deleting many small unimportant files in an effort to defrag, I found the culprit… a 70GB video file on my desktop!

    Moral of the story… Do not let friends with hard-drives near your computer unsupervised!

    (for the record it was a very good video but telling me it was there would have been nice!)

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