Why is my C: drive getting filled up when I download files directly to other drives?

Anonymous August 13, 2014
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I’ve recently installed SSDs in both of my computers. One 2nd generation and the other 3rd generation, both with Windows 7 pro. I monitor my drives daily and both SSDs (C drives) will go up 35%-40% GB wise whenever I download videos. That is, if I download 10 gigs of videos to the HDDs, I pick up approximately 3.5 to 4 gigs on the SSDs. Both units are storing the videos on the HDDs. What’s going on? I can delete the videos from the HDDs but the storage doesn’t go down on the SSDs. They remain the same (higher). If this is normal I can always go back to HDDs only. C: drive SSD is used for OS and programs, and all downloads are directed to either the E: or F: drives (HDDs). The videos I download are all MP4 Hi-Def. THe PC has an i5-3570K, 16 GB RAM, Intel DZ77GA-70K SLI board and I have no viruses. I’m stumped. I’ve opened every folder and file on the C: drive and have found nothing, nada, with any amount of storage. Could the Realplayer downloader be the culprit doing this? Or could the SSDs be picking up a bunch of anonymous gibberish without a folder or file while the downloads pass through it to the HDDs?

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  1. Bruce E
    August 16, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Most programs install themselves in the Program Files directories which are still on your C: drive if you only moved the profile. A few browser extensions that I am using put themselves in AppData which is part of the profile but they tend to be quite small (~12 MB for Google Talk, for example)..

  2. Oron J
    August 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I'll join the chorus and suggest that you use TreeSize, WinDirStat (or Space Sniffer, my personal favourite) to find out where those space hogging files actually reside. Chances are that they are in a temp folder (e.g. in %AppData% or in Windowstemp) which on your system are in the C: drive.

    If you want to make sure that your SSDs are used only for software, you need to move your entire profile to another drive, not just the ordinary data folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Downloads).
    You can find out instructions on how to do this (in Windows 7) at http://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-change-user-profile-default-location-in-windows-7/
    WARNING: This is slightly tricky to do, and highly dangerous (you could end up unable to log on) so back up your files before proceeding!

    • John Ziesemer
      August 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Your reply / answer has given me the best solution. I did however move my entire profile to another drive yesterday and lost 6 of my 13 screen icons (then immediately changed it back). So, my only question now is this: After doing an erase (parted magic ISO) and reloading win7 and moving the entire profile to another drive, will the programs I install from online sources go to the C drive or will I have to move them to the C drive? Your advice in this matter would greatly help a "not a computer guru" old man. And by the way, your assumption that I had redirected downloads to the E drive were correct. Thank-you, John Z....

    • Oron J
      August 16, 2014 at 8:18 am

      See Bruce's reply. The vast majority of programs install themselves in C:program Files (or the "x86" version of the folder). On the other hand, Google Chrome ordinarily installs itself in AppData (unless you use the "business version" which installs normally), so there are no absolute rules, but for most purposes, you can assume the software will be on C:, and to be frank, I wouldn't bother moving the exceptions as they will make the setup more complex and overall performance will be affected very little.

    • John Ziesemer
      August 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I went to the "Space Sniffer" site and got a download. My computer went white screen. Somebody may have hi-jacked the site. I'm in the process of converting everything over to HDDs only. PartedMagic could not open and erase the SSD. It appears the Kingston 240 SSD manufactured by Lenovo has a password on it I don't know anything about, or, it's a faulty drive. Many many people are bad mouthing Kingston for SSD problems recently and the Kingston reps are all over the comment and review boards (like Amazon) defending their products. I'll have to wait 'til Monday morning to get an RMA as it has a 3 year warranty. I tried to secure erase it every possible way imaginable and had no good results. After almost 3 hours I gave up....

    • Oron J
      August 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Sorry to hear that John. I usually download Space Sniffer from uderzo.it (the author's site) or from portableapps.com (for the portable version, naturally) and as far as I know both versions are clearn, but if there's a problem with your SSD then obviously the program is not going to run properly. I do hope you get your SSD repaired/replaced soon. They're not cheap, and they do make a significant difference to performance.

  3. Bruce E
    August 14, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Most programs use temp space on the OS drive to store the file contents as it is being downloaded. Once the file has been completely downloaded, it will be copied to the destination you selected. You need to either move these folders to another drive or clear out all temp files when you are done.

  4. Jeff F
    August 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    It is possible that a temporary copy of the download is being stored on your primary drive. Ensure that your download client (web browser, bit-torrent client, etc.) is configured to download files directly to the desired drive. Additionally, you can use software such as WinDirStat can give you detailed information about which files are taking up space on your drives.

  5. Jan F
    August 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Have you tried analyzing the storage use using a tool like TreeSize? It should help you to quickly narrow down where the storage has gone.
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/free-tons-of-hard-drive-space-with-treesize/

    Unfortunately you left the most important information out: How are you downloading the videos? Are you using some tool, some website? Is it a just a normal http/ftp download or maybe some Flash based downloader?

    I could imagine that if the file is distributed via some Flash supported way be it a Flash downloader or some Flash video player that allows you to download the movie that it will be cached like any other Flash content using up a lot of space. (e.g. userfolder > AppData > Roaming > Macromedia)

    If that is the case make sure your Flash storage is not set to unlimited (although setting it to none does not prevent certain caching either so it may just be something you have to live with)
    http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager03.html
    http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

    Anyway, TreeSize, jDiskReport ~ some tool like those should be your first step as we can't say for sure it really has something to do with the videos you download or just something happening simultaneously.

  6. Hovsep A
    August 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    check some hard drive space analyzer and locate the large files
    treesize
    http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/

    WinDirStat
    http://windirstat.info/

    are you sure that the videos are deleted from SSD. You can try to clean with CCleaner
    https://www.piriform.com/CCLEANER
    for some points you can get glary utiltites pro or Ashampoo winoptimizer pro from makeuseof reward page

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