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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of weeks back I finally got round to installing Service Pack 1 on my legal copy of Windows XP. During the installation, I was asked if I wanted to archive (I think that was the word used) old files, in case I needed to go back. It did say it'd take up quite a bit of room, but I thought it'd only be a couple of hundred megabytes at the most, so I said "yes".

After a successful installation, I discover to my horror that I suddenly lost about four gigabytes of hard-drive space. If I knew it'd take up that much space, I wouldn't have answered "yes". I have since found out that Windows creates a restore point before installing SP1 anyway, so archiving the old files was a pretty redundant move.

So I ask, is there a proper, safe way to remove these archived files? I doubt I need them now, as I have had no problems with SP1 installed. If you know, and can spare the time to tell me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank-you for your time.
 

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The backup only takes a couple hundred megabytes. I can only assume that you have to either clear out temp files or some restore points.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
johnwill said:
The backup only takes a couple hundred megabytes. I can only assume that you have to either clear out temp files or some restore points.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.

If that is the case, what temp files do I need to clean, and how do I do it? I clean out my 'Temporary Internet Files' often, but what else is there to do?

Has this something to do with the 'Recycler' folder in Windows XP that I've heard about? I heard it keeps things from the Recycle Bin, even when they've been deleted from there. If this is true, is there something I can do to clear this folder? Or is there a reason not to, and that's why it's hidden?

Other than that, I'm not sure what other temp files there are to clean out. If you, or anyone else could offer me further help, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks once again for your time.
 

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In your profile in Documents and Settings under your name, check Local Settings/Temp and clear out any files there. Also, if you have Norton Utilities installed, you might want to disable the Norton Protected Recycle Bin, it's a real space hog.

I've installed SP1 on a number of machines, and I always select the backup. It's really only a couple hundred megabytes...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
johnwill said:
In your profile in Documents and Settings under your name, check Local Settings/Temp and clear out any files there. Also, if you have Norton Utilities installed, you might want to disable the Norton Protected Recycle Bin, it's a real space hog.

I've installed SP1 on a number of machines, and I always select the backup. It's really only a couple hundred megabytes...
Thanks again for replying.

I'm afraid I do not understand the first part of what you're trying to tell me. In C:\Documents and Settings, there are only three folders: 'All Users', 'Guest', and 'Owner'. None of them have my name on it. Probably related to this, I cannot find a 'Local Settings/Temp' folder at all. If you, or anyone else could go through this with me, I'd really appreciate it.

As for Norton Utilities, I do have Antivirus installed, and I had already disabled the 'Norton Protected Recycle Bin'.

Thanks for your time, and hopefully I will reach a solution soon.
 

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johnwill said:
It's under "Owner", which is what you're logging onto the machine with as a name.
Thanks for replying.

I'm afraid there isn't a 'Local Settings/Temp' folder or even something similar under 'Owner', or either of the two other folders.

If anyone else would care to help me out, I really would appreciate the help.

Thanks again for your time.
 

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It's there, I forgot to tell you to do Tools/Folder Options/View and check "Display Hidden Folders". :)
 

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johnwill said:
It's there, I forgot to tell you to do Tools/Folder Options/View and check "Display Hidden Folders". :)
Many thanks for replying.

Now I can see these "hidden" folders. So, how do I go about cleaning them? Or do I just select all, and delete? Is there a proper Windows tool/option to do this?

Also, is there a way to get rid of (preferably wipe and disable) items the 'Recent Documents' folder?

Sorry if these questions seem silly to you, but I do not know the answers, and I do not want to do something wrong.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
 

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You can delete everything in the TEMP folder, just leave the TEMP folder there. :)

To clear recent documents, there's an option under the taskbar properties. I'm not sitting at an XP machine, so I forget exactly where it is, it's under Advanced on 2K.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
johnwill said:
In your profile in Documents and Settings under your name, check Local Settings/Temp and clear out any files there. Also, if you have Norton Utilities installed, you might want to disable the Norton Protected Recycle Bin, it's a real space hog.

I've installed SP1 on a number of machines, and I always select the backup. It's really only a couple hundred megabytes...
In the temp folder, there are a lot of hidden files called 'Temporary Directory [a two digit number] for [name of a zip file I have on my computer somewhere].zip' I assume they are all there because I use Windows to open and explore zip files, rather than using WinZip. In total, there are 428 of these files, amounting to 333MB of hard-drive space. Is it okay to get rid of these?

What about the other files in there? Most are .tmp files, but there are some other files, like .dll .exe (setups and installers) .htm .wav .txt and more. Is it safe to get rid of everything, or should I be cautious, and leave it all as it is?

My 'Temporary Internet Files' folder is 860MB. In Internet Explorer 6, will Tools > Internet Options > Delete Files (button) get rid of everything, or do I need to get rid of some things manually? I have a feeling that button doesn't get rid of everything, you know.

What can I do about the 'My Recent Documents' thing. This idea new to XP (I think) remembers recently accessed documents, and has them as shortcuts. Trouble is, there are some really old things in there, that obviously don't work. What I'd like to do is not only get rid of everything in that file, but also disable it, so it doesn't remember any of my files. Is this possible?

Lastly, I've not found anything out about this 'Recycler' folder that stores files after they have been deleted from the recycle bin. I would really like to know where this is, and how I can clear it out.

I would appreciate any help from anyone. Please do reply if you can help me out at all.

Many thanks for your time, and take care.
 

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After a reboot, you can delete anything that appears in the TEMP folder, just select them all and hold SHIFT and press DEL. This will send them directly to bit heaven and not to the recycle bin. For the Internet Temp files, set your IE properties to about 50mb limit, and then clear out all the files using IE's dialog. Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files. The Settings button there will allow you to set the max size of the cache.

I honestly don't know what's in the Recycler folder, it appears on some drives on my XP systems, but not on others. It also never seems to have anything of size in it. It's somehow tied to the Recycle Bin, but it's never been an issue, so I leave it alone. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
johnwill said:
After a reboot, you can delete anything that appears in the TEMP folder, just select them all and hold SHIFT and press DEL. This will send them directly to bit heaven and not to the recycle bin. For the Internet Temp files, set your IE properties to about 50mb limit, and then clear out all the files using IE's dialog. Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files. The Settings button there will allow you to set the max size of the cache.

I honestly don't know what's in the Recycler folder, it appears on some drives on my XP systems, but not on others. It also never seems to have anything of size in it. It's somehow tied to the Recycle Bin, but it's never been an issue, so I leave it alone. :)
I'm really not sure about the 'Temp' folder. Some things in there date back to last year - if the computer didn't need them, I would have thought it'd delete them; hence them being in the temporary folder. I would have also thought there to be a proper way of cleaning the folder, rather than having to go in there and get your hands dirty.

I set my IE Temporary Internet Files to a much lower limit than I had before, and cleared out my files while I was at it.

Looking at my Temporary Internet Files folder on my hard-drive, there are still loads of files (a lot are of pictures from websites) in there. Why is this?

Thanks for telling me about SHIFT+DEL, I never knew about it before, and I've been using Windows for years, heh.

As for the 'Recycler' folder, and other Recycle Bin hidden files/folders, I have asked at another forum for help, so hopefully someone somewhere will know something.

Again, many thanks for your time. I really do appreciate it.
 

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Trust me on the TEMP folder, Windows is very sloppy. Occasionally, install programs use the TEMP folder during an install, and that may even last over a reboot. However, anything that's left after a reboot is fair game. I delete the contents of the TEMP folder on any system I work on, it's not an issue.

If you have no cookies you're saving, you can delete everything in the Internet Temp files too. Once again, Windows is sloppy, and frequently doesn't do as good a cleanup job as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
johnwill said:
Trust me on the TEMP folder, Windows is very sloppy. Occasionally, install programs use the TEMP folder during an install, and that may even last over a reboot. However, anything that's left after a reboot is fair game. I delete the contents of the TEMP folder on any system I work on, it's not an issue.

If you have no cookies you're saving, you can delete everything in the Internet Temp files too. Once again, Windows is sloppy, and frequently doesn't do as good a cleanup job as you can.
When I delete everything from the 'Temp' and 'Temporary Internet Files' folders, will it stay deleted, or will some of it just appear again on the next reboot?

As for cookies, I'm quite sure most of them can be got rid of. They take up quite a lot of room when counted with the rest of the Temporary Internet Files and Temp files that Windows doesn't get rid of: 510MB

About the recycler folder, I found this hidden in the Windows XP 'Help and Support':

When you empty the Recycle Bin in Windows, the files may not be deleted from your hard disk.

NOTE: You cannot view these files using Windows Explorer, My Computer, or the Recycle Bin.


That's a bit of a pain, as I can't tell how much hard-drive space this Recycler folder is taking up. I also don't like the idea of files I deleted still being on the hard-drive. If I deleted them, and deleted them from the Recycle Bin, it should be clear I don't want them. If I needed protecting from my own stupidity, I'd let Norton hijack the Recycle Bin.

As for the original problem of getting rid of the pre-SP1 archived files, I have gotten only a little help (a link to a Microsoft article) off another forum. The article was helpful, but it seemed to say that I could only delete one of the three folders that SP1 put on your hard-drive. (And I can't see it...) Here is the article, incase you can make a bit more sense of it than I.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply.
 

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When you delete stuff from the TEMP folders, it stays deleted. However, new stuff will be created, so this is a constant battle. :D There are many clean-up programs that clean temp files from the system, here's one example: TempClean.

Microsoft actually is saying you can delete both the %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$ folder (FYI, %systemroot% is normally C:\WINDOWS) and the one that's created with the random name. As they indicate, they should have deleted the random named file, so you may not find it.

If your system is working correctly, one way to reclaim space is to turn off System Restore, then turn it back on. This will purge all the restore points and reclaim the storage they were using.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
johnwill said:
When you delete stuff from the TEMP folders, it stays deleted. However, new stuff will be created, so this is a constant battle. :D There are many clean-up programs that clean temp files from the system, here's one example: TempClean.

Microsoft actually is saying you can delete both the %systemroot%\$NtServicePackUninstall$ folder (FYI, %systemroot% is normally C:\WINDOWS) and the one that's created with the random name. As they indicate, they should have deleted the random named file, so you may not find it.

If your system is working correctly, one way to reclaim space is to turn off System Restore, then turn it back on. This will purge all the restore points and reclaim the storage they were using.
Many thanks for replying.

About the TempClean program you told me about. It says it is for Windows 9x/NT/2000/Me. I'm pretty sure it'll run on XP, but will it do the job right? I only ask because Windows XP works quite differently to previous Microsoft operating systems.

Thankyou for explaining the Microsoft article to me. There is a $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder in C:\Windows at 190MB in size. Is it safe and correct to just select it, and press SHIFT+DEL?

I currently have System Restore enabled. Looking at the settings, it is set to use maximum disk-space (12% it says), which is 4687MB. Is it needed to be up that high, or is that too excessive? Is there a way of removing old restore points, or does it have to be done by disabling System Restore, and then putting it back on again?

Do you know anything about the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows XP? Someone on another forum has forwarded this article to me, and (from what I can understand of it) it looks like it might be useful. I just loaded it up, and after a few minutes it said it could save me a few megabytes here or there in the Recycle Bin, and Temporary Internet Files, but those are things we've already looked into. More interesting was the second tab - it gave options to uninstall uneeded Windows componants, as well as removing all but the latest restore point. I think that answers my question above about removing old restore points, heh. Is this a safe thing to do? I think it'd give me a lot of disk-space back. Though I'm still interested to know how much space (or percentage) I should let it use.

Again, many thanks for your time. I really do appreciate it.

Edit - I've remembered something else I meant to ask about. I have a 66MB file in C:\ called back_up which appears to be a backup file of my registry entries. Do you know anything about this? Thanks.
 

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I have run the TempClean on XP without any problems. Yep, deleting that file will kill off the SP1 files. If you want to reduce the amount of space for System Restore, just set it to a new percentage. It'll kill off the oldest stuff to get you to the amount of space you specify.

Disk cleanup works, but you have to be somewhat careful with it. They sometimes offer to delete things you don't want deleted. :)

I don't know where the back_up file was generated.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
johnwill said:
I have run the TempClean on XP without any problems. Yep, deleting that file will kill off the SP1 files. If you want to reduce the amount of space for System Restore, just set it to a new percentage. It'll kill off the oldest stuff to get you to the amount of space you specify.

Disk cleanup works, but you have to be somewhat careful with it. They sometimes offer to delete things you don't want deleted. :)

I don't know where the back_up file was generated.
Thanks for giving the all-clear with TempClean

When you say "Yep, deleting that file will kill off the SP1 files." do you mean it'll get rid of the archived files no longer needed, or get rid of important SP1 files? I'm guessing the former.

If I have to be careful with Disk Cleanup, would you not recomend removing all but the latest restore point with it? I thought it'd be a good idea. And to what percentage is recommended to use for System Restore? I don't want to be stingy, but I certainly don't want to be excessive.

As for the back_up file, I'm asking on another forum about it, incase someone there knows.

Many thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

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Yes, you are only deleting the backup files when you delete that directory, not any files in current use.

I'd just set the restore % to what you would like to reserve for restore points and let Windows take care of it.
 
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