Please let us know how useful you find this tip by rating it below. Do you have a useful Windows tip, timesaver or workaround to share? Submit it to our tip contest and you could win a prize!
In part one I discussed how compromised systems and corrupted disks can be two possible causes of an NTFS disk that fills too quickly. But there are other factors that can also have this result.
You can check for the problems discussed below from Internet Explorer or from the command line.
Volume mount points and directory junction points are constructs that point to files or folders on another volume. This is useful for sophisticated file management, but again it produces inaccurate statistics with the dir /s command or Internet Explorer.
The problem with the Master File Table is that deleting files just leaves unused space in the MFT. The FRS is marked as available for use but the total size of the Master File Table doesn't shrink. If you have deleted a lot of small files, this can eat up a significant amount of storage space. This is compounded by the fact that the defragmenter that comes with Windows will not touch the MFT.
However, the Windows defragmenter will tell you how large and how fragmented the MFT is. If necessary, you can use a third-party defragmenter to shrink the MFT.
There are several other problems that can cause inaccurate file statistics in NTFS. Microsoft covers these issues in Knowledge Base article, How to Locate and Correct Disk Space Problems on NTFS Volumes.
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.