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Old March 8th, 2006, 05:12 PM   #1
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HDD Plagued with Phantom Video Files

I decided to try out Windows Movie Maker on my PC with Windows XP. It's got a 160Gb HDD. I captured 3 hrs. (38Gb) of DV footage and stored it in 3 separate files, in a video folder in the "My Documents" section. I also loaded them for use on the editing page for Ulead Studio 7. After I deleted them, as I've done many times with other DV files, before and after this, there's been a ghost space persisting on my HDD. The HDD profile shows that exactly 38Gb more than should be, is unavailable. In my defragmentation analysis of the HDD, I see 3 large, slightly separated blue blocks of used space, exactly the size of these 3 files. However, there is no evidence they exist in my documents and they aren't available for use or deletion, except as shown by the used space on the HDD. When I click on the HDD logo in "My Computer" and go to the "Owner" segment of "Documents and Settings", it shows a 38Gb storage size there. But, when I look at each individual file in that group, there is nothing showing but small sizes, the largest being 1Mb. I've emptied the Recycle Bin, defragmented and cleared out temporary and unneeded files. I also deleted all traces of these video files from my 3 video editing programs.

There's no way that I can detect so far, to be able to grab these 3 embedded files and pull them out. I've captured and deleted video programs many times before with this computer and had none of these residual HDD space problems. Can anyone offer an explanation or solution for it? Is it possible that these files don't actually exist any longer, except on the storage-size readings for the HDD and the associated documents? But, those 3 large blocks on the defragmentation analysis display seem real. In fact, when I loaded one more hour of video later, it showed on this display as a block of similar size. Then, when I'd deleted it, the block representing it on the display was gone and the HDD's available size went back up by 12.8 Gb.
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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #2
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Do you happen to have Norton SystemWorks installed? If so, the Norton UnErase Protection service protects deleted files for a time. To get rid of them, right-click on the Recycle Bin and select "Empty Norton Protected Files."
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Old March 9th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. I don't have any Norton programs or anything else that might block deleting the Recycle Bin. It is empty and since I've found the derelict files lurking in my Documents & Settings folder, I don't think that caused the difficulty.

I believe I've found the root of my problem, but still don't know how to solve it. When I export a captured video file, Windows Movie Maker re-records the video in a temporary file, then renders it. After completing the export, it automatically deletes the temporary file. However, I canceled this process before completion, so it didn't delete the file. This file is still sitting in my HDD, although I've deleted the original video (4 hrs. of DV) that I captured. As I said, the file seems unreachable, as it doesn't show anywhere that I can grab it. I won't be using WMM after this, as my other two video editing programs export captured video directly, in real time. For the time being, my HDD has just 98Gb, instead of its specified 149 Gb that are available.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
For the time being, my HDD has just 98Gb, instead of its specified 149 Gb that are available.
Ouch, that hurts.

Since you don't have any undelete utility installed, and it appears we are dealing with a temp file problem, we move on to option 2. Have you set Windows Explorer to show hidden files and folders? To do this, open a Windows Explorer window, and go to Tools>Folder Options, and click on the View tab. Under the "Hidden file and folders" option choose "Show hidden files and folders." Click "Apply." Now you should be able to see the temp files Windows Movie Maker created.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #5
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couple of ideas.....

First is this drive your system drive? If not then simply move any needed files off (to another HDD, DVD RW's, CD-RW's if not too much data) and then format. After re-reading your post it sounds like you may be on the only HDD in the system. Depending on other programs and data that may be on your computer, formating and starting over may be a valid choice for you.

Another option would be to download and burn a knoppix CD. It is a fully self contained Linux operating system on a CD. You can place the CD in the tray, and boot to it instead of your HDD. It should show you all the files on the HDD, you could then remove them as needed. NOTE:Linux is different from Windows especially in the area of basic I/O. IIRC Knoppix will mount the HDD in read only format so you would need to remount it as a writable location.

At the very least you would be able to see the files are so you can act on them in Windows without having to unhide them. Also look for files marked as system files.

Good luck!

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Old March 9th, 2006, 06:18 PM   #6
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Successfully Cleared the HDD

Thanks again, as your tip led to my being able to dump the unwanted temporary video files that were squatting on my HDD. It was just a matter of going to Tools at the top of the My Computer page and finding the option for showing hidden folders. I unchecked the box that keeps them hidden. I then went back to the main My Computer page and clicked on Local Disk (C), then to Documents and Settings, then to Owner, which now shows all the hidden folders in it. Then I clicked on Local Settings, then on Temp. There were 200 or so little boxes representing additions to the temporary files and by putting my cursor on top of them, they revealed the date and time they were modified and the file size. Most of them had 50kb or 1 Mb or so and then the four with 12.8 Gb each showed their ugly heads. They went away quickly and quietly.

I imagine that I'm not the first Windows Movie Maker user who had an export project become canceled and had the full temporary video file become entrenched in that folder. The option for not showing hidden files seems to be the default position, so anyone with Windows XP would probably not know what they weren't seeing, until a special situation like this arose. There's nothing in the bleak instructions for WMM that addresses this and I wouldn't have discovered the solution without your help and some persistent prowling in the labyrinth of that chain of folders and files. I'll have to go onto the Microsoft newsgroup for WMM and post a description of this problem and its solution. I've gained a notch in my education about NLE from this.

I don't understand why WMM has to make a duplicate temporary file and then render for 95 minutes per hour of DV, to export a video file back to tape. The Ulead Studio 7 editing program I have can take video that has been captured by WMM or itself and directly export it in real time, with no temporary files or rendering involved.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; March 9th, 2006 at 08:40 PM.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #7
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Someone, I think on this forum, mentioned a cool little freeware program called TreeSize. I downloaded it from Jam Software and I was shocked at the REALLY huge files that were misfiled and jamming up my harddrive.

Its worth the price to give it a try.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
Thanks again, as your tip led to my being able to dump the unwanted temporary video files that were squatting on my HDD.
That's great to hear! The Windows temp folder does have a habit of accumulating files. In the future should you want to clean it out you can simply go to Start>Run and type %temp% in the run box. The temp folder will then open. (I could have mentioned this earlier, but not having used Windows Movie Maker I had absolutely no idea where it stashed it's temporary files. It could easily have been programmed to creat it's own temp folder somewhere.) Another way to clean up your computer is to use the Disk Cleanup utility (Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup).
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