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Locating & Correcting Disk Space Problems on NTFS Volumes in Windows 2000/XP/Vista

August 24th, 2009

NTFS Volumes Problem:
At times, Windows 2000, XP, and Vista misreport the amount of Free Disk Space on a hard drive – whether it is an internal drive or external drive.

Cause:
There are several causes for this:

  • The cluster size of the NTFS volume is too large for the average-sized files that are being stored.
  • File attributes or NTFS permissions prevent files or folders from being either displayed or accessed when you use either Microsoft Windows Explorer or a Windows command prompt.
  • The folder path exceed 255 characters.
  • Folders or files contain invalid or reserved file names.
  • NTFS metafiles (such as the Master File Table [MFT]) have grown and cannot be unallocated.
  • Files or folders contain alternate data streams.
  • NTFS corruption causes Windows to report free space as being in use.
  • Other NTFS features cause file-allocation confusion.

Solution:
Microsoft provides various solutions for symptom identified. Reference Microsoft Knowledge Base Articles 315688 (for Windows XP) and 303079 (for Windows 2000) for more information.

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