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E-66

Why is my XP user profile 3.5 GB in size?

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Did some poking around on my PC at things I don't normally look at regularly and noticed that the single profile on my PC is 3.58 GB in size.  Did some Googling and saw advice about not downloading things directly to your desktop, temp files, Outlook Express files, and stuff in Local Settings in the user profile folder.

My desktop is 99% shortcuts and a few tiny text files.  Never used Outlook, ever. My temp files were redirected to another partition when XP was installed and are empty.  The entire Documents & Settings folder was redirected to another partition when XP was installed.  I just checked, and the Application Data folder is just under 200 MB, and Local Settings is just under 100 MB.

What else would account for my profile being so large?

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How exactly do you see your "profile" size?

The usual (good ol') recommendation is to use a software like SequoiaView:

http://www.win.tue.nl/sequoiaview/
 

Get it from here (seemingly the original download isnot working right now):

https://matt.ucc.asn.au/mirror/

or from one of the other mirrors:

http://www.filewatcher.com/m/Sequoia1_3XPInstall.exe.567003-0.html

And have a look at what takes what space where.

jaclaz
 

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7 hours ago, jaclaz said:

How exactly do you see your "profile" size?

Right-click on My Computer > Properties > Advanced tab > User Profiles > Settings

My profile is the only one there and it says it's over 3.5 GB in size.  What things contribute to a profile's overall size?  If I go to to the Documents & Settings folder and then right-click the folder with my name on it, it's almost 7.5 GB in size.  Within it, Downloads is 6 GB, and another folder I created is just over 1 GB, so those 2 folders account for almost the entire size of the <my name> folder inside of the Documents & Settings folder.  Everything else in it - 13 folders and 276 files, is 378 MB, so how is Windows determining that my profile is 3.5 GB in size?

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Well, the question is why it says only 3.5 GB instead of 7.5 (maybe it can't say more for some reason - a kind of 4 GB limit?).

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Not to discourage Sequoiaview (which I have never used), but it doesn't seem like a program with very intuitive GUI. Personally I use Treesize Free, which seems to be much easier to use for the first time.

http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/

But If you feel comforted with Sequoia, don't bother, since they seem to do similar job. Just posting an alternative.

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I never looked in that area for the Profile size. This is neither 'here or there' ... mine says 900 MB. Does that sound like the norm for most setups ... give or take + or - ?

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1 hour ago, monroe said:

... mine says 900 MB. Does that sound like the norm for most setups ... give or take + or - ?

Well, if it *is* the norm, then mine is 4x the norm, and I'd like to know why.  Looking thru Google Images I saw one profile that was 21 GB, and another that was over 60 GB..... and plenty of others that were under 1 MB.

https://www.google.com/search?q="windows+xp"+"user+profile"+size&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwit-bL_-OzUAhWBLyYKHV--Bb0Q_AUIBigB&biw=1600&bih=773

Look at the description at the top of the User Settings box when you get to it as I described above: "User profiles store settings for your desktop and other information related to your user account."

That's a pretty vague statement.  How can any of that "stuff" add up to over 60 GB?

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Posted (edited)

On my systems, the Profile Size does not include the Local Settings subdirectory. This directory contains mostly discardable temporary caches of various applications, and also the save game of Need for Speed Underground 2, which is very much needed. I guess applications don't use these directories consistently, especially if Microsoft changes how they're supposed to be used with every new Windows version.

You could move files into and out of the directory and bring up the profile dialog again, and see which files count. As far as I'm concerned, the total size after any manual cleanup matters if I want to transfer my settings to another computer.

I suppose the current user registry ntuser.dat is over 1 MB on any system that has been in use at all.

Since I use Total Commander daily, I do Ctrl-Shift-Enter to calculate directory sizes quickly, and then look at the largest ones. Not as readable as a graphical tool, but still helpful.

 

Edited by j7n

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17 hours ago, Mcinwwl said:

Not to discourage Sequoiaview (which I have never used), but it doesn't seem like a program with very intuitive GUI. Personally I use Treesize Free, which seems to be much easier to use for the first time.

http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/

But If you feel comforted with Sequoia, don't bother, since they seem to do similar job. Just posting an alternative.

Well, it's a different approach, if you want something more recent, but similar to sequoiaview, try:

https://windirstat.net/

the kind of visualization with areas proportional to size is very intuitive, and (IMHO) graphically better looking than this view:

http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/tree_map.shtml
 

jaclaz
 

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I've continued to mess around with this.  As stated, my user profile was 3.58 GB in size.  I did a little HDD reorganizing, and it grew to 3.78 GB.  NTUSER.dat was 3,072 KB.

As mentioned above, My Documents was over 7.5 GB.  I took everything in it and moved it to a temporary folder outside of my user name folder, but still on the same partition.  As a result, my user profile size shrank to 194 MB.  I also used a shellbag cleaner, and NT Registry Optimizer, and afterwards NTUSER.dat shrank by exactly half, to 1,536 KB.  I then took everything from the temporary folder and put it back in My Documents, and my profile size was right back up at 3.78 GB.

So.... unless someone can offer insight to the contrary, I'd say that the "user profile" size is pretty pointless.  It just means you have a bunch of stuff in your profile folder  Great, that's what I thought it was for!  If I move that stuff outside of my profile folder, whether it's 100 MB or several GB, the profile size drastically shrinks.... but that just means that that stuff is now located somewhere else.  I have my lossless music collection on a separate HDD.  If I had it stored in my profile's My Music folder, I guess my profile size would be almost a TB in size.

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I found the best way is have more than one partition, installing only the OS and some programs on first primary partition as Office, Antivirus (Avast Free), a Browser (FireFox), 7Zip, etc., turn off Restore, and relocate anything else as My Documents, Downloads, Music, Videos etc. on another partition (as a logical one located on an extended partition) , you may install your games on this partition too or have a dedicated logical partition for this (yes I know sometimes you are forced to install a game on C:\ drive, but this are only some exceptions).  This way when you make an image backup of your OS it is going to be very fast and give you a very little size image. I have also found virus almost always go to attack C:\ (the OS partition) and they do not mess with other partitions, so when needed you only make a Recovery from your last good image in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes and everything is back to normal. Additionally it is good to install CCleaner Free and run it at least once a week to get rid of all garbage collected from internet, it is also good idea to install Malwarebytes Free and run it at least every week after CCleaner (to not waste time inspecting all internet garbage and Temp files/folders). 

By the way I remember maybe 2 years ago I reinstalled XP this way in a friend's PC and after sometime maybe 2 moths he got some Ramsomeware, PC didn't boot, only an screen with the known message asking for your money to let you use your PC again, just booted from a WinPE on DVD, formated C:\ and made a Recovery from Backup image and in less than 10 minutes problem was solved, all info was untouched on the second partition (including the image I used to recover the PC that was located there), I don't know if new versions are more agresive but since this experience and having 2 Backups of all my important info on external USB drives, updated usually once a month, I feel very confident.

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@alacran

Everything you suggested above is how my system was set up from the beginning (using the same reasoning), except that the OS isn't on C:, but D:, a logical partition.  My C: is a tiny FAT32 partition with nothing but the boot files.  My OS image is small and can be recovered in no time.  I did a lot of research before installing XP permanently, and am very happy with the results.

With that in mind, and I know this is the XP forum, I sure would like to know how to achieve the same thing (small image size) in Windows 7.  I'll probably have to start a new topic for it in the 7 forum.  With 7's giant WinSxS folder (and 7 just being a bigger install than XP in general), it seems impossible to make a small OS image that can be restored quickly.

Back to XP.  All that being said, for the subject of this topic, I don't think it matters if your system is set up 'ideally' or if it's all just dumped on one partition.  If your My Documents folder has a bunch of stuff in it your user profile size is going to be huge.  Move that stuff out, the profile size is smaller, but now that stuff is elsewhere.  No big deal either way, as space isn't an issue for me... I just didn't understand why the user profile size was so large until I kind of became more educated about it over the last week.

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I never put Downloads in same partition as OS, in fact We have at home several PC's (7) usually they have a dual boot XP and 7, some only 7, when I say usually this means sometimes reducing a  logical partition to create another to test 10, or a Linux distro or ReactosOS, etc, then after some time erase everything that did not like me and back to usuall way, backup images are mandatory just in case.

HDD's are of 500 GB (5) and also 1 TB (2)

So my partition scheme is:

First primary active partition NTFS 15 to 25 GB: XP and 7 boot files/folders.

Second primary partition NTFS 35 to 50 GB: 7 SP-1 x64

An extended partition with:

A large First logical partition NTFS: Documents, Music, Downloads, Games etc. for both OS's (this is the one I reduce and make a new one when trying a new OS not in VHD.

Second logical partition NTFS usually at least 50 GB: VHD's bootables from Windows boot manager, WinPE ISO's, bootables from HDD using grub4dos boot manager and Image Backups of XP & 7.

A Win 7 x64 installed from and updated DVD is about 20 to 25 GB depending of installed programs, when hibernate and Windows Restore are deactivated.

Iin fact yesterday I was runing some test in this PC, it is using at the moment 18.4 GB for 7 install and programs (RAM is 4 GB to give you an idea of pagefile size) and depending on your Backup Software the bachup image is 5.4 GB made in 35 min. using winlib-imagex (*.wim images), 7.35 GB made in 12 min. using Snapshot shareware, 9 GB made in 9 min. using Acronis for Western Digital Build 33 and 11.7 GB made in 35 min. using Macrium Reflect v6.3.1835 Free, Of course time it takes depends on Processor and HDD speed, not applicable for size of image, but as all tests are in same hardware it is very representative of Backup program capavilities. So I decided to keep using wimlib-imagex and it's GUI wimlib_clc  This is not the fastest but it makes the smallest image, compatible with Windows tools as Dism and imagex, an image you can open with 7zip, and it is an image of files/folders and it's links.

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35 minutes... ouch!  With my obviously smaller XP system image Norton Ghost takes less than a minute.  I hate the idea of having to walk away for over half an hour while a system image is being restored, but at least it's not something that has to be done often.

I've used XXCopy for years for non-OS backup.  I've considered looking into XXClone for OS backup, but have concerns about the future of the program because the developer died recently.

http://www.xxcopy.com/index.htm

http://www.xxclone.com/

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2 hours ago, E-66 said:

the developer died recently

Kan Yabumoto, you mean? You sure?

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