Bubble's Bitch: Disk space...

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by SuperBubble, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. SuperBubble

    SuperBubble MDL Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    #1 SuperBubble, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
    ... And the horrible things people will do to themselves (and their computers) chasing it.

    Bonus wrong forum: Some technical content, but more an essay on human behaviour. If a mod thinks this belongs somewhere else, feel free to move it.

    First up, a short history lesson...

    My first PC (circa 1993) only had a 130MB hard disk. Disk space was tight in those days. Once you installed DOS, Windows and a couple of apps (and games :thumbsup:), you were already down to your last 20MB.

    What's more, the buck stopped with your hard disk. It had to - the only other media we had in wide use was the 1.44MB floppy disk. To do a full back up of my lowly 130MB drive would have taken about 90 of them. I simply had nowhere else to put my stuff.

    What follows is a rough (read: more-than-likely highly inaccurate - it was nearly 20 years ago) breakdown of the contents of my hard drive that were over 2MB.

    A comparison to a contemporary machine will follow - as such, it helps to think in percentages, not in actual megabytes:

    Operating system
    MS-DOS 6.0 - 5MB
    Windows 3.1 - 12MB + 8MB (or so) swap file

    So, for a whole operating system/environment, I was already using 25MB - about 20% of the disk.

    Microsoft Office 4.0 - 30MB
    Aldus PhotoStyler 2.0 - 15MB
    Borland C++ 3.0 - 5MB

    Right there, that's about 45% of the disk.

    Bonus Office bloat: And people complain that it's bloated now?

    Games :thumbsup:
    Doom - 15MB
    Windows Entertainment Pack - 5MB

    There goes another 15% of the disk.

    You were mad if you didn't, in 1993, have:

    Norton Utilities - 10MB

    About 8% of the disk.

    Already, my hard disk is nearly 90% full. And there's not a whole lot of stuff on there. Running DOS 6.0, I could have DoubleSpaced it, but everybody knew DoubleSpace will eat your data.

    Bonus wildfire: DoubleSpace was also (allegedly) capable of eating your computer, first-born children, and the universe. This was before we had the Internet to spread such rumours.

    Stacker was considered more reliable, but also cost real money, and could interfere with your Windows swap file and direct-access disk tools (and in the early '90s, there were a lot of those), like the aforementioned Norton.

    Anyone with wallet-width simply went out and bought a bigger hard disk. I received $10 a week pocket money.

    So, I came up with a home-brewed batch file that automatically ARJ'd my games in and out of archives, so they only chewed up real space while I was playing them. It took a while to load a game using this method, but my previous computer to this one was a Commodore 64: I was used to games taking forever to load. :)

    Some time in 1994, I got a 250MB hard disk - almost twice the size - for my birthday. Time taken to fill it completely? 36 hours.

    I breathed easier when, in 1995, I got a 1GB disk (putting away that tenner a week worked out in the end :thumbsup:). It only took me a week to fill that, but by then I was running OS/2 Warp 3.0 as my main operating system. That was nearly 100MB, if I recall.

    Fast forward a-bit-over-a-decade-and-a-half...

    The year is 2012. That 486SX-33 (which I tossed in 1998) is in pieces by now, many of them rusted away, and buried in a rubbish tip somewhere ten feet down. The mobile phone in my bag has an order of magnitude more memory and processing power than that computer.

    The cheapest, nastiest computer you can get now has between 250GB to 500GB disk space. Let's run the numbers again (using that little 250GB disk), again remembering to use percentages:

    Operating system
    Windows 7 SP1 - 12GB + 4GB (or so) page file

    16GB - about 6% of the disk.

    Microsoft Office 2007 SP3 - 2GB
    Adobe Photoshop CS4 - 3GB
    Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 - 4GB

    9GB - only three lousy percent of the disk.

    Bonus smugness: Still think Office is bloated now? :p

    Battlefield 3 - 25GB
    Flight Simulator X - 3GB

    28GB. This is by far the biggest disk space eater. Strangely, it's still about 15% of the disk.

    One thing has changed in the intervening years though; there's a category that basically didn't exist in 1993:

    Digital media
    Bonus pre-emptive nitpick: No, CANYON.MID does not count!

    Music collection - Could be 4GB (the size of mine), could be 200GB. Varies too wildly to be useful for this calculation.
    Movie collection - Could be 33GB (the size of mine), could be 16TB. As above, varies too wildly.

    But nowadays, we have a terrific edge - all that music and video is just begging to be burnt to a CD, DVD or Blu-ray. Or even dropped onto an external hard drive - we didn't have those in 1993 either.

    So where are we? My programs and games are using barely a quarter of the disk, and pretty much all the rest is digital media that can be stored elsewhere with (almost) no loss of convenience.

    Zzz... *kick* I WASN'T ASLEEP... Erm... so where are you going with all this, Mel?

    A good question. This is where I'm going:

    Bonus request: Mods, here's an idea - allow people with less than 20 posts to put "internal" links (that is, that reference inside the MDL domain) right off the bat?

    remove winsxs with RT7lite

    WinSxS Folder In boot.wim

    Vista's WinSxS folder!

    Patch to allow Windows 7 install without the hidden partition.

    [TUTORIAL]Delete W7's Reserved Partition After Install & Keep All Your Data

    Urgent Query on GPT in Windows 7

    Admittedly, most of the complaints of WinSxS are born from pure ignorance of what an NTFS hard link is, and not bothering to remove update/service pack uninstallers.

    But trying to steal the boot manager partition? Avoiding creating the GPT partition(s) Windows' UEFI support needs to run? Why are you so desperate to compromise Windows to claw back barely 200MB? You're mad. You're absolutely stark raving mad.

    Having a separate partition for the boot manager is a good thing! What happens when you lunch your Windows partition? Your boot manager and Windows RE are waiting for you and ready for action after a reboot.

    Bonus old-hand's experience: And take it from me, having totally destroyed file systems five or six times in 20 years, it's actually quite rare to damage more than one partition at a time unless you attack the partition table - I've done that too, but only once in two decades (and it was because I let Linux onto the machine).

    Even better, go format that boot partition FAT32 - now you can stack alternate boot loaders up to the sky on it. Two of my computers don't have PXE boot ROMs on their network cards - so I dropped iPXE with SYSLINUX onto them. Press a button at startup, iPXE network boots the machine. Problem solved. :thumbsup:

    Alternate solutions that will get you back far more disk space, but not result in you having to reinstall Windows

    Those games you install? The ones with half-an-hour of intros/cutscenes you skip anyway, usually stashed in a helpfully-named subfolder like Movies? Why aren't you deleting those?

    All those MP3s from when you wanted just one song, but downloaded the whole album - why aren't you deleting those?

    Those movies you watched once, and then left in your My Video folder? Why aren't you deleting those?

    The file/folder debris in your %TEMP% folder, which can add up to gigabytes after a while? Why aren't you deleting those?

    Bottom line: You're only screwing yourself in the long run. Please don't fight your operating system, unless you're fine with it fighting back.


    I'm sorry if I'm coming across as a bitch guys, but I really needed to vent on this one. Maybe a Vent Your Spleen forum is in order?
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