Jump to content

Ghosting C: Drive


Recommended Posts

Hi Brian, 

Wondering if I could pick your brain for a moment as I encountered some weird behavior in PS this week.  I ran a windows disc cleanup which included temp files, said it would free up 10GB of space, but only gained 4GB.  My C: drive is currently 81.4GB free of 223GB, 32GB RAM.  I realize I'm getting close to 1/3 of the space you recommend for programs to run effeciently, but I don't understand what's filling up my C: drive as all of my editing/documents/pictures is stored on my E: drive.  I wipe out my downloads/zip files and recycle bin, right after I transfer them to my E; drive.   The new computer tech in our area, suggested to ghost my C; drive and upgrade it to a 500GB, 32GB RAM to keep everything running smoothly.  Do YOU recommend this?  

I had the computer custom built Feb 2016, for photography purposes only, Windows 7 Professional, Intel Core i7-4790, GeForce GTX 750ti.  I keep fighting the upgrade to Windows 10.  Or should I look at upgrading to all newer technology including the core and graphics card.  I'm not sure if I'm willing to remortage the house but if it's going to spare me a pile of headaches, I will consider spending the extra money.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, recommendations.  Thanks!

Also, I notice when I'm working in PS my C:drive drops anywhere from 1GB - 3GB of space, is this normal?






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow...talk about a blast from the past!! I haven't heard "Ghost" being talked about in a loooong time!! I use a program called Acronis these days that does the same type of thing.

What he is talking about is a cloning program that takes a snapshot of your drive, all the files and folders from the entire drive and puts it into a single large "Image" file. Basically, it's like a really-really-really big zip file, but not a zip file, it's an image file. KWIM? What he is proposing in a nutshell, is to create an image file, replace your HD, boot off the software that created the image file media and restore it to the new hard drive while telling it to expand the space. So in essence, you get a larger hard drive, with all of your files intact, just on a bigger hard drive partition. It's pretty straightforward, but something that takes a more advanced user to accomplish. The hard part is getting these cloning / imaging program to recognize things like USB ports, Network Cards, Hard Drive Controllers in order to restore the image file on the new HD. You could hookup a second larger HD and to a disk to disk clone, then remove the old C: drive and put the 2nd HD in its place, but only if that program supports it.

9 hours ago, candyK said:

I had the computer custom built Feb 2016, for photography purposes only,

...and they only put in a fricken 250GB Main HD?


Let me guess, it's a really super-fast SSD drive, right?!?!! Oh SSD is so fast and amazing!!! You want one!! Everyone has one these days!!

Uh-huh. The problem is that fast SSD Drive doesn't do you a damn bit of good if it's full!!

A 250GB (Formatted 223GB-ish) is really small by today's standards. Things like Windows Updates, the PS Scratch File, the Windows Swap File, all occupy the C: unless you manually tell them to be somewhere else, like a 4TB traditional Hard Drive.

"...what's the Scratch Disk? Windows Swap File? Huh?"

Back in the days of old, where "...640K ought to be enough for anybody." (A Bill Gates quote,) software engineers needed more resources to run their programs. RAM was expensive back in the day, and in the early 80's, there was a limitation of 640K for RAM. So if a program needed more to work, they used hard drive space in place of RAM. This way a program could use the free hard drive space for its resources, while eliminating the need to break the 640K barrier. Software still uses this type of technology today. Photoshop has a file called a "Scratch Disk," which is just a temporary cache file. Even though you have 32GB of RAM, PS still uses the free HD space for a performance boost. Especially if you have a lot of duplicate pixel layers which causes .psd file to increase in size, and if you edit more than one photo at a time with batch editing, etc. So even though 32GB is a nice thing to have these days, it sometimes isn't enough...at least as PS is concerned. Windows has a file called pagefile.sys and that's the "Scratch Disk" for Windows. 

With a small C: drive, you have to be ANAL on what gets installed on it. With a drive that small, you can't simply click 'next-next-next...ok...ok...next-next...finish' when installing programs. You need to do a custom install and be very specific on what goes where. Unfortunately, there is no single way to install software with a custom install each time, unlike the "Typical" installation routine that almost all software uses today. (Basically, dump everything on a C: HD.)

I wouldn't even bother with a 500GB at this point. That's the smallest HD you would want these days, and those days are numbered when it comes to Windows 10. The problem is, 500GB is not large at all these days. Windows 10 really takes up space, not the OS itself, but all the stinking updates. In fact, when Win 10 goes to a new version, it talks to Microsoft's servers and downloads a WHOLE NEW VERSION of Windows 10 and puts the existing one in a c:\windows.old folder. I recently reformatted a customer's laptop and re-installed the version of Windows 10 that came with it. OK, I thought, no big deal. Well, guess what? After installing that Windows 10 OS, there was 3.1 GB (that's Gigabytes) of updates the first go-around. Then another 500MB of updates thereafter. So 3.5GB worth of updates. Combine that with restore points on your main hard drive, and you have a recipe for full hard drives. This is why I always recommend a 1TB Main Hard Drive at the Minimum when I give out recommendations. Sooner or later a small main drive will come back to give you grief when it runs out of space.

Why does Microsoft do this? Because there will never be a Windows 11, or Windows 12, etc. Microsoft is taking a que from Apple. We have Windows 10, Anniversary Edition. Windows 10 Creators Edition. Windows 10 Fall Creators Edition, etc. etc. I think we are 5 versions into Windows 10 as of right now? Something like that. Think MacOS Yosemite,  MacOS Sierra, MacOS High Sierra, etc. Same difference.

As far as taking the plunge with Windows 10, it's growing on me the more I play with it. The main problem is, Microsoft keeps moving stuff around and burying things with each and every update. So it's challenging to figure out where the new update put stuff. I realize that what I use the average person wouldn't have to worry about, but something as simple as "Devices and Printers" is GONE from the Startup Menu in the current version of Windows 10. Sure, it's still part of Windows, you just have to find it. Microsoft is trying to go in a new direction to where you click the Gear Icon (just like on a Mac for System Preferences,) to get to stuff.

That said, January 7, 2020, Microsoft is abandoning all support for Windows 7. Just like they did with Windows XP. There will be no more security updates and it will be put out to pasture. Same thing goes with Server 2008 & 2008R2. Support for that Server OS ends on January 14, 2020. So eventually, you will have to upgrade to Windows 10 at some point.

What should you do going forward? What is your budget? Are you interested in getting an off-the-shelf computer or upgrading this one? What kind of Power Supply do you have and how many watts is it? The reason I ask is fancy video cards often need a power supply that can support them AND the devices in the computer. Who built you this computer? Are they still around and can help you out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh here is one program that will analyze what is taking up space on your hard drive: https://windirstat.net/

The bigger the color-blob, the more space is being occupied by those files.

Another good one is called TreeSize Free: https://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/

I'm thinking your Windows Updates Folder is getting large and you have restore points that are created when Windows does a major update that is eating up your space. But this is a educated guess, I'd like for you to use one of those programs and report back on what you find.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Brian for your thorough reply.  I had a quick peek at the links you provided, I will try to run one this weekend and report back to you when time allows.  


11 hours ago, Brian said:

What should you do going forward? What is your budget? Are you interested in getting an off-the-shelf computer or upgrading this one? What kind of Power Supply do you have and how many watts is it? The reason I ask is fancy video cards often need a power supply that can support them AND the devices in the computer. Who built you this computer? Are they still around and can help you out?

  Power supply is Thermaltake Power Gold 80Plus 650watts.  I would prefer to upgrade computer I have, just the C: drive to 1TB at this time.  BUT I would like to compare the cost of upgrading everything.  I would like to be specific on my request at the computer shop when I get a quote, so what do you feel would be comparable to my current hardware but an upgrade for:

Power supply? 

Nvida Graphics Card? Currently Ge Force GTX 750ti

Intel Core i7 -4790?

The computer tech I used to deal with is semi retired, doesn't seem to care if he gets business or not.  The new computer place is so busy, they've got the take it or leave it attitude.  So, that's why I'm reaching out to you.  I want to go in with my guns loaded and know what I need.   

Thanks again, Brian!:)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'd upgrade the SSD Drive to a 1TB then. I could recommend a traditional hd, but SSD is faster. Your power supply is fine for a better video card, so those two areas I would upgrade next. A faster CPU is only going to give minor performance boosts when it comes to PS. I would also upgrade the RAM to 32GB if you can. 

Start with the HD first. Get that squared away, then upgrade the RAM, then video card. Unless you are doing 3D stuff in PS or use the liquify tool A LOT, the it makes more sense to do the HD and RAM 1st. 

Oh, stupid question...you are using a digital connection from your computer to your display? Right? (HDMI, DVI-D, DisplayPort, etc.) If you are using the traditional 15-pin VGA cable, save yourself a few hundred bucks, skip the video card, and get a good quality HDMI cable, about $8-$10 from Monoprice.com. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry Brian, just seeing your reply now.  

I haven’t had a chance to run one of the programs yet that you suggested but hope to get to that soon for curiosity sake.  I currently have a 32GB RAM  and the traditional 15-pin VGA cable.   Great suggestion about the HDMI cable,  I never knew this was even an option to be honest.  

 I’m booked in at the computer shop for the 1TB HD upgrade early Jan and will keep an eye on my current video card as the video card seemed to be the culprit for the weird behaviour in PS that prompted my hardware inquiry.  I don’t do anything 3D and will probably use the liquify tool more in time to come, but good to know.

Thanks Brian,  you have been VERY helpful and your time is most appreciated!:). Too bad you don’t have a computer shop close by, I would support your business in a heartbeat!:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since you are using that stupid VGA cable, PLEASE upgrade it to a HDMI Cable before buying a new video card. 

That VGA cable is analog, not digital. Think VHS Tape vs Blu-Ray DVD. I just swapped a Blue Display Cable just a little bit ago at a customer's site. Their monitor was having weird color / text shifting issues and as soon as I swapped the cable, the problem went away. Not the first time that a faulty blue VGA cable was the culprit. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will get better colors, better contrast, better dynamic range and your picture will be sharper if you use a HDMI cable or other digital cable. It's really a big difference. $10. Monoprice.com

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG!!!  I am ridiculous!  I have the DVI digital cable and have been using it all along.  NOT the VGA!  Sorry for the confusion.  I’m good to go.

Edited by candyK
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...