Computers Software Windows 8

Microsoft’s search indexer ate my hard drive!

Computer Blow UpRecently I was starting to get low on space on the boot drive of my desktop PC. The boot drive is a 128 Gb SDD so there is not that much space on it. Most of my stuff is kept on my second drive which is a 2 Tb traditional disk drive. Unfortunately there are some stuff, especially with Windows 8 that you do not seem to be able to move from the C: drive. As usual someone have not thought beyond their own little cubicle at Microsoft. Then there are of course stuff you want to have on the SDD drive for speed reasons.

Anyway, when my Pulseway monitoring (that is quite a nice and useful tool by the way) repeatedly told me that I was below 20% capacity on the drive and after I had removed (or so I thought) as much as possible from it I decided to enable drive compression. The drive contains mostly binaries so it would not give me an enormous amount of course but it was good enough. I got a bit more than 10 Gb more space which is perhaps a 15% improvement.

However, the next day I got another Pulseway alert stating that my boot drive was full. What the f…? Obviously all kind of bad things happened when the drive was almost full. My file history started to moan that I had to reselect my file history volume for example. Why is beyond me since it was on another drive with lots of space. I went about and tried to free up some more space but the free space started to get chewed up as I watched.

What was worse was that when I summed up the space used it did not match what appeared to be really used, even though I have the system set to show me hidden and system files. Finally I found some advice from people who had similar experiences which enabled me to resolve the problem.

It turned out that the search indexer had simply gone amok. Unfortunately some genius at Microsoft had decided that the files used by the search indexer would not show up, even with hidden and system files turned on, until you actually went to the folder (provided you knew where it was) and specifically told the system to show them. It turned out that it had gobbled up about 40Gb of a 128 Gb drive! That is just insane!

Search Index LocationLuckily it is easy enough to relocate the indexers data files to another drive from the control panel so I quickly moved it to my second drive and suddenly I had plenty of space on the drive again. However it is really shoddy programming that the indexer can be allowed to grind the system to a halt by absorbing all the free space on the boot drive. Even if it went amok with the indexing it should not have been allowed to consume that much. There should have been some safety that stopped it when some percentage of the drive was left. Someone less at ease with poking around with a computer’s settings would have been thoroughly screwed.

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