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Why is my XP user profile 3.5 GB in size?


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Did you check if the profile size counter overflows at 4 GB on XP? A quick check of the screenshots on Google showed some where the profile was bigger, but those seemed to be from NT 6. It would be funny if Microsoft never meant for users to have more than 4 GB of My Documents, My Music and My Downloads.

My system partition is 3 GB, so I can't do the experiement. Administrator directory is 339 MB (348 MB with cluster overhead), Local Settings is 83 MB, and Profile Size is 256 MB.

Alacran has good advise. In addition to that, I would also move out the largest application caches and user's %temp% out of the system partition to avoid the file system on C: being slowed down by repeated creation of thousands of temporary files. Maybe Local Settings can be redirected entirely, but that probably has unforeseen consequences, because the data in that directiory is of variable pemanence. I've moved web browser caches out separately. This reduced the file count in the profile to 9100 (macromedia flash cookies, various application presets), which is mostly static unless I add or remove applications that add new files in there.

I have a separate S: Swap partition of 2 GB (which apparently is a problem, because I encountered one modern program that attemted to allocate memory for a DVD's worth of files in Swap), and a T: Temp partition of 10 GB, which can be wiped entirely without lasting effect. Those two could go on the same volume.

Mixing documents with system files always striked me as very odd, but apparently is now the right thing to do on Windows. Logically, only various "settings" which may or may not be part of the Registry, depending on the program, should be stored in that profile.

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6 hours ago, j7n said:

Did you check if the profile size counter overflows at 4 GB on XP? It would be funny if Microsoft never meant for users to have more than 4 GB of My Documents, My Music and My Downloads.

There seems to be some kind of a glitch here (that's what I call it when there's something that seems obviously wrong but I don't have the know-how to figure it out).  As mentioned earlier, despite my My Documents being over 7.5 GB, my user profile size showed as slightly less than half of that at 3.7 GB.  I took everything from My Documents and moved it to a temporary folder outside of my profile folder, but still on the same partition.  As a result, my user profile size shrank to 194 MB.  Just now I did this all again, and also moved the Application Data and Local Settings folders out side of my profile folder, and my profile size was down to 5 MB.  I assumed that would be the case.  Moved everything back and profile size was back to 3.7 GB.

To address your question (here comes the glitch), I copied a 3 GB ISO file into the root of my profile folder, increasing its "right-click > properties" size to almost 11 GB.... but when checking the profile size, it was now DOWN to 2.86 GB.  Huh?  I moved the ISO file to different places within my profile folder, and depending on where I put it, my profile size would vary between the 'new' 2.86 GB and the original 3.7 GB, but I couldn't get it to grow any larger than that.  So even though moving my profile folder's Application Data and Local Settings folders in & out of the main profile folder made its size grow and shrink, ADDING a 3 GB file to either of these folder wouldn't make it grow any larger.

I wasn't motivated to copy any other large files into my profile folder so my 'experiment' stopped there.

Edited by E-66
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