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Disk cleanup in Vista: BE WARNED

Old 02-12-08, 11:15 AM
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Disk cleanup in Vista: BE WARNED

Hi,

The disk cleanup wizard in Vista (all versions as far as I can tell) has a very serious bug, with potentially disastrous consequences. Please be aware. Here is what happened to a friend of mine:

He ran disk cleanup. It reported about 85 gigabyte of data in "per user queued windows error ...". This is strange because there was only about 25 gigabyte of diskspace used on his harddisk. He went ahead and ran disk cleanup anyways.

After disk cleanup was finished (took over 15 minutes), almost all of the executables (.exe) on his harddisk were wiped. His entire "start" button was empty. Only the core of windows was still working. Worst yet, all his data that was in "standard" directories (my documents etc) were simply DELETED, and his firefox email was deleted as well. Interestingly enough, data that was in "non-standard" directories (he saves his wordperfect data in c:\wordperfect) was left untouched.

This appears to be a bug in vista, as per the following websites:
http://www.pctools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49377
http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=537951

Many other blogs and forums reference similar behaviour. I would strongly recommend not using disk cleanup until Microsoft has addressed this issue.

YMMV
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Old 02-12-08, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LolaRennt
I would strongly recommend not using Vista until Microsoft has addressed this issue.

YMMV

Fixed.
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Old 02-12-08, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mopower
Fixed.
beat me to it...

that is one serious error amongst many... many of them...
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Old 02-12-08, 11:59 AM
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The real issue here is significant data loss. I can understand that a new OS is buggy, and could crash regularly (really shouldn't, but ok), the problem here is that the OS just eats itself alive, and all user data along with it, leaving the computer in a useless state, forcing the user to reinstall, and try and find his data back from backups if he is so lucky to have those.

I would consider this one of the most severe problems with Vista. Actually, I have never heard of any other release of windows or any other OS to do something like this. Unforgivable!
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Old 02-12-08, 12:04 PM
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Those links don't really seem to provide a whole lot of evidence. The first one doesn't seem to have a lot of info and might result from the use of a 3rd party program Registry Corrupter. On the 2nd, the user looks like they were using vLite which strips Vista of a lot of it's extra programs to make the install smaller, and another person there mentioned Registry Corrupter.

It sounds like something is removing a particular registry key that's causing the problem. Some shotty work on Microsoft's part if that's all it takes to screw with it, but also related to registry cleaners. I'll play with it on my Vista install when I get home.

EDIT: Why does typing in registry "mechanic" change the word to corrupter?
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Old 02-12-08, 12:51 PM
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Always backup your data before doing any system maintenance.
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Old 02-12-08, 12:58 PM
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i never ran the wizard in XP either

doesn't take too much to delete the files yourself
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Old 02-12-08, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fumanstan
Those links don't really seem to provide a whole lot of evidence. The first one doesn't seem to have a lot of info and might result from the use of a 3rd party program Registry Corrupter. On the 2nd, the user looks like they were using vLite which strips Vista of a lot of it's extra programs to make the install smaller, and another person there mentioned Registry Corrupter.
Many people seem to be having this same issue with a clean install of Vista: install OS, run disk cleanup, everything dead. I have read that indeed some registry key seems to be causing all this, but I think it is clear that Microsoft really dropped the ball here. On top of that, there is nowhere a mention in MS website about this, so they are just trying to hide it, and likely will roll a fix for it in the first service pack, hoping that not too many people will have this issue.

Very very shady on their end. There should be a critical update to fix this as soon as it was discovered. Now, they appear to be hiding in a little corner.
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Old 02-12-08, 02:31 PM
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what is the point of running disk cleanup for a brand new install?
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Old 02-12-08, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by LolaRennt
Many people seem to be having this same issue with a clean install of Vista: install OS, run disk cleanup, everything dead. I have read that indeed some registry key seems to be causing all this, but I think it is clear that Microsoft really dropped the ball here. On top of that, there is nowhere a mention in MS website about this, so they are just trying to hide it, and likely will roll a fix for it in the first service pack, hoping that not too many people will have this issue.

Very very shady on their end. There should be a critical update to fix this as soon as it was discovered. Now, they appear to be hiding in a little corner.
There probably isn't any word from Microsoft because its not a widespread problem. Other then what looks like a few forum posts, there isn't a whole lot on it. I'm not saying it isn't a MS problem, but I haven't seen any other evidence that its anything other then registry cleaners causing the problem. I did a quick test on a VM of Vista Business here at work, and the clean install seems just fine. I'll try and see if I can delete the registry key and force the error.

But this post from CNet's forums seem to sum up the problem:

"The problem with this "bug" is that the Folder key is missing from the registry entries which leaves Disk cleanup with no specified folder to look for the error files.
Because of this you get the message that you have xxGB of error files that can be deleted.

Try it if you don't believe me, you can specify whatever Folder you want and it'll check that folder when you run disk cleanup.

I'm sure you're good at what you do, but in this case it's simple.
Now, HOW the key got deleted/modified is another question. I have found that regsupreme and registry mechanic both remove the key from my registry. But, this time i know how to fix it!"

I'd call MS shady for other reasons, but I don't think they're purposely hiding anything here
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Old 02-12-08, 03:14 PM
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My solution: use Crap Cleaner instead of the Windows app.
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Old 02-12-08, 03:30 PM
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Did a quick test deleting one of the registry keys from Vista's registry and sure enough, it bricked the OS.

It definitely seems like it's a 3rd party cleaner removing a key its not supposed to.
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Old 02-12-08, 05:47 PM
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so
he had 25 gigs used.. it said it was going to free up 85 gigs..
and he figured, what the hell, ill go ahead and run that

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Old 02-12-08, 05:48 PM
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Thanks for doing that test, fumanstan. Agreed, it looks like Microsoft is not trying to hide anything, but one of their own tools literally eats their own operating system, and tons and tons of user data. It's up to them to fix it now, and up until then, I will stay away from disk cleanup as far as humanly possible.
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Old 02-12-08, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by twikoff
so
he had 25 gigs used.. it said it was going to free up 85 gigs..
and he figured, what the hell, ill go ahead and run that
Here is where one needs to make the difference between end user and expert user. You as an expert user catches on these things. You are one of the lucky 5% out there.

End users don't know these things, and shouldn't be expected to know this. They simply use a program provided by the operating system, and should expect it to work as advertised.

I would not put the blame on the end user in this instance.
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Old 02-12-08, 05:58 PM
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wasnt really meant to be insulting.. i just find it funny
but there is a big difference between being an 'expert user' and having common sense

and if you think its 5%, you should see what the average 13 year old knows about computers these days
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Old 02-12-08, 06:10 PM
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I call bullshit. Just did it and everything is a-ok USA.
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Old 02-12-08, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by twikoff
wasnt really meant to be insulting.. i just find it funny
but there is a big difference between being an 'expert user' and having common sense

and if you think its 5%, you should see what the average 13 year old knows about computers these days
the people in the links were dumb enough to use some shady third party tools and are now crying it's microsoft's fault
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Old 02-12-08, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rival11
I call bullshit. Just did it and everything is a-ok USA.
I have to agree. I have had Vista since last May. I run the Disk Cleanup ever third day. It must be some third party software screwing about the registry.
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Old 02-12-08, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LolaRennt
Thanks for doing that test, fumanstan. Agreed, it looks like Microsoft is not trying to hide anything, but one of their own tools literally eats their own operating system, and tons and tons of user data. It's up to them to fix it now, and up until then, I will stay away from disk cleanup as far as humanly possible.
Actually, I was alluding more to the fact that it isn't Microsoft's fault. Their software seems to work fine; it's other programs screwing with it that need to be patched or fixed.
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Old 02-13-08, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by twikoff
wasnt really meant to be insulting.. i just find it funny
but there is a big difference between being an 'expert user' and having common sense

and if you think its 5%, you should see what the average 13 year old knows about computers these days
Vista was and still is, touted to be IDIOT-PROOF. Microsoft was marketing it as such, and said it would do everything but blow you at night and walk the dog. All those images of kids and family and daddy and mommy on the computer certainly eluded to this.

If the user didn't do anything such as unchecking important protocols, then I say it's not his fault. It's on Microsoft. Blaming 3rd party apps all day won't help anything. Hell, we got apps online one day, and in a few months, no longer supported and the website is gone. It's up to MS to protect users from all of these "3rd Party" apps that could do this kind of damage.
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Old 02-13-08, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
If the user didn't do anything such as unchecking important protocols, then I say it's not his fault. It's on Microsoft. Blaming 3rd party apps all day won't help anything.
According to a post upthread, the third party app in question is vLite, a program for disabling Vista components, essentially a power tool for not just unchecking important protocols, but removing them from the Window's installation entirely.
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Old 02-13-08, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Rival11
I call bullshit. Just did it and everything is a-ok USA.

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Old 02-13-08, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rival11
I call bullshit. Just did it and everything is a-ok USA.
Hi Rival,

I am happy that it worked fine for you (and many other users as well). Please do not call bullshit on this though, because it is a real problem.

Granted, the problem only arises in certain situations (which your machine is not part of) so hopefully most people will not have the issue.

Some users have the right (wrong?) conditions, and they WILL lose data. I think it has been documented enough on the internet that the problem exists.

I was wrong blaming it entirely on Microsoft. It appears to be a third party that initiates the situation (deleting a key in the registry). However, it IS Microsoft's' responsibility that disk cleanup misbehaves. Their software should at least check for the presence of the key, and stop disk cleanup if it doesn't exist.

To call bullshit because it works fine on your machine is parallel to calling airline safety nonsense because your flight happened to land without issues. Other planes do have problems, you just happen to be lucky.

my 2 cents
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Old 02-13-08, 06:17 PM
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Uh, ok. I was just calling bullshit.....that's all.

Wepaman - I was waiting for someone to catch that
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