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Why is my hard drive being filled up when I am not installing anything? How would I find out the cause, e.g. is it malware, a hacker, or potentially something else?

Every few days I come home to find I have lost a few gigs off my hard drive storage space, but cannot find what has been saved/installed to my hard drive. Is there a way to see everything that has been saved to my hard drive in the last few days? I am using Windows 7 with an internal hard drive.

I have tried checking my installed programs to see if anyone has been installing new programs without my consent and there are no new installs.

I have gone through my existing programs to see what info they are saving to my hard drive and it does not account for the amount I am losing.

I have come to the conclusion that someone is using and saving information to my hard drive or a hacker has got in to my pc and using it for storage or as extra processing power and space to run a programs.

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  • This may help stackoverflow.com/questions/9234207/…
    – zedman9991
    Jan 28, 2015 at 19:09
  • intelliadmin.com/index.php/2008/03/…
    – Jeff Ferland
    Jan 28, 2015 at 21:21
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    I personally think this question is on topic because it is asking about an anomalous behavior (e.g. the hard drive is being filled up fairly quickly), which is potentially being done by malware, a hacker, or perhaps an unusual situation with the system logs.
    – Jonathan
    Jan 28, 2015 at 21:25
  • Its sorta in the grey area between Stackoverflow and infoSec it has elements relating to both, as Jonathan mentioned. Jan 29, 2015 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

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I would recommend the freeware called Recuva by Piriform, I have used this software with clients as well as in the past in organizations I have worked for in their IT Dept.

This software works to look at data on the hard drive that might be deleted

https://www.piriform.com/recuva

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In addition to the other suggestions, a disk visualization program like WinDirStat might help you track down what is using your storage space. And if you suspect that your machine might have malware, it can't hurt to run a full system scan with an anti-malware program or two.

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One thing to consider is that system logs could be filling the hard drive space, although this is a lot of space for a system log to be filling. You may want to search your event logs for anything out of the ordinary.

Some versions of Windows (and probably other operating systems) allow you to search files by recent changes, and list all the files changed in the last x days. In Windows 7, you can open Windows Explorer (e.g. the folder), then click on the search field, then search by "date modified". You might want to also tell it to search your C drive (or whatever your hard drive is). This may help you get to the bottom of your mystery.

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