Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2014 March 2

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March 2[edit]

Clean up SSD and use HD as desktop[edit]

I have an ASUS laptop with corei7 running Windows 7. It has a 100G SSD and a 1T hard drive.

First, the SSD has only 11G available out of 85G. How can I figure out what is taking up all that space? (Excpet for 17G in video files I have on the desktop for expected viewing, all my data files have ben moved to the HD. Is it the backup files I haven't deleted taking up so much effing space? I empty my caches, defragment, and clean off unused files from the desktop very regularly.

Second, how can I switch my C:\ and E:\ drives, so that the C drive runs my programs and startup, but that the E drive becomes my desktop and the target for my downloads?

Thanks. μηδείς (talk) 04:53, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

1 To check what takes up room on C: I first set folder options to make both hidden and system files visible. Then, starting with the C: root and working downwards I check properties. There are file managers out there that can help, but I have not found any that helps me enough, so I do it old-school.
2 Setting E:\downloads\ as the download location needs to be done on an application-by-application basis.For example, with Google Chrome, it can be set in advanced settings.
When installing new programs, try to set the installation path to E for most programs to save space on C.I have no easy answers for the rest of your questions. I hope this helps. Star Lord - 星王 (talk) 08:01, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I use Space Sniffer to find out what is chewing up space. Kudos to the developer for an excellent utility. Sandman1142 (talk) 16:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, good advice. I would not have thought of making the hidden files visible. I understand about switching the target drive/file for downloads, and that this must be done by browser. I check out space sniffer.

  • I am still curious, is there someway to make the E:\ drive my desktop directly?
I wish I knew. However, I avoid putting files directly on the desktop for other reasons. Instead I make links to the D-drive, both of files and folders. I often see to it that the folders have different Icons for each recognition. If one has files directly on the desktop, it slows down the computer. Star Lord - 星王 (talk) 17:24, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I hate just letting the browser decide where to file a download, so I have everything (about a dozen files a day) go to the desktop where I don't have to search for them, then I sort them and move them to a permanent file I have set up somewhere. I know a lot of people who will download a file named something like dvgw77rnev-08 and then never be able to find that pretty picture of a flower again. In any case, I am still curious if I can actually make the e:\ drive the desktop, rather than having a shortcut I always have to open to access it. μηδείς (talk) 17:37, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
It was possible on some earlier versions of Windows mucking about with the registry. However, it would come with a performance penalty. The desktop would refresh slower, and this would slow down everything. Star Lord - 星王 (talk) 18:24, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, thanks, I could see that being either really easy, or really problematic. I have saved another 10G by deleting Chrome, Sim City, and my DVD player Cache based on Sandman's advice of downloading and using space sniffer. Looks like there are 20G behind the backup system. I'm going to go by an external drive now to create a cop and then delete it from the SSD. μηδείς (talk) 19:05, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
WinDirStat is a decent free-software utility for looking at disk usage.
You can move special folders like Desktop and Downloads by right-clicking on the folder in Explorer, choosing Properties, going to the Location tab, and changing the path there. All software that uses those folders should pick up the change. -- BenRG (talk) 21:39, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Basically, just overtype the C:\ with E:\? If I do that and there's a problem can I simply just reverse it back to C:\ and expect everything to go back to normal?
Yes good advice by Ben. I usually change the properties of Documents so the clutter is stored away from C:. You'd be surprised at what uses that folder: My Games, My Music, etc. I'm still wondering why you download anything to the desktop? This makes it cluttered and because of Windows' insistence on checking each link on the desktop, at any opportunity it gets, slows your computer down. Internet Explorer will let you 'save as', and under Chrome's advanced settings you can change your default download folder. Sandman1142 (talk) 10:02, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
WinDirStat and TreeSize are good for showing where the big files and folders are. I prefer the former. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 06:20, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
As with others, I don't understand the logic of downloading everything to the desktop. The solution to avoid losing files would be to be have a single consistent download location and there's no reason this has to be the desktop. The point is to be consistent. And IIRC the desktop hasn't been the default storage target for downloads most browsers for a long time so I presume you chose this location a while back. In any case, I believe Internet Explorer still follows the last location chose as being default otherwise it would be in the IE settings somewhere. I presume it's the same for Safari.
You could always create a shortcut on the desktop to this location if you're used to being able to use the desktop to find them. And it reduces clutter on the desktop if you have your unsorted downloads in a directory (perhaps called 'unsorted downloads') linked from but not stored on your desktop rather than storing them on the desktop with whatever else is there which you then have every time you want to sort your downloads.
I don't really understand the logic of storing video files you want to watch on the desktop or more generally the SSD when you have a 1TB HD either. You may get some minor powersavings while watching these videos presuming the HD powers down but it doesn't seem likely to be worth it particularly with a relatively small SSD and the fact that you are thinking of storing the desktop on the HD suggests this isn't a concern.
If you really don't want to have to go through the bother of a single extra step of opening a directory from your desktop to see your videos, and don't want to use an external program like MediaPortal with appropriate plugins to automatically manage your video collection, you could always make shortcuts to the videos on your desktop. That is after all one of the purposes of the desktop, as a place for shortcuts/links. For most cases a shortcut is good enough but you could always use symbolic links if it's not (I'm presuming your data partition is NTFS).
Nil Einne (talk) 12:05, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
A simple search shows many ways that this can be done. There are also registry modifications that can achieve the same kind of thing. Astronaut (talk) 13:30, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, just because it's such an object of curiosity, I use several browsers, and have them all download to the desktop. They fill up the left of the screen. On the right I have various folders: (downloaded) images, wallpaper, music videos, family fotos, linguistic pdf's, scientific pdf's, Shakespeare adaptations, full-length films. and current shows I am watching like The Practice, Dracula, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, etc.
Once a day or so, I will either watch or read various files, or decide to delete them. The ones I want saved I put into the relevant target file. I then merge this file with the one saved on the E drive (or place it there if one doesn't already exist.) Then, once I have watched all the shows or merged them onto the E drive I either erase the contents of the file on the desktop entirely (for The Neighbors or Bob's Burgers, for example, or save them on the E drive (Breaking Bad for example) and erase them from the desktop.
This results in me have pending to watch or to read files very easily accessible, without a search, on the desktop, and only totally sorted things I want archived on the E drive. Having cleaned up my desktop recently with several hours attention and using the good advice above I have gone from habitually having only 5 out of 100G avail, to having over 20G avail. I assume that once I delete the backup files, having put them on an external drive, only the desktop and the boot/system/program files will be on the SSD, with a good 40 or 50G avail.
This will mean I will only have to do a sorting of my desktop at my convenience, rather than daily. The alternative seems to be to have several doawnloads files not immediately visible on the desktop full of unsorted unwatched or read material which will need looking for and sorting through with more effort and less clarity.
If I could use my E drive as my desktop, and my C drive only for system and program files it would seem eve easier and faster, since the program and system files on C (the SSD) wouldn't be competing with the data files on E and the E desktop. I amy be wrong in regards to this. but the computer is never slow or crashes unless there's an external problem or I have 40 open files. So I figured having the E drive as the desktop location might help. μηδείς (talk) 22:58, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

NEMA 1-15 P to USB rather than the other way around[edit]

All sorts of smaller devices use USB connectors to charge the battery from standard home electrical outlets (NEMA 1-15 P in the USA). Does the opposite exist? I have a hand crank USB charger and would like to plug in a device that uses a standard plug. Specifically looking for links to products or maybe an electrical rationale as to why I can't find it. Thanks! --— Rhododendrites talk |  16:14, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Such a device would be mostly useless. The most one can draw from a USB3 port is 5A at 5V DC, and a device with a NEMA power would expect AC, so the device would require a power inverter to produce AC. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 17:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
@Finlay McWalter: - So, basically, there are ways to limit power but not to boost power without a separate power source? The reason for this question was a basic, tiny, led light that happens to use ac power. Yes, I know there are other options, but let's say I want to use this one. It seems very little current would be required, so in that case wouldn't a device like this work? --— Rhododendrites talk |  19:41, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Someone could build one, but there's no market for one to be made commercially. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:08, 9 March 2014 (UTC)