WinXP and "lost" disk space

I recently deleted a folder that contained about 12,000 files totalling an approximate 16 gigs. However, Windows somehow failed to mark the space as “free”, so the disk still has only about 3 gigs of free space. I’ve emptied the recycle bin, ran scandisk, ran chkdsk /F but nothing seems to help. Does anyone have any ideas? The disk uses NTFS and the disk type is set as “Dynamic”.

I ran a program that walks through the whole filesystem (including system and hidden files) and calculates the total size of all files. It verifies, that indeed there should be 16 gigs more empty space.

And of course, just after I posted, I noticed that there is a 16 gig “restore point” under System Volume Information… It didn’t show up because my user account (although it is an admin account) didn’t have read access to the System Volume Information folder. sigh Live and learn.

EDIT: I wonder why the files ended up there, though. I haven’t manually created a system restore point in ages.

Post suggesting you wipe the disk and reinstall windows, just to be sure.

Post suggesting that XP sucks anyway.

Post linking to original metacommentary thread, snarkily phrased.

Post indicating that no, a version of Washington Post Buys Slate for a different subforum is a perfectly acceptable and, in fact, welcome development.

post encouraging people to get the thread to five pages long before the original poster logs in again.

Post pointing out that, unlike WPBS, every post in this thread actually starts with the word “post,” indicating that these posts are actually describing themselves, rather than acting as vague placeholders for posts that would normally go in their place, so this is really pretty different after all.

But still kind of the same.

By default, XP will automatically create system restore points every so often (seems to be once a day on my system), keeping as many as it can within a certain disk space limit. The limit is tunable, but I can’t remember exactly where; it should be somewhere under My Computer->Properties.

Post not starting with the word “post”, disproving previous assertion to the contrary.

Post giving the hairy eyeball to poster who dares remain on topic in a meta-poo thread.

Post exhorting meta-poo threads as a good way of increasing thread length and girth, especially for flaccid threads

Post pointing out the lack of the word penis in previous post exhorting meta-poo threads as a way of increasing thread length and girth.

Post reciting lyrics of Monty Python’s “Finland” song.

Post expressing bewilderment and confusion, but nevertheless attempting to join the meta-fun.

Post advertising Relacore, to control Cortisol, a nasty little stress hormone that causes stubborn belly fat and FDA warnings about fraudulent advertising.

Outdated post worshipping the values of Linux and the FSF

Post exhorting previous poster to get with the “begin sentence with word ‘post’” program.

Post, edited, specifying which version of linux is best, including a giant tongue emote for above poster’s snarky comment

Post stating disbelief that Monthy Python actually thought Finland worthy of a song.