Viruses in deleted emails cannot do a Lazarus
by George Skarbek

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Q: Of late I am getting two or three spam emails a day and usually one or more of them contain a virus as detected by anti-virus software. I always permanently delete the emails. My question is: what happens to these emails that I permanently delete? Are they, together with the included virus still on my hard drive? Should I be worried about them?

A: For all practical purposes they are gone and you should not be worried. They do exist somewhere on the hard disk but cannot be activated as the directory entries pointing to these files no longer exist. Most likely the File Allocation Table entry will have marked the space occupied by them as being free and it will be over-written in the future.


Q: My C drive is close to overloaded. I have a partitioned 80 GB hard drive of which 15 GB is the C drive. I have no idea why there is so much stored on this drive. The only directories I have there are Documents & Settings and a few others. A check reveals that the bulk of the space is taken up by Documents & Settings - 9 GB. However, when I check each sub-directory within that directory - there is no tallying between the amount of space each sub-directory takes up and the total. Program Files adds to only about 1 GB. Windows adds up to about 2.6 GB. The remainder is a mystery as I have only 550 MB left to work with. I am trying to figure out a way to get rid of any non-essential or duplicated files on the C drive, but do not know where to start. Any ideas on how I can identify what is taking up all this space? Can I repartition the drive to give me more space on the C drive?

A: I will answer the last part first. Windows won't let you alter the size of the partition without deleting all information on both drives. There are software programs such as Partition Magic by Symantec, that re-partition your drive without any loss of data.

To find where your data is, right-click on each folder and select Properties to see where the large folders are, or use a good program such as TreeSize from to get a clear picture of where the space is being used.

To free up space, you can move the Temporary Internet files to the other drive; this should save about 1 GB. From Internet Explorer click on Tools, Internet Options, Temporary Internet files, Settings and Move Folder.

Second, move the Swap File to the other drive. In Windows XP this is done by Clicking on Start, Settings, Control Panel, System (or Windows key + Pause/Break key) then click on the Advanced tab, Performance Settings, Advanced; under Virtual Memory click Change and select the drive. You should not need to alter the file size, but if you do you should make it at least 1.5 times your RAM. Remove the Swap file from Drive C. Check that you have not made any errors and then ignore the dire warnings after you click OK.

If you use Outlook Express, you can free a lot of disk space by compacting the mail folders. Delete unwanted sent or received files, empty the Deleted items, then from File, Folder, select Compact All Folders. If you have large programs installed, such as Microsoft Office, you can un-install it and re-install on the other drive, but you may have to set up the programs to look for the data on Drive C.

To look at the book, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here