What are Lost Clusters and How To Delete Safely

What are Lost Clusters and How To Delete Safely

This is in response to a group list I am a member of with a real gem here…..
“> Useful tip?
> A link that resolved this problem:
> http://blog.dotsmart.net/2008/06/12/solved-cannot-read-from-the-source-file-or-disk/#comment-1995
>
> I recently had my PC lock up during a defrag which resulted in a corrupted 0
> byte  file on my desktop that I was unable to even ‘delete on next boot’,
> rename etc. Kept getting “Cannot read from the source file or disk” ……

My response……
I have seen in malware removals – specifically spyware installations – that a fragment or piece of the files/registry keys installations left over can cause a similar problem and may be the definition of the actual “unreadable / undeleteable file” . It is called “lost clusters”. When spyware is trying to “hide its tracks” like when using SMTP Mailers or transmissions of any sort of personal data it snooped on, they will cause violent brute force crash/dump/reboots of the system performing mini dumps of communication data and logs etc.  Once they have their information stolen, they really don’t care what happens to the pc stolen from – and always lack sophistication of programming with Windows and are just their best efforts at hacking the system and earn their name “malware”.

My experience with other than the Windows built in Disk Defrag are that they seem to have problems actually performing the task and can cause problems. I do NOT use them. In my experience, they have been created at both the ignorance of the Windows User not knowing that Windows has these accessories already included with Windows and also that the freeware/shareware software utilities always want to promise much faster speeds than Windows Accessories to perform like-tasks.

Computer Maintenance is necessary for optimum healthy performance of the Windows Operating System. In years past to present, at various groups/lists/forums with tech help and malware removal help – too many users balk at this and end up there for help. Novices (newbies, as I once was) do not realize this until way down the line with one helluva slow computer and start looking for help. The newer generation of Windows Users seem entranced with the media eye candy blitz and gaming. Any type of maintenance or security tasks turns a deaf ear in too many cases. In fact, in security products – this ignorance and apathy of Windows Users has given birth to “cloud computing” security products and the step down of the secure Vista system to Windows 7.  Microsoft and the security products industry have catered to these type users as actually a majority. These have done their best to keep these PCs free of malware that affects the entire world web community – networks, ISPs, and consumer PCs – that, if infected, continually pump out spam and malicious wares to infect others and bog down bandwidths and are an expense.

With Lost Clusters (file/key fragments no longer belonging to files or softwares or programs or installations) can and should be cleaned up with Files and Registry Cleaners. This is done with regular Computer Maintenance. This is the one main area that Windows Accessories does not perform adequately. A couple products I have used work well to delete these in clean up sweeps…. the original Trend Micro antispyware had the free included clean up utility that addressed these. I believe it is still part of their newer suite. The Uniblue clean up products in fact have the exact phrase “Lost Clusters” to check in a clean up sweep. A really good ‘Genuine Freeware’ (not ad driven) has been CCleaner used by millions and millions (they accept donations).

Cleaning up junk files should be performed daily – even hourly or per session. “Internet Tracks” are a spyware target. These cleaners also, generally all of them, clear caches as well that free session use memory and speed up navigation instantly. The only dangers is to be careful, specifically, with Windows TEMP files clean up. (This can be done safely with the Windows Accessories / Disk Clean Up time to time – weekly/monthly) and I recommend reading a blog I did on this ….. https://bluecollarpcwebs.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/temporary-internet-files-windows-temp-files-safe-to-delete/ …..briefly, the dangers with these are corrupting a newly installed software or like Windows Update etc. These use these up to a week or so, depending on whether there has been actual use of the new installation.

The whole idea of my reply is not targeted at you, but you have a good topic here and I have added my experience comments that others may read or add to or may have helped. The idea here in my context is that this occurrence may have been easily prevented by ongoing Computer Maintenance tasks that clean these up and add navigation speed and general computer health for optimum safe performance. It takes a while to realize that a desktop computer is kind of like a young or teenage child that needs your attention time to time and can not be ignored.

HERE is the technical definition…..

What is lost cluster? – A Word Definition From the Webopedia ..
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/L/lost_cluster.html
“Also called a lost allocation unit, or a lost file fragment. A data fragment that does not belong to any file, according to the system??s file management system, and, therefore, is not associated with a file name in the file allocation table. Lost clusters can result from files not being closed properly, from shutting down a computer without first closing an application or from ejecting a storage medium, such as a floppy disk, from the disk drive while the drive is reading or writing. ”

In the defrag process, apparently it could not move and assign the lost cluster fragment to any software, file, or program and caused the error message. Again, computer maintenance clean up performed before the defrag process to achieve a tight speedy disk may have prevented this.

Of course this is my opinion from the college of hard knocks in personal experience as not a programmer etc. As well, I have discovered many forums have administrators and moderators that actually run PC Repair Shops or services and have intentionally or ignorantly deliberately given bad advices to these and similar scenarios which then cause further problems down the line or immediately. On the larger scale you can google the “Unscrupulous PC Repair Guy”. They are real scams. They love to use the term “snake oil” for these and malware removal practices and may even recommend never needing antivirus ! Unbelievable.

gerald philly pa usa
webmaster http://bluecollarpc.us/
(Community Help Site)

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