Help with a Windows 2003 Server

I’ve been given the task to maintain a Windows 2003 server since the other technician who did this is no longer available. The machine itself is host for an old accounting application that the client needs for some more years.
I am used to Windows and have some experience with it, but I have entered a problem that I cannot solve:
Every day an application called FreeArc (compression application that was best in class several years ago) compress things on this machine, and it creates temporary files about 7 GB large. Every week or so I need to delete these files manually, or the machine will run out of space.

The problem:
I have looked everywhere to stop this behavior, but I can’t find any kind of service that runs FreeArc, and I can’t access the autoexec.bat or config.sys files (I only see empty space, suggesting that I have no privilege or that I’m looking at the wrong files).
I don’t want to delete the app itself, because I might need it to uncompress files in the future.

The question:
Where should I look? How can I turn off FreeArc without deleting the app?

I know I’m at a Mac centric forum, but I also know there are a lot of smart people here, whereas many knows the inside of Windows…

Input appreciated,

First check the binary and make sure it is not fake/infected. Malware often masquerades on compromised systems by assuming the identity of common utilities.

It task you cannot track down when/how it is running, considering getting known safe new copy of the app archived offline, then delete the problematic app.

That should flush out what task or command file is using it, and you can restore it, if appropriate to still have it running.

I empathize with your situation, and not knowing the situational details, I don’t want to second guess, but in my former career in IT/indie support, I would never assume responsibility for a system unless the backup and recovery/restore mechanism for the server was in place and documented.

I know it i hard to draw a line in the sand, but otherwise someone else’s mistakes and problems are now yours and you are starting from a weak position without a known baseline and fallback position.

We used to call this “being set up to fail”.

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Thanks for your input Spiv! :+1:

The original tech guy (my former collegue) got a stroke and that’s why he don’t work anymore, but he was extremely thorough, so there’s no need assuming something is effed up (the server is behind two firewalls as well and I’m connecting via VPN).
I just want the server to live a few more years before I shut it down…

I will compress the FreeArc app as a ZIP, and then delete it, maybe that will stop this thing. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

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Have you looked in

[username]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

If I recall correctly, Windows Server of that era had a Task Scheduler GUI in Control Panel – basically the Windows version of cron. Check there if your predecessor did not perhaps set up a task to run the compression.

Edit: here is the documentation

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I have now. Only the desktop.ini file.

BTW, FreeArc seems to be loaded when the system starts, since it’s available in all right menus:

I know there must be a service that is started with this system that I have missed! :grimacing:

Yes, you may be correct!
It’s called Scheduled Task, and see what’s here: :partying_face:


I’ll now try and disable these, one at a time, starting with the most obvious one.

I’ll keep you guys updated.


Good to hear. I would start planning the server’s retirement soon.

Given it has been an “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation, getting attention from a budget perspective and possible complications of running down rev OS and a legacy app, probably will take time and “soon” might be six months or more to execute a safe and deliberate solution.

I’ve found the 3 scripts that created the FreeArc archives!
Since I have another way of backuping this machine, I have turned off the FreeArc stuff and now I don’t have to worry about deleting files anymore.

Thanks to all posters, awesome work! :hugs: :+1:

(PS. Regarding retirement – The server has one job, and that is to be available for the economy department when they want to look at old numbers. Anything else will cost too much. The client is aware that it may fall apart any given second. (Even though it should stay tuned as long as I don’t try to mess with it.) DS.)


Good to hear.

Given that use case, have you considered virtualizing the server - or maybe you have done that already?

If this server hosts static archived data, then once you have a working virtualized server with a couple backup copies off-site, you should be permanently bullet-proof without the risk of ever losing either the data or the server.

Yes, it’s virtualized. I have fresh copies of the VM so I hope I’m good. :crossed_fingers:

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