Where Did My Server’s Disk Space Go?

Every server administrator, at one time or another, has probably built a server image with a small primary partition housing the operating system/ possibly applications (raises hand)  and in hindsight wishes they hadn’t.

With the prevalence of virtual machines now in many IT environments, it is a lot easier to expand the disk either if you get into trouble, but chances are you still have a few physical servers left in your environment (domain controllers, backup servers, etc). So what do you do when you start to see that low disk warning?

Short term solutions for freeing up space
  • Run a disk cleanup
  • Compress large folders (check the contents before attempting this)
  • Remove $folders under the %systemroot&:\windows dir – typically these folders are uninstallers for updates/patches
  • Remove unneeded logs files – search for text files with a .log extension.
  • Remove everything from the download folder located @ %systemroot%\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download – this is the temp location where patches are extracted to.
  • Run Windirstat
    • This is an awesome lightweight application that divulges disk usage statistics.
Long Term Solutions for adding additional space
  • If you have the additional disk space, run a partition expanding application (I prefer Acronis). Take a full backup before you attempt this.
  • Plan better – I’m not saying make the primary partition a 100G, but be more conscious of what will be installed in the future .

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