How to fix C drive running out of space on Windows Server 2008 (R2)
Why C drive runs out of space in Server 2008
Many people feedback their Windows Server 2008 C drive is running out of disk space but do not know the best solution. Yes, low disk space is the most common issue in ALL Windows operating system. Even for the experienced server administrators, C drive runs out of space is bothersome indeed. If start from scratch to back up, recreate partitions and restore back, the whole weekend maybe wasted. During this operation, the server disconnect with users.
When there is not enough free space in C drive, the partition shows red when you open My Computer.
Windows also give you an alert on bottom left, asking you to free up disk space.
It is easy to understand, many types of files write to C drive every day, especially when there are many large files, of course C drive runs out of free space very quickly. The files include:
- Windows updates, system restore point, hibernation and page file, which are in large size.
- Logs, temp, cache, browser .etc, which are in small size but produce continuously to large amount.
- 3rd-party applications, which install to C drive by default, even if you install to other drive, some files go to C drive forcedly.
- All files deleted without pressing Shift go to Recycle Bin, which is in C drive.
Even if the C drive is created large to 100GB when building the server, it runs out of free space sooner or later. When C drive running out of space on Windows 2008 Server, the best idea is freeing up space and then increase C drive disk space. After reading this page, you’ll know what to do.
Risk of C drive out of free space
When C drive running low on disk space, you cannot install Windows updates or applications. Some Windows services such as backup stop working. C drive full also cause operating system running much slower, stuck, reboot unexpectedly or even crash. So you’d better fix this issue as soon as possible.
What to do when C drive running out of disk space
When C drive is running out of space, especially when Low Disk Space warning pops up, it means the server is in dangerous situation. The first choice is freeing up space with Windows built-in Disk Cleanup to reclaim some vital free space, bringing the server back to the right way.
Free up space on Server 2008
To free up disk space in Windows Server 2008, there are many options: 3rd-party optimization software, Windows Disk Cleanup, delete files manually. I always suggest to this with Disk Cleanup.
Option 1 – Windows built-in Disk Cleanup
The Disk Cleanup executable file cleanmgr.exe and the associated Disk Cleanup button are not present in Windows Server 2008 (R2) by default. There are two ways to enable the Disk Cleanup tool:
- Installing the Desktop Experience. Go to Programs & Features, and in the Features section, enable/install “Desktop Experience”. By this way, you will need to reboot your server after installing and it installs other components you may do not need on this server.
- Copy some files that are already located on your server into specific system folders.
|Operating System||Architecture||File Location|
|Windows Server 2008 R2||64 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe|
|Windows Server 2008 R2||64 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63\cleanmgr.exe.mui|
|Windows Server 2008||64 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_en-us_b9f50b71510436f2\cleanmgr.exe.mui|
|Windows Server 2008||64 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269\cleanmgr.exe.mui|
|Windows Server 2008||32 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_en-us_5dd66fed98a6c5bc\cleanmgr.exe.mui|
|Windows Server 2008||32 bit||C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_6d4436615d8bd133\cleanmgr.exe|
Once you’ve located the files move them to the following locations:
- Cleanmgr.exe should go in %systemroot%\System32.
- Cleanmgr.exe.mui should go in %systemroot%\System32\en-US.
You can now launch the Disk cleanup tool by running Cleanmgr.exe from the command prompt.
Select C drive in next window.
Select the files you want to delete and proceed.
Option 2 – delete files manually
If you want to delete files by your self, refer to this page.
If you cannot free up large amount of free space, or system C drive was created too small, you’d better expand C drive to increase its disk space, otherwise, C drive runs out of space again in near future. With server partition software, you can transfer free space from other drives into C drive without losing data.
Fix C drive out of space issue by resizing partitions
Step 1: Download and install NIUBI Partition Editor, right click drive D: and click “Resize/Move Volume“.
Step 2: In the pop-up window, drag the left border rightwards to generate free Unallocated space.
Click OK and back to the main window, where 20GB Unallocated space created behind C: drive.
Step 3: Right click C drive and select “Resize/Move Volume” again, in the pop-up window, drag the right border rightwards to hold the Unallocated space.
Click OK and back to the main window, where C drive extended to 50GB by holding the 20GB free space from D. Press Apply on top left to execute, done!
If there is plenty of free space in D, you may take more free space out and add into C drive. If there is not enough free space in D, you may get free space from other drive in the same disk.
Video guide to reallocate free space on Windows Server 2008
(Recommend full screen by clicking the square at bottom right of this video)
When C drive runs out of space in Windows Server 2008 (R2), try to free up disk space and expand C drive with free space in other partitions.