C drive is running out of space on Windows Server 2008 (R2)

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 out of space is bothersome, too. 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 C drive runs out of disk space or becomes full, the best idea is freeing up space and then increase C drive disk space. After reading this page, you’ll know what to do.

Why C drive runs out of 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:

  1. Windows updates, system restore point, hibernation and page file, which are in large size.
  2. Logs, temp, cache, browser .etc, which are in small size but produce continuously to large amount.
  3. 3rd-party applications, which install to C drive by default, even if you install to other drive, some files go to C drive forcedly.
  4. 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 space sooner or later.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Cleanmgr.exe should go in %systemroot%\System32.
  2. 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.

Run disk cleanup

Select C drive in next window.

Select C drive

Select the files you want to delete and proceed.

Select files

More option

Option 2 – delete files manually

If you want to delete files by your self, refer to this page.

Extend C drive to fix low disk space issue

If you cannot reclaim enough free space, you may consider moving free space to C drive from other drives.

Download Partition Assistant Server, right click any drive that has plenty of free space and click “Allocate Free Space”.

Reallocate space

In the pop-up window, type the amount and select C drive in drop-down box.

Select C drive

Press Apply to proceed, done.

Free space added

As you see, by several clicks, 10GB free space moves from drive D to C.

If you cannot free up large amount of free space, you’d better expanding C drive to increase its space, otherwise, C drive runs out of space again in near future. More about this application or download to try.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.