How to reclaim/free up disk space in Windows Server 2016?

The most common issue in Windows Server 2016 is C drive running out of space and getting full, so there is not enough free space to install critical Windows update, applications. If C drive becomes full, some Windows services stop working, the server may reboot unexpectedly or crash. In this situation, do something as fast possible. The first thing you should do is freeing up disk space, by doing this, you can reclaim disk space and increase free space in C drive. However, not every server can free up large amount of free space, as supplementary, you can expand C drive by taking free space from other drives. In this article I’ll show you how to free up disk space in Windows Server 2016, and add more free space into C drive.

Benefits to free up disk space

By freeing up disk space, you can delete the unused files to reclaim free space. As I said above, low disk space is dangerous to a server, if you can reclaim precious free space, the server will back to the right way. This problem can be solved temporarily. Freeing up space is very useful especially for the server that never did this operation.

Imperfection of freeing up space

  1. To free up disk space, there are many choices, such as Windows built-in CleanUp utility, 3rd-party optimization software or do it by yourself. Except Windows Cleanup utility, there may be potential risk of losing data.
  2. It may cost a long time to complete the task.
  3. Most of the computers cannot free up large amount of free space, so you’ll face to the same issue in near future. To completely solve this problem, you’d better add more free space to C drive.

How to free up space?

I have used the built-in Cleanup utility in most of the Windows editions MANY times. To me, it is good. Here I won’t introduce other ways such as using 3rd party software or deleting files manually, as I said above, there is potential risk of losing data. I always recommend free up space with Windows CleanUp.

Steps to free up disk space in Windows Server 2016:

Step 1: Open Windows Explorer, right click C drive and select “Properties“.

Step 2: Click “Disk Cleanup“, (you may also click the option to compress this drive to save disk space).

Disk Cleanup

Step 3: In next window, click the check-box in front of the files you want to clean.

Select files

Step 4: Click OK and confirm this operation.


Step 5: Switch to More Options tab, where you can uninstall program and delete System Restore/Shadow Copy files.

More option

If you can free up large amount of free space, glad to stop here. Otherwise, you’d better continue the following steps.

Add free space into C drive

You can get free space from other drives and add into C drive within few steps. This operation can be done within half an hour to several minutes if you use right tool.

Step 1. Download and install NIUBI Partition Editor, right click volume D and select “Resize/Move Volume“.

Select Resize

Step 2: In the pop-up window, drag left border rightwards to take free space out from D.

Shrink d drive

Drag to shrink

Click OK and back to the main window, 20GB Unallocated space created behind C: drive.

Unallocated created

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.

Extend C drive

Extend C

Step 4: Click OK and back to the main window, C drive increased to 60GB by adding free space from D. Click Apply on top left to execute, done.

C drive extended

If there is not enough free space in D, simply get from other drives, check the video.

If you created C drive too small, or cannot free up plenty of space in Server 2016, you’d better expand C drive to increase free space, otherwise C drive will become full in near future.

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