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Running out of disk space.

I am really hoping some of you very knowledgeable people can help. I have a long running Windows Server 2008 R2 where the C drive is nearly at capacity. I need more space to enable my system to continue. What may I safely delete from WINSXS and/or SOFWARE DISTRIBUTION and how? What about old downloaded update files? where are they and can they be removed.
Many thanks

UK, United Kingdom

I would start with Ccleaner. It usually finds quite a lot of junk, and it makes the process a lot safer. The free version is fine.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I use treesize to monitor disk usage

pmh, Denmark

Additionally, it is cheap and easy to clone to a bigger disk.

If you do, get an SSD, it improves performance fantastically, like having a new computer. My lappie went from unusably slow to nearly instant response.

Last Edited by Timothy at 16 Aug 07:53
EGKB Biggin Hill

Indeed. I use SSDs on every machine I build nowadays. However I use only the “pro” grade – example.

However, does Windows Server 2008 support the special measures needed to not trash SSDs? SSDs on WinXP machines fail after 12 months of 24/7 operation, with an extremely high reliability You need win7 or higher for SSDs.

On a laptop it doesn’t matter because they get turned on only occassionally, usually. I have used SSDs on winXP laptops and tablets (for operating altitude reasons; HDs crash ~ FL130) for ~13 years and none ever failed.

Many progs out there for cloning drives. I tend to use an old copy of Trueimage v10.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Did you install and run the Disk cleanup utility? It can remove old service packs etc.

EKRK, Denmark

Thanks for the suggestions so far and I have some success with Ccleaner. However the problem essentially persists and I have about 20Mb remaining of 100gig.
The Ccleaner has no ability as far as I can see to remove any of the stuff in WINSXS or SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION folders which is where the very large files are. Any other help welcomed.
Michael_J I have not been able to install your suggestion as the Roles and Features does not have the requisite options.
Thanks everyone.

UK, United Kingdom

More than likely, somebody has dumped a huge file somewhere, or you have a logfile which has grown to a massive size. This is a common problem on servers.

Open a command prompt (Start button and “cmd”) and type

cd \
dir *.log /s

If you get a huge listing, use

dir *.log /s /p

Repeat with *.jpg and other popular candidates If you are running a server to which people can upload pics, you will end up with loads of 10-20MB files. EuroGA has ~50GB of user uploaded objects now; the virtual server is 160GB, with the total filespace size being ~85GB.

If you have 20MB space left, it is prob100 that some processes are already not running.

You can delete the distribution folder but there are some gotchas. A google on

deleting windows software distribution folder

digs up a lot of stuff.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

You can safely delete everything inside C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download.
Don’t touch C:\Windows\WinSxS – you can get some nasty problems and cause your whole system to become unusable.
Clean also C:\Windows\Temp (note that some files will remain as they are being used).
Use WinDirStat to get a good overview of which folders are the largest (I find it more intuitive than TreeSize which was recommended before) and if you can delete anything there.
If you have multiple users on the machine, see if any of them is storing a lot of files (e.g. on their desktops) or if they have a lot of temp files.
Run PatchCleaner to see if you can get rid of some of the installation files safely (this may clean up some of the WinSxS folder). I would recommend backing up your machine before you do that though.
And finally, buy a new bigger SSD, get Acronis TrueImage or similar software and clone your current disk to the new one. Or move to a virtual machine where you can increase the disk size much more easily.

Last Edited by Vladimir at 16 Aug 11:50

Fenland_Flyer wrote:

Michael_J I have not been able to install your suggestion as the Roles and Features does not have the requisite options.

Hmmm. I have a few Win 2008 R2 running and have not had any problems installing the “Desktop Experience” feature.

EKRK, Denmark
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