Clean up Server Disk and free up space

by Jane / Fri Jul 27 2018

When Server Disk is running out of space, Windows will pop up a warning message to show low disk space alert, you can then go ahead and click on the message to open the disk cleanup window, in which we can select multiple items that are able to give up free space after cleaning up. So how to perform this operation and do we have alternative solutions?

Steps of cleaning up the Server disk

  1. Click on the warning message to open the cleanup window when prompted, if the Server disk is getting slower on responding requests (click, mouse move and others), you can manually run the cleanup tool by disk cleanup in the start menu search box and press enter to run
  2. Choose a drive from the drop-down list (if you clicked on the alert message, you don’t have to, it navigates to the drive automatically) and press Enter or click OK to show options you can select, and click OK to start cleaning
cleanup disk

That’s easy to follow and operate, but sometimes, well, most of the time, this method doesn’t solve the problem, the target drive (C Drive, E.g.) is still in low disk space, after a week or a few weeks later, the Server will show the same message again, that’s really annoying

Maybe instead of cleaning up this disk for limited free space, we can alternatively add more free space to the drive without worrying about the drive running out of disk space, well, how can we do that?

Extend disk drive instead

Open Disk Management or run diskpart command line to see if there’s any unallocated space on the disk, which is prerequisite for extending partition, but if there’s no such space available, you can create it buy delete a partition or shrink a volume.

Then check if the unallocated space is next to the drive that needs to clean up, normally it’s the C Drive has low disk space problem, so, for instance, check the unallocated space is next to C Drive or not, if you got the positive answer, then right-click on C Drive and use the function Extend Volume to increase partition size; if the answer is negative, then we have no way to active the greyed out Extend Volume option in C Drive unless we delete the partition neighboring to it ( D Drive, E.g.). So make sure you have a backup for the partition you’re about to delete before creating unallocated space for low-disk-spaced drives

And we can understand that: the Extend Volume function in Disk Management or the extend command in diskpart.exe, requires the following two conditions to work:

  1. There’s unallocated space on the disk
  2. The Partition should be NTFS
  3. The unallocated space should right next to (at the right side of) the partition requires Extend Volume function

To make it simple, continuous unallocated space is a must to active the Extend Volume function on an NTFS partition

Partition Software

I don’t have unallocated space on the disk and I don’t want to delete or shrink a partition either, don’t want to make things complicated, especially don’t want to backup and restore, time-consuming thing, which makes no sense when my requirement is only to enlarge a partition, what can I do

I think the simple way to describe the situation is to put it like this: Can I extend a volume without data loss?

Yes, sure. We can extend a volume and keep data on other partitions safe in Partition Expert, our partition manager software, lightweight, portable and supports 32-bit/64-bit system. Let me explain how it works:

  1. Resize Move Volume
  2. Merge Volume

Resize Move Volume method is the recommended method to enlarge a drive, use the following steps to extend C Drive, for example, we assume the disk also has D Drive, E Drive (large drive with much free space), and F Drive with no unallocated space, we’ll take some free space from E, so we’ll:

resize move volume
  1. Click on E Drive first and click the function ‘Resize/Move Volume’ from the sidebar or go to ‘Operations > Resize/Move Volume’ or just right-click to call it
  2. Then in the resize window, we can either drag the handle or directly type in the specific size in the input field to create unallocated space, I’ll just drag the left side handle to the right and click OK when the preview in the mini disk map looks good to me, this is also the method of shrinking a volume
  3. Then we need to move the newly created space next to C Drive, remember the conditions we list above, we’ll follow them and at the meantime, keep data safe, so we click D Drive this time, and use the ‘Resize move’ function again, but in the resize window, we drag the entire D Drive to the right, the end of the partition bar and you can see the unallocated space is moved next to C Drive, that’s what we want, if there are other partitions stand between C and unallocated space, you can do the same step, or you can just merge them, we’ll talk about that later
  4. And the final step is to extend C Drive, you guessed it, we click on C Drive, click the Resize Move function, and drag the right side handle to the end, click OK and Commit to extend

Merge with a large partition

Partition Expert will auto reload the disk map after it’s done with extending, you can see that C Drive now is gaining more free space and not showing a red bar in Windows Explorer, but here’s a problem, when I have, for instance, 6 partitions on the disk, and only the last partition has free space I needed, do I have to click the resize/move volume function for 6 times? or do I have a better solution?

Say, for example, the disk has C, D, E, F, G, H, six partitions created, C Drive is in low disk space, H Drive has plenty of them, can we do this to enlarge C with free space from H:

  1. Click on H Drive and click ‘Resize/Move Volume’
  2. In the resize window we drag the right-side handle to the left to create unallocated space, click OK to close this window when ‘unallocated space after:’ shows ‘10240 (MB)’ (10G), or you can directly input ‘20480’ (20G) in this section to get what you want
  3. Then click on the unallocated space we just created and click ‘Create Volume’ and click OK to take the default, then there’s a new partition called I Drive
  4. Click on C Drive and click ‘Merge Volume’, select both C and I Drive, and choose ‘merge to’ C and click OK and Commit
merge volume

Well, that’s a good idea, but, sorry, No, that’s not how merge volume work, Merge Volume can only merge Adjacent partitions, like G Drive, can only be merge to F or H drive, as for C Drive, you can only merge D Drive, but that’s not a good solution and we don’t recommend that.

Although it looks complicate and troublesome to click the Resize/Move function for many times, it’s not, you can finish clicking in seconds, and click Commit to letting the program to do the rest, and Partition Expert performs really good at speed, I mean, it extends partition faster than other third-party partition managers, hit the download button and give it a try

Download Partition Expert