No free space in C Drive

by Jane / Thu Jan 04 2018 / UPDATED in Partition Magic Server

Windows Vista system changed the view of Windows Explorer so we can see how much free space left and used on each partition, when some partition, eg, C Drive turns to low disk space, the volume bar will become red to warning you it’s time to free up some disk space or the system performance will be affected.

As for the Server system, the used space in C Drive is consistently get larger while the free space is getting smaller day after day especially when Server system keeps running.

Why doesn’t this happen and how to fix it?

Windows Client OS

On Windows client OS, Windows 7, 8, 10 for example, the default download path is set to C Drive, when we’re downloading stuff from the internet, not everyone of us would change the download path to other drives. As time goes by, C Drive will eventually run out of space

Besides the download path set to system drive, the temporary file that software creates will be stored to this drive too, if you’re running VMware on your C Drive, the system partition size will soon be consume up.

Windows Server OS

The log file on Windows Server system will automatically gaining it’s size when Server is running, months or weeks later, size of this file will become 10 times larger than the last time you check it. What’s more, Server system also has temporary files, downloaded files, cached files and other type of files set path to system partition, so Server users face more C Drive low disk space problems than home users.

Server system like 2008, 2012, and 2016 has more advanced Disk Management tool which allows Server administrators to Extend and Shrink Volume, but Windows Server 2003 doesn’t have such functions, how to solve the low disk space problem on such systems when there’s no enough free space to backup data.

Traditional solutions

As there’s a problem, there must a solution, the following are some traditional solutions for low disk space problem:

  1. Free up space
  2. Clean up disk
  3. Extend Volume
  4. Repartitioning
  5. Reinstall system

Free up disk space and clean up disk are useful for the first or second time low disk space alert shows, but the effect will decrease when next time the same problem comes up.

Extend Volume, the option of Disk Management right-click menu, new function after Windows Server 2003, is able to extend volume when the disk is dynamic, or when there’s continuous unallocated space next to the drive you want to extend. That’s to say, there’s a condition to use this functions, if the disk is not dynamic disk when creating it, you can’t extend volume even when there’s unallocated space at some part of the disk; or if the unallocated space is not next to the target drive, this option will grayed out too.

Repartitioning and reinstalling will take longer time to complete, when Extend Volume is grayed out on a basic disk, repartitioning needs to delete the drive next to the system partition or other target partition to make space unallocated, but before deleting a partition, we have to backup the partition, which takes much of time when the drive is fully used, what’s more, there’s always no free space on other drives to take this backup either, these two methods are less used by Server administrators.

Better Solutions

Traditional solutions have limitations, more or less, but the alternative method we’re going to use is better, no matter what disk map your client or Server OS have, it will solve this problem with ease, for example, when there’s no unallocated space on the disk, we can create some without deleting partitions, if the unallocated space is at the end of the disk, we can move it next to C Drive and extend it without data loss, that’s what the Extend Volume option in Disk Management can’t do and that’s the core feature of this partition manager software: Partition Expert.

Extend Volume with Partition Expert

To use this software, download the installation package or the portable package (if you don’t want to install it to Windows), run the 32-bit or 64-bit edition and the disk-map will be displayed in the main interface. Find the solutions below:

  1. No unallocated space at all
  2. Has unallocated space but not next to C Drive

1. No unallocated space at all

When there’s no unallocated space available for extending volume we can use the following steps to create one:

  1. Find a partition with enough free space on the same disk(Partition Expert can’t extend volume with free space from another disk), take E Drive for example
  2. Right-click on it and choose Resize/Move Volume and Drag the handle on the left side to the right or just type in the specific number to the Unallocated space before
  3. Click OK and Commit to create unallocated space

2. Has unallocated space but not next to C Drive

Our target is to extend C Drive with unallocated space on the disk, which is right now at the head of E Drive and the end of D Drive, so the disk-map goes like this:

C Drive + D Drive + Unallocated space + E Drive

Now in Disk Management the Extend Volume option of C Drive is grayed(greyed) out. In Partition Expert:

  1. Click on D Drive first and click Resize/Move Volume
  2. Drag the entire D Drive to the end of the bar and the unallocated space is automatically goes to the head of the bar
  3. Now the disk-map is: C Drive + Unallocated space + D Drive + E Drive
  4. Click on C Drive and choose Resize/Move Volume and Drag the handle on the right side to the end, click OK and Commit
Tagged under: