Keeping Your Windows OS Partition Lean

When a disk partition is at 90% capacity it should be treated as full. The final 10% needs to be reserved for breathing room for the operating system and/or applications which need temporary space to function, changes to files, and bad sectors on the disk. Ideally, the partition will never even get to 80%, but what if your resources are limited?

Microsoft is not known for being a trim system. “Temporary” and log files build up over time and can eventually fill up the available disk space and bring the server to its knees. Here are some things you can do to reduce bloat and reclaim disk space.

  • Manage the event logs. Options include limiting the size of the log files, allowing overwrites of the oldest events when the max log size is reached, and setting the log path to another partition. Know where they are so you can archive or delete the oldest logs.
  • Manage the IIS logs. Options include limiting the size of the log files and setting the log path to another partition. Know where they are so you can archive or delete the oldest logs.
  • Delete temporary Microsoft patch files. Once the patches have been tested and installed for a while, the chances of wanting to uninstall them are very slim. You can reclaim some space by deleting the install packages which Microsoft leaves behind.
  • Move the page file to another partition. Though the OS page file defaults to C:\, it doesn’t need to stay there and will work just as well from another drive.
  • Move user profiles to another partition. Even on a server where only the admins are logging in (who should know better than to clutter up the server with their files), user profiles can get bloated. You can move the default location to another partition.
  • Install applications on another partition. Most applications don’t have to be installed on C:\.
  • Defrag regularly. Though its primary benefit is an increase in speed, keeping the fragmentation down on a partition does free up some disk space as well. Either way, it’s a good idea to schedule a defrag to run monthly.

About Jennifer Siegel

Jennifer (aka Pixie), OCI, OCWE, OCWV, has over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field, which includes 13 years of Systems Administration, 15 years of developing and implementing technical documentation and training, and 10 years supporting OnBase deployments. She has extensive experience with SQL and a firm foundation in computer science. Despite this, she considers herself a well-adjusted nerd with hobbies including archery and knitting in public.

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