Disk Defragmenter cannot use free space

Posted on 2006-05-21
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Recently Win 2000 displays a message when I want to Defrag a partition of my HD (the partition where Windows is installed):

"Volume has 25% free space but only 14% is available for use by Disk Defragmenter. To run effectively Disk Defragmenter requires at least 15% usable free space......"

So how can I fix this problem and get DF to use the 25%, as I have already run Disk Cleanup and cannot delete anything else from this partition? I am not mindful to increase the size of the partition either.
Question by:RichardCoeurdeLion
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Move some files to another volume temporarily.  I recommend looking for the hidden folders  that start with $NTUninstall.... in your windows directory -- these are simply undo folders created during operating system patches and service pack installations.  

    After you run defrag, move them back.

    Also, if you have not tried this yet, try emptying your recycle bin.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the reply, I have emptied the Recycle Bin when I ran Disk Cleanup.
    I would really like to know why, with a partition having 25% free space, Defrag tells me that only 14% is usable and how I can fix this problem.
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    Defrag wants 25% contiguous free space to deal with a large file that is marked that it cannot be fragmented.  Likely your free space is fragmented.  It may also be the paging file.

    Decrease its size or move to another volume.  You do this by going into my computer/ properties/ avanced / performance -> settings/ advanced tab/ change button.  You need to reboot when you change this.
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    It is possible the Pagefile is using the free space.. try deferag in safe mode..
    Also try a disk check chkdsk /r.

    Author Comment

    Defragging in Safe Mode and running chkdsk /r made no difference.
    I reduced the size of the paging file and was able to run the Defrag.
    Thanks very much
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Thanks.  I'm glad you got it working.

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