Can RAID software extend the C drive on my sbs2003 Dell Poweredge 700 server?

Posted on 2007-07-31
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
My Dell PowerEdge 700 has a C drive with only 9 gig of storage.  It lasted 3 years, but is now completely full (no more "clean up and move" is reasonable.)

There are 4 gig of unused storage, but Windows does not normally allow c drive to be extended I hesitate to use the workarounds that I have read about (3rd party software diskpart etc.)

I wonder if Dell's raid software might get around the the problem.  (I have DELL PERC 4/SC RAID Controller Driver)
Has anyone ever used DELLs software for this purpose?

I want to buy myself a month or two before I buy a new disk and repartition everything.

Question by:rberke
    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    How exactly is it full?  9 GB is a little on the low side... but it's not horrible if the server is properly setup.  I would still expect you to have 1-2 GB of space left.  What exactly is taking up the space?

    And no, Dell's software will not resize the C: drive.  If you absolutely must resize the C: drive (and I would encourage you to further explore manual cleaning options here first) then you'll need to buy server class partitioning software and MAKE SURE you have a KNOWN GOOD backup.
    LVL 26

    Accepted Solution

    Raid software cannot resize any partition. You will have to get the third party software involve. Acronis offer Disk Director product can be used to expand partition size on server (but you have to purchase the server version $600). You can use the bootable disk of its personal version to boot up and change the partition size (work around), but you will be soon running in the same problem of lacking disk space. To permanently fix this problem, you have to perform a clean house on C: and start migrating the data out. Sometime, C: get bigger because of server logs (SQL logs eat up space quickly).
    Here is a list of things to do:
    - Backup the current server image.
    - Backup and move out all server logs to save room
    - Move out all data of C: make sure you check every profile and moving all data from them out.
    - Stop installing software applications on C:
    - Move swap files (pagefile or virtual mem) out of C:

    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    Ooops, it is actually 7.8 gig, not the 9 gig I reported.

    I think ihe sbs2003 sp2 update. (my sbs2003 is still at base level, sp1 was never released through automatic update, and I was too lazy to do the work of installing it manually.)

     About two weeks ago automatic update offered to install sp2. I said yes, but the install failed saying that there was not enough disk space.

    Treesize shows
    4.62 Windows.  
         about 100 of the subfolders are $ununinstall kb99999.  they chew up about .5 gb
         software distribution chews up .7 gig
    1.54 Program files
    .73 clientapps
       (.32 of this is outlook2003.  I have a feeling Exchange needs this, but I suppose I could try to uninstall it)  Also
       (.30 is wxpsp1 dated 9/7/2004 which is strange considering that I don't think sp1 was even available then)
    .50 system volume
    .39 files  (which is from pagefile.sys)

    I already  moved monitoring databases from c: to f: per moving data folders for windows small business server 2003 technet article.  

    But, I must have done something wrong because hmdebug.log is still .7 gig. and stopping wmi does not release the file,  I will investigate further.

    Most of the other moves in the article seemed more trouble than they were worth.

    Also, I moved some old subfolders from windows\softwaredistribution, without any apparent problems, and I am considering moving the whole thing.  that .7 gig plus moveing the page file will probably buy me the month I need.

    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Move the page file and the ClientApps folder.  You can also delete the $NTUNinstall folders though I like to keep those from the last 9 months around, just as backups in case something in an update doesn't work right.

    Find out what's in the System Volume Information... Could be Shadow Copies - if so, move those to another disk.

    This could get you back about 1.5 GB.  While I would NOT use compression on the entire disk, you can use it on the LogFiles folder in c:\Windows (might be under System32, I forget).  

    You can get further documentation on how to move these things from my page on SBS - I have a link near the bottom for moving things off the C: drive.
    LVL 26

    Assisted Solution

    Moving the page file will save you lots of space, but you did not mention about it. Here is the instruction in case you have not done it yet.

    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    It is my belief that SP2 has a fix that will prevent hmdebug.log from growing so big. I deleted the hmdebug.log i safe mode  
    I have also moved the page file to F: and and now have about 1.1 gig free which is great.

    I have not moved the clientapps folder because it does not seem necessary yet.
    I am now closing this question.  thanks for everybody's help.
    ---------  a few long winded notes ------------------

    Actually, both you and leew mentioned the page file earlier.
    But, I have read some warnings that say I should not move the page file to a different partition on the same disk.   As far as windows is concerned, I have violated those warnings.  Since I am using hardware raid, windows does not even realize there are a 3 physical disks. Windows thinks my C: D: and F: partitions are all on Disk 0.

    Naturally, with hardware raid 5, EVERY file is spread across all 3 of my physical disks, so I am not sure the "same disk" warning applies.

    The only reason I mention this is that less than 3 hours after moving the swap file the change, windows announced it had encoutered an error with sharepoint and sent a report to microsoft.  I don't use sharepoint so it is not a worry to me, but I am 99% sure it is related to the changes I have made.  The error report suggested I apply windows updates, and I will soon have sp2 on which might fix the problem

    In the meantime, I plan on closing this qestion soon, but I have one other comment.

    While moving the pagefile I noticed an amusing math error in microsoft's recommendations.

    I think MS meant to recommend "set the initial page size to 1.5 * RAM and set the maximum to 4095".

    But, since their documentation is very unclear, I chose "system managed size" which yielded an 1500 MB page file.

    The unclear recommendation said "If RAM times 1.5 is less than the current maximum page file size, and RAM times 1.5 is less than 4,095 MB, it is recommended that you increase the size of the page file size."

    Notice, MS does NOT say "increase the MAXIMUM size of the page file size".  Nor does MS say "increase the INITIAL size of the page file size".  Either case leads to unclear conclusions as is shown below:

    Let's pretend the following:
    Pretend microsoft means "increase the MAXIMUM size"  (also see Note #2 below for the opposite assumption of INITIAL size ).
    my current AND maximum page size are 3000 MB.  
    I have 1000 MB of RAM.

    "If RAM times 1.5 <  current maximum  AND RAM times 1.5 <  4,095 MB   THEN increase size"  ======<<====== what MS said

    YES  1000 MB * 1.5 < 3,000     AND   1000 MB * 1.5 < 4,095 MB    SO  I increase the current MAXIMUM page file size to 3500.
    YES  1000 MB * 1.5 < 3,500     AND   1000 MB * 1.5 < 4,095 MB    SO  I increase the current MAXIMUM page file size to 4000.  
    YES  1000 MB * 1.5 < 4,000     AND   1000 MB * 1.5 < 4,095 MB    SO  I increase the current MAXIMUM page file size to 4095 (the maximum).
    YES 1000 MB * 1.5 < 4,095     AND   1000 MB * 1.5  < 4,095 MB    SO  I try to increase it, but get stuck because, it is impossible to follow their recommendation.  I give up and am left with a initial page size of 3000 and a maximum size of 4095

    Note #2.  Nearly the same thing happens if we pretend microsoft means "increase the both the INITIAL and MAXIMUM size".  The only difference is that I would give up at 4095 and be left with an inital page size of 4095 and a maxiumn page size of 4095.

    Most amusing.  But, frankly I don't really believe the maxiumum page size matters.  I have never seen windows server increase the page size beyond the initial size.
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    Well, I am sorry for not making it clear. I sent you the MS instruction as a direction of how to reset the page file (not set it to maximum size since you don't have problem with the pagefile size). I should have told you to use this instruction, but set the page file to your limit normally page files size which is 150% of physical RAM as Microsoft suggested.

    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    There is no significant issue with moving the pagefile to another partition.  Outside of freeing up space on the C: partition, there's no benefit performance wise unless you can put it on it's own (set of) spindle(s).

    The only draw back is an inability to do a full crash dump analysis if the system crashes - but in 13 years managing probably 60+ server installations and many dozens of workstations, I've never seen one instances where I've had or even been asked to do such a thing - and I've only heard of the rare occasion where anyone else has done it.

    MS recommends setting the pagefile to 1.5 to 3x RAM.  If you have more than 1.25 GB of RAM, that number is going to be above the 4 GB limit, in which case, you just go to 4 GB.  What I typically recommend is setting the pagefile to 3x without growth.  The reason being you want to prevent pagefile fragmentation.

    Where did you hear these "warnings" about not moving the page file.
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    No need to apologize, it really just amused me that the microsoft's recommendations make no sense.  Fairly typical of MS. I send them notes on these things from time to time, but they have never once responded or fixed my comments.

    By the way, I did NOT reboot 5 times -- I was just pretending for the sake of discussion.

    Your 3x fixed size make lots of sense and I might change it the next time I need to reboot the server.  But, I'll probably skip it because I doubt ther will be performance boost from switching from 1.5 * ram to 3* ram.  

    I can't find the "same disk" warning any more.  

    But, I remember the post was concerning performance, so the poster was probably thinking that moving it from C: to D: on the same disk will not help performance.  

    But, I am a paranoid type, so I took the warning too seriously.  

    Thanks again for the help.

    Featured Post

    What Should I Do With This Threat Intelligence?

    Are you wondering if you actually need threat intelligence? The answer is yes. We explain the basics for creating useful threat intelligence.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Suggested Solutions

    In this article you will get to know about pros and cons of storage drives HDD, SSD and SSHD.
    This article is an update and follow-up of my previous article:   Storage 101: common concepts in the IT enterprise storage This time, I expand on more frequently used storage concepts.
    This video Micro Tutorial explains how to clone a hard drive using a commercial software product for Windows systems called Casper from Future Systems Solutions (FSS). Cloning makes an exact, complete copy of one hard disk drive (HDD) onto another d…
    This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to reformat your flash drive. Sometimes your flash drive may have issues carrying files so this will completely restore it to manufacturing settings. Make sure to backup all files before reformatting. This w…

    745 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    13 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now