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Why would a server's c: drive recover space by itself after crashing from a near capacity error??

Our file server running Windows Server 2003 has two partitions. C: is just the system files, and E: is  contains our data for business that users map to.

Today all users lost connection to the server. The server was rebooted and users were able to reconnect again.

After checking the event viewer I see that for the last three days there was the error "The C: drive is at or near capacity. You may need to delete some files". This appeared once a day this week but today is the first day there was a major issue.

I did notice the first day this happened that the drive space was extremely low on C: drive , and you could see it diminish. But then a few minutes later I checked it and it was back to over 8GB again. I assume the same thing happened each time but today it actually lost connection.

What could possibly cause this to happen?

1 Solution
First thing that comes to mind is that some process either automated or started by a user needs a bunch of temporary space for doing a compile, sort, file reorginiztion, etc.... and your drive's capacity is at a threshhold where when this happens you run out of space temporarily.  Three ways around that:  do housekeeping and purge unneeded files and directories, buy an addon disk or bigger disk, or stop doing what it is that is causing the problem (don't laugh---someone might be using the system to do things they shouldn't).  In the Gigabyte age I wouldn't think a print queue would use up that much space but used to see this type of thing quite often in the Megabyte days.  

Trash folder buildup over time without emptying?  Usually this is slow buildup unless someone had downloaded a bunch of stuff then tried to get rid of it right away.

Good Luck!
occ_userAuthor Commented:
Thing is, users don't access the C: drive. They only use E: where all the company data is used and stored.

The C: drive is just for system and program files.

One other thing I noticed is that after or shortly after the error in the event viewer, I also see "The oldest shadow copy of E: was deleted to keep disk space usage for shadow copies of volume E" below the user defined limit". Could this be a clue?

Hedley PhillipsOwnerCommented:
Is your pagefile set to C:\ If so it might be an idea to move it to another drive if possible. This would free up some space quickly for you.

I would look into where the Shadow copy is saving to as well.

Also have a read through this page here:

Managing Your Server's Boot Drive
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
I would agree with Mr-Madcowz, usually if the issue is resolved with a reboot then it's usually the page file.  I would also look for .dmp files, if your server ever BSOD'd and make a copy of the memory you may have serveral dump file that are sitting there and taking up valuable real-estate on the volume.
occ_userAuthor Commented:
It ended up being Backup Exec catalogs were set to delete after 2 years. We set it to a few months and that recovered more space.

CPS was probably causing the fluctuating of space available. The BUE catalogs were huge so for now there's more space to play with.
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