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SBS 2011 Shadow Copies took up most of C drive, Where are the files located?

Posted on 2011-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello All,

Forgive the long story.. hopefully it gives you the details needed to help me.

SBS 2011 server, original setup made the mistake of having Shadow Copies on their C drive with no apparent limits,  and it has been running for two weeks and subsequently filled the C drive.

During that time SharePoint Foundation SP1 was installed.  But the second half of the update as described in this blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2011/07/06/potential-issues-after-installing-sharepoint-foundation-2010-sp1.aspx was not run.

Client realized the shadow copies was the source of the problem and disabled Shadow Copies, WITHOUT deleting the old shadow copies from within the shadow Copies interface.

Now I have been introduced to a harddrive that is full of what I believe are orphaned Shadow Copy files somewhere in the drive taking up over 50% of the drive space.  

Where can I find the files? Can they be erased by hand?  Is there a utility to clean these up?  Anything helps.

Thanks....T
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Question by:travisk232
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 36577630
When you disable shadow copies, they should be automatically deleted.

Shadow copies are NOT exact copies of files at a point in time; they ARE copies of "blocks" at a point in time.  If you think of the hard drive like an editable book and files like chapters, some short, some long, shadow copies note a page when it changes and makes a copy of JUST that page - not the whole chapter (file) and not the whole book (drive).  Just the "page" or block.  If they are disabled, that data should be released and is effectively garbage.  

If the drive is still full, reboot and then look at other locations for what's using the space.
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by:travisk232
ID: 36577730
Thank you for the comment...

I have always understood the same thing, unfortunately when the overly zealous client disabled Shadow Copies with the two weeks of data, the drive size did not change at all.

 I mention the SharePoint foundation SP1 was HALF installed since it has been known to cause backup and shadow copy issues until it is completed.

  When I first looked at disabling shadow copy services I was unable to access the interface, I found the issue with the SharePoint foundation update and before I could implement the rest of the update, the client somehow accessed the shadow copy interface and disabled the copying of the C drive without clearing the old files.

The drive is 232Gb in size, and  I can account for 65Gb in all folders except for one directory I cannot access

C:\System Volume Information\SPP

I have to assume that this folder contains the 'bad' files but cannot access it, even after taking ownership.  

Any other ideas?  All input is appreciated.
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Author Closing Comment

by:travisk232
ID: 36712275
Hello Leew,

Thank you for your response.  Unfortunately no way release the consumed memory was found and a wipe and reinstall was the only solution we could find.

Since you were the only one to respond, you get the points...T
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