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Losing large amount of disk space quickly

Posted on 2012-08-27
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We currently use a DELL PowerVault 745N storage server running Server 2003 Appliance Edition as our primary file server.

There are 2 logical partitions  C: 10 GB (OS, programs, Etc) and D: 688 GB (all data).  We've been nearing the limit of space available on the D drive, hovering between 80 and 100 GB free space.  We've also permanently archived very old files that are no longer needed on a regular basis which has bought us a little more space.  Recently we've noticed a huge drop in free space, as much as 30 GB in 4 hours.  No user created files seem to be the cause and I've checked the pagefile.sys file but it's just a few hundred MB.

The first time this happened we archived files and gained about 10 GB of space, but then in a day or two the available space jumped back up to 100GB and each time the space drops it seems to reappear a day or two later.

My question is, what could be the cause of the sudden drop and then reappearance of the space on the HDD?  Is there a background process that I am not aware of that's creating temporary files and then cleaning them up later? If so, what/where on the server should I check?

Any information/insight is appreciated as we recently lost over 50 GB of space in 2 days and we're not quite ready to replace this server yet.

Thanks!
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Question by:JMayerSellars
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Expert Comment

by:alienvoice
ID: 38338937
Do you have any software that could be creating log files? Such as backup software, exchange or such?
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Expert Comment

by:selvol
ID: 38338981
Can you locate
Recent files
by searching by date created?

Search "*"

Then sort by date.

RUN
HijackThis
and post the log
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Assisted Solution

by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 500 total points
ID: 38339074
I would try running TreeSize (from jam-software.com) when you have lots of free space, then run another copy when free space is less, then visually compare the folders for space usage.

TreeSize will scan all folders and show you how much space each is taking up.  If you sort by size it can make it fairly easy to find out where the space went.
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by:alienvoice
alienvoice earned 500 total points
ID: 38339123
Another piece of software similar to Treesize is WinDirStat, gives you the folders and FILETYPE that is taking up space by giving you a visual representation of space taken up by files and folders.
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Expert Comment

by:Nagendra Pratap Singh
ID: 38339431
I would use two softwares here.

Everything tool from voidtools
and WinDirStat/Spacemonger.

Everything can sort by dates.
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by:noxcho
ID: 38339807
So the lost space comes back in any case, or? If yes then the question - what is the pagefile size limit given in settings? Also do you have snapshots enabled?
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Author Comment

by:JMayerSellars
ID: 38341942
Thanks for the software suggestions, I've used both WinDirStat and TreeSize on PCs, but wasn't sure about installing them on the server.

We do weekly full backups and daily differentials both using the native NTBackup program.  It's strictly a file server so there is no other program like Exchange running on it that would create large log files.

The Paging file limit is set to 2175 MB, but snapshots (VSS) are disabled on the Shadow Copies tab of the drive properties.  Also, the Volume Shadow Copy service is set to manual, which is probably only used for the backups.

Yes, what is most odd is that we do regain the space back, not as quickly as it disappears, but after several days, and all at once.
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noxcho earned 0 total points
ID: 38343000
Does the space disappear during backup or durng any other operation? Sounds like sme application is using your drive to cache data on t and then remove it.
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by:JMayerSellars
ID: 38355236
I installed TreeSize and WinDirStat and found the root of the issue.

Turns out a user was backing up their laptop to their personal share on the file server and it wasn't overwritting the older .bkf files.  There were several different copies, and 2 were each over 30 GB.
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