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% Free Disk Space Reference / Recommendation for optimal performance

Posted on 2014-11-14
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Last Modified: 2014-11-14
My general rule of thumb is to keep available disk space around 20% to 40%.

I am having discussion problems with IT techs (?) who have let primary drive space on small business servers drop below 5%.  These businesses are having performance problems and I need their IT support to reallocate space from another partition to the primary drive if possible, or they need to increase the size of the primary drive hardware.  However, these IT techs (?) are only willing to delete files to free up space.  I suspect there are personal stumbling blocks in play, which are preventing these techs from tackling the job of reallocating space or migrating a primary drive to a new drive.

I am looking for a strong and highly credible reference I can send to these IT techs which states clearly what the % of free space should be and why.  Does anyone have a reference for this?  I would take a PDF file from a textbook training manual, a web link, etc.  I would prefer this not be a blog, discussion, or open forum because that is personal opinion.  I would prefer this be a highly credible professional referral source.
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Question by:rotnfire
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John Hurst earned 400 total points
ID: 40443452
There are not a lot of articles that tell you how little you can live with.

I think your rule of thumb is just fine and is how I manage server disk space for clients.

See the article below that suggest 10 GB is a very minimal amount of free space.

http://alloraconsulting.com/it-solutions/76-windows-server-2008-low-space
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by:rindi
ID: 40443504
I agree that you should have about 20% free space on the system partition. But this space should not be arrived at by adding more disks or expanding the partition. You should rather setup the server properly so that ONLY the OS is on C:, and everything else like data, log files, pagefiles etc. is on other partitions. So the only thing that changes the size on C: will be windows updates, and by managing the disk with regular disk cleanups, and deleting the contents of Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Downloads the change of used space on C: will be minimal over time.
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Author Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 40443568
I have found that I cannot find a professional article or reference which deals with this issue.  I would love to get something from a career college and recognized instructor.  Most references I have found are like the one you sent me, which also shows a public discussion below.  In the case of the one you sent me, it references using a free utility called CCleaner.

https://www.piriform.com/docs/ccleaner/troubleshooting/problems-after-you-have-run-ccleaner

I don't want an IT company to use a free utility CCleaner to delete files off a primary drive on a small business server.  I want them to fix the problem correctly by making the amount of available space larger.  I cannot find a credible reference for this.  Alloraconsulting would be no different than if I sent a reference from my own website which I wrote myself.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40443575
I gave you a fairly decent reference above.

I NEVER use CC cleaner or like tools on a Server. I use Windows Disk Cleanup as I think Microsoft tools are best on a Server
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40443587
By the way, in the article I referenced, please only use the main text. I am wary of where sub links might lead to.
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Author Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 40443589
Agreed as well Rindi, that the primary drive should contain the OS and mission critical software required to run the business.  Data should be on secondary drives with redundancy and backed up.  In the cases I am dealing with, the IT tech has not setup the primary drive to be large enough in my opinion.  This "server" is running Windows 2008 R2 64bit with 39.9GB of space, and has only 3.1GB available.  Running a free CCleaner utility is not going to make this server healthy and I don't want to send a reference which has a discussion at the bottom which basically says to simply delete files.  My point is that I don't want the tech to simply delete files, and I need the IT tech to fix the original configuration problem.  For this reason, I need a credible reference and I cannot find one.
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Author Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 40443601
Hi John.  If I ignore the discussion on the bottom and take the information on the site you sent, put it into a PDF with my own letterhead on it, and send that as a reference tool, that might work nicely.

The one piece it doesn't reference well are the pagefile recommendations, but I found a nice microsoft site which covers that information and states:

Windows 2008 R2 should be maximum 3GB x RAM.  In this case, RAM is 16GB, therefore, pagefile should be 48GB and this harddrive space is only 39!  Eikarumba!
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 40443642
I have my 2008 r2 servers installed to a 20GB Partition, and there is still 28% space free. I don't install any software to C:, and the pagefile on C: I set to 256MB so that minidumps can be created, and the main pagefile is on D:. This works fine.
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Assisted Solution

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Thomas Zucker-Scharff earned 50 total points
ID: 40443767
I have a 2003R2 server with the OS only on a 50gb partition (a little overkill, but the initial partition was 12gb and we were required to put Symantec on the OS partition, the log files alone took up almost 1gb).  I ended up using paragon tools to expand the partition.  I took the server down one weekend for a couple of hours.  When it came back up the OS part was 50gb.  It was extremely easy. Paragon Hard Disk suite.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 40443957
Thanks everyone, for your input and reference John. Very helpful.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40443959
@rotnfire  - You are most welcome and I was happy to help.
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