Windows Server sbs 2008 clean up

Hi Experts,

we have a windows server 2008 sbs.  hard drive is getting full.  

1.  what are some of the temp files that we can remove

2.  how to archive the old files/folders.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
Hi there,

The first thing I look at is what is eating up the space. I personally like to use Treesize Free. you can get a copy of it here. I pretty much use that tool on all of my servers and on some of my workstations.

There is a more robust version that is a paid version, but the free one usually meets my needs.

As for where to clear out space, the first/easiest/safest place is to look at user profiles, in my opinion. some admins have a nasty habit of not clearing out their temp files....or worse, downloading ISOs and other applications to their desktop on the server (for legitimate reasons) but then not cleaning up after themselves.

With you running SBS - do you have any applications running on that server that generate log files that are not being backed up properly, and thus log files are not being cleared?

What are the top 5 directories taking up the most space?

Hope this helps,


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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
right click on the drive, select properties, disk cleanup, advanced, clean up system files. Cheapest and fastest solution, buy a larger disk and image over to the new disk
JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
I respectfully disagree with you, David. Simply imaging to a new drive just copies over the junk. While that may ultimately be the best course of action, before going that route I would take a little bit of time (30 minutes to an hour) to see what can be cleaned up before going the route of spending $ on hardware that is a little older (we are talking about SBS 2008 after all).

Also, while disk cleanup is a viable option, I have found that it rarely yields enough of a difference in my experience. Treesize has historically given me a faster result and shown me where the space hogs were, and there rarely has been a correlation of significance between what treesize shows (that I've been able to clean up manually) and the disk cleanup option. By all means, run the disk cleanup option, but in the end that likely will not yield a significant amount of space. At least that's been my experience.

Another question to goodfinder: is the OS consuming the entire physical disk, or is it on a partition of the physical disk? If it is running on a partition, it may be possible to resize the partition (I've used third party tools for this as well, with a really good rate of success.

Hope this is helpful,

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Only you and your users know what files need to be kept, and which ones can be removed. You could move old, static files that don't get changed anymore to a NAS (still make sure you have backups of them).

If on the other hand it is the OS partition that is getting full, then you can delete the contents of C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Downloads.

Make sure your full backups are successful so that the transaction logs for exchange get deleted.
If you have multiple partitions / drives and if it's the OS drive that's getting full, a quick fix is to reconfigure the pagefile to be on drive D. On SBS there are some default databases for monitoring etc. which can grow quite big. As previously suggested, use treesize (it's free) and find the biggest files and folders. If it's 2008 with SP2 SBS (not R2) you can also use a tool called compcln.exe which will clean up your WINSXS folder. WINSXS tends to grow over time with the installation of service packs / patches etc.
JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
Albatross99 is right - that is an easy fix, however make sure that you keep at least a very small page file on the C drive. if you don't, and the D drive becomes unreachable, it *CAN* cause your system to become un-bootable. Shouldn't, but I have seen it happen.

Here's some good information about compcln if you're not familiar with it:

Microsoft community: To use or not to use compcln.exe' that is the question....

In response to Rindi, I suggest not simply deleting the contents of the software distribution folder. There is a more preferred way to deal with that. go here for more information:

Microsoft community: Is it safe to delete files Under C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download

Hope this helps,

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Time = Money in a business..  Hard drive space is a critical resource .. a system state backup and a restore to a larger drive resolves your immediate problem and also validates your backup strategy.

All of the other suggestions are good for maintenance policies that should be done on a regular basis as the situation should never have been allowed to get into a critical state.

A 1TB drive starts at under $60
Depending on the server hardware you're probably going to have to buy more than just a single 1 TB disk. You'll need server grade disks and if you're using any type of RAID you'll need multiple of the same size....

So short-term and to fix the immediate issue, have a look at previous suggestions (compcln.exe, pagefile, monitoring database size etc) and pick the one that can be done quickly and without server downtime.

Long-term either upgrade the existing hardware of if the server is already  end-of-life (which is probably the case. with SBS 2008 being the existing OS) consider migrating to a new server.
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Windows Server 2008

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