Free up disk space on Windows 2008R2 server

I have been dealing with low disk space on this server for a few month and each time I free up space it gets used up almost immediately and really don't know what is taking up all the disk space. I have considered using partition magic or something like that to expand disk space but this is the only domain controller server and don't want to jack up the whole network.  

When this server was built by dell they only put a 40GB partition for the OS and a 1TB storage drive. Currently 500GB is free on the storage drive but like I said I have never used a disk tool like partition magic so I don't know what will happen if I try to use this.

Without using a disk tool what can I do to free up space? I have used disk cleanup and disk cleanup for our anti-virus solution which freed up 40MB but somehow that got used up in a few minutes and now I am back to 6mb free space.  There is really nothing to delete or programs to remove so I am a bit perplexed as to where all the space is going.
TimSr. System AdminAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Once you start doing updates and sundry, 40 GB is just not enough and won't be into the future, so you need to add more space.

Look in User folder for temporary files and Windows\temp. Delete the temporary files you can. Now you should be able to add the Windows Experience application in Server 2008R2 and then run Disk Cleanup.

Run Disk Cleanup, when it comes up, select Clean up System files (button) and it will look again. Then select most items for deletion and click on OK.  

R2 I think will clean up Windows installation files this way as well. See how much space you have after running this.

Get Tree Size Pro from Jam Software and install / run it. It will show you where space is being used up.
Run CCleaner to free up some free space and get rid of temp files.

Then you want to run the Windows Disk Cleanup utility and clean up as John mentioned.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
First, if this server is old with an old set of disks, you might want to consider adding/replacing the original disks.  ALL DISKS WILL FAIL.  PERIOD.  The older they are, the more likely they will fail.  I don't generally worry if the server is 3-4 years old... but after 4 years, I start getting worried.  You could add another set of drives, move the data off the old ones, and expand the OS partition using disk management once you delete the old data partition.  If the OS fails, it's not as big a deal (in most cases) as it is when the data drive fails.
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Agree that 40GB is not enough nowadays.  Is the server in RAID?
Joel ArmstrongNetwork AdministratorCommented:
If your users have user folders and you don't limit storage that could be an issue.  I had a user one time storing large video files in his user folder.    Do a search for media files and see what shakes out.
TimSr. System AdminAuthor Commented:
Yes, this server is a RAID 5. This server is about 3 years old so yes I am considering getting more disk but probably will recommend a new server for next year but I first need to get through this year.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You could do a temporary swap - (do a complete backup first) move the data off the data drive, delete it, then expand C: and then recreate the data drive and move everything back.  (If this were a VM, you'd have far more options - I strongly encourage you to move in this direction in the future, now if you can, but if not, with any new server).

The problem with Disk Management resizing is that it can only take space for C: that is immediate after the C: drive to expand into - it can't take free space at the end of the disk.  If you shrink D: it will shrink it from the end of the disk and that space won't be available to C:.  And you can't "move" D without third party software.  So you're left transferring data off, removing the D: partition entirely and then recreating it and transferring data back.  Or using third party software that may end up taking longer and requiring the server being taken offline.
I am normally cautious when resizing RAID partitions but today's partition tools are capable of handling that.  Don't forget to backup the server before attempting to any partition resizing.  Preferably a full image of the system and data partition.

Certain imaging software like Acronis allow you to throw the image file back into the server and resize on the fly if anything goes wrong.
Have you used the built in cleanup wizard to clear disk space? Have you added the KB below so that old Windows updates in the winsxs foler also gets cleared?

Have you made sure that the pagefile on C: is only small (256MB), and that the main pagefile is on your other disk? Have you made sure that if crash dumps are made, that those are small crash dumps and not full memory dumps? Have you deleted the contents of C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Downloads?
Cor SlootIT SpecialistCommented:
Take a look at windows updates. It is possible that the updates get downloaded but are not removed because they aren't installed yet.
Cor SlootIT SpecialistCommented:
Take a look at windows updates. It is possible that the updates get downloaded but are not removed because they aren't installed yet.
Brian KirschCommented:
Look for memory dumps *.dmp and log files that are growing out of control.  Treesize Pro and other free disk reporting tools will show you the largest files and allow you to work with them.  The other thing is to ensure your pagefile is fixed in size or that could be growing excessively if your low on memory.
TimSr. System AdminAuthor Commented:
So things have gone from bad to worse. I just logged onto the server and found that Windows update downloaded updates for install and used up all the free disk space I created and now it says there is 0MB available. This server is a Windows Update server for the domain so i would like to know first if I move the database from the C: drive to the D: will that move all the updates? Second how do I move the database? I am limited on what I can do since when I try to do a copy of a file Windows Explorer encounters a problem and needs to be shut down. I tried running the Windows Update program and it fails to start as well. Can I delete the most recent updates that got downloaded last night to free up disk space?

Thanks in advance for all of your help.
Yes you can move WSUS database and update files to another volume.

How to Move WSUS Content and Database Files to a Different Volume:
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
My concern over deleting last night's updates is that you may damage the update database. You can try deleting but there may be negative outcomes.
You can clear the WSUS database and resync to rebuild the DB.

tparus, also read this What to do when your WSUSContent folder grows too large

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TimSr. System AdminAuthor Commented:
This has been a challenge but was able to free up some space on this drive but not after crashing the server and needing to restore from a backup that was a month old. Luckily all I had to restore was the OS drive and not the data drive. I tried moving the winsxs folder and that seemed to work but when I was deleting the original winsxs folder on the C: that is when all the problems started and my first blue screen. Arrrg!

Anyway, I was able to gain space by using the cleanup wizard in WSUS to get a little space and then loaded TreeSize Free and started deleting\cleaning up files that were taking up space. This seems to be only a temporary fix since each time I go back to the server more space is taken up and I have to run the processes again.

I have given points to those who I used your suggestions but want to thank all for trying to help me through this issue.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@tparus - Thanks for the update and I was happy to help.
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