Thursday, March 24, 2011

Limit or Delete Windows Shadow Copy Service - Free up HD space

I got a notification that one my Windows Servers was running low on hard drive (HD) space which was concerning since it had a HD of about 70GB. After a quick search of the drive with WinDirStat I couldn't figure out why despite having about 21GB of used space the drive was registering less than 4GB free. Where was that extra 45GB of space and how was it missing?

Enter Volume Shadow Copy Service. I opened a command prompt and typed: vssadmin list shadowstorage and my Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space was about 45GB.

Windows uses the Shadow Copy Service to backup your files so you can restore your computer or specific files in the event of a problem. As nice as this sounds if you have a high Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space limit or no limit at all this file can grow quite large, until you run out of space. This was the problem with my Windows Server machine.

Also Windows Vista and Windows 7 turn the Shadow Copy Service on by default. I didn't realize it until I ran the above command but over 1GB of drive space was being taken on my MacBook Air and over 46GB was being taken up on my work desktop. That's a lot of space for a service that I don't use.

To disable or change the Maximum threshold in Windows Vista / 7 go to:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Go to System
  3. On the left side click the System Protection Link
  4. You should be placed on the System Protection tab in the new window. Click Configure about halfway down the page. 
  5. At the top of the page you can disable or enable System Protection. Towards the bottom you can adjust the maximum amount of space to allocate. 
  6. Once you apply the settings the space should be made available immediately.
To disable or change the Maximum threshold in Windows 2003 / 2008 go to:

  1. Go to My Computer
  2. Right Click on the C: Drive
  3. Click on the Shadow Copies tab
  4. You can select individual volumes or drives to enable or disable
  5. Click Settings
  6. On the Maximum Size area, select Use Limit and put in a reasonable size.
While this might not be a problem if you have say 1TB of space but if you have a limited amount of HD space, like my MacBook Air and/or my new desktop SSD, then you might considering lowering your maximum size or disabling it entirely. If you've already got a backup solution in place the Volume Shadow Copy Service probably isn't needed. 

1 comment:

private label seo said...

Allocate more space in your hard drive through this tip.