Out of space

Windows Server 2012 C drive running out of space

This article introduces the complete solution how to fix C drive out of space on Windows Server 2012 R2 with ease.

Step 1 – free up disk space (required)

C drive low disk space issue is very common even for the latest Server 2019. You can create very large C drive for the latest version, because hard disk is much cheaper nowadays, so many new servers use over 1TB disk for Operating System.

But to the servers that installed version 2012 has been running many years, it is not a good idea to start over except you have to. It is most important to keep the server online and running smoothly. When system C drive is running out of space on Windows Server 2012 (R2), you’d better follow an easy and efficient solution.

The first step is freeing up disk space, why?

When the system C drive is running low on disk space or even becomes full, you’ll suffer from server performance down, or stuck, reboot unexpectedly. In this situation, the most important thing is getting some free space in a short time to keep server running in the right way.

To do this, you just need to run Windows built-in Disk Cleanup utility, which can remove the common types of junk files. Of course there are third party software that can accomplish this task, or even “better”. But in my opinion, Server 2012 Disk Cleanup is easy, safe and free.

It is very easy to free up disk space with Disk Cleanup:

  1. Press Windows and R on your keyboard, type cleanmgr and press Enter.
  2. Select C: drive in the drop-down list and click OK.
    Select drive
  3. Click the check-box in front of the files that you want to delete and then click OK to execute.
    Select files

Tips If you receive error with message Windows cannot find ‘cleanmgr‘, you need to install or enable Disk Cleanup on Server 2012 first.

Disk Cleanup can help you reclaim over 500MB to several GBs disk space, but it is not enough, because the free space will be eaten up quickly. You’d better give more free space to C drive.

Step 2 – expand C drive (required)

If there are free space in any other data volumes in the same hard disk, you can transfer into C drive with server partition editor software.

There are many choices in the market, but you should back up and select the safest tool, because some unreliable software could cause system boot failure or data loss.

Better than other tools, NIUBI Partition Editor provide unique powerful technologies to protect system and data safety, for example:

  • 1 Second Rollback – automatically reverts server to original status if any software or hardware issue occur, if it happens, server could back online immediately without damage.
  • Virtual Mode – the operations you do are listed as pending for preview and real disk partitions won’t be modified until you click Apply to confirm.
  • Cancel at will – it helps cancel the ongoing but unwanted operations immediately without losing data.
  • Hot-Resize – change partition size on the fly (close other running programs and files in the volume that you are shrinking or moving).

Watch the video how to expand C drive with this tool:


Step 3 – server optimization (optional)

The more free space you give to C drive, the less chance C drive running out of space, but to solve this problem completely, you’d better consider the following options:

  1. Install new programs to a separated partition such as D.
  2. Change the output path of the programs that installed in C drive to other partitions.
  3. Run Disk Cleanup monthly to delete new generated junk files.

In Summary

When system C drive runs out of space on Windows Server 2012 R2, run Windows built-in Disk Cleanup utility to get some precious free space, so server could keep running without issue. Then extend C drive as larger as possible. Finally, clear up unnecessary and junk files regularly.