Free up disk space in Windows Server 2012

Updated on: November 16, 2019

This article introduces how to free up disk space in Windows Server 2012 R2 with Disk Cleanup and additional methods. Add more free space to C drive if you cannot reclaim pleny of disk space.

System C: drive is very likely getting full after running for a period of time. In this situation, you have two choices:

When C drive running out of space, you should hurry up, otherwise, the server could stuck or reboot unexpectedly. The first thing you should do is freeing up disk space, then server could keep running without issue. There is also some free space to install the programs that help solve this problem.

Free up disk space with Server 2012 Disk Cleanup

The same with other version, Windows Server 2012 has native Disk Cleanup utility, which is able to delete most common types of unnecessary and junk files fast and safely. There is no need to run third party software to help free up disk space.

Before cleaning up disk space, follow the steps to install/enable Disk Clean in Windows 2012 Server.

Steps to free up disk space in Windows Server 2012 (R2):

Step 1: Press Windows and R on your keyboard, type cleanmgr and press Enter.

Step 2: Select C: (or other) drive in the drop-down list and click OK.

Select C drive

Step 3: Select the files that you want to remove in next window. After clicking OK, Disk Cleanup will ask you to confirm.

Select files

My test server is new installed, so I can reclaim little space. To the servers that never or have not free up disk space for a long time, Server 2012 Disk Cleanup utility may helps you regain several gigabyte disk space.

If you want to get more free space, you may try the additional steps below.

Additional methods to free up disk space

1: Uninstall Programs and Features

Press Windows and X on keyboard, select Programs and Features, right click the item that you want to remove and click Uninstall.

2: Reset Recycle Bin

All files that deleted by pressing DEL without SHIFT key will go to Recycle Bin, where you can revert these files to original location manually if you deleted them by mistake. When system C drive is almost full, you may consider decreasing the disk space usage or change the location for Recycle Bin to other volume. Steps:

  1. Right click Recycle Bin in Desktop and click Properties.
  2. Select a drive for Recycle Bin.
  3. Select Customer size and enter an amount.

3: Reset Paging File

Page file uses part of disk space as virtual RAM and it is located in C drive by default. You can decrease it or change it to other partition, steps:

  1. Press Windows and R on keyboard to start Run.
  2. Type sysdm.cpl ,3 and press Enter.
  3. Click Settings under Performance in Advanced tab.
  4. Click Change under Virtual Memory.
  5. Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives on the top.
  6. Select D: or other drive, enter amount of Initial size and Maximum size in Customer size radio box, and then click Set.
  7. Select C: drive and select No paing file radio box, then click Set.
  8. Click OK.

Set Page File

4: Change default settings

If you installed programs or use some Windows services with default settings, you may change the output path to other partitions. If there are files there, move to new path.

Add more free space to C: drive

If your system C: drive is created small or you cannot get plenty of free space by the methods above, you can add more free space to C drive from other partitions.

Shrink other data volumes, then part of unused space will be converted to Unallocated. Combine the Unallocated space to C drive, then there will more free unused space again. By this method, Operating System, programs and associated settings, as well as anything else keep the same.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor and follow the steps in the video to add more space to C drive:

Video guide

If you use any types of hardware RAID arrays such as RAID 0/1/5, or VMware/Hyper-V, there is no difference.

If the entire disk is full and no available free space, you'd better clone and migrate to larger disk. During this step, you can enlarge C: drive (and other partitions) with extra disk space.

Follow the steps in the video:

Video guide

New junk files are generated continuously, you'd better run Disk Cleanup to free up disk space for Windows 2012 Server every month.