Solved Microsoft Server file / disk compression

June 22, 2019 at 01:48:54
Specs: Microsoft Server 2008, NA
In Microsoft Server (either 2008 or later), I noticed a few servers, where the logical drives are always showing low dispace space (less than 5% free), even with files continually added they never fully run out of space . I wanted to ask if anyone knows of a service that runs on Microsoft Server that does continuous file or disk compression that manages this from running completely out of space. Thanks for any feedback.

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✔ Best Answer
June 22, 2019 at 15:02:28
This is where disk usage tools come in to play, especially if they can generate reports. If it's deduping, there should be a report of it somewhere. I've also seen automatic deletion of files beyond a certain age. It's probably not NTFS compression, as the compression gains are minimal due to the random access nature of NTFS. If enabled, a majority of the space is probably being taken up by file snapshots / history. If this is a storage device, it should have tools to view / manage snapshots. If file history is provided by Windows itself, there's not much in the way of management, but you can get the space used by shadow copies with the command:
vssadmin list shadowStorage

Shadow storage stores its stuff in "System Volume Information", so if that directory is using tons of space, that's probably what's going on.

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#1
June 22, 2019 at 03:43:51
All versions of Windows support drive compression: https://www.howtogeek.com/266472/sh...

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#2
June 22, 2019 at 09:32:33
Windows doesn't do anything special for low disk space, save for throwing a warning to any admins logged in. Windows just assumes there will always be enough disk space to do whatever it needs to do, so why spend effort to prevent a situation that's assumed to never happen?

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#3
June 22, 2019 at 11:26:36
thanks for the replies. I am not sure what you mean @Razor2.3 when you say
"why spend effort to prevent a situation that's assumed to never happen?".
@iJack, As for the compression option, I am guessing that is what is occuring on the server. I don't support these servers and they are remote, so I was just curious because I noticed for many months the drive displays only a very little amount of space available.

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#4
June 22, 2019 at 11:51:56
I'm not sure of the confusion?
- Adding a feature is expensive.
- Disks can never run out of space. (Assumed; Important)
- Therefore, special behavior to handle low or no free space will never see use, because the situation cannot happen.
- Therefore, the cost to add special behavior to handle low or no free space is a lot, while the benefit is zero.
- Microsoft is a for profit company, and doesn't want to waste money on features that will never see use.
- Therefore, Microsoft is incentivized to not waste time / money / effort on features for situations that are assumed to be impossible.
- Therefore, Windows doesn't do anything when a disk nears capacity.
- Caveat: Disks can run out of space, so Explorer will warn the user when it notices the Windows drive is filling up.

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#5
June 22, 2019 at 13:30:30
thanks for the follow up. I was just wondering what might be going on with the server drive because it never fully runs out of space, yet there are hundreds of users adding files (including images) on a daily basis. So as mentioned I think they might have NTFS compression and also deduplication enabled on the server. I am sure it takes up system resources to run these process on a regular basis. So it probably would be better to just install a larger hard drive or another drive since it isn't the primary partition/drive where the files are being stored.

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#6
June 22, 2019 at 15:02:28
✔ Best Answer
This is where disk usage tools come in to play, especially if they can generate reports. If it's deduping, there should be a report of it somewhere. I've also seen automatic deletion of files beyond a certain age. It's probably not NTFS compression, as the compression gains are minimal due to the random access nature of NTFS. If enabled, a majority of the space is probably being taken up by file snapshots / history. If this is a storage device, it should have tools to view / manage snapshots. If file history is provided by Windows itself, there's not much in the way of management, but you can get the space used by shadow copies with the command:
vssadmin list shadowStorage

Shadow storage stores its stuff in "System Volume Information", so if that directory is using tons of space, that's probably what's going on.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

message edited by Razor2.3


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