This topic describes how to handle low disk space on Windows instances and the best practices of daily disk management for Windows instances.


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Background information

The methods described in this topic apply to Windows Server 2003 and later. Windows Server 2012 R2 is used as an example.

Solutions and best practices

When you are running out of available disk space on a Windows instance, you can take one of the following measures:
Develop good habits for using disk space with these best practices:

Release disk space

When you are running out of available disk space on a Windows instance, you can clear unnecessary files from the disk. Perform the following steps:

  1. Find the files that are taking up the most disk space.
    1. Connect to the Windows instance. For more information, see Connect to a Windows instance.
    2. Click Start and then click This PC.
    3. Click the disk to be cleared, and press Ctrl+F.
    4. In the top navigation bar, choose Search > Size, and filter out large files on the specified disk.
      Note You can also customize a file size range for retrieval. For example:
      • Enter Size: > 500 MB to search for files that are larger than 500 MB in size.
      • Enter Size: > 100 MB < 500 MB to search for files that are between 100 MB and 500 MB in size.
  2. Delete files that you no longer need.
    We recommend that you use the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to delete unneeded files such as log files, and empty the recycle bin. The Windows Disk Cleanup utility is not installed on the instance by default and must be installed manually. Perform the following steps to install the utility and use it to delete files:
    1. In the taskbar, click the Server Manager icon.
    2. In the upper-right corner, choose Manage > Add Roles and Features.
    3. In the Add Roles and Features Wizard dialog box, keep the default settings and click Next until the Features module is displayed. Select Ink and Handwriting Services and Desktop Experience, and click Next.
    4. Click Install.
    5. After the utility is installed, the system will prompt you to restart the instance. You must restart the instance manually. After the instance restarts, confirm that Desktop Experience has been installed.
    6. Click Start. In the top search box, enter Disk Cleanup. In the dialog box that appears, select the disk that you want to delete and click OK.

Resize the disk

When you are running out of available disk space on a Windows instance, you can resize the disk. For more information, see Extend a disk online.

Compress files for archiving

For files that are generated on a regular basis, you can compress them for archiving to improve disk usage. We recommend that you use WinRAR to compress files. The following example describes how to configure a backup policy for compressing files:

  1. Download and install WinRAR. Download link: WinRAR and RAR archiver downloads.
    WinRAR is used in this example.
  2. After WinRAR is installed, find the file to be compressed, right-click the file, and then select Add to archive....
  3. In the Settings dialog box that appears, click the Backup tab and select Generate archive name by mask. Do not click OK.
  4. Click the General tab and then click Browse to specify the path in which to save the archive file. Click Profiles... and select Save current settings to a new profile....
  5. In the Profile parameters dialog box, set the Profile name parameter and select Save archive name, Save selected file names, and Create shortcut on desktop. Click OK.
  6. In the Archive name and parameters dialog box, click OK.
    A shortcut key to the archive file is generated on the desktop.
  7. Press Win+R to open the Run dialog box. Run the control command to open the Control Panel page. On the Control Panel page, click System and Security and then click Scheduled tasks. In the Task Scheduler dialog box, click Create Basic Task....
  8. In the Create Basic Task Wizard dialog box, enter a new task name and click Next.
  9. Select a trigger for the task and click Next. Select Start a program and click Next.
  10. In the Start a Program step, set the Program/script: parameter. To set this parameter, find the previously generated shortcut key. Right-click the shortcut key and then select Properties. In the dialog box that appears, copy the value of the Target: field.
  11. In the Create Basic Task Wizard dialog box, paste the copied value in the Program/script: field of the Start a Program step. Click Finish.

After you configure the backup policy, you can delete expired archive files on a regular basis to avoid taking up too much disk space.

Delete unneeded applications on a regular basis

You can delete unneeded applications on a regular basis by clicking Programs and Features on the Control Panel page.

Configure disk monitoring

Monitoring plug-ins are pre-installed on ECS instances. You can log on to the CloudMonitor console to create disk alert rules. By doing so, you can receive alerts when disk usage exceeds a configured threshold and clean the disk in a timely manner. For more information, see Manage alert rules.Configure an alert rule