Microsoft has wunderfull products, and Windows Server 2003 R2 as well as Windows Server 2008 (R2)  is ones of them.  For some purposes I find it even better then the Windows 2008 version, but that's another story. Stable as it is, the R2 version a bit more, I can recomment the use of it to anyone. As of the time-stamp of this article, most licences will we end-of-life by the way, but they are stille there, working, performing and doing there jobs. Now a Windows 2003 R2 license is cheaper then W2K8 and that also counts today. Why buy a new license when you allready have one. The only real problem is that the normal W2K3 version will be end-of-life soon. In this article I like to share with you, I would like to show you a screenshot of some strange behavior that I have noticed sometimes on Server 2003 platforms. I acknowledge,... not to much,..  (I'm lucky I guess) but never the less, I would like to share it with you. As you are on this page, it must have triggered you somehow.

Now as you may knowStrange disk propertie in W2K3 and W2k8, I'm a big fan of the System Center product range, and with System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, we daily monitor a lot, really a lot, of (virtual) machines that we host for many customers.  The behavior you might run into is shown in the picture here on the left. Clicking the right mouse button and selecting the dsik properties, result in a number of workspace that difference every time you open it, and returns numbers of diskspace you can only dream of.
The calculated working space differences any time you will open the properties, so I paint them, not to confuse you. The System Center Operations Manager  (SCOM 2007R2) will see this in a simular way and creates an alert/notification for you.

Now back to our example here on the left. Actually, the disk has a fixed size 80 GB, shown as 79,9 Gb,  as you can see, the used space is indicating more then the double of it, and your server is not performing at all.

Now there could be, a corruption in your virtual delta file within the VMware layer , but most of the times it will be an undescribed bug, which leaves no common or regular event at your logs at all. The Windows 2003 operating system is just confused about the actual diskspace available. This, ofcourse, can set diskspace alerts, confusions, among other errors etc. etc..

Common solution and worst scenario: 
Now the most common solution I have, and that is more like a best practice,... Is to open the Windows explorer, count the size of every folder, and when the size is beneath the real disksize, the solution is to (re)boot the server and your problem will be solved!! 99% of all cases that will be appliable. Get a maintenance window and find out! It is easy like that. Explanation further in the next section of this article. If the actual size is bigger than the storage provided,.... backup you database, data, etc, etc, as soon as possible, as you are about to lose it! Start all over again and completly rebuild your (virtual) machine.

Why is this happening?: 
Now the most common reason I have, based on 2 experiences, is that a SQL server database, sql version doesn't matter, it can happen in 2005, 2008, standard and enterprise versions, runs out of logspace, and is starting to use temp files extremely. If SQL tempfile path are not corrected on installation, this might even cause problems, or slow down your operating system disk, as that is the default path in a next, next, next, SQL server installation process. As always, a restart of the SQL services, (through services.msc); or a complete reboot of the SQL server itself, will reset the temporary files to its minimal defaults, as they are used only "temporary" as a kind of buffer towards the SQL transactionlogs.

Hope this has helped you something to solve your problem!


Ben OostdamBen Oostdam has been working with Windows systems since 1993. Worked for several companies as a system administrator, and is currently a Senior Support Engineer for Qurius Managed Services in the Netherlands.

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