System Volume Information – Clear hard drive space of `junk`

Posted on 07/23/12 in Small Business, Support, No Comments

System Volume information can chew up a huge portion of your hard drive if you are not carefull!! Back when hard drive space was a premium, keeping track of the sneaky stuff windows does in the background to hog space was a constant task! Now, with our massive GIGA monster or TARA behemoth hard drives, so suddenly, when Windows default  system volume restore is at 12% you are chopping  huge chunks of your hard drive to `wasted`space. I don`t recommend turning System restore off all together, but for sure you can reduce its size…

System Restore should also be shut off for external hard drives and flash drives as well…

Lets start with getting rid of all the files:

First you should disable System Restore. System Restore only protects operating system files so there is no need to have it running on drives or partitions that contain only data files and/or backup images.Use Control Panel > System and go to the System Restore tab > then Uncheck system restore.

note: you have to now let your computer sit for a while, you sholud notice the hard drive start to work with lots of activity. It is deleting files, so be patient…


check size

You may have to go further in deleting files, you may find that they are difficult to delete while the system is running as these are system files. The easiest way is to boot up with a BOOT CD and delete the files that way. No boot cd, well you can take ownership if windows is blocking you from access, just use command prompt with administrator account:

takeown /f "C:\System Volume Information" /R /A 


cacls "C:\System Volume Information" /T /C /E /P Administrators:F 

and now just delete it by a simple command

del "C:\System Volume Information\Sample File.txt" 



Here is a blog post I found with another way to do it…

Often seen and felt as a stupid problem in Windows (especially in Vista, as usual) is the habit of the strange entity called “system volume information” in C drive claiming a lot of disk space for apparently no practical purpose at all! You’d start off with a pretty neat 40 GB drive, and slowly over months you’d notice that you are only left with 5 GB in there whilst all your files summed up could only answer for 15 GB and the Windows+Program Files would be around another 10 GB. Where did the rest of the 10 GB vanish? The answer would be the hidden folder called “system volume information” (let’s call it SVI for ease of my typing). Seemingly windows saves information related to system restore inside that place and it is used when you actually perform a restoration (which is indeed a great facility). But when struggling for more disk space, I am sure you wouldn’t mind doing a trade off between what portion of your disk you want to give away for that purpose and what portion you want to keep for yourself.

Now here are some commands that you could use in the Command Prompt console in administrator mode in order to view and resize the space allocated for SVI:

1. To see the space allocated and used for SVI:

- Open Command Prompt with “Run as Administrator” option

- Type in: vssadmin list shadowstorage

- You will see Used Space, Allocated Space and Maximum Space for SVI

2. To see the restore information stored therein:

- Use in the same console command: vssadmin list shadows

3. To resize the maximum allocated space:

- Type in command: vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=[here add the drive letter]: /For=[here add the drive letter]: /Maxsize=[here add the maximum size]

- E.g., vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=C: /For=C: /Maxsize=4GB

- You will see a prompt confirming resize done

- You can check the status again using the command discussed in point 1 above

4. Just to get rid of the space already consumed, but sticking to the same size of max-size as before:

- Do actions as per point 3 to set the max-size t, say, 1GB

- If you check now, most likely you’ll see that used space is now 0KB

- Do the resize again and set it back to what it was before

- Check your disk space availability in Windows Explorer, you should see the reclaim is done!

Hope this helps. I owe this to this webpage. This did reduce 15 GB in my laptop’s hard drive – which was great!

REFERENCE: Indrajit Chatterjee

Also: Microsoft Support