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Backup fails because of "insufficient storage available for backup"

    Question

  • I have a network with 3 client machines, all running Windows 7 64-bit OS.  I just did my first client backup, which worked fine.  When I went to do the backup of the second client, it failed with the message that there was insufficient storage available for backup on the server.  I was skeptical, so I checked the numbers:  The client machine had 2 partitions to backup:  the system reserved partition with 0.1 Gb, and the C drive partition with 390 Gb, only 67 Gb of which is being used.  And the server drive D where the backups reside has 680 Gb of free space.  So I started investigating this forum, and found that at least one other person has had a similar problem, and solved it by taking ownership of the system reserved partition.  So I tried that, but it still didn't work.  Then I decided to try eliminating the system reserved partition from the backup, and it is working!  So I guess that's good news and bad news.  My data and OS get backed up, but can I recover my system if it fails?  Can I somehow re-create that system reserved partition if I need to do a complete recovery?   And is this some kind of bug that would give such a non-relevant error message in addition to not letting me back up that system partition?  Shouldn't I be able to back it up too?  Something seems very wrong here, and maybe a Microsoft patch is called for.  One explanation given on this forum is that WHS is trying to create a directory on the system reserved partition in which to put drivers for recovery, and they use more than the 100 Mb allotted for the partition.(search for "backup fails")  Can I solve the problem by enlarging the system reserved partition?  Am I allowed to do this?   Lots of questions....hope someone has a few answers!
    actor39
    Friday, August 12, 2011 2:41 PM

Answers

  • The "System Reserved" partition is a 100 MB partition that Windows 7 setup creates when you install on a new (unpartitioned) disk. It normally contains the boot loader, which is small, and not much of anything else, and it's normally used when you boot. In order to back it up, though, it requires a certain minimum amount of free space, usually 30-40 MB of space. If it doesn't have that much free space you'll get an "insufficient space" error.

    Does that seem to be the case for you?


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, August 12, 2011 5:41 PM

All replies

  • Thank you Paul for pointing out my incorrect response.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Friday, August 12, 2011 3:19 PM
  • The "System Reserved" partition is a 100 MB partition that Windows 7 setup creates when you install on a new (unpartitioned) disk. It normally contains the boot loader, which is small, and not much of anything else, and it's normally used when you boot. In order to back it up, though, it requires a certain minimum amount of free space, usually 30-40 MB of space. If it doesn't have that much free space you'll get an "insufficient space" error.

    Does that seem to be the case for you?


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, August 12, 2011 5:41 PM
  • Hi, Ken.  I just looked and the System Reserved partition has 31 Mb free. Can I enlarge this partition without causing any problems? 


    actor39
    Friday, August 12, 2011 8:17 PM
  • And the actual error in the event log shows something like "A shadow copy could not be created", right?

    You can enlarge it into contiguous free space on the same disk. This will normally require shrinking the next partition slightly, moving it to free up space immediately adjacent to the "system reserved" partition, and then expanding the system partition into that space.

    Or you can move that partition to another disk, if you have one with a few hundred MB free. That will require you to designate that other disk as active.

    Don't make the "system reserved" partition more than 500 MB in size, though.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, August 12, 2011 8:27 PM
  • On Fri, 12 Aug 2011 15:19:27 +0000, Phil  Harrison wrote:

    I would suggest that there is something wrong with your installation if you needed to start fiddling with the system reserved partition. As you have left the systen in an unknown state, I would be inclined to wipe your server and start afresh with a new installation.

    I think if you go back and re-read the OP you'll find that the changes made
    to the system reserved partition were made on the client computer, not on
    the server so there's no need to rebuild the server.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Program:  What commercials try to do to us.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011 7:13 AM
  • I think Ken is right in his explaination on the cause of your problem.

    31MB free on the System Reserved partion however seems odd.
    You might wan't to run "chkdisk /F" on it to see if that will fix it by freeing up any unused disk clusters?
    -  Theo.


    No home server like Home Server
    Sunday, August 14, 2011 6:52 PM
  • I thought I would report on the status of this problem.  I enlarged the 100 Mb partition to 450 Mb, after freeing up 450 Mb at the front of the C: partition.  Then I tried the backup, and it worked perfectly.  So Ken's diagnosis was correct, and so was his solution.  Thanks, Ken!  But it's unfortunate that Microsoft's error message could not have been more helpful.  However it seems that Microsoft's error messages have never been very helpful, so I guess that's to be expected. 

       However, as is frequently the case, although this problem is solved, it has given rise to other questions, which probably are more appropriate for some other forum, but I will mention them here anyway.  The other two W7 clients that I am backing up did not have this problem, for two different reasons.  One of the clients had absolutely no system reserved partition.  And the other one (my laptop) had an un-named partition at the beginning of the hard disk that is 11.7 Gb in size, and is reported by the Computer Management utility to be 100% free space.  So evidently this system reserved partition is not really needed?  The laptop OS was an upgrade from Vista, but the OSes on the other two desktops were installed at the same time, in the same manner, with the same family system DVD. Quite puzzling to me.

     


    actor39
    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 1:23 PM
  • Your issue is actually a result of a bug in Windows 7, I believe. The source of the issue (a relatively minor bug which caused an over-full system reserved partition) was fixed with a patch at some point, but the actual issue (over-full system reserved partition) can't really be fixed in any automated way. So users are left to find their own solutions.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 1:36 PM
  • I had the same issue when backing up my Windows 7 laptop client that is fully patched up. I had to take ownership of the files in the system reserved partition and then the backup completed successfully.

    I assigned a drive letter to the reserved partition (in Disk Management) and then went into permission and assigned full control of the files to the Administrators group. I then removed the drive letter and restarted Windows.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 3:30 PM
  • The system reserved partition is only created when installing Windows 7 on an unpartitioned disk. If the disk has previously been partitioned, the boot loader goes onto the system partition (C:) as with prior versions of Windows. So the machine on which you did the installtion yourself, on a brand new disk, is the only one with the system partition.

    Of the other two machines, the desktop with W7 was installed or upgraded on a disk that had already been partitioned, and the laptop was installed or upgraded on a disk that had, at one point, had a manufacturer's recovery partition on it (the 11+ GB partition you mention is almost certainly a recovery partition).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 3:50 PM
  • My System Reserved partition has 37.3Mb free out of 100Mb. I get the same error.  

    I use a 60Gb SSD as a boot drive and I don't want to remove any space from it - it's small enough already!  Since the System Reserved partition was apparently created only to effect an installation on a clean disk can I now remove it? Why do I need to back it up?

    I did a clean install of Window 7 Ultimate 64 bit and have done nothing clever to it.  I'm annoyed that I can't use Backup and the error code leads me to a largely unresolved problem.  Why doesn't everyone have this issue?

    Disk Management shows:

    Disk 0

    System Reserved, 100MB NTFS, Healthy (Active, Primary Partition)

    (C:), 55.80 GB NTFS, Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    Thursday, May 10, 2012 11:00 AM
  • I just built a brand new WHS 2011 server. Five drives, in a hot swap cage:

    - One for WHS 2011, with  a system reserved partition, the WHS partition and a partition for server folders.

    - One drive for client backups

    - One drive for server folders, which I moved from the first disk to this one

    - Two drives for server back up.  One in service.  The other plugged out for off-site storage

    As soon as I got the server set up and running, and before I had any data or client backups on it, I attempted to do a manual server back up.  Everthing was selected for backup, including the 100MB system reserved partition.  The backup failed with error message "Not enough space.."

    I unchecked the system reserved partition, all other items remained selected for backup and ... it worked!  So the 100MB partition on the server had to be the problem and had to be the source of the error message.

    I saw the suggestions above, about resizing the 100MB partition and used BootIT BM to shrink the data partition on drive 0, slide the WHS and data partitions 100MB to the right and resize the system reserved partition to 200MB.  I have done this sort of operation many times on XP and Win 7 systems without a problem.  Set the new 200MB partition Active and boot...the machine would not boot, insisting that I insert bootable media.

    Ok maybe the problem was the third party partitioning software.  Reinstall WHS 2011. This time I tried shrinking the data partition 200MB using diskmgmt.msc, formatting the new partition NTFS, gave it drive letter F: then used the command C:>bcdboot c:\windows /s F: to copy the boot files.  Set the new partition active and boot.  Same error message...no bootable media found, cannot find bootmgr. Review, edit the pointers in the system reserved partition using BootIT BM to make sure they point to the right partitions and try again.  Same message..no bootable media, cannot find bootmgr.

    Insight: Resizing the system reserved partition can prevent the system from booting even when the pointer data within the partition looks correct.

    Reinstall WHS 2011. This time into a fully formatted single MBR partition and unlike Windows 7, it created  separate System Reserved Partition same as if it were going to bare metal. I know it is not supposed to do that but it did.

    Here is the zinger: Out of desparation, and before I put any data of any kind on this brand new fresh installation, I tried a manual server back up, just in case. It worked!  Tada!!  I double checked and yes the 100MB partition was included. So why did it not work on the first place?  Or does it just take three installations before server backup will work? Or is backup of the 100MB partition just plain flakey?

    Why does the installation program not let you select the size of the system reserverd and WHS 2011 partitions? 

    (Just found a way using CFG.ini at install time, explained in tutorial at WeGotServed: http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/tutorials/article/91-installation-disk-partitions-part-1-the-cfgini-answer-file/)

    In any case, I now have four client computers and the server backing up daily: let's hope it stays that way.

    Suggestion: If you get disk full error messages on server backups when the backup drives are obviously not full, try de-selecting the 100MB partition.  If that works, image the boot disk using third party software and try resizing.  If the machine won't boot either (1) reinstall/rebuild or (2) restore from the image file then use third party software to regularly image the 100MB system reserved and 60GB WHS partitions. WHS backup can look after the rest.

    I found this posting suggesting three fixes.  Only Option 3 worked for me: http://www.unproductivitydefined.com/2010/05/problems-with-windows-7-and-windows.html

    Would anyone have better ideas? Would anyone know how to safely resize the 100MB partition?




    • Edited by Al_S Sunday, May 20, 2012 12:31 AM
    Thursday, May 17, 2012 1:22 AM
  • I have the same problem where the "system reserve" is only 37 MB (NTFS, Win 7) on my C drive (SSD)  When I shrink the The C portion it creates another partion behind it and I am not given the "expand" option to increase the size of the "reserved" partition. How can I do this, please? Any help is appreciated.
    Thursday, July 05, 2012 11:28 PM
  • A reply to an old thread, but I found an easier answer to this, but only if stage 3 applies.....

    1) load up disk manager and right click on the System Reserved partition and give it a drive letter

    2) browse the drive with hidden AND system files visible

    3) you might see a 'pagefile.sys' of around 32mb in there, if so, move this to the desktop, if not, this won't work for you, roll back by loading up disk manager and right click on the System Reserved partition to remove the letter

    4) right click and create a new blank text file on the root of the System Reserved partition

    5) Rename this to 'pagefile.sys'

    Time to restart and check nothings borked.....

    6) Restart, pressing f8 and choose repair computer.

    7) check you can get in the console and see all the option after logging into administrator - if NOT, restart as normal and replace the original 'pagefile.sys' off the desktop, this won't work for you, carry on with 8....

    8) restart the PC normally, load up disk manager and right click on the System Reserved partition and remove the drive letter.

    9) Run back-up - it should work now.

    Happy days!

    JB


    Monday, August 19, 2013 11:53 PM