VSS Shadow Copies Are Filling C Drive

SUMMARY

How to delete shadow copies that are filling up a drive.

ISSUE

A server may start to fill up on the C drive due to VSS shadow copies that are not deleting.  This may be caused by copies that are orphaned out and not deleted originally when they are taken, which causes the following copies that are attached to the original copies not be purged out either.  Below is how to resolve this issue.  

RESOLUTION

You may find the C:\System Volume Information filling up with vss copies and not purging.

  1. Verify there are no backups running for the server in question.  
  2. Stop the Volume Shadow Copy service and the BPAgent services.
  3. Verify that are no pending updates to the server itself.  
    1. NOTE: If you continue and there are pending updates to the server, it WILL cause problems once updates are applied.  Apply the pending updates before proceeding.   
  4. On the server, open up a command prompt with admin rights, then submit the command:  diskshadow
  5. In order to delete the pending shadow copies, submit the command:   DELETE SHADOWS VOLUME C:
    1. ​NOTE: This will delete the shadow copies that were out there. If you open up a folder where the shadow copies are located (C:\System Volume Information), you will see the copies being purged.  You may see the command prompt only report that a few copies were deleted, but all the attached vss copies should be deleted too. You should eventually see the copies be removed and only a needed files remain.  WARNING: Do not run this command if the server or workstation is pending a reboot to install Windows updates!
  6. Restart the Volume Shadow Copy service and the BPAgent services.   
  7. It is recommended that the server be rebooted when possible as well.  

CAUSE

This may be caused by copies that are orphaned out and not deleted originally when they are taken, which causes the following copies that are attached to the original copies not be purged out either.  

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