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HowbigshouldmyOSdrivebe?|AsktheCoreTeam

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Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support: Windows Server Core Team

How big should my OS drive be?

October 5, 2015 by John Marlin [MSFT] // 4 Comments


0

My name is Michael Champion and Ive been working in support for more than 12 years here at Microsoft. I have
been asked by many customers What is the recommended size for the OS partition for Windows Server?. There
are minimum recommendations in the technical documentation and release notes, but those recommendations
are more on the generic side. There are times when that recommendation is fine, but other times they are not.
Take for example the Windows Server 2012 R2 disk recommendations.
System Requirements and Installation Information for Windows Server 2012 R2
https://technet.microsoft.com/enus/library/dn303418.aspx
Disk space requirements
The following are the estimated minimum disk space requirements for the system partition.
Minimum: 32 GB
Note:
Be aware that 32 GB should be considered an absolute minimum value for successful installation. This
minimum should allow you to install Windows Server 2012 R2 in Server Core mode, with the Web
Services IIS server role. A server in Server Core mode is about 4 GB smaller than the same server in
Server with a GUI mode. For the smallest possible installation footprint, start with a Server Core
installation and then completely remove any server roles or features you do not need by using Features
on Demand. For more information about Server Core and Minimal Server Interface modes, see
Windows Server Installation Options.
The system partition will need extra space for any of the following circumstances:
If you install the system over a network.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askcore/2015/10/05/howbigshouldmyosdrivebe/

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10/4/2016

HowbigshouldmyOSdrivebe?|AsktheCoreTeam

Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and
dump files.
The trick here is that minimum is bolded meaning that you could need a larger space and does not take into
account your actal memory, what applications may be installed, etc. While it does state this, I can give you an
idea based on the role and hardware configuration of the server and other factors what disk space you should
have available.
Here are some good suggestions to follow when trying to calculate the size of an OS volume.
3x RAM up to 32GB
1012GB for the base OS depending on roles and features installed
10GB for OS Updates
10GB extra space for miscellaneous files and logs
Any applications that are installed and their requirements. Exchange, SQL, SharePoint,..
Taking the full 32GB RAM, a simple OS build would require a drive about 127GM in size. One may think this is
too large for the OS when the minimum disk space requirement is 32GB but lets break this down a bit
Why 3x RAM?
If you are using 32GB of RAM and you need to troubleshoot a bug check or hang issue, you will need a page file
at least 100MB larger than the amount of RAM as well as space for the memory dump. Wait, that is just over 2x
RAM There are other log files like the event logs that will grow over time and we may need to collect other logs
that will take up GB of space depending on what we are troubleshooting and the verbosity of the data we need.
10GB12GB for the base OS?
The base OS install size is about 10GB12GB and that is just for the base files and depends on what roles and
features are installed.
10GB for OS Updates?
If you are familiar with the WinSxS directory in the OS for 2008/R2 and up, this folder will grow as the server is
updated over the life of the server. We have made great strides in reducing the space taken up by the WinSxS
folder but it still increases over time.
10GB extra space for miscellaneous files and logs?
This may seem to be covered in the 3x RAM but many times people will copy ISO, 3rd party install files or logs,
and other things to the server. It is better to have the space than not to have it.
How much for server applications then?
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10/4/2016

HowbigshouldmyOSdrivebe?|AsktheCoreTeam

This part is variable and should be taken in consideration when purposing a server for a particular function. In
general server use, the 127GB can usually accommodate a single or even a dual purpose server.
Thank You,
Michael Champion
Support Escalation Engineer

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