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Wasted Disk Space in Windows 2008 due to Hiberfil.sys

01/15/09

Permalink 10:43:32 pm by guy, Categories: VMWare, Windows , Tags: hiberfil.sys, w2k8, windows server 2008

I was creating a Windows Server 2008 template installation for our VMWare cluster the other day and noticed that the basic installation, before adding any server roles, seemed to use more disk space than I would have expected. I had never setup a 2008 Server before so I thought I’d investigate how the files were distributed. My favorite tool for this kind of investigation is WinDirStat ( http://windirstat.info/ ), another fine open source application from SourceForge.

I took this image directly from the web site, this is pretty much the whole interface. The top list is essentially an explorer view of your directory structure. The top right is a breakdown of file type distribution as well as the color coded key for the filemap at the bottom. The filemap is the magic of this application. The picture at the bottom represents your entire disk space for the drive that has been mapped. The rectangles that make up the image each represent 1 file. If you select a rectangle at the bottom it will automatically highlight that file in the explorer and vice-versa. If you select a directory in the explorer it will highlight all the files in the image below. Very cool and it makes it very easy to identify how your disk space is distributed.

So, to make a long story short, I immediately saw from the image that there were 2 HUGE 2 gig files. One was the page file (pagefile.sys), and the second was the hibernation mode (hiberfil.sys) file for suspending to disk. The size of the hiberfil.sys file is equal to the amount of RAM installed. Why would a server OS need to hibernate? I did some googling and found a blog entry explaining that the only way to get rid of the file is to adjust the power settings through the command line.

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

At least the fix is easy. Unfortunately I’m guessing there is all sorts of wasted disk space out there due to this unfortunate default configuration.

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I'm a generalist, at least if I'm honest. In my job I am primarily a developer, but also a sysadmin, and (as little as possible) technical support. I know a little about a lot of things, a lot about some things, and everything about nothing. Here I will post random learnings...

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