Monday 8 February 2016

Remote Desktop Session Host: The System Partition is Getting Full?

In our on-premises and Cloud Desktop RDSenvironments we’ve discovered a number of different things that cause problems for users in Windows Server 2012 R2, Exchange 2013, and Office 2013.

All of our Remote Desktop Session Hosts (RDSHs) are set up with two VHDX files. One for the operating system and one for the data and User Profile Disks (UPDs).

Unfortunately, while UPDs give us a great flexbility option that allow us to have then on the network thus avoid local profile pains in a RDS Farm setting they have a number of different negative impacts on user experience and RDSH health.

One that impacts both is the mysterious filling up of the system partition.

As it turns out, Outlook 2013 and Exchange 2013 plus UPDs means Outlook search is almost completely broken.

But, that doesn’t stop the Windows Server Search Service from doing its best to catalog everything anyway!

What does that mean?

Well, eventually we have a search database that can grow to epic proportions.

Since all of our OS partitions are rather small we end up with session hosts getting their system partition filled rather quickly on a busy RDSH. This is especially true in a Farm setting.

So, what are our options?

Well, we could disable the Windows Search Service. This would be a bad idea since users wouldn’t be able to find _anything_ anymore. We’d go from the occasional complaint to constant complaints. So, not good.

The alternative is to reset the Windows Search index.

  1. Start –> Indexing Options
  2. Advanced button (UAC)
  3. Click the Rebuild button

And, voila! In some cases we get 45GB to 60GB of space back in short order!

Philip Elder
Microsoft High Availability MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

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