So I recently came into a position to manage the server for our small, 12 person, company. The previous sysadmin here had absolutely no clue what he was doing, and has left the following situation. I fortunately know alot more about computers and PC management, however have very little experience with networking/servers, and particularly windows server 2003.

  • The server hard drive (500GB) was partitioned into a 30GB system drive, a 400GB data drive, and a 70GB private data drive.

  • The quickbooks file was installed directly onto the system drive, which is running 99.9% of the time with less than 2GB remaining of space. I must delete logs weekly in order to keep any chance of space available on the drive. The file is only hosted on the server, the server itself does not run quickbooks actively (it is installed).

  • The system volume itself has not been defragmented in probably 7-8 years, and is 92% fragmented.

  • The quickbooks file itself is damaged. It cannot be made into a portable file, and cannot be backed up at all. We are running on borrowed time before it likely crashes entirely, however management decision is to simply keep trucking forward with it in its current state. (we have even sent it to intuit to have them try to fix it, and they replied it is impossible to be repaired, there are over 25,000 validation errors).

My question is as follows:

As our quickbooks is generally in use 24-7 by some members of our company, would defragging the drive be a serious performance problem, and if so, how bad/long should I estimate?

What would be the most effective way to increase the system volume size SAFELY to a reasonable level? Keeping in mind that almost no backups are available, what kind of downtime should I expect to do this?

  • No backup, mission critically file in a state beyond repair, management oblivious to the problem. Start running. Don't look back. – Sven Dec 5 '12 at 18:37
  • While I am really serious about this, some technical advice: You are in a really bad situation - as you are saying yourself, running on borrowed time. But I don't think you are in any position to something about this - fiddling with defragmentation and stuff like that in an installation this fragile is suicide. You will need an expert who is able to work out a plan to rescue your installation, this isn't finished with increasing disk space or something as simple, it's more important to get your financial database back in order, possibly on a new system. – Sven Dec 5 '12 at 18:42
  • @SvenW unfortunately the company isn't in a state to bring in a true expert, and the system is finally slowing down to a point where we have to make some moves in an attempt to do something. As it is, it takes about 30 seconds to 2 minutes to open a sales order for editing. The main goal here is to at least buy the company a few mor e months of reasonably increased usability in hopes that their situation is more suitable for fixing this problem at that time. – NRGdallas Dec 5 '12 at 18:46
  • Semi-Fact: You are going to loose your database, possibly sooner than later. I have little doubt that nothing can be done about this with any fiddling on the "defrag" level. Your bosses have to decide which is more expensive: Hiring a real expert/consultant, or to shoulder this loss. – Sven Dec 5 '12 at 18:50
  • the decision has been made pretty much to just shoulder it when it happens, and to attempt to delay it to the most extent possible in the meantime. – NRGdallas Dec 5 '12 at 19:03

I had a similar problem on a Server 2003 system. I used Paragon Disk Partition Manager http://www.paragon-software.com/business/pm-server/ to change the size of the C: & D: drive. I suggest at least a 70Gb increase in the C: drive, this assumes that you have suffecient free space on the D drive to decrease it by 70GB. This will repartition the drive without affecting your system or data. As always backing up critical data to an external drive is a must before this kind of operation. Once the C: drive has free space then it can be defragged.

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  • Best answer I have seen so far. Acronis DiskDirector or Parted Magic (free software) will get the job done too. The thing is BACKUP FIRST, with the QuickBooks software shutdown during the backup., then increase diskspace. Then defrag. All of this WITHOUT users (pull the LAN cable out of the box to make sure). The databsae is still hosed so sooner or later the company will be in major trouble (The IRS is going to have a field day soon.) – Tonny Jan 16 '13 at 20:30

Replace disc with a 1000gb Velociraptor or get a 512gb SSD in for the data - the later makes fragmentation a total non issue, the first will at least fix it once.

Throw out anyone using it for a weekend to copy the data. Management may go to jail if that fails for failing to keep their books in order as per corporate regulations - their choice. At least ONCE you should (a) take a full backup and (b) copy the file over to new discs.

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