Fix the 0x80780119 error when creating a System Image in Windows 7 and 8

There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy of the storage location (0x80780119). Here is how to fix that.

I have recently heard from a number of readers who have had difficulties running the System Image tool built into Windows 7 and Windows 8. These readers have been encountering the error message shown in Figure A. Because of the length of the error message and the specific number given, the error message is commonly referred to as "There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy of the storage location (0x80780119)."

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Figure A

Fig A 8-9.png

This System Image error message is terribly confusing.

As you can see, the full error message is very confusing and more often than not, the shortened version is interpreted as meaning that there is not enough free space on the destination drive. However, in actuality it indicates a problem with the source drive. After investigating the problem in detail, I have discovered that there are two common causes for the problem - one cause in Windows 7 and a different cause in Windows 8. I have also discovered that there are two separate solutions that will ultimately allow you to successfully create a system image.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I will walk you through the steps I used to decipher the problem. Then, I'll examine each of these solutions and show you how to implement them.

Breaking down the error message

Let's begin with the details revealed in the error message itself. Let me start off by saying that this is a horribly written error message that is terribly confusing.

The first sentence is the one that is the most misleading:

There is not enough space to create the volume shadow copy on the storage location.

As you can imagine, this being the first sentence leads people off to thinking that the cause of the problem is that there is not enough free space on the destination drive. However, if you read into the next two sentences and ignore the typos, you will see that there is a hint at the real problem.

Make sure that, for all volumes to be backup up, the minimum required disk space for shadow copy creation is available. This applies to both the back up storage destination and volumes included in the back up.

Looking at these sentences, we can see that the error can be caused by not having enough free space on either the source or the destination. And, we can begin to see that the error message is referring to not having enough free space for the volume shadow copy rather that the total amount space required for the full system image.

The next three sentences spell out exactly how much free space is required for the volume shadow copy:

Minimum requirement:

  • For volumes less than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 50 megabytes of free space.
  • For volumes more than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 320 megabytes of free space.


  • At least 1 gigabyte of free disk space on each volume if volume size is more than 1 gigabyte.

At this point we begin to decipher the real problem. First, just about everyone who encounters this problem has tried creating the System Image on both DVDs and a large external hard disk with plenty of room to hold the system image as well as the volume shadow copy, so we can eliminate the destination drive as the cause of the problem. That leaves the source drive as the location of the problem causing the error message. However, before we dig deeper into the source drive, we need to take a closer look at the entity which we need there to enough free space - the volume shadow copy.

The Volume Shadow Copy

As we discovered, the error message is referring to not having enough free space for the volume shadow copy rather that the total amount space required for the full system image. So, what is the volume shadow copy?

In a nutshell, the Volume Shadow Copy feature runs in Windows as a Service and is designed to make snapshot-like backup copies of the data on a volume. This snapshot technology is built into tools like System Image to allow it to create backups of data without it having to be concerned with changes being made to the data while it is in the process of backing up that data. So, when you launch System Image, it immediately takes a snapshot of all the data in a volume as it exists at that particular point in time. It then saves this snapshot as a file on the volume. If there is more than one volume on the hard disk, which is typically the case, System Image takes and saves a snapshot of each volume. Once all the snapshots are taken, the System Image tool goes to work copying all these snapshots to the destination and assembling them into a comprehensive image of the hard disk.

The volumes on the source drive

We've eliminated the destination as the cause of the problem and have shifted our focus to the source drive. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the source.

As you know, the image created by Windows' System Image tool encompasses the entire hard disk and the hard disk can be divided up into multiple partitions, which are also called volumes. A hard disk in the Windows environment will have at least two and maybe more partitions or volumes. Of course, there will be the main volume representing the C drive. There may also be a volume labeled System Reserved, which doesn't have a drive letter. The System Reserved volume is created during Setup and is designed to hold the operating system's Boot Manager and the Boot Configuration Database. It is also designed to be used by the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature should you decide to implement it. In Windows 7, the System Reserved volume will be 100MB and in Windows 8, the System Reserved volume will be 350MB

Now, if you purchased a computer with an OEM version of Windows preinstalled, there may be other volumes on your hard disk. For example, there might be volumes labeled Recovery Partition, OEM Partition, or EFI System Partition. Depending on the OEM, these additional volumes could be any size in either MBs or GBs. In most cases, none of these additional volumes is assigned a drive letter. However, if you launch Windows' Disk Management tool, you can take a look at all of the volumes that exist on your hard disk. To do so in either Windows 7 or Windows 8, press [Windows] + R to access the Run dialog box. Then type diskmgmt.msc in the Open text box and click OK.

Looking for the problem

At this point, we now have enough information to go looking for the source of the problem. Using the details provided in the last three sentences of the error message and the Disk Management tool, we can take a closer look at each volume on the source drive and identify which one is the cause of the problem.

You'll want to arrange the column headers in the top panel of Disk Management so that you can clearly read all the information, as shown in Figure B. Once you do, check the Capacity and Free Space columns of each volume on Disk 0 and see if they adhere to the specifications or rules laid out in the last three sentences of the error message in order to be able to accommodate the Volume Shadow Copy snapshot file. For your convenience, I've summarized the rules in Table A below.

Figure B

Fig B 8-9.png

After arranging the column headers, check the Capacity and Free Space columns see if they adhere to the rules.

Table A

If Volume size
Then free space must be at least

The minimum and recommended space rules from the error message.

If you identify a volume on your hard disk that violates these rules, then you have discovered the source of the error message. How you go about solving the problem will depend on how the offending volume is configured and how it will allow you to work with it. Let's take a look.

The Change Journal problem

In Windows 7, the most common cause of the problem will be the System Reserved volume, which has expanded in size due to an anomaly in the Change Journal system. As you may know, in order to keep track of changes to files, the NTFS file system maintains a database called the Change Journal. Basically, when any change is made to a file or directory, the Change Journal is updated with a new record that contains the name of the file or directory that was changed along with a brief description of the change along. Then, an Update Sequence Number (USN) is assigned to the record.

Unfortunately, it turns out that a malfunction of some sort occurs in certain file or disk operations that can inadvertently cause Change Journal entries to be created on the System Reserved volume. Whatever the situation, the buildup of entries on this volume uses up the space that the System Image creation process needs to use to store the Volume Shadow Copy files.

To fix this problem in Windows 7 requires three operations: First, you use Disk Management to assign a drive letter to the System Reserved volume. Second, you use the FSUTIL command line tool to delete the Change Journal entries from the System Reserved volume. Third, you use Disk Management to remove the drive letter from the System Reserved volume.

You need to assign a drive letter to the System Reserved volume in order to be able to access it with the FSUTIL command line tool. To do so in Disk Management, right click on the System Reserved partition and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths command, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Fig C 8-9.png

You can use Disk Management to assign a drive letter to the System Reserved volume.

In a moment, you'll see the associated dialog box and will click the Add button. When you see the Add Drive Letter or Path dialog box, shown in Figure D, use the drop down menu to pick a drive letter at the far end of the alphabet, something uncommon that will stand out, such as Q.

Figure D

Fig D 8-9.png

Use a drive letter that is uncommon so that it will stand out.

At this point, launch an Administrator Command Prompt. When the Administrator Command Prompt windows appears, type the following command, as shown in Figure E.

fsutil usn deletejournal /N /D Q:

Figure E

Fig E 8-9.png

Use the FSUTIL command to delete the unnecessary Change Journal entries.

Now, return to Disk Management, right click on the System Reserved partition and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths command. When you see the dialog box, click Remove and respond to the prompts, as shown in Figure F. Then, restart your system.

Figure F

Fig F 8-9.png

Remove the drive letter from the System Reserved partition.

After you restart your system, you will be able to run System Image tool without encountering the error.

Reducing the size of a Recovery partition

In Windows 8, the most common cause will be an OEM Recovery partition. Some OEMs are creating Recovery partitions on the hard disk that are 500MB or larger and these partitions don't have enough required free space (320MB) to accommodate the volume shadow copy files. Apparently, these OEMs aren't familiar with the rules and the amount of free space required running the System Image tool in Windows 8.

For example, let's assume that we have a Recovery partition that is 500MB in size and that it contains 340MB of recovery data. That leaves 160MB of free space, which is obviously less than the 320MB required to adhere to the rules specified in System Image's error message. However, 160MB leaves some room to work with. If you reduce the size of the Recovery partition to just under 500MB, then System Image will only need 50MB of free space for the volume shadow copy file. Fortunately, Disk Management allows you to resize volumes with its Shrink Volume command.

To do so in Disk Management, right click on the Recovery partition and select the Shrink Volume command, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G

Fig G 8-9.png

Choose the Shrink Volume command.

When you see the Shrink dialog box, type a number in the available text box that takes the Total size after shrink number just under 500MB. As you can see in Figure H, by typing a 5 in the text box I took the size of the recovery partition down to 495MB. To continue, click the Shrink button.

Figure H

Fig H 8-9.png

Enter a number that takes the size of the partition just below the 500 MB threshold.

When the Shrink operation is complete, you can see that the capacity of the partition is 495MB and the free space is at 155MB, as shown in Figure I. Now there is plenty of room for the 50MB volume shadow copy file.

Figure I

Fig I 8-9.png

Once the partition is below 500MB, the will be ample room for the 50MB volume shadow copy file.

After you restart your system, you will be able to run System Image tool without encountering the error.

What's your take?

Have you encountered the "There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy of the storage location (0x80780119)" error message when attempting to run the system Image tool? Did one of these solutions allow you to successfully run the System Image tool on your Windows 7 or Windows 8 system? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us hear from you.

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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.


My System Reserved volume is only 63MB, with 39 MB free, and that's after I deleted the journal files. I can't make the partition bigger, due to limiting factors (see Extend Basic Volume in the Disk Management help files, or on google).  I can't seem to change my disk to a dynamic disk, either.  I dont' think I'll ever be able to create a system image, since I need 50 MB free on my System Reserved volume.  If only it had been created with 100 MB instead...


Very well written, crystal clear article. 

This particular fix didn't solve the problem  but increasing the system partition size to have more than 50 mb free did fix the issue with backups failing.  Thank you.


Still no success. I created a recovery USB and deleted the content of recovery volume from the computer - still no success after that. It does not work. Moreover, when I am trying to create the back up, Windows shows me volumes which are going to be backed up - there is one which is not visible at all when I use the Disk Management!!!!!!! That seems to be the problem. It is called Windows Recovery Environment, it has 350MB size and 349.2 is used. There is no such a volume to be seen in the Disk Management.


Thank you but it does not seem to address the real why in my laptop running Win 8.1.

I see 5 volumes - 4 with no letter and 1 C. The capacity and free space are: 400MB:400MB (recovery), 300MB:300MB (EFI), 350MB:350MB (recovery), 18.76GB:18.76GB (recovery) and finally C volume 445GB:384GB (86% free space; about 62GB used). The Seagate portable drive where I want to store the back-up has over 300GB free space. Yet, I get the above error report.

Nice article but it doesn't address the problem I have. When I migrated my Windows 8.1 OS from my HDD to a Samsung Evo 840 250gb SSD, the Samsung migration software created a 100MB System Reserved partition at the front of the SSD and allocated the rest to the C-partition (and Windows 8.1 OS).

When I try to create a system image I get the error message as described above because the amount of free space on my SSD System Reserved partition is only 3% (3MB), when apparently it needs at least 50MB according to this article.

I can shrink the C-partition but can't expand the SR partition into that space. Is there any way to shrink the C-partition from the left - that way I can then expand the SR to the right?

Any ideas?

Thank you for the information in "Fix the 0x80780119 error when creating a System Image in Windows 7 and 8". I finally have my system image. I will also create one on an external disc later. Thanks again.


Thanks Greg for a fabulous, well-written and concise solution.  My first thought is, why isn't Microsoft recruiting this guy?  Compared with the drivel they call "help" -- if anyone at Microsoft is reading this, THIS is the standard you need to come up to!!

Kudos Greg and keep doing what you're doing.

Bill Peterson

Peterson Computers


Here's my take on the problem.
I have a win-7 64-bit machine just for testing and finding issues people have with various bits of software.
The machine is fully patched and up to date, its HDD is Seagate 120-GB, I backup a system image to a Seagate
320-GB USB hard drive. After 'Patch Tuesday' or program upgrades I always create a new image. The USB HDD is
just for the system image nothing else.

A couple of months ago I encounted the image fail/space error. I reformatted the External drive and was able
to create an image.

Recently the error re-occurred. I reformatted the external drive- still got the error.

The only thing I had done was upgrade Adobe Flash Player to version So I un-installed flash player
restarted, ran CCleaner on the registry, and then went through the procedure of creating a system image, and
guess what:- an image was created.

I then installed Flash player version, restarted and then again successfully created a system image.

So is the problem related to how flash player is installed/upgraded or was I just lucky?


Nice article.  My Recovery partition on a Dell Inspiron Windows 7 puter is 10.82 GB and it shows it as full, 0% available. The partition is between the small system one and the c:. So three options. 

1) extend this partition by more than a gigabyte. Many using Mini-tool Partition Wizard. Plenty of space on the c: but is that safe?

2) give it a drive letter and go there and see why it is that way (curious), if there is something to delete do so, and then remove the drive letter. This could be combined with checking with Dell.  There is a good possibility that there is nothing safe to touch (like a bloated log file).

3) say ferget about it and simply use my normal Macrium Reflect and other 3rd party tools

Your thoughts?  If extending the partition is safe I would do that, presumably disk data management clears the gigabyte first, but I would want some confirmation.  I could check with the partition management people.  I would think this idea of extending a partition into another partition is pretty common, as long as there is free space.



It took me 30 minutes of searching to find the dang system image backup option; felt like MSFT was trying to hide it.  I had to try 3x and fail to different destinations before I read beyond the first line which clearly implied the destination didn't have enough space.  reading the rest suggested issues w/the source.  Thank you for your clear description of the error message and workarounds. 

IMHO - this level of complexity to do something for a back up function is a joke.  it was nowhere this difficult w/7 and let's not get started on the simplicity of a MAC.  I'm not real happy w/MSFT and Windows 8.1 at this point and will look for another solution to create a system image. 




I have the exact same "Create a system image / The Backup Failed" error as shown above.

I've just setup a new Win 8.1 system. Your fix is for OEM recovery partitions on the hard disk that are 500MB or larger that don't have free space to accommodate the volume shadow copy files.

My system is not OEM, but a fresh install on a new hard drive. Disk Management shows three volumes on Disk 0:

  -     Recovery Partition of 300 MB, 300 MB free, 100% free
  -     EFI System Partition of 99 MB, 99 MB free, 100% free
  - C: Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition, 111.27 GB, 86.29 GB free, 78% free

Should I increase the size of the (empty) EFI Partition so it can have 320 MB free?


Thanks for a great article.  I ran into this problem on a Windows 7 64-bit system after adding a second hard drive to it.  The initial symptom was that Windows Home Server backups were failing.  The error was "the computer failed to take a snapshot of the volume for backup."  Then, when I tried using Windows Backup on the local system I got the dreaded 0x80780119 error.

For some reason, fsutil usn deletejournal /d /n on the system reserved partition did not free up space, even if I restarted the system or waited overnight.  fsutil usn queryjournal revealed that the maxsize was 32 MB. At the same time, there was only 32 MB free in the 100 MB system reserved partition.  Finally I used fsutil usn createjournal to reduce the maxsize to 24 MB, leaving the allocation size unchanged.  Suddenly there was more than 60 MB free.  Windows Backup worked without a hitch.  The next Windows Home Server backup also succeeded.  Plus, mysteriously, there is now 70 MB available on the system reserved partition.  I suppose I could reset the maxsize of the usn journal to 32 MB, but if it ain't broke...


i dont undestand.. pls help me.. i try to folow but ended up losing my D disk.. i dont undertand why it went missing hmm.. pls help me..


found the easy answer

in my VM i had two partition, system reserve 500MB  (270 MB free) and  C: 100 GB ( 60GB free) i tried everything but later i read the error carefully, it says if the partition is less than 500 then 50MB is requireed, so i shrink the system partition from 500 to 499MB and it worked


ali jaafar
ali jaafar


ali jaafar
ali jaafar

I have sony with windows 8.1 I have the same problem and when try to applied message recover partition only 350MB and 350 MB are free


Just installed 8.1 on my desktop & get this error.  There're 3 volumes on my C: drive: Recovery, System & Boot.

The recovery is 300 MB with 272 MB used, system has 100 MB / 30 MB used & boot has 240 GB & 80 GB used.  So I have to assume that the recovery is the culprit.  I tried the fsutil on it and it brought the used space down to 268 MB but still no joy. 

The auto-install put both the hidden partitions before the boot (C:) partition so there's really no way to move or expand them. 

Very frustrating!


I have the not enough space to create volume shadow copy problem blocking me from imaging my Toshiba laptop.  I examined the drive partitions but cannot see a problem as suggested I might in this article.

I have Windows 8.1.  Is there a way to append a file here?  I have a snip of my drive partitions to share.   


I encountered this error today. I've got a full drive that I'm trying to copy to a larger drive. When I try to run fsutil on the my System drive (499 MB, used to capacity), however, I get the error that "The volume change journal is not active. The majority of the space there appears to be taken up by the file "sdc1.ntfs-ptcl-img.gz.aa," which might have been produced by CloneZilla (which failed). But I don't feel safe to delete any files on the System drive. Any suggestions?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Have you had to deal with this error message? Were you able to find a solution?


@ali jaafar I have the exact same problem. When I right click the recovery partition the only message that appears is "help"


@tmoore82  I got this same error, cannot figure out how to fix it or proceed


So I did some research that lead me to believe all the files I was seeing on my System drive had been created by my failed attempt to copy the image with CloneZilla. I backed up the files that were on my System drive, then deleted them from System. I had a backup of my whole filesystem in case I did something truly terrible, but I also figured that without Admin permissions, I wouldn't be able to delete anything crucial. Once I freed up the space on System, the backup started just fine. It's still in process now, but I wanted to follow up on my last comment in case anyone else is in the same situation because they tried another tool first. Thanks!


@korokame @ali jaafar  

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