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