Why Disabling Windows Low Disk Space Warning Notification Can Be A Mistake



If you have not noticed, many Tech How-To's tell you that Windows low disk space warning pop-ups are annoying and the best solution is to disable the notification. For the most part I agree, it is annoying, but I don't agree with just disabling the notification warning.

Why? Because there is good reason to the low disk warnings triggering the notification that could potentially lead to loss of data or cause Windows to shutdown an important component.





The obvious reason for the warning is because you are low on disk space. But the Windows monitoring component that's causing the notifications is the SRService, known as System Restore Service. Not just an annoying notification Microsoft want to irritate people with.


As sometimes controversial as System Restore service can be, it is a useful tool that can be used to restore your computer to a previous state due to harmful changes such as a virus, spyware, or if the installation of software causes more trouble than it's worth.

Additionally, the operation of Windows can be effected, such as expanding the page file if there is not enough space available.

From the above screen shot, no matter how many logical drives or partitions you have, when disk space dips below 200 MB of free space on the drive, Windows suspends System Restore not just on the drive that is low on disk space, but on all drives. Including the System drive.

If you do not free up disk space on the drive, the next set of warnings occur at 80 MB and 50 MB thresholds with frequency of notification messages increasing each time. In order to compensate, Windows now needs to free up disk space by deleting previous restore points based on a calculation.

If you continue to use up the remaining space, no current restore points are created. With out restore points available, you will not be able to restore back in time if needed.

Once free disk space reaches 200 MB, Windows enables System Restore service and stops sending the notifications (any previous restore points that Windows deleted are permanently lost).

With low disk warning notifications disabled, you will never see the balloon pop-ups, unless you check the System event log, which many home Window users don't do or know how to view the event log.

NOTE: To view Windows Event Logs, click on Start \ Run and in the run box type eventvrw and click OK.

An Alternative Method

If you insist on disabling the low disk warnings, you need to provide an alternative solution for having Windows alert you when disk drives are low on space. I have not found a decent freeware solution yet (if you know of one, let me know!)

There are many software products available for a price, two of which are pretty good.

Space Patrol (JD Designs – $14.24) runs on all versions of Windows (including Vista) and allows you to set low disk space thresholds to any value you want. Installation is simple and configuration is easy. During the trial period settings are lost once you logoff or shutdown Windows and will need to be reset at each logon. Once you purchase a license, settings are retained.


 Notifications of low disk space appear as a balloon pop-up, alerting you of which drive and the amount of free space available. Space Patrol starts monitoring when you logon to Windows.


  Abaiko Disk Space Monitor (Abaiko Software – 14.95 for Personal License) runs on Windows 2000, XP, 2003 or Vista. 30 day trial is available.

Installation and configuration is simple. Disk Space Monitor gives your more control with settings by allowing you to select low disk space thresholds in Bytes (KB, MB, GB) or as percent. Additionally you can modify the frequency for checking disk space and warning notifications.


 Notifications of low disk space appear as a balloon pop-up, alerting you of which drive and the amount of free space available. Disk Space Monitor starts monitoring when you logon to Windows.


 Both Space Patrol and Disk Space monitor do a nice job of monitoring disk space and should be a nice alternative for disabling Windows low disk space notifications. Each product provides support on their web sites.

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Dylan Austin


Whenever I have a problem, I sing. Then I realize my voice is worse than my problem.

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