Error: There is not enough space on the disk

I was running a query in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), nothing too complicated, and got this error, unexpectedly:

An error occurred while executing batch. Error message is: There is not enough space on the disk.

There’s plenty of space on the server, so what’s the problem? The problem is that we’re running a query in SSMS, and SSMS caches resultsets to your %TEMP% directory. And there’s no way to configure that, other than changing where %TEMP% actually *is*.

Just to demonstrate the problem, navigate to %TEMP% – it’s buried somewhere in the user profile AppData directory, so it’s quicker just to open a new explorer window and type %TEMP% into the navigation bar:

Look! SSMS!

However, no sign of any files containing anything useful. Open a command window at this location – quick way is to just put “cmd” into the Navbar and hit return:

That opens up a command window in the right location. Look for hidden files:

There’s the culprit (OK, it’s only 14KB here, bu tit’s a small query just to prove a point…)

To really prove the point, on this particular server, I can do it just by running this:

USE [msdb];

SELECT *
FROM [dbo].[backupset] AS [bs1],
     [dbo].[backupset] AS [bs2],
     [dbo].[backupset] AS [bs3];

…but that would risk crashing the server. So I won’t do that.

What do we learn from this, though? The main points (for me):

  • Don’t run SSMS on servers
  • Make sure there’s plenty of disk space
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