Extend system partition in Windows Server 2008

It is headache to many people including server administrators to resize or extend partition. The main concern include: which tool is the right choice, and is it safe to resize partition. This article introduces how to extend system drive on Windows Server 2008 (R2) without losing data, fast and easily.

About system partition

The system partition is the primary partition that is used as the active boot partition. System partition must be located on the disk where the computer boots from. One disk can only have one active system partition. System partitions refer to disk volumes containing defined files for the boot of Windows. The system partition in newer Windows such as Windows 10 is also name as System Reserved.

The Boot partition is the partition where Windows is installed. It includes a Windows directory. In most cases, C drive is boot partition.

A single partition may be both a system and a boot partition. System partition here refers to system C drive, if you want to resize/extend System Reserved partition, the steps are similar.

System partition low disk space

Today’s hard drives feature jaw-dropping amounts of space, but no matter how big your drive is, you’ll be amazed at how quickly Windows updates, applications, browser caches, and temporary files can eat up your free space in system C drive. Sooner or later, C drive becomes full and the Low Disk Space alert pops up. In this situation, expand system partition as fast as possible, otherwise, there is no free space to install critical Windows updates, system runs much slower or even crash.

Which tool to extend system drive?

In Windows Server 2008, Microsoft add new Extend Volume function under Disk Management to help expand partition without losing data. However, because of many limitations, Disk Management is not the best choice. The common issue is that Extend Volume always greyed out after shrinking a partition, because:

  • Shrink Volume can only generate Unallocated space on the right when shrinking a partition.
  • Extend Volume can only extend the partition with adjacent Unalocated space on the right.

Unallocated space that shrunk from drive D is non-adjacent to C drive, so Disk Management cannot extend system partition in that way. The only option is deleting drive D to get contiguous Unallocated space, then Extend Volume is enabled for C drive.

1. How to extend system partition in Server 2008 Disk Management

Step 1: Transfer all files in drive D (the right contiguous volume) to other place.

Step 2: Press Windows and R keys together, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Disk Management. Right click drive D and select Delete Volume. (Note: do NOT do this if you installed programs or services to this partition.)

Step 3: Right-click the system partition (C drive) and select “Extend Volume…”Extend 2008Step 4: In the Extend Volume Wizard window, select the available space and click Next. (the maximum available space is the entire 100GB, I just use 50GB)

Add space

Step 5: Confirm the operation and click “Finish” to proceed.

Confirm extending

The extending operation complete in a short time.

Partition extended

If there is no right contiguous partition or you cannot delete it, you have to run 3rd-party software.

2. How to extend system volume with partitioning software

There are many programs that can help extend system volume for Windows 2008 server, however, you’d better back up first and run safe software, otherwise, there’s potential data loss risk. Better than other program, NIUBI Partition Editor has innovative technologies to protect system and data.

  • Virtual Mode – if you did something wrong, simply click Undo to cancel the pending operations, nothing will be changed until click Apply to confirm.
  • Cancel-at-well – if you confirmed and started some incorrect operations, you can cancel the ongoing operations at any progress in a flash.
  • 1-Second Rollback – it is able to automatically reverts server to original status in a flash if any error occur while resizing partitions. In that case, your server could back online without modification in a short time.
  • 30% to 300% faster because of the advanced file-moving algorithm.

Better than Disk Management, NIUBI Partition Editor can make Unallocated space on the left when shrinking D: drive, so system C drive can be extended easily. If you made Unallocated space on the right side of D, NIUBI can move Unallocated space next to C drive. All you need to do is drag and drop on the disk map.

Steps to extend system partition C in Windows Server 2008 R2:

  1. Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click drive D: and click “Resize/Move Volume“.
  2. In the pop-up window, drag the left border rightwards to shrink D, or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space before, then Unallocated space is made behind C drive.
  3. Right click C drive and select “Resize/Move Volume” again, in the pop-up window, drag the right border rightwards to combine this Unallocated space.
  4. Press Apply on top left to execute, done!

Watch the video how to do this:

Extend system drive


  • If you use any types of hardware RAID arrays such as RAID 1/5/10 or virtual server in VMware/Hyper-V, simply follow the steps in the video, there’s no difference.
  • If there’s no other partition or no available free space on the same disk, you can extend system partition (and other volumes) by cloning to another larger disk.

In Summary

Due to the limitations of Server 2008 Disk Management, it is not the best choice, it’s much easier to extend system partition on Windows Server 2008 with NIUBI Partition Editor. Because of the advanced data protection technology and file-moving algorithm, it is much safer and faster. It also helps you do many other disk partition operations.

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