Cannot extend C drive in Windows Server 2008 R2?

Though Windows Server 2016 has been released, many people still use Server 2008. Recently some users ask for help, because they cannot extend C drive in Server 2008 Disk Management and do not know why.  So in this article, I’ll show you why you cannot extend C drive in Windows Server 2008, and give the best solution to expand C drive without data loss.

Cannot extend C

Unable to extend C drive in Server 2008

After searching by Google, it seems that many people have the same problem, such as:

I have 4 drives in my server (C,D,E,F), c is running out of the space I tried to use  windows disk management tool to extend c drive but extend command is disabled.

I have a 150 GB hard drive on a windows 2008 server R2, C drive is 20GB and D is the rest. When I extend C drive, “Extend Volume” is greyed out, so I cannot extend C drive space.

Microsoft adds new Shrink Volume and Extend Volume feature under Server 2008 Disk Management, with which you can re-size an existing disk volume. So some people shrank D to get Unallocated space, and try to add the free space to C drive with Extend Volume function. In fact, you cannot extend C drive by shrinking other drives, except deleting D.

To better explain, I have to make the issue reappear.

Why cannot extend C drive under Disk Management

Open Server 2008 Disk Management by clicking Server Manager > Storage > Disk Management.

From this console, there are 4 drives in Disk 0: System Reserved and drive C:, D: and E. If you right click C drive, Extend Volume is greyed out, of course you cannot expand C drive, because there is no Unallocated space to use.

Add space to C

Okay, try to shrink D to get some Unallocated space.

Shrink volume

10GB free space shrank from D, please note: this free space is behind drive D.

Got free space

Still cannot extend C: drive because this free space is not behind drive C.

Extend disabled

Okay, delete drive D and retry.

Delete D

Now there is 40GB free space, but Extend Volume is still unavailable, because there is an Extended Partition behind C.

Drive deleted

Okay, delete the Extended partition:

Delete partition

Have you seen? The 40 GB free space changed to be Unallocated. Retry, extend volume becomes available now. Click it and the Extend Volume Wizard window will be open, finish the wizard and you can expand C drive with the 40 GB Unallocated space.

Extend available

Make a list why you cannot expand C drive in Server 2008 Disk Management:

  1. If C drive is FAT32, you cannot expand it, only NTFS and RAW format partition can be extended.
  2. To extend a volume, there must be adjacent Unallocated space, which should be at the right side of C drive.
  3. If D drive (or the one behind C drive) is Logical Partition and in the Extended Partition, you must delete all volumes in the Extended Partition and the Extended Volume itself.
All operations above are used to explain the reason why you cannot expand C drive under Disk Management. Do NOT delete any volume if you want to expand C.

In this situation, the best idea is moving the Unallocated space to behind C drive with partition software, and then you can expand C drive easily.

Move partition when you cannot extend C drive

Step 1: Download and install NIUBI Partition Editor, right click drive D and select “Resize/Move Volume“.

Move unallocated

Step 2: In the pop-up window, drag middle position rightwards to move this partition.

Move volume

Move D drive

Volume moved

Click OK and back to the main window, where the 10GB Unallocated space moved to behind C: drive.

Unallocated moved

Now you can extend C drive with the Unallocated space either in Disk Management or with partition software.

Step 3: Right click C: drive and select “Resize/Move Volume” again.

Extend C drive

In the pop-up window, drag right border rightwards to hold the Unallocated space.

Drag to extend

Extend C drive

Extend volume

Click OK and back to the main window, where C: drive increased to 40.14GB by holding the Unallocated space. Click Apply on top left to execute, done!

Volume extended

In Summary

You cannot extend C drive under Windows Server 2008 Disk Management except deleting the contiguous partition. However, it costs much time to back up or transfer file, further more, applications and Windows services running from this drive stop working after deleting. The best solution is resize partition non-destructively with partition software.

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