Increase C drive free space in Windows Server 2008 (R2)

The most common issue in Windows Server 2008 is lack of free space in C drive. In this situation, nobody would like to start from scratch, because it may cost whole day to complete this task. It also has potential risk of losing data while all operations. It cannot be better if you can re-size partitions and increase C drive free space directly. Searching by Google, you’ll find that many people encountered the same problem and they asked similar question:

“I am running out of disk space on my c drive, I have a second drive that has plenty of space, is it possible to give to my c drive?” The answer is definitely yes, actually, you can increase C drive space by decreasing any other drives in the same disk. In this article, I’ll show you detailed steps to increase C drive space/size in Windows Server 2008 R2 without losing data.

Theory of decreasing and increasing partition

A partition (also called a drive or volume) is a block of entire hard disk. A partition consists of

  1. file system of this drive
  2. start and end location
  3. total size
  4. used area and unused area

Windows Operating System read the records in MBR and DBR and then it knows the size and location of this partition. Via file system, it is able to locate all files in this partition. When resizing partition:

  1. move all files of this partition to new area
  2. modify its start or/and end location
  3. update other related parameters in file system and operating system

Cannot increase C drive in Disk Management

In Windows Server 2008 Disk Management, you can decrease and increase partition size with Shrink Volume and Extend Volume. Many people try to decrease D drive with Shrink Volume, but they found it is unable to extend C drive, because Extend Volume is greyed out/disabled.

From Microsoft explanation, to expand a partition with Extend Volume function, there must be adjacent Unallocated space. After shrinking D, the Unallocated space is at the right sides of D, of course it cannot be used to extend C drive.

With 3rd-party partition software, you can easily enlarge C drive by taking out free space from any other drives in the same disk.

Easy way to increase C drive space

Before resizing partitions, you should know 3 points:

  1. There’s no difference no matter you use SSD, mechanical HDD, any types of hardware RAID arrays or virtual server in VMware/Hyper-V.
  2. It is always a good habit to back up before any operations to a server.
  3. Select a reliable program to complete this task. A bad program is very likely to cause system boot failure or data loss.

Steps to increase C drive space in Windows Server 2008 R2:

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

If there is not enough free space in D, you may get free space from other non-adjacent partition in the same disk. In that case, there’s an additional step to move D drive before adding Unallocated space to C drive.

Watch the video how to increase C drive space on Windows Server 2008 (R2):

Increase C drive

If there’s no other partition or not enough free space in the same disk, no software can increase C drive free space by adding from another separated disk. In that case, follow the steps in the video to copy system disk to a larger one.

Copy disk

In Summary

Server 2008 Disk Management cannot help you extend C drive, except deleting the adjacent D drive. But with partition software you can decrease other drive to increase C drive space easily.

Note: not every tool can complete this task well, as I said in the beginning, a bad designed software is very likely to cause system failure or data loss, so it is important to select a reliable program. Better than other tools, NIUBI Partition Editor is integrated unique Roll-Back Protection technology, which is able to reverts server to the status before resizing automatically and rapidly if any error occur. In addition, its unique file-moving algorithm helps resize partition 30% – 300% faster than other tools.

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