How to 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 give detailed steps how to increase C drive partition size in Windows Server 2008 without data loss.

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. No partition software can resize partition beyond 2 physical disks. Open the server disk management console, if C drive is in Disk 0, D is in Disk 1, you cannot extend C by shrinking D.
  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:

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

Extend volume

Step 2: In the pop-up window, drag the left border rightwards to generate free Unallocated space.

Shrink d drive

Drag to resize

Click OK and back to the main window, where 20GB Unallocated space created behind C: drive.

Volume shrank

Step 3: Right click C drive and select “Resize/Move Volume” again, in the pop-up window, drag the right border rightwards to hold the Unallocated space.

Extend C drive

Extend volume

Step 4: Click OK and back to the main window, where C drive increased to 50GB by holding the 20GB free space from D. Press Apply on top left to execute, done!

Volume extended

If there is not enough free space in D, you may get free space from other drive in the same disk.

Video guide to increase C drive space on Windows Server 2008 (R2)

(Recommend full screen by clicking the square at bottom right of this video)

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 integrated unique Roll-Back Protection technology, which is able to roll back the server to the status before resizing. Operating System and all data always keep intact even if power failure or other hardware issue occurred during resizing. Furthermore, its unique file-moving algorithm helps resize partition 30% – 300% faster than ANY other tools, which is strictly tested, so it is recommended as the BEST partition software for Windows server.

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