How to resize partition on Windows Server 2008 (R2)?

Most of the server administrators encountered the issue that system C drive is getting full and not enough free space left, such as:

We have a Windows Server 2008 with C: D: and E: drives. I got 50 GB free from the D: drive using the “shrink volume” option in DM, and I need to add it to C drive, but the extend volume option on C: is disabled.

I have a Windows Server 2008 system with a C: drive that is too small. I need to reduce the size of the D: partition and make C: drive larger. What’s the best way to do this?

Windows updates, applications, temp, log and many other types of files write into C drive continuously every day, they eat up the free space in C drive very quickly. Meanwhile, there is plenty of disk space in other drives. It cannot be better if you can resize disk partitions directly, moving free space into C drive from other partitions, and keeping everything intact. In this article, I’ll show you how to resize partition on Windows Server 2008 without losing data.

3 ways to resize disk partition

There are 3 ways to resize partition on Windows Server 2008 (R2): diskpart command, Windows Disk Management and 3rd party partition resizing software such as Partition Magic Server. Comparing with professional partitioning software, Windows built-in diskpart command and Disk Management has many limitations.

Way 1 – resize partition with Diskpart command

DiskPart is a text-mode command line tool interpreter which enables storage objects such as disks, partitions or volumes configuration and management from a script, remote session, or direct input from a command prompt. DiskPart is able to shrink or extend a single disk drive.

Shrink a volume with diskpart:

  1. Press Windows and R key on keyboard, type “cmd” and press Enter to open the command line prompt.
  2. Type “diskpart” and press Enter to run this utility.
  3. Type list volume.
  4. Type select volume n (n is the number) to select the volume you want to shrink.
  5. Type shrink desired=size to shrink the selected volume. (size is in megabytes MB)

Extend a volume with Diskpart:

  1. Press ‘Windows‘ and ‘R‘ key on the keyboard, type ‘cmd‘ and click ‘OK‘ or press ‘Enter’.
  2. In the command line window, type diskpart and press ‘Enter’.
  3. Type “list volume” to display the existing volumes on the computer.
  4. Type “select volume X”, X is the number or drive letter of the partition that you want to extend.
  5. Type extend ([size=n] [disk=n] [noerr]).

Diskpart extended

Shortages of extending volume with diskpart:

  1. The volume must be formatted with NTFS or RAW file system.
  2. For Basic volumes, Unallocated space for extension must be the next contiguous space on the same disk.
  3. Only when you delete the next contiguous partition and get some Unallocated space, you can extend system C drive.
  4. It works by command line and hard to use for many users.
  5. Incorrect operations cannot be undone.

Way 2 –  resize partition under Disk Management

Better than previous server edition, in Windows Server 2008 Disk Management snap-in, Microsoft adds new Shrink Volume and Extend Volume to help resize disk partition. However, the same with Diskpart command, you cannot extend a drive by shrinking other drives.

Shrink volume in Disk Management:

Step 1: Press “Windows” and “R” on keyboard, type “compmgmt.msc” to open Disk Management console. Right click the partition and select “Shrink Volume“.

Shrink volume disk management

Step 2: In the pop-up window, type the value how much free space to shrink from the C drive. (or any drive you want to shrink)

Type value

Step 3: Click “Shrink“, original 120GB C drive shrank to 10GB.

C drive shrank

Extend volume in Disk Management:

Step 1: Right-click C drive or any other partition you want to resize and select “Extend Volume…”

Extend volume

Step 2: Select available disk and free space. You can modify the default amount if you do not want to use the entire Unallocated space.

Add space

Step 3: Confirm the operation and click “Finish” to proceed.

Confirm extending

Partition extending operation complete in a short time.

Partition extended

As I said above, to extend a drive, there must be adjacent Unallocated space, otherwise the “Extend Volume” is grayed out.

Extend unavailiable

After you shrink a drive (such as D:), the Unallocated space in behind D, so it cannot be used to extend C: drive.

There are no such limitations by using 3rd party software, you can extend any volume with the free space in other drives of the same disk.

Way 3 – resize partition with partition software

You can shrink and extend to resize partition at the same time via several clicks:

Step 1: Download Partition Assistant, right click a data drive and select “Allocate Free Space”.

Allocate space

Step 2: In the pop-up window, type the amount of free space to take from the data drive, select C: drive in drop-down box.

Add space

Step 3: Click “Apply” on top left to proceed, done.

C drive extended

In summary

Both diskpart command and Windows Disk Management are able to resize disk partition, but they cannot extend a drive by shrinking other drives. To resize partition in Windows 2008 Server, 3rd party software is the best choice.

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