How to extend/expand disk partition in Windows Server 2012

As the sixth Windows Server edition, Windows Server 2012 added and improved many features, but the Disk Management keeps the same with Windows Server 2008. Though Disk Management console integrates Extend Volume feature to extend a disk partition, it is useless in most of the cases. In this article I’ll introduce how to extend partition on Windows Server 2012 (R2) without data loss.

Part 1 – Expand volume under Disk Management

Step 1: Right click “Windows” on the bottom left corner in Server 2012 desktop and select “Disk Management” and then the console will be opened.

Server 2012 disk management

Step 2: Right click the drive you want to expand and select “Extend Volume“. Finish the Extend Volume Wizard.

Please compare the following two screenshots carefully.

Extend Volume available


Extend volume greyed out

Have you found out the difference? When you right click drive D, the Extend Volume is available in first picture, but “Extend Volume” function is grayed out when you right-click the system C drive, why?

Because there is adjacent “Unallocated” free space next to Drive D, but no such space behind C. So this is the key limitation in Windows Server 2012 Disk Management: to extend/expand a partition, there should be contiguous free space. That is to say, if you want to extend system C drive by shrinking drive D, it is impossible.

Part 2 – Extend partition with 3rd party tool

With professional partitioning software, there are no such limitations, you can shrink and extend any disk partition.

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

Drag to resize

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

Shrink volume

You may also input a value for the Unallocated space directly.

Drag to resize

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

Unallocated space

Step 3: Drag the right border rightwards to hold the Unallocated space.

Drag to resize

Hold unallocated space

Step 4: Click OK and back to the main window, where you’ll see C drive extended to 60GB by robbing 20GB free space from D. Press Apply on top left to execute, done!

Partition resized

Video guide to extend/expand volume on Server 2012 (R2)

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