How to shrink partition/volume in Windows Server 2016

When you install Windows Server 2016 on a disk, if you forget to create and edit partitions, the whole disk space will be used by C drive. It’s not good to throw everything to system partition. You’d better create more separate partitions for applications and other types of files. If you got the server from an OEM manufacturer and have running it for a long time, C drive may be full. Some people ask whether it’s possible to shrink partition in Windows 2016 server to create new volume or extend another one. The answer is yes. In this article, I’ll introduce 2 ways to shrink partition in Windows Server 2016 without losing data.

Shrink c drive

2 ways to shrink partition in Windows 2016 server

To shrink volume in Windows Server 2016, there are 2 kinds of tools: Disk Management or 3rd-party partition software. Disk Management can shrink NTFS partitions on the fly. But the same with third party tool, Disk Management is not 100% safe. It destroyed my partitions several times when I shrinking Logical drives. Pay more attention if there are both Primary and Logical partitions on a disk. In addition, this native tool has many shortages, so you’ll encounter problem while shrinking volume with it.

Shortages to shrink partition with Server 2016 Disk Management

  1. It can only shrink NTFS partition.
  2. It cannot shrink partition beyond the point where unmovable files are located.
  3. It can only shrink partition towards left and make Unallocated space on the right.
  4. Unallocated space that shrink from a drive can only be used to create new volume, Disk Management cannot extend it to other volumes.

How to shrink Server 2016 volume with Disk Management

Step 1: Right-click Windows on bottom left and select “Disk Management“.

Step 2: Right click a NTFS partition (here is C:) and select “Shrink Volume…”.

Shrink volume

Step 3: Enter an amount  of space and click Shrink to process. (Maximum available space will be used by default.)

Type value

In general, this partition will be shrunk in a short time, and Unallocated space will be made on the right side.

Drive shrank

If you want to shrink FAT32 partition, Disk Management cannot help you. If you cannot shrink volume because of “unmovable” files, or if you want to shrink a partition to extend another one, you also need server partition software.

How to shrink volume in Windows Server 2016 with safe software

Step 1: Download and install NIUBI Partition Editor Server, right click either NTFS or FAT32 partition (here is C drive) and select “Resize/Move Volume“.

Shrink c

Step 2: Drag either left or right border towards the other side to shrink it.

Drag to shrink

If you drag right border leftwards, Unallocated space will be made on the right side.

C drive shrank

How to create new volume after shrinking partition:

Right click the Unallocated space in NIUBI and select “Create Volume“. Better than Disk Management, NIUBI has more options for you:

  1. Add a label (name) to this new volume.
  2. Select a drive letter.
  3. Select a File System
  4. Select cluster size
  5. Specify the size and location for this new volume.

Create volume

How to shrink C drive to expand other volumes

If you want to extend system reserved partition or increase size of D drive, you can shrink C drive to get Unallocated space. In most of servers, system reserved partition is on the left of C drive, D drive is on the right. Therefore, before extending system reserved partition, you should shrink C drive and make Unallocated space on the left. To extend D drive, you should make Unallocated space on the right.

Shrink partition D/E to extend system C drive

In most cases, server administrators want to shrink data drive to expand the system partition C. As I explained above, Disk Management cannot help you extend partition by shrinking another one. Therefore, you need to run third party safe partition software. NIUBI Partition Editor can make Unallocated space on either left or right when shrinking a volume in Windows 2016 server. This space can be extended to any partition on the same disk. Better than other tools, NIUBI has unique 1-Second Rollback, Virtual Mode and Cancel-at-well technologies to protect system and data.

How to shrink partition D in Windows Server 2016 to expand C drive:

Step 1: Right click D and select Resize/Move Volume, in the pop-up window, drag left border rightwards to shrink D.

Shrink d drive

Step 2: Right click C and select Resize/Move Volume again, in the pop-up window, drag right border rightwards to combine this Unallocated space.

Extend C drive

Remember to click Apply on top left to execute.

Follow the steps in the video:

Besides shrinking and extending partitions in Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you clone disk partition, convert disk partition type and do many other management operations.

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