How to shrink C drive in Windows Server 2016?

When installing Windows Server 2016, if you forget to edit partition, all disk space will be used. We know it is not a good idea to keep single C drive in a disk, putting everything into it. You’d better divide this hard disk into several drives. What to do if C drive occupied all disk space, reinstalling? No, you can shrink C drive directly. To do this, you may use either Windows built-in utility or 3rd-party software. Windows built-in Disk Management console integrates Shrink Volume to decrease partition size, keeping server online. However, in some conditions, it cannot shrink C drive, in that case, 3rd-party partitioning software is needed. In this article, I’ll introduces how to shrink C drive in Windows Server 2016 Disk Management and with server partition software.

Shrink C drive in Server 2016 Disk Management

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

Shrink C drive

Step 2: Right click C drive and select Shrink Volume.

Shrink volume

Step 3: Enter the amount of space to shrink.

Type amount

Click Shrink to proceed, C drive shrank in a short time.

C drive shrank

Why cannot shrink volume

As the notification in step 3, “You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where unmovable files are located.” What does it mean? For example, there are 4 blocks in C drive: 1, 2, 3 and 4, the unmovable files are located in block 3, you can only shrink C drive to 3, even if there is free space in 1 and 2. The unmovable files refer to page file, hibernation and other large files. If you encountered the problem Windows not allow you to shrink C drive to the point you want, try professional partition software instead.

Shrink C drive with partition software

With partition software from Partition Magic Server, you can easily shrink C drive even if there are unmovable files, because it is able to move location of these files. There 3 ways to shrink C drive.

Decrease C drive space by resizing partition

Step 1: Download the application, right click C drive and select “Resize Partition”.

Resize partition

Step 2: In the pop-up window, drag either left or right border to shrink, if you drag right border rightwards, the Unallocated space will be created behind C drive.

Drag to shrink

Step 3: Press Apply on top left to proceed.

C drive shrank

Shrink C drive by splitting partition

If you want to shrink C drive to create new partitions, there is easier way in one step.

Right click C drive and select “Split Partition”.

Split partition

In next window, drag the middle line or type amount directly to edit partition size.

Drag to split

Original C drive will be cut into smaller C and a new drive D. All files in C keep the same and D is blank.

Split C drive

Shrink C and extend D by reallocating disk space

If you want to extend a drive by shrinking partition C, you may do like this:

Step 1: Right click C drive and select “Allocate Free Space”.

Allocate free space

Step 2: In the pop-up window, type the amount and select the drive you want to expand in the drop-down box.

Type amount

Step 3: Click OK and back to the main window to proceed.

Reallocate space done


To shrink C drive on Windows Server 2016, you may try Disk Management. If it cannot shrink large amount of space, try professional partition software, download trial.

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