How to shrink and extend partition in Windows Server 2016 Disk Management?

Windows Server 2016 provides built-in Disk Management snap-in to manage disk partitions, besides the basic option to create and format partitions, it is able to shrink and extend existing partition without losing data. With shrink volume function, you can release free space from a partition to create new drives. Extend volume can be used to expand a drive when there is contiguous Unallocated space. In this article, I’ll show you how to shrink and extend volume with Server 2016 Disk Management, as well as the disadvantages of each function.

Shrink extend volume

How to shrink partition in Disk Management?

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

Step 2: Right-click C drive (or other one you want to shrink) and select “Shrink Volume…“.

Shrink volume

Step 3: Type the value how much unused space to shrink from it and click “Shrink” to continue.

Type value

Within a short time, original C drive shrank to 49.51 GB. The rest free space becomes Unallocated.

Drive shrank

Limitation of Shrink Volume of Disk Management

Windows Server 2016 Disk Management has the ability to shrink a disk drive indeed, however, not every partition can be shrank. In some conditions, you can reduce a little space, why? As the tip in Step 3, “You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.” Generally speaking, the “unmovable files” includes Page Files, very large files. If you received the error message and failed to shrink partition, use 3rd-party software such NIUBI Partition Editor, which is able to shrink the volume to minimum size, because it can move the “unmovable” files.

Another limitation of Shrink Volume is that the Unallocated space is always created behind the partition you shrank, so it cannot be used to extend other drives.

How to extend partition in Disk Management?

Note: only when there is adjacent Unallocated space at right side, you can extend a partition.

Step 1: Right-click the partition you want to extend and select “Extend Volume…

Extend volume

Step 2: The Extend Volume Wizard will be launched, click Next to continue.

Extend wizard

Step 3: In the pop-up window, type the amount of space to add to C drive and click Next.

Type value

Step 4: Confirm the operation and click “Finish” to proceed.


The extending operation complete in a short time.

Partition extended

If the Unallocated space is not adjacent, when you right click C drive, Extend Volume is grayed out.

Extend grayed out

Limitation of Extend Volume of Disk Management

As I said above – only when there is adjacent Unallocated space at right side, you can extend a partition. Actually the full limitations include:

  1. FAT32 partition cannot be extended even if there is adjacent Unallocated space.
  2. To use Extend Volume, there must be adjacent Unallocated space at the right side.
  3. Unallocated space cannot be added into the adjacent volume at its right side.
  4. If D is Logical Partition and there are other volumes in the Extended partition. You cannot simply delete D to get Unallocated space, instead, you have to delete all volumes in the Extended partition.

In a word, you cannot expand C drive by shrinking D.

Shrink and extend partition with partition software

With server partition software, there are no such limitations and it is much easier, check the video how to shrink and extend volume in Windows Server 2016

Pay attention to server data safety

Different with the read-only software, to resize partitions, partition software will modify start and end position of this volume, locations of all files in this volume, as well as other parameters in MBR, DBR, etc. A bad software may cause system boot failure, partition corruption or data loss, so you’d better select a reliable and safe program.

Search NIUBI Partition Editor by Google, this partition software integrated unique Roll-Back protection technology, what’s that? It is able to roll back the server to the status before resizing automatically and rapidly. Operating System and all data always keep intact even if power failure or other hardware issue occurred during resizing. It is recommended as the safest tool to resize server disk partitions.

Besides, the unique file-moving algorithm helps resize partition 30% – 300% faster than any other tools, saving much time especially when there are large amount of files in the partition that you want to resize.

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