How to resize Windows Server partition volume

by James, Updated on: July 4, 2020

This article introduces detailed steps how to resize Windows Server partition without losing data.

Applies to: Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 (R2), Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 (R2) and Windows Server 2003 (R2).

When system C drive runs out of space, it can't be better if you can re-size partition without starting over, otherwise, you have to waste a long time to recreate partitions and restore everything from backup. To many people, it is not an easy task to resize Windows server partition. Many people ask similar questions such as: will it cause data loss while resizing partitions, which tool is the best to resize partition on Windows Server. In this article, I'll show you detailed step to resize server partition with both Windows native tools and third party software.

1. How to resize partition with Windows Disk Management

In Windows Server 2003, Disk Management can only do some basic operations such as create, delete, format partition and change drive letter. From Windows Server 2008, Disk Management has new Shrink and Extend Volume functions to help resize partition without losing data (in most cases). However, it can only shrink NTFS partition, or extend a NTFS partition by deleting its right contiguous volume. If you want to resize FAT32 partition, or extend partition by shrinking another one, Disk Management is useless.

Press Windows and R together on the keyboard, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter, then Disk Management will be opened.

How to shrink a partition:

  1. Right click the drive you want to decrease (such as D:) and select Shrink Volume.
  2. Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB and then click Shrink to proceed.

Enter amount

How to extend system partition:

  1. Right click D: drive and select Delete Volume.
  2. Right click C: drive and select Extend Volume.
  3. Click Next till Finish in the pop-up Extend Volume Wizard window, then Unallocated space will be added into C drive.

Extend Volume

To extend system partition with Disk Management, your disk partition structure must meet the requirements:

  1. There must be another partition on the right side of C drive.
  2. This right contiguous drive (such as D:) must be Primary partition.
  3. You did not install programs in this volume, so you can delete it.
  4. There's third partition to save all files in drive D (transfer files before deleting).

Learn why cannot extend C drive by shrinking other volumes.

2. How to resize server partition with diskpart cmd

Some server administrators like to use command tool, diskpart is such kind of tool which has many commands to a disk or a partition.

The same with Disk Management, diskpart only support resizing NTFS partition. It cannot resize FAT32 partition or extend a NTFS partition by shrinking any other one. In addition, Diskpart doesn't display Unallocated space, it only show all single partitions in a list.

Press Windows and R on your keyboard, type diskpart and press Enter. In the command prompt window, type help shrink or help extend, you'll see the syntax and limitations.

Diskpart restrictions

3. How to resize volume with server partition editor

It is much easier to resize server partition with software, you just need to drag and move on the disk map. Better than Windows native tools, 3rd-party software has more advantages such as:

  1. Both NTFS and FAT32 partitions can be resized.
  2. Unallocated space can be make on either left or right while shrinking a partition.
  3. Unallocated space can be added to either contiguous partition by 1 step.
  4. Unallocated space can be moved and merged to non-adjacent volume on the same disk.

There are many software in the market, the GUI and functions are all similar, but it doesn't mean any one can accomplish this task well.

There is system damage and data loss risk when resizing volume with partitioning software, because all associated parameters of disk, volume and files must be modified correctly. Any software error or hardware issue could cause system boot failure, partition corruption and data loss.

Better than other tools, NIUBI Partition Editor has advanced technologies to protect your system and data:

Download NIUBI Partition Editor, you'll see all disks with partition structure and detailed information of each partition on the right, available operations to selected disk or partition are listed on the left and by right clicking.

Follow the steps in the video to resize partition on Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019:

Video guide

Video guide

If you use hardware RAID such as RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, do not break the RAID array or do any operations in the RAID controller, just follow the steps above. If you run Windows server as virtual machine in VMware or Hyper-V, there's also no difference to resize virtual disk partition.

Besides resizing server partition, NIUBI Partition Editor helps do many other operations such as copy, convert, defrag, wipe, hide, merge partitions, scan bad sectors.