Resize partition Windows server

How to resize partition on Windows Server

To many server administrators, it is not an easy task to resize disk partitions. Recently I received many feedback asking me about resizing partition on Windows server, especially for Server 2012. The questions are similar, for example: is it safe to resize server volume, is it possible to shrink drive D and expand C, which is the right tool to resize partition on Windows Server. In this article, I’ll show you how to resize disk partition in Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2003 (R2) without losing data.

Resize partition Windows server

Resize partition with Windows Disk Management

Microsoft adds new Shrink Volume and Extend Volume from Windows Vista, so you can change partition size in Disk Management of Windows Server 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2016. For Windows Server and Small Business Server 2003, the only Windows built-in utility is Diskpart command prompt. However, there is no shrink option and you cannot extend system C drive in Windows desktop.

Windows Disk Management is safe to resize partition, but because of many limitations it is no the best tool to do disk partition resizing. I’ll explain in next paragraph.

How to shrink a volume

You can shrink both system and data volume in Disk Management and the shrinking operation can be done in Windows without rebooting.

Note: the steps below are not valid for Windows Server 2003. The interface and steps are exactly the same in Server 2008 to 2016.

Step 1: Right click the “Windows” flag on bottom left corner and click “Disk Management“, where you’ll see all hard disks and partitions connected to this server.

Step 2: Right click the drive that you want to decrease size and select “Shrink Volume

Shrink C drive

Disk Management will query volume for available space for shrinking.

Querying space

Step 3: Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB, Click Shrink to execute.

Enter space

C drive is shrank in a short time. Now C drive is 30GB and other disk space converted to Unallocated, which can be used to create new volumes.

Shrink C drive done

How to extend a volume

It is also very easy to extend a disk drive in Windows Disk Management.

Note: only when there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right side, you can expand a drive with Extend Volume, steps:

Step 1: Right click C drive and select “Extend Volume“.

Extend C drive Server 2012

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

Extend Volume Wizard

Step 3: Click Next to use default setting, otherwise, select available disk and space manually.

Select disk and space

Step 4: Click Finish to confirm extending.

Confirm extending

In a short while, C drive is extended by combining the Unallocated space.

C drive extended

Many people want to extend C drive by shrinking D, but you cannot do this in Disk Management. If you shrink D to get Unallocated space, when you right click C drive, Extend Volume is grayed out.

Extend Volume greyed out

Limitations to resize volume with Windows DM

From Microsoft explanation:

  1. You cannot shrink a volume to the position where unmovable files are located, so many people feedback they can only shrink little space.
  2. You can only shrink the volume from right to left, so after shrinking, the Unallocated space is always on the right side.
  3. Only the NTFS partition that has adjacent Unallocated space on the right side can be extended with Extend Volume function.
  4. FAT32/16 partitions cannot be resized.

Because of the limitations, you still need 3rd-party partition software for Windows server.

Resize volume with server partition software

It is much easier to resize disk partition with software, you just need to drag and move on the disk map. You can shrink a volume and create the Unallocated space on either side, you can extend a volume with Unallocated space on either side, too. Partition software is able to move partition location, so any Unallocated space or free space in other drives of the same disk can be added into C drive with ease.

There are many software in the market, however, not every tool can finish this task well, you’d better select a reliable and safe partition software. Few people know the risk of resizing partitions.

Use safe partition resizing software

There is system/partition damage and data loss risk when resizing volume with partitioning software, because all related parameters of disk, volume and files should be modified correctly. Any software error or hardware issue such as power failure would cause system boot failure, partition corruption or data loss. Luckily, there is one server partition software that can ensure everything 100% intact while resizing disk drive.

As the safest Windows partition software, NIUBI Partition Editor is integrated unique 1 Second Rollback technology, which can automatically roll back the server to the status before resizing in ONE second, if any software or hardware issue occur during any operations. This technology is tremendous innovation in Disk Management industry and very important for server to protect data and rapidly roll back online.

Every server is equipped with backup software, but it is not enough. In the technical forums, many people feedback disaster that caused by some partition software. If the damage occur, it costs several hours or even a whole day to restore everything and verify data integrity. You may lose data if backing up is not in real time.

These disaster won’t happen with NIUBI Partition Editor, because it will roll back the server within ONE second, even if it failed to resize partition due to some error. In that case, you can try other way without keeping server offline for such a long time.

It is also the fastest partition tool, the unique file-moving algorithm helps resize partition 30% to 300% faster than ANY other tools. Want to try?

Detailed steps to resize partition on Windows Server

Note: this is an example resizing volume on Server 2012, the steps are the same in other Windows Server including Server 2003.

Step 1: Download and run NIUBI Partition Editor, right click volume D and select Resize/Move Volume.

Resize/Move Volume

Step 2: Drag left border rightwards to shrink D in the pop-up window, or type a value directly.

Shrink D

Shrink volume D

Here I type 20480MB Unallocated space to shrink from D before it, so 20GB free space is moved out and converted to Unallocated space behind C drive.

Unallocated space

Step 3: Right click C drive and select Resize/Move Volume again. Drag right border rightwards to merge the 20GB Unallocated space.

Extend C drive

C drive extended

Steps 4: Click Apply button on top left to execute, C partition is resized from 30GB to 50GB.

C drive extended

Is it easy to resize Windows server partition?

Note: 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. Actually, to Operating System there is no difference of RAID virtual or physical disk partition.

Video guide to resize volume on Windows server

In some situation for example: there is not enough free space in the adjacent drive D, you can take free space from any other volume in the same disk. Watch the video guide:

Besides the Rollback data protection and fast partition resizing ability, NIUBI Partition Editor is able to extend NTFS partition without rebooting server. Virtual mode helps you preview, cancel and redo any operations before clicking Apply to execute. Unique Cancel-at-Will technology enables you to cancel operations at any progress, it also roll back the serve in ONE second and keep everything intact. Learn More