Extend Volume greyed out

Windows Server 2008 Extend Volume greyed out

This article explains why Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2008 Disk Management and how to fix this issue with ease.

Extend Volume greyed out 2008

The longer the server is running, the higher probability disk drive runs out of space, especially to system C: drive. It can’t be better to reallocate disk partitions without starting from scratch. You can extend volume via DiskPart command in Windows Server 2003. To make it easier, Microsoft adds new GUI Extend Volume functionality in Disk Management.

In most of the server machines, there is other volume such as D in the same hard disk, so some people try to shrink D and extend C drive but failed. If you search by Google, you’ll find that many people encountered the same problem that Extend Volume option greyed out in Server 2008 Disk Management.

It is annoying to most of the server administrators, because they don’t know the reason why Extend Volume is disabled and doesn’t work.

Why Extend Volume grayed out

There are 3 common reasons why Extend Volume grayed out in Server 2008 (R2) Disk Management and I’ll introduce one by one.

Reason 1 No adjacent Unallocated space

From Microsoft explanation, to enlarge a drive with Extend Volume, there must be adjacent Unallocated space on the right side of this drive. As you see, if I right click C drive without such space, Server 2008 won’t let me extend volume.

Extend Volume is grayed

If I shrink D with Shrink Volume, Extend Volume is grayed out, too. As you see, the 10GB Unallocated space is on the right side of D rather than C, so Extend Volume is disabled for C drive.

Extend Volume disabled

If you encountered the same problem, you need 3rd partition tool to move Unallocated space to behind C drive.

Reason 2 Unsupported file system

From Microsoft explanation, only NTFS and RAW format partition can be extended.

To show you this limitation, I converted volume D to FAT32, as you see, Extend Volume greyed out for this partition, although there is right adjacent Unallocated space.

Unsupported partition

 Different partition type

Cannot get adjacent Unallocated space by Shrink Volume, some people try to delete the adjacent partition and then the disk space will be converted to Unallocated. It works when this partition is Primary.

But if this partition is Logical, you still cannot extend C drive by deleting. As you see, Extend Volume is still disabled for C drive.

Extend Volume disabled

Have you noticed the difference: the disk space of a Logical partition is converted to Free instead of Unallocated after deleting?

Caution Do not delete the adjacent drive D even if the partition type is the same with C drive. Otherwise, all Windows services and applications of D will stop working even if you move these files to other partitions.

How to fix this issue

It seems a bit complicated, but it is very easy to solve this problem with server partition software such as NIUBI Partition Editor. If there is adjacent Unallocated or Free space, you just need 1 steps to combine these space, no matter this volumes is NTFS or FAT32, or whether the partition is Primary or Logical. If the Unallocated space is not adjacent, you just need an additional step to move the Unallocated space.

Steps to fix Extend Volume greyed out issue in Windows Server 2008:

Option 1 When there is adjacent space

From the screenshot below, drive D is Primary partition, but original right adjacent volume is Logical, in addition, drive D is FAT32 which is not supported in Disk Management.


Download NIUBI Partition Editor and you’ll see the disk partition configuration on the right side, which is similar with Windows Disk Management.

NIUBI Partition Editor

Right click D drive and select Resize/Move Volume, in the pop-up window, drag the right border rightwards.

Drag to combine

This 30GB Unallocated space is merged into D drive.

Unallocated merged

Click OK and back to the main window, this operation is listed as pending on bottom left, click Apply on top left to execute. (This program is designed to work in its own virtual mode, real disk partitions won’t be changed until you click Apply to confirm.)

Drive D extended

Within several seconds, drive D is extended.

Drive D extended

Option 2 When Unallocated space is nonadjacent

This is the most common situation that people feedback Extend Volume greyed out in Server 2008 Disk Management. As I said above, you just need an additional step to move the Unallocated space.

Right click D and select Resize/Move Volume, in the pop-up window, drag the middle position rightwards. Then drive D will be moved to the right side and the Unallocated space will be move to the left side at the same time.

Move Unallocated

After you applied this operation with NIUBI, Extend Volume is enabled for C drive. You may either use Disk Management or continue with NIUBI.

In Summary

To fix Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2008 (R2), you just need to run NIUBI Partition Editor to combine the adjacent Unallocated space, or move the nonadjacent space and then combine.