Shrink partition

How to shrink volume in Windows Server 2012

In some situations you need to shrink a volume, for example: C drive occupied all disk space while installing Windows, by shrinking C drive you can create new volumes with free Unallocated space. On the contrary, another typical issue on Windows Server 2012 is that c drive runs out of space, in this case, you can shrink partition D or any other data volumes to increase C drive space. In this article, I’ll show you how to shrink partition in Windows 2012 Server without reinstalling or losing data.

Shrink partition server 2012

Shrink partition with Disk Management

Server 2012 Disk Management has built-in Shrink Volume functionality, which can shrink a partitioned drive online. However, it has 2 limitations:

  1. When shrinking a volume, Unallocated space can only be generated behind this volume.
  2. In some situations, you can only shrink little space.

Steps to shrink volume in Server 2012 Disk Management:

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

2. Right click the partition you want to shrink and select Shrink Volume.

Shrink Volume

3. Enter the amount of space to shrink and then click Shrink to start.

Type amount

In a while, drive D shrank to 30GB and 20GB Unallocated space is generated behind it.

Volume D shrank

Cannot shrink volume beyond half

It is easy to shrink a partition in Server 2012 Disk Management, but you may encounter some problem during this process. Have you noticed the message in the Shrink window – “You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.”?

Shrink Volume limit

Many people feedback that there is large amount of free space but little size is¬†available to shrink. For example, drive D is 50GB and there is 40GB free space, but when shrinking D, only 10GB is available. In this situation, you need NIUBI Partition Editor, which can move the “unmovable” file and shrink this volume to minimum size.

Shrink volume with partition software

Besides the ability to move unmovable files to overcome the shrinking limit, NIUBI Partition Editor can generate Unallocated space on either left or right side when shrinking a partition.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click drive D and select Resize/Move Volume.

Resize move volume

In the pop-up window, you can change its size and location.

Size and location

If you drag the right border leftwards to shrink it, Unallocated space will be generated on the right side.

Drag to shrink

If you drag the left border rightwards to shrink it, Unallocated space will be generated on the left side.

Drag to shrink

Click OK and back to the main window, the Unallocated space is behind C drive.

Unallocated space

If you want to shrink partition D to extend C, simply right click C drive and select Resize/Move Volume again, in the pop-up window, drag the right border rightwards to combine the Unallocated space.

Extend C drive

In Summary

To shrink partition in Windows Server 2012, the built-in Disk Management can help you, but if you cannot shrink volume beyond the limit, or want to generate Unallocated space on the left side of this partition, you need NIUBI Partition Editor Server. Besides shrinking partition, it can help you extend, move, merge, copy, convert, defrag, wipe, scan partition and much more.