How to Extend Volume in Windows Server 2012 R2

by Jordan, Updated on: June 28, 2022

Many server administrators need to repartition hard drive and extend system partition after running the server for a period of time, but it is not an easy task if you have no such experience before. Because there's potential system and partition damage risk, you'd better back up first and run safe partition tool for a server. Every Windows version has its native Disk Management tool, but because of many limitations it is not the best tool to help extend volume in Server 2012 R2. In this article, I'll introduce how to extend volume in Windows Server 2012 (R2) with native Disk Management and safest partition software.

About Windows Server 2012 Extend Volume function

The same with previous version, Windows Server 2012 has built-in Extend Volume function in Disk Management. It can be used to expand both system partition and data volumes without losing data. However, it only works under specific condition. To extend volume with Server 2012 Disk Management, your disk partition configuration must meet the requirements:

  1. The partition that you want to extend must be formatted with NTFS file system.
  2. There is adjacent partition on the right of the drive that you want to extend.
  3. You must delete this adjacent partition to get contiguous Unallocated space (for example, delete D to extend C).
  4. On MBR disk, the partitions that you want to delete and extend must be the same Primary or Logical partition.

Many people may ask, there's another Shrink Volume function in Disk Management, why not extend partition by shrinking another one? Because this function can only shrink a volume towards left and make Unallocated space on the right side. For example, after shrinking D: drive, Unallocated space is on right of D, so it is nonadjacent to C drive. Therefore, Extend Volume is disabled for C drive.

Extend volume disabled

How to extend volume with Server 2012 Disk Management

From the screenshot above, the 20GB Unallocated space can only be extended to left contiguous drive D. If you want to extend C drive with Disk Management, the only option is by deleting D: drive to get adjacent Unallocated space. (Disk Management cannot extend volume with Unallocated space on the left.)

  • Do not delete D if you installed programs or any Windows services in it.
  • Remember to back up or transfer files before deleting this volume.
  • D must be Primary partition, otherwise, Disk Management still cannot extend C drive after deleting D.

Steps to extend volume in Windows Server 2012 R2 with Disk Management:

  1. Press Windows + X hotkey together and click Disk Management in the list.
  2. Right click the right contiguous partition (such as D:) and select Delete Volume.
  3. Right click the left partition that you want to expand (such as C:) and select Extend Volume.
  4. Simply click Next till Finish in the pop-up Extend Volume Wizard windows.

If you do not want to delete partition or the partition layout doen't meet the requirements above, server partition software is needed to extend volume in Windows Sever 2012 (R2).

How to extend Server 2012 volume with safe partition software

Comparing with Windows Disk Management, NIUBI Partition Editor has many advantages such as:

As I said in the beginning, there's potential system damage and data loss risk while resizing disk partitions. If damage happens, you'll lose data or waste a long time to restore everything. Therefore, you'd better make a backup in advance and run safe partition software.

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

It doesn't require rebooting to clone disk partition with this tool. Therefore, you can clone system disk regularly. Whenever system disk is down due to any reason, you just need to restart server and boot from the backup disk. This can be done in several minutes.

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

NIUBI Partition Editor

Steps to extend volume in Server 2012 R2 with NIUBI Partition Editor:

Right click drive D: and select Resize/Move Volume" to shrink it.

If you drag left border towards right, or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space before:

Shrink D rightwards

Then Unallocated space is made on the left side of D.

Unallocated produced

If you drag right border towards left, or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space after:

Shrink D leftwards

Then Unallocated space is made on the right side of D.

Unallocated generated

Right click drive C: or E: and run "Resize/Move Volume" again to expand it.

To extend system drive C, drag right border towards right in the pop-up window.

Drag to extend

Then Unallocated space is extended into C: drive.

C drive extended

To extend data drive E, drag left border towards left in the pop-up window.

Drag to extend

Then Unallocated space is extended into E: drive.

Drive E extended

Click Apply on top left to confirm and execute.

If you want to extend volume C by shrinking the non adjacent E, there's an additional step to move partition D.

Watch the video how to extend volume in Windows Server 2012 R2:

Video guide

How to extend RAID 1/5/6/10 partition for Server 2012

It is very common to use hardware RAID arrays for a server, some server use RAID 1 for Operating System, RAID 5 for data storage, some server use RAID 5 for both OS and data.

When shrinking and extending RAID partition in Windows Server 2012, do not break array no matter you use RAID 1, 5, 6, 10 or any other types. Do not do any operations to RAID controller, just follow the same steps above.

If there's no available free space on a physical disk or RAID 1, no software can extend a partition by adding free space from another separate disk. In that case, follow the step to clone disk to a larger one and extend partition(s) with additional disk space.

How to extend virtual partition for VM in VMware/Hyper-V

If you run Windows Server 2012 as guest virtual machine in VMware or Hyper-V, there's also no difference to extend volume if you can get Unallocated space on the same virtual disk.

If there's no available free space on a disk, you can expand this disk without copying to a larger one, follow the guide below:

After expanding disk, additional disk space will be shown as Unallocated at the end of original disk. Follow the method in the video and combine Unallocated space to other partition(s).

Besides shrinking and extending volume in Windows Server 2012/2016/2019/2022 and previous Server 2003/2008, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you do many other disk partition management operations.