How to Fix the Issue Cannot Extend Volume in Windows 11 Computer

by John, Published on: July 8, 2021

Windows 11 has Extend Volume function in native Disk Management tool, but many people cannot extend partition after shrinking or even deleting other volume. It is annoying, because the computer users don't know the reason but they need to extend partition urgently. For example, they need to system partition C when it is running out of space. In this article, I'll explain the reasons why you cannot extend volume in Windows 11 laptop/desktop/tablet computer and how to fix this issue easily.

Why cannot extend volume in Windows 11 Disk Management

Reason 1: no adjacent Unallocated space on the right

To extend a partition in Windows 11 with Disk Management tool, there must be contiguous Unallocated space. In addition, this Unallocated space must be on the right side. Otherwise, Extend Volume is grayed out.

Besides Extend Volume, there's Shrink Volume function to help resize partition. Many people have tried to shrink partition before extending another one. The problem is that Disk Management can only make Unallocated space on the right when shrinking partition.

For example, after shrinking D: drive with Disk Management, Unallocated space is on the right of D. This Unallocated space can't be extended to C: or E: drive, because it is nonadjacent to C drive and is on the left of E drive.

Reason 2: partition types are different

Because some people cannot extend partition in Windows 11 Disk Management after shrinking another one, they try to delete partition. For example, before extending C drive, they deleted the adjacent partition D: (or E:), but they still cannot extend C drive after that.

On a MBR disk, the partitions to be deleted and extended must be the same Primary or Logical drive, otherwise, you cannot extend volume in Windows 11 Disk Management even after deleting.

  • All partitions are Primary on GPT disk, few Windows 11 users will encounter this issue.
  • Don't delete partition if you installed programs in it or if you cannot migrate files to other partition.

Can't extend partition C

Reason 3: only NTFS partition can be extended

Windows Disk Management can only shrink and extend NTFS partitions, any other types of partitions are not supported. Therefore, you cannot extend FAT32 partition in Windows 11 Disk Management even if there's adjacent Unallocated space on the right.

Cannot extend FAT32

Reason 4: Windows 11 can't extend EFI/Recovery partition

You cannot extend EFI or Recovery partition in Windows 11 Disk Management, even if there's adjacent Unallocated on the right. Only third party software can help you.

Reason 5: 2TB restriction on MBR disk

In Windows computer, there are 2 common types of disk - MBR and GPT. The maximum partition size is 2TB on MBR disk. If your disk is MBR style, you can't extend a partition past 2TB in your Windows 11 computer.

Extend Volume is disabled

Why cannot extend partition with diskpart cmd in Windows 11

The same with previous versions, Windows 11 has a command prompt tool - diskpart to help manage disk partitions. Although the method to extend partition is different, you'll encounter the same issue. If you are unable to extend volume with diskpart in Windows 11 laptop, desktop or tablet, follow the same solutions below. Only one exception, the partitions to be deleted and extended can be different. You can delete the right contiguous volume to extend the left adjacent one, no matter these partitions are Primary or Logical.

What to do when Windows 11 is unable to extend volume

There are several methods to fix the issue that can't extend partition in Windows 11 computer, select the corresponding method according to your own disk partition configuration.

Method 1 - move partition and Unallocated space

If you've shrunk a partition (such as D:) and got Unallocated space, you can't extend partition C with nonadjacent Unallocated space. In this situation, run NIUBI Partition Editor to move D: drive towards right, then Unallocated space will be adjacent to C drive.

Follow the steps if you cannot extend partition C in Windows 11 after shrinking D drive:

  1. Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click D: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume" option. Drag the middle block towards right in the pop-up window, then this partition will be moved to the right and Unallocated space will be moved to the left.
  2. Right click C: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume" again, drag the right border towards right to combine this adjacent Unallocated space.
  3. Press Apply on top left to take effect. (Watch the video if you still don't understand.)

Method 2 - shrink and extend partition with NIUBI

Windows 11 can't extend a partition into Unallocated space on the left. If you've shrunk D drive and want to extend partition E, right click E: in NIUBI Partition Editor and select "Resize/Move Volume" option, drag left border towards left to combine the contiguous Unallocated space.

Extend E drive

Follow the method in the video if you want to extend EFI/Recovery partition or resize Primary/Logical partition. To NIUBI Partition Editor, there's no difference if you want to resize NTFS and FAT32 partition, or resize Primary and Logical drive.

Method 3 - change disk from MBR to GPT

Windows 11 cannot extend a partition beyond 2TB on MBR disk. To do that, you must convert MBR to GPT in advance.

In Summary

When you are unable to extend partition in Windows 11 laptop/desktop/tablet, open Disk Management and check the disk partition configuration in your computer. Find out the associated reason and follow the corresponding method above. Besides helping you fix the cannot extend volume issue, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you do many other disk partition management operations.