The same with previous versions, the most common issue in Windows 11 computer is low disk space on C drive. If your system partition C is not big enough and you installed many programs in it, C drive becomes full in a short time. In that case, many people want to extend this partition, because nobody likes to recreate partitions and reinstalling operating system and all programs. If you've used Windows 7 and 10 before, you may find that there's "Extend Volume" option in Disk Management. Windows 11 has the same function to help extend partition without losing data. However, many people encountered issue while extending C drive and other partition, because Extend Volume option is disabled in Windows 11 Disk Management. In this article, I'll introduce why Windows 11 "Extend Volume" greyed out and how to solve this problem easily.
Why extend C drive greyed out in Windows 11 computer
C: drive is where operating system running from, so it is different with data partition in some aspects. In Windows 11 computer, you can create a partition as Primary or Logical, and format a partition with FAT32 or NTFS partition. But to system partition C, it is always NTFS and Primary partition.
2 common reasons why extend C drive greyed out in Windows 11 computer:
1. No Unallocated space next to C drive
First of all, you should know that the size of a physical hard disk is fixed, a 250GB disk can't be decreased to 200GB or increased to 300GB. If you want to extend a partition, you must delete or shrink another one to get Unallocated space. If you use virtual disk or some types of hardware RAID array, you can expand disk to get additional Unallocated space.
In most of Windows 11 laptop/desktop/tablet computer, the system disk is solid state drive (SSD). If you right click C drive in Windows 11 Disk Management without Unallocated space on the same disk, of course Extend Volume is disabled for C drive.
To enable Extend Volume for C drive in Windows 11 Disk Management, there must be contiguous Unallocated space. In addition, this space must be on the right side of C drive.
If you've shrunk the contiguous partition D: (or E:), Unallocated space is nonadjacent to C drive. This is the reason why Extend Volume greyed out for C drive in Windows 11 after shrinking other partition.
2. The adjacent partition is Logical
This issue only exists on MBR disk. Because "Extend Volume" greyed out for C drive in Windows 11 Disk Management after shrinking D, some people try to delete D drive. Extend Volume will be enabled for C drive if the contiguous partition D is Primary. Otherwise, you still cannot extend C drive after deleting D.
Unlike Primary partition that works independent and has entry on Master Boot Record, Logical drive is part of the "Extended partition". The free space deleted from a Logical drive can't be extended to any Primary partition.
Tips: there's no such issue on GPT disk. System disk is GPT in most of Windows 11 computers.
Other reasons why Windows 11 Extend Volume option is disabled
When you extending a data only partition in Disk Management, it is the same. There must be contiguous Unallocated space on the right side. If you want to extend a partition by deleting the right adjacent one, the both partitions must be the same Primary or Logical drive. Besides the reasons above, there are additional reasons why Extend Volume greyed out in Windows 11 Disk Management:
1, File system is not supported
Windows 11 Disk Management can only shrink and extend NTFS partition, partitions that formatted with any other file system are not supported.
2, Special partition is not supported
There are some small special partitions on system disk such as EFI and Recovery partition, Windows 11 cannot extend these volume even if they are NTFS.
3, 2TB restriction on MBR disk
Hard disk drives are much larger nowadays. Many people use 2TB or even 4TB disk for personal computer. If you initialized a 4TB disk as MBR, you can use only 2TB. The remaining 2TB keeps as Unallocated and you can't create new volume with it. This because the maximum partition size is 2TB on MBR disk. If you right click a 2TB partition, of course Extend Volume is grayed out in Windows 11 Disk Management, even if this partition is NTFS and there's adjacent Unallocated space.
What to do when Extend Volume greyed out in Windows 11
Press Windows + X hot-keys and click Disk Management in the list. Find out the reason why Extend Volume greyed out in your Windows 11 computer, and then follow corresponding method below.
Method 1 - move partition and Unallocated space
No matter extend C drive greyed out in Windows 11 or Extend Volume is disabled to a data partition, when you cannot extend partition with nonadjacent Unallocated space, run NIUBI Partition Editor to move Unallocated space to be adjacent.
Steps when Extend Volume greyed out in Windows 11 because Unallocated space is nonadjacent:
- Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click D: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume" option, put the mouse pointer in the middle of D drive and drag it towards right in the pop-up window, then Unallocated space will be moved to the left.
- Right click C: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume" again, drag the right border towards right to combine this Unallocated space.
- Click OK and back to the main window, click Apply on top left to take effect.
Watch the video how to operate:
Method 2 - resize partition with NIUBI
If you want to extend FAT32 partition, or extend Primary/Logical partition, resize with NIUBI Partition Editor. There's no difference to extend NTFS and FAT32 partition, or extend Primary and Logical partition. Follow the steps in the video.
Method 3 - convert 2TB+ disk to GPT
If you cannot extend partition past 2TB in Windows 11 laptop/desktop, follow the steps to convert MBR disk to GPT, and then you can extend partition with Unallocated space easily.
Besides help fix the Extend Volume grayed out issue in Windows 11/10/8/7, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you do many other disk partition operations such as move, merge, convert, hide, defrag, wipe, scan bad sectors, optimize file system.