Cannot extend volume

Can’t extend volume in Windows Server 2008 DM

Better than previous Windows Server 2003, Server 2008 native Disk Management provides new Shrink Volume and Extend Volume to change partition size. Most of the servers runs out of space after a period of time, so it is great if you can resize disk partition without starting from scratch or backing up and restoring. However, many people feedback that they cannot extend volume in Server 2008 Disk Management, because Extend Volume is disabled for C drive.

In this article, I’ll introduce why you can’t extend volume in Windows Server 2008 R2 DM. Additional, I’ll give detailed steps to get rid of this problem.

Cannot extend volume

Why cannot extend volume in Server 2008

There are several reasons that cause you cannot extend partition with built-in Extend Volume functionality. I’ll introduce one by one.

1. No right adjacent Unallocated space

From Microsoft, Extend Volume is workable only when there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right side. If you right click C drive directly, of course extend volume is disabled.

Besides Extend Volume, Server 2008 Disk Management provide Shrink Volume functionality, so many people wondering whether it is possible to decrease the adjacent drive D with Shrink Volume, and then extend C drive with Extend Volume. Actually, it is impossible!

Extend Volume disabled

From the screenshot above, the Unallocated space that shrank from D is not behind C, of course you cannot extend volume C in Disk Management.

2. Unsupported partition

From Microsoft, Extend Volume only support NTFS and RAW partition, so you cannot extend partition with FAT32 or other file system.

Unsupported partition

From the screenshot above, Unallocated space is adjacent and on the right side of drive D, but Extend Volume is greyed out, because this drive is FAT32, which is not supported.

3. Different partition type

Cannot get adjacent Unallocated space by shrinking volume, some people try to delete the adjacent partition and then the disk space will be converted to Unallocated, so Extend Volume is enabled. It works in GPT disk, but in MBR disk you cannot extend a drive with the space from other partition whose type is different.

For example, if both C and D drive are Primary partition, it works by deleting D. If both D and E are Logical partition, it also works by deleting E. But you cannot extend a Primary partition by deleting a Logical drive.

From the screenshot below, original D drive is a Logical partition, the disk space displays as Free instead of Unallocated after deleting. In this situation, you cannot extend volume C.

Extend Volume disabled


Do not delete drive D even if the partition type is the same with C drive. Otherwise, all Windows services and applications of D will be deleted, too. They’ll become invalid even if you move these files to other locations.

Solution of unable to extend volume

It seems a bit complicated if you have not enough knowledge about disk drives, but it is very easy to solve this problem with partition software. To better explain, I divide the solution into 2 parts.

Part 1 – there is adjacent space

If there is adjacent Unallocated or Free space, you can extend volume by merging these space by 1 step, no matter the volumes are NTFS or FAT32, Primary or Logical.

Download and install NIUBI Partition Editor, different with Disk Management, NIUBI shows both Unallocated and Free space as Unallocated.

Unallocated space

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

Extend partition C

This Unallocated space will be added into C drive.

Partition extended

Part 2 – Unallocated space is nonadjacent

This is most common situation that people cannot extend drive C after shrinking D. In this situation, you just need 1 more step to move partition.

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

Move Unallocated

Drive D will be moved to the right side and Unallocated space will be moved to left side (behind C drive). Follow the step in Part 1 and you can add Unallocated space to C drive easily.

In Summary

Windows native Disk Management has many limitations that cause you cannot extend volume in Server 2008 R2. In this case, run NIUBI Partition Editor Server and it is very easy to solve this problem by clicking and dragging.

Download to try

Cannot extend volume in Windows Server 2008 – easy solution.
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