This article introduces Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management tool, features and disadvantages of the native disk partition manager for Server 2008.
Basic features of Server 2008 Disk Management
There are two native disk management tool for Windows 2008 server - diskpart and Disk Management. Diskpart is a command line tool and Disk Management has graphical interface. Diskpart seems to be easier and faster, but you should know clearly about disk partition structure and detailed information of each partition. Otherwise, you are very likely encounter issue.
Unlike Diskpart that only list single partitions with part of information, Disk Management displays much more information and partition layout/structure. Therefore, you'll see almost everything of disk partitions visually and in a short time.
Press Windows and R together on the keyboard, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter, then you'll see Server 2008 Disk Management tool. Right click the partition or disk and you'll see the available operations:
Windows Server 2008 Disk Management basic ability
To a brand new hard disk:
- Online, offline
Hard disk must be online and initialized before creating new volume.
To Unallocated space:
Create new volumes.
To an allocated partition:
- Open root directory in File Explorer
- Mark partition as Active
- Change drive letter and path
- Format partition
- Delete partition
Advanced features of Windows Disk Management
Manage dynamic volumes:
It is able to create and manage Simple, Mirrored, Stripped, Spanned and RAID 5 dynamic volume.
Dynamic disk volumes consume much server resources. Hardware price is much cheaper now, so most of servers use hardware RAID arrays instead of dynamic volume.
Disk Management has the option to convert disk between MBR and GPT, convert disk between Basic and Dynamic.
However, it can only convert Basic disk to Dynamic without losing data. To convert Dynamic disk to Basic or convert between MBR and GPT, you must delete all partitions in the disk.
Change partition size:
Comparing with other advanced features, these new functions are likely to be used. However, you cannot extend a partition by shrinking other one.
How to shrink partition with Server 2008 Disk Management
Many server administrators need to change partition size after running the server for a period of time.
To shrink partition with Disk Management:
- Follow the method above to open Server 2008 Disk Management tool.
- Right click any system or data volume and select Shrink Volume.
- Enter and amount of space and click Shrink.
Disadvantages of Shrink Volume feature:
- Only NTFS partition is supported.
- Unallocated space can only be made on the right while shrinking.
- It cannot shrink partition beyond the point where unmovable files are located.
How to extend partition with Server 2008 Disk Management
To extend partition with Disk Management:
- Right click the partition with adjacent Unallocated space on the right, select Extend Volume in the list.
- Simply click Next till Finish in the pop-up Extend Volume Wizard window.
Disadvantages of Extend Volume feature:
- Only NTFS partition is supported.
- There must be adjacent Unallocated space on the right of the partition that you want to extend, otherwise, Extend option is disabled.
- If partition D is Logical, you still cannot extend C: even by deleting D.
Better disk partition manager for Server 2008
Third party disk partition software is much more powerful, as the most reliable tool, NIUBI Partition Editor is recommended.
Download it and you'll see the main window with disk partition structure and other information on the right. Available operations to highlighted disk or partition are listed on the left or by right clicking.
Available operations to a partition:
- Resize volume (shrink and extend)
- Move partition location
- Merge two adjacent volumes by 1 step
- Copy volume to Unallocated space
- Convert partition between Logical and Primary
- Convert NTFS to FAT32
- Change drive letter (such as D:)
- Change label (add or modify name of partition)
- Set as Active
- Check file system integrity
- Defrag to improve performance
- Hide from File Explorer
- Delete (files can be recovered)
- Format volume to use as new
- Wipe (erase data permanently)
- Surface test (scan bad sectors)
- Explore (view files/folders with directory)
- View properties
Available operations to whole disk:
- Initialize brand new disk
- Change status to offline or online
- Set read-only attribute
- Wipe disk (cannot be recovered)
- Surface test
- View properties
- Clone disk to migrate data and OS
- Convert MBR disk to GPT
- Delete all partitions
- Cleanup disk
Comparing with other 3rd-party tools, NIUBI Partition Editor is much safer and faster because of its powerful technologies:
- Virtual Mode - all operations will be listed as pending for preview, real disk partitions won't be modified until click Apply to confirm.
- Cancel-at-well - if you applied wrong operations, it doesn't matter, you can also cancel the ongoing operations without losing data.
- 1 Second Rollback - if encounter any error while resizing partition, it automatically reverts server to original status in a flash.
- Advanced file-moving algorithm - move and extend partition 30% to 300% faster, saving much time especially if there are large amount of files.