Extend system partition in Windows Server 2008

Updated on: July 11, 2019

This article introduces how to extend system partition on Windows Server 2008 R2 without losing data. 3 ways to extend system volume with detailed steps.

1. Extend system drive in Server 2008 Disk Management

Better than previous version, Windows Server 2008 added Extend Volume functionality in native Disk Management, which is able to extend system partition and any data volumes that are formatted with NTFS. However, the only way to extend system volume is by deleting the adjacent partition (D:) on the right.

This is because:

  • Shrink Volume can only decrease a NTFS drive towards left and make Unallocated space on the right.
  • Extend Volume can only merge Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.

As you see in my server, Extend Volume greyed out for C: and E drive after shrinking D.

If Disk Management can make Unallocated space on the left or move from right to the left, there is no such issue.

If you did not install programs or any Windows services to drive D, and there is other partition to transfer files, follow the steps below:

Extend greyed

Steps to extend system partition in Windows Server 2008 Disk Management:

  1. Press Windows and R together on the keyboard, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
  2. Right click drive D and select Delete Volume.
  3. Right click C: drive and select Extend Volume.
  4. Available disk and space is selected by default, simply click Next till Finish in the pop-up Extend Volume Wizard window.

If there is no or you cannot delete the right continuous partition, Disk Management is completely useless.

2. Extend system partition D by shrinking D or E

With server partition manager such as NIUBI Partition Editor, you can shrink drive D and make Unallocated space on the left, then system partition C can be extended easily. If there is not plenty of free unused space in drive D, you can get from any nonadjacent volume on the same disk.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor, you'll see all disk partitions with structure and other information on the right, available operations to selected disk or partition are listed on the left or by right clicking. In Disk 0, there is drive C, D, E and system reserved partition. Original size of os partition C is 40GB.

NIUBI Partition Editor

Steps to extend system volume in Windows Server 2008 R2:

Step 1: Right click drive D: and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag left border towards right in the pop-up window. You may also enter an amount in the box behind "Unallocated space before" (1024MB=1GB).

Shrink D

Then drive D is shrunk and 20GB Unallocated space is made on its left.

Shrink D

Step 2: Right click C: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag right border towards right to combine Unallocated space.

Extend C drive

Then system partition C is extended to 60GB.

Extend os drive

Step 3: Click Apply on top left to take effect. (All operations before this step only work in virtual mode)

By this method, you can extend system partition and keep Operating System, programs and anything else the same with before. As long as there's free unused space in any data partition on the same disk, you can transfer and add into C drive.

How to extend system partition in Windows Server 2008 with free space in other volume:

Video guide

If you use any types of hardware RAID arrays, do not break the array or do any operations to controller. There is no difference to resize and extend partition on RAID, VMware/Hyper-V virtual disk.

3. Extend system volume with other disk

In some servers, there is only single C drive in Disk 0, or not enough free space on entire disk. In that case, no software can expand system partition by adding free space from other separated disk. However, there are still 2 options with NIUBI:

If you use VMware or Hyper-V Guest server:

  1. Increase virtual disk size with their own tools, then extra space will be shown as Unallocated space on the end of disk.
  2. Follow the steps in the video to move Unallocated space and combine to system C: drive.

If you use single disk or RAID virtual disk:

  1. Copy original disk to a larger one, then extra disk space will be also shown as Unallocated space on the end.
  2. Follow the steps in the video above to extend system drive.
  3. Replace original disk or change BIOS and boot from the large disk.

Select the corresponding method according to your own disk partition configuration.

Comparing with other tools, NIUBI Partition Editor is much safer and faster because of its innovative technologies:

Besides shrinking, moving, extending and copying disk partition, it helps you do many other management operations.