How to extend system partition in Windows Server 2008

by Andy, Updated on: November 25, 2020

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

Windows Server 2008 has been released for such a long time but many people or companies still use this Operating System for servers. If the OS meets all requirements of the production server, nobody likes to stop services and upgrade to the latest version. Because most of Windows 2008 server has running for a long time, the system partition C is getting full. It costs such a long time if back up everything, delete and recreate partitions, finally restore and verify data. Therefore, many server administrators ask if there's an easier and faster way to fix this issue, for example expanding system partition with free space in another volume. The answer is definitely yes, in this article I'll introduce full solution to extend system partition for Windows 2008 server.

1. Extend system partition in Server 2008 Disk Management

Better than previous version, Windows Server 2008 added Extend Volume function in native Disk Management tool, which is able to extend system partition without losing data (in most cases). 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 side.
  • Extend Volume can only merge Unallocated space to the contiguous partition on the left side.

As you see in my server, Extend Volume greyed out for C: and E drive after shrinking D, because the Unallocated space that shrunk from D is nonadjacent to C and E is on its right side.

Extend greyed

After deleting drive D, you'll get adjacent Unallocated space behind C drive, then Extend Volume is enabled. However, this method is not valid for every server.

If you installed programs or any Windows services to drive D, do not delete it. In addition, if D is a Logical drive, you still cannot extend C drive after deleting D via Disk Management. Remember, only when there's a deletable Primary partition on the right and on the same disk, you can extend system drive in Server 2008 Disk Management.

Steps to extend system partition with Server 2008 Disk Management:

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

2. How to extend system drive C 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 space in this contiguous partition, you can shrink any nonadjacent volume on the same disk.

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

  • Virtual Mode - the operations you do 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 any wrong operations, it doesn't matter, you can 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 when there are large amount of files.

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

NIUBI Partition Editor

Steps to extend system partition in Windows Server 2008 R2 with NIUBI:

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 system 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)

In this way, you can extend system volume 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.

Follow the video guide to extend system drive in Windows 2008 server:

Video guide

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

3. How to extend system volume with another disk

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

If you use VMware or Hyper-V Guest server:

  1. Increase virtual disk size with VMware/Hyper-V own tools, then extra space will be shown as Unallocated space at the end of disk.
  2. Follow the steps to move Unallocated space and combine to C: drive.

If you use single disk or RAID virtual disk:

  1. Copy system disk to a larger one and extend partition with extra disk space.
  2. Replace original disk or change BIOS and boot from the larger disk.

This article introduces the full solution to extend system partition in Windows Server 2008 R2, select the corresponding method according to your own disk partition configuration. Besides shrinking, moving, extending and copying disk partition, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you do many other management operations.