Shrink Volume server 2008

Shrink partition on Windows Server 2008 R2

There is high probability to extend a partition on the server especially for the system C drive, because it is getting full sooner or later. But on the other hand, you need to shrink partition in some situations, for example:

  • C drive occupied all disk space while installing Operating System.
  • You can create more volumes by shrinking a large partition without reinstalling.

Then what is the right tool and how to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 without losing data?

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of tools: Windows native Disk Management and third-party partition software. There is built-in Shrink Volume functionality in Server 2008 Disk Management, which can shrink C drive and any data volumes safely and quickly. However, because of some limitations you still need 3rd-party software to shrink disk drive. In this article, I’ll introduce detailed steps to shrink partition in Server 2008 (R2) with both tools.

Shrink Volume server 2008

1. Shrink partition with Disk Management

It is very easy to shrink a partition with built-in Shrink Volume functionality, steps:

  1. Click Sever Manager on bottom left of the screen to open Disk Management.
  2. Right click the partition you want to shrink and click Shrink Volume.
  3. Enter the amount of space to shrink (1024MB=1GB) and click Shrink to begin.

Enter amount

Windows Server 2008 Shrink Volume limitations

The benefit of Windows Server 2008 Shrink Volume functionality is easy and fast, in addition, you can shrink C drive and data volumes without rebooting the server. Meanwhile, it has some limitations, too.

  • Cannot shrink volume towards the right

You can only shrink a drive towards the left, that means, the Unallocated space can only be generated on the right side of this drive. Together with the limitation of Extend Volume, this Unallocated space cannot be added to other volumes, so it can only be used to create new volumes.

Unallocated space

  • FAT32 partition can’t be shrank

Only NTFS partition is supported to extend and shrink. FAT32 and other types of partitions cannot be shrank.

FAT32 unavailable

  • Cannot shrink volume beyond half

In the shrink volume window, there is a note: You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.


This is the reason why many people feedback that they can only shrink little space.

For example: C drive is made up of 4 blocks A, B, C and D. If the unmovable files are located in block C, you cannot shrink volume to block B or A even though there is free space.

C drive block

Then what are the unmovable files? It could be Page File, File System files, Hibernation and other large files.

2. Shrink volume with partition software

Third party software is easy and unrestricted, you can generate Unallocated space on either left or right side. NTFS and FAT32 are all supported. In addition, the Unallocated space can be merged to any adjacent partition easily.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click the drive that you want to shrink and select Resize/Move Volume.

Resize volume

In the pop-up window, you’ll see the same partition layout on the bottom and single D on the top.

Resize D

If you drag the right border towards the left, Unallocated space will be generated on the right side of D.

Shrink leftwards

If you drag the left border towards the right, Unallocated space will be generated on the left side of D.

Shrink rightwards

Click OK and the program will back to the main window, as you see, drive D is shrank to 30GB and 20GB Unallocated space is generated between C and D. Press Apply on top left to execute.

Partition shrank

If you want to add this Unallocated space to C drive, simply run Resize Volume again to combine it.

Extend partition C

Besides extend and shrink partition on Server 2008, NIUBI Partition Editor helps do many other disk partition management operations.

Download to try

How to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 (R2)?
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