How to shrink partition in Windows 2008 server

by Jordan, Updated on: December 3, 2020

This article introduces how to shrink partition in Windows Server 2008 R2. 3 ways to shrink Server 2008 partition without losing data.

Hard drive partitions are allocated while installing Operating System or by server OEM manufacturer. After running this server for a period of time, you need to change partition size, for example:

To help repartition hard drive, Microsoft provides 2 native tools - Diskpart and Disk Management. Diskpart is a command line tool which is included from old Windows XP. From Windows Server 2008, a new Shrink Volume function was added in Disk Management, which has graphic interface. These two native tools work in different way, but they have similar shortages.

1. How to shrink Server 2008 partition with Diskpart command

Many server administrators like to use command line tool, Diskpart may be better choice. However, unlike Disk Management, Diskpart only displays single partitions with part of parameters, it doesn't display disk partition layout or any Unallocated space. If you don't know everything about your disk partition, it is not suggested to use this tool.

Other shortages to shrink partition in Server 2008 R2 with Diskpart cmd:

  1. It can only shrink NTFS partition, FAT32 and any other types of partitions are not supported.
  2. It can only shrink partition towards left and make Unallocated space on the right. (The start position of this partition can't be changed.)
  3. If there are unmovable files in the partition, it can only shrink little space, because it cannot move these "unmovable" files.

Steps to shrink partition in Windows Server 2008 with diskpart command:

  1. Press Windows and R hot key together to open Run, type diskpart and press Enter.
  2. Input list volume and press Enter in diskpart command prompt window, then you'll see all partitions in a list.
  3. Input select volume C and press Enter. C is drive letter or number of the partition that you want to shrink.
  4. Input shrink desired=XX and press Enter. XX is the amount of space that you want to shrink from this partition (in MB).

List volume

In general, this partition should be shrunk in a short time if there's no file system or other error.

2. Shrink volume with Windows Server 2008 Disk Management

Disk Management has the same shortages listed above while shrinking hard drive partition. The benefit is that Disk Management shows disk with partition layout and detailed information of each partition visually. In addition, you'll see clearly where Unallocated space is generated after shrinking a partition. If you don't want to use third party software, you'd better try Shrink Volume in Server 2008 Disk Management.

How to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management:

  1. Press Windows and R hot key together to open Run, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
  2. Right click a NTFS partition and select Shrink Volume from the list.
  3. Maximum available space is given by default, you may click Shrink directly or enter an smaller amount by yourself.

Enter amount

Common issue while shrinking partition using Server 2008 R2 Disk Management:

As I said above, diskpart command and Disk Management can only make Unallocated space on the right while shrinking a partition. They can only add Unallocated space to left contiguous partition. As you see in the screenshot, Extend Volume is disabled for both C and E after shrinking D, because C is non adjacent and E is on the right of this Unallocated space.

Extend greyed

3. How to shrink partition volume with NIUBI Partition Editor

Comparing with these native tools, NIUBI Partition Editor is much more powerful, it is able to:

  1. Shrink and extend both NTFS and FAT32 partition.
  2. Shrink partition beyond the point where unmovable files are located.
  3. Make Unallocated space on either left or right side when shrinking partition.
  4. Extend partition by merging either contiguous Unallocated space by 1 step.
  5. Move Unallocated space and combine to any nonadjacent partitions on the same disk.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor and you'll see all storage devices 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. Unavailable operations are hidden automatically.

NIUBI Partition Editor

How to shrink Server 2008 volume with NIUBI Partition Editor:

Right click any NTFS or FAT32 partition and select "Resize/Move Volume", you have 2 options in the pop-up window.

If you drag right border towards left, or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space after:

Shrink to left

Then Unallocated space is made on the right side.

Partition Shrunk

If you drag left border towards right, or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space before:

Shrink to right

Then Unallocated space is made on the left side.

Partition Shrunk

Video guide to shrink partition volume in Windows Server 2008 R2:

Video guide

Follow the steps if you want to extend Server 2008 partition by shrinking another one.

Besides shrinking partition in Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019, NIUBI Partition Editor helps you merge, copy, convert, defrag, hide, wipe, scan partition and much more. Because of the unique 1-Second Rollback, Virtual Mode and Cancel-at-well technologies, it is much safer than other tools.