Windows Server 2008 Shrink Volume function

Updated on: November 16, 2019

This article introduces how to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management without losing data and the limitations of Shrink Volume function.

How to shrink volume in Server 2008

Better than previous version, Windows Server 2008 has Shrink Volume function built in Disk Management. It is able to shrink system partition and data volumes without losing data on the fly. Better than Diskpart command, Disk Management displays disk partition structure and other information with graphical interface. You'll see the result visually after shrinking a volume. If any partition cannot be shrunk, Shrink Volume option is disabled.

Steps to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 Disk Management:

Step 1: Press Windows and R, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter, then Disk Management will be opened.

Step 2: Right click the partition that you want to decrease and select Shrink Volume from the list.

Shrink Volume

Step 3: Maximum available space is given by default, click Shrink or enter an smaller amount first. Here I entered 20480.

Enter amount

In a short while, partition D is shrunk from 50GB to 30GB and 20GB Unallocated space is made on the right of D.

Volume shrunk

Although it is very easy to shrink partition with Server 2008 Disk Management, you may encounter trouble in some situations, because this native tool has some restrictions.

Limitations of Shrink Volume function

1. Only NTFS partition can be shrunk

Shrink Volume can only shrink the partitions that are formatted as NTFS or without any file system (RAW). When you right click FAT32 or any other types of partitions, Shrink Volume option is grayed out.

2. Cannot shrink beyond unmovable files

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

These unmovable files include Paging File, Hibernation and other large files. If there are such files, Disk Management gives little or even 0 in the shrinking window, although there is plenty of free space in this partition.

These unmovable files are unusually in system partition C, so you are very likely encounter this issue while shrinking C drive.

3. Unallocated space can't be made on the left

While shrinking volume with Server 2008 Disk Management, there's only one option for you to enter an amount of space. After that, this partition will be shrunk towards left and Unallocated space will be made on the right.

It is not an issue if you want to create new volume with this Unallocated space, but if you want to extend other partitions with this space, it is impossible with Disk Management. Extend Volume function can only combine Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition. Therefore, Extend Volume is grayed out for C: and E: drive after shrinking D.

Diskpart command has the same restrictions.

Better way to shrink disk partition

Comparing with native Diskpart and Disk Management tool, NIUBI Partition Editor is much more powerful, it is able to:

Download NIUBI Partition Editor Server and follow the steps in the video to shrink volume in Windows Server 2008 R2:

Video guide

Right click any NTFS or FAT32 partition and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag either border towards the other side in the pop-up window, then you can shrink this volume or combine Unallocated space to this volume. Drag the middle position towards other side, then you can exchange the position of this partition and contiguous Unallocated space.