Windows Server 2008 Extend Volume greyed out

Updated on: July 11, 2019

This article introduces why Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management, what to do when Extend Volume is disabled and doesn't work.

The longer the server is running, the higher probability disk drive runs out of space, especially to system partition C. It can't be better if you can extend C: drive without starting over or restoring from backup. In previous Server 2003, you can extend partition via DiskPart command prompt. To make it easier, Microsoft adds new GUI Extend Volume function in built-in Disk Management tool.

In most of server machines, there is other volume such as D in the same hard disk, so some people try to shrink D to extend C drive but failed. Searching by Google, you'll find that many people encountered the same problem that Extend Volume option greyed out in Windows Server 2008 Disk Management.

To many server administrators, this problem is annoying. This article introduces the reasons why Server 2008 Extend Volume doesn't work and the easy solution.

Why Server 2008 Extend Volume function greyed out

There are 3 common reasons why Extend Volume is grayed out in Server 2008 (R2) Disk Management and I'll introduce one by one.

1. No adjacent Unallocated space on the right

First, you should know that the size of a single hard disk is fixed, a 250GB disk can't be decreased to 200GB or increased to 500GB. Before extending a partition, there must be free Unallocated space in the same disk. To a RAID array virtual disk, it is the same.

Therefore, if you did not delete or shrink other volume to get Unallocated space, of course you cannot extend partition.

In that case, Extend Volume option greyed out for all partitions.

Extend greyed

If you delete a partition, all files in it will be deleted, too. But if you shrink this partition, all files keep intact and only part of unused space will be converted to Unallocated. In addition, if this partition is used for programs or some Windows services, you cannot delete it, so many people shrunk drive D.

But as you see, Extend Volume still greyed out for C and E: drive after shrinking partition D. This is because:

  • Extend Volume can only merge Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.
  • Shrink Volume can only make Unallocated space on the right.

Unallocated space shrunk from D is nonadjacent to C drive and is on the left of E drive, so Extend Volume doesn't work.

Extend greyed

2. Unsupported file system

From Microsoft explanation, Extend Volume can only expand the partitions that are formatted with NTFS or without file system (RAW).

Another common FAT32 as well as any other types of partitions are not supported.

To show you this limitation, I converted volume D to FAT32, as you see, both Shrink and Extend Volume are grayed out, although there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right.

Extend is grayed

3. Different partition type

Some people are wondering if it is possible to enable Extend Volume by deleting the right contiguous partition. Yes to GPT disk, but to MBR disk, it depends.

If the partition that you want to delete and the left contiguous partition have different type (Primary or Logical), Extend Volume still doesn't work after deleting.

In Server 2008 Disk Management, Unallocated space deleted from Primary partition can't be extended to any Logical partition. Free space deleted from Logical partition can't be extended to any Primary partition.

Free space is still part of the Extended partition, to convert it to Unallocated, you have to delete all other Logical and the entire Extended partition.

Extend volume disabled

Do not delete the partition that programs or any Windows services are running from. Transfer files before deleting a partition.

What to do when Extend Volume option is grayed out

It seems a bit complicated, but it is very easy to solve this problem with NIUBI Partition Editor. If you have shrunk drive D to get Unallocated space with Disk Management, NIUBI can move Unallocated space to the left side, then system partition C can be extended with either tool.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor and you'll see the main window with disk partition structure and other information. There is 20GB Unallocated space in Disk 0 that is shrunk from drive D.

NIUBI Partition Editor

Steps to fix Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2008 R2:

Step 1: Right click D: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag middle position towards right in the pop-up window.

Move drive D

Then Unallocated space is moved to the left of D drive.

Move Unallocated space

Step 2: Right click C: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume" again, drag right border towards right in the pop-up window.

Extend C drive

Then Unallocated space is combined to C: drive.

Move Unallocated space

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

Video guide when Extend Volume doesn't work

When there is adjacent free space on either side, simply drag the border towards other side to combine into this partition.

Watch the video guide how to fix Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2008:

Video guide

Besides shrinking and extending partition, NIUBI Partition Editor helps move, merge, copy, wipe, hide, defrag, scan partition and much more.

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