Extend volume grayed out

Extend Volume grayed out in Windows Server 2012 – solution

Microsoft provides many built-in utilities to manage the server, to manage storage device, there is Disk Management component, which is installed by default. In Windows Server 2012 Disk Management, you can create, delete, format volume and change drive letter. Besides the basic management operations, you can change partition size with Shrink Volume and Extend Volume functionalities.

Extend Volume can enlarge both system C drive and data volumes online. However, in most conditions you still need third party software, because many people feedback that Extend Volume is grayed out for C drive after shrinking volume D.

Extend volume grayed out

In this article, I’ll introduce why Extend Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2012 (R2) Disk Management, and how to fix this issue fast and safely.

Why Extend Volume greyed out

There are many reasons why Extend Volume grayed out in Windows Server 2012 Disk Management, I’ll show you one by one.

Reason 1 – no Unallocated space

Extend Volume disabled

Explanation: From Microsoft, to expand a drive with Extend Volume, there should be adjacent Unallocated space. So if you right click C drive without such space, Extend Volume is disabled.

Reason 2 – Unallocated space is nonadjacent

Unallocated is nonadjacent

Explanation: though you got Unallocated space by shrinking the adjacent drive D, the Unallocated space is behind D rather than C, so Extend C drive grayed out, too. This is the most common situation feedback by the server users.

Reason 3 – not supported partition

Not support partition

Explanation: only NTFS and RAW partitions are supported, so if the drive you want to expand is FAT32, Extend Volume is greyed out, too.

To compare, if drive D is NTFS, Extend Volume is available.

Extend Volume available

Reason 4 – cannot extend beyond Extended Partition

Logical partition

Explanation: if drive D is in the Extended partition, Extend Volume is still disabled even though there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right side.

However, if the 20GB space is also in the Extended partition, Extend Volume is enabled for D drive.

Extend Volume greyed out

Reason 5 – free space cannot be added to Primary partition

Extend Volume disabled

Explanation: different with Unallocated space that is not belong to any partition, Free partition is belong to the Extended partition. Extend Volume is still disabled for C drive even if you delete the adjacent drive D. To enable Extend Volume for C drive, you have to delete the entire Extended partition.

How to enable Extend Volume

It is not a good idea to enable Extend Volume by deleting partitions. Here, I’ll introduce the nondestructive way.

If you have gotten Unallocated space or Free space by shrinking the adjacent drive D, you just need 1 step to move the space to behind C drive. NIUBI Partition Editor can easily move the space no matter it is Unallocated or Free space. It can move drive D to the right side no matter it is Logical or Primary partition.

Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click drive D and select Resize/Move Volume.

Resize move volume

In the pop-up window, drag the middle position rightwards.

Move volume D

Drive D will be moved to the right side and the Unallocated or Free space will be moved to behind C drive at the same time.

Move Unallocated space

Click Apply button on top left to execute.

Tips:

  1. This program works in virtual mode to avoid mistake and the operations won’t be done immediately. To change physical disk partition, you should click Apply to confirm.
  2. You can cancel and redo the pending operations before clicking Apply.
  3. The pending operations with  can be done in Windows without rebooting.

Better solution with software

When there is adjacent Unallocated or Free space on the right side of a volume (such as C:), you can combine this space to C drive directly with NIUBI Partition Editor, no matter C drive is NTFS or FAT32, Primary or Logical Partition. Just one step:

Right click C drive and select Resize/Move Volume, drag right border rightwards in the pop-up window.

Extend C drive

If there is no adjacent Unallocated or Free space behind C drive, you can take free unused space from any other volumes in the same disk, watch the video:

In Summary

In Windows Disk Management, Shrink Volume functionality can only generate Unallocated space on the right side. Extend Volume functionality only works when there is adjacent Unallocate/Free space on the right side. These limitations lead to Extend Volume grayed out in Windows Server 2012. The solutions include:

  1. If Extend Volume grayed out because of nonadjacent Unallocated space (reason 2), simply move the Unallocated space to behind C drive with NIUBI Partition Editor.
  2. When there is adjacent Unallocated or Free space on the right side, but Extend Volume greyed out because of reason 3, 4 or 5, simply run NIUBI Partition Editor to combine the Unallocated space directly.
  3. If there is no adjacent Unallocated space (reason 1), simply follow the video to take free space from other volumes in the same disk.

Actually, no matter which reason that cause Windows Server 2012 Extend Volume grayed out, you can solve this problem easily with NIUBI by clicking and dragging.

Download to try

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