Shrink D: drive in Windows Server 2012

Updated on: November 16, 2019

This article introduces how to shrink D: drive in Windows Server 2012 R2 without losing data. Shrink partition D to create new or expand other volumes.

Shrink D drive in Server 2012 Disk Management

It is very common to shrink and extend allocated partition after running the server for a period of time. Both Windows native Disk Management and third party tool can help you.

The same with previous version, Windows Server 2012 has Shrink Volume function in Disk Management. It is easy to shrink system partition and data volumes. It is able to shrink partition without losing data and on the fly.

Steps to shrink partition D in Windows Server 2012 DM:

  1. Press Windows and X on the keyboard, then select Disk Management from the list.
  2. Right click D: drive and select Shrink Volume.
  3. Disk Management will calculate available space and give you a maximum default value, click Shrink directly or enter an amount of space first.

Then corresponding Unallocated space will be made on the right side of D.

Restriction of Disk Management to shrink volume D

Disk Management is easy and works well in most cases, however, you may encounter issue while shrinking partition because of its restrictions.

1. Cannot shrink D beyond limit

There is a tip in the middle of the shrinking window - You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.

The unmovable files include Paging file, Hibernation and other large files. If any type of unmovable files are located in 3rd block, you cannot shrink this partition to 2nd or 1st block, although there is free space there.

Unmovable files

I've encountered such issue while shrinking D drive in my server. It is blank with 50GB free space, but Disk Management gives me only 19417MB (18.96GB) available space to shrink.

Cant shrink

2. Can't shrink FAT32 partition

In Windows PC and Server, both NTFS and FAT32 are common types of partition, but Disk Management only support NTFS partition to shrink or extend. When you right click FAT32 partition, Shrink Volume is disabled.

3. Can't shrink to expand other drive

In many servers, system C drive runs out of space after running for a period of time. It can't be better if you can shrink D to expand C without losing data. Otherwise, it costs a long time to recreate partitions and restore from backup.

There are both Shrink and Extend Volume functions in Server 2012 Disk Management, but it cannot extend C drive and other partitions by shrinking D.

When right click C: and E drive after shrinking D, Extend Volume is grayed out.

As I said above, Shrink Volume can only decrease a partition towards left and make Unallocated space on the right side. Besides this restriction, Extend Volume can only combine Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.

C drive is nonadjacent and E is on the right side of the Unallocated space, so Extend Volume is unavailable.

Extend volume disabled

Shrink D with NIUBI Partition Editor

Comparing with Server 2012 Disk Management, NIUBI Partition Editor is much more powerful:

Download NIUBI Partition Editor and you'll see all disk partitions with structure and other information in the main window.

NIUBI Partition Editor Server

How to shrink partition D in Windows Server 2012 with NIUBI:

Right click drive D: and select "Resize/Move Volume", you have two options in the pop-up window.

Option 1: If you drag left border towards right

Shrink rightwards

Unallocated space will be make on the left side of D.

Volume D shrank

Option 2: If you drag right border towards left

Shrink leftwards

Unallocated space will be make on the right side of D.

Volume D shrank

Shrink volume D to expand C and E

To extend other partitions, you just need to drag and drop on the disk map. Watch the video how to shrink D: drive to extend C: or E: in Windows Server 2012:

Video guide