Shrink Volume greyed out in Windows Server 2012

Updated on: November 16, 2019

This article explains why Shrink Volume option is disabled in Windows Server 2012 R2 Disk Management, and what to do when Shrink Volume greyed out.

Why Shrink Volume is disabled in Server 2012 DM

If you want to change size of allocated partitions without losing data, Windows Server 2012 has built-in Disk Management tool to help you. Shrink Volume function can release part of unused space from a partition and convert to Unallocated. Extend Volume can combine Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.

Shrink Volume is helpful if you want to decrease a partition to create new. However, some people feedback that Shrink Volume option is disabled in Server 2012 Disk Management. In this article, I'll show you why Shrink Volume greyed out or cannot shrink partition.

1. Why Shrink Volume greyed out

Only NTFS partition is supported, FAT32 and other types of partitions cannot be shrank.

Shrink Volume disabled

As you see in my server, drive D: is formatted as FAT32, so Shrink Volume is grayed out. Other NTFS partitions can be shrank.

If this disk is GPT style, all options for EFI System partition are grayed out. To the Recovery partition, Disk Management doesn't provide any option.

EFI System partition even can't be shrank or extended by third party software.

2. Why cannot shrink partition

In some servers, Shrink Volume is activated when you right click a drive, but Disk Management can only shrink little space.

D drive in my test server is blank, but in the shrinking window, Disk Management gives me only 19417MB (18.96GB) available space, so I can only shrink D drive to 31.04GB.

Cant shrink

In some server or PC, you can't shrink volume for even 1MB. I've encountered such issue in my Windows 10 computer.

Can't shrink

As the tip shows, you can't shrink a partition beyond the point where unmovable files are located.

To the partitions that Shrink Volume support, Disk Management can only shrink them towards left and make Unallocated space on the right side.

What to do when Shrink Volume greyed out

Comparing with Shrink Volume function in Server 2012 Disk Management, NIUBI Partition Editor has advantages such as:

How to shrink partition in Windows Server 2012 with NIUBI:

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

NIUBI Partition Editor Server

You just need to drag and drop on the disk map and Unallocated space can be make on either side.

Right click a partition (such as D:) and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag the border towards other side in the pop-up window:

Option 1: If you drag left border towards right:

Shrink rightwards

Drive D: is shrink towards right and Unallocated space is made on the left.

Volume D shrank

Option 2: If you drag right border towards left:

Shrink leftwards

Drive D: is shrink towards left and Unallocated space is made on the right.

Volume D shrank

How to extend volume after shrinking

After getting the Unallocated space, you can create new volume or expand other partitions with it. Follow the steps in the video if you want to extend other partition in Windows 2012 Server.

Video guide

Besides shrinking and extending partition, NIUBI Partition Editor helps merge, copy, convert, defrag, hide, wipe partition, scan bad sectors, etc.