Before saving files to a brand new hard disk, you must initialize it, then create partition on it and format with a file system. After running the server for a period of time, the scheduled partition scheme may be no longer the best. For example, you may need to shrink a large partition to create new volume, extend a partition when it becomes full. Copy disk partition to migrate OS and data, convert disk partition type, etc. Therefore, you need a reliable disk partition management tool. The same with other versions, there's a native free "Disk Management" tool in Windows Server 2016. In this article, I'll introduce how to open Disk Management in Windows Server 2016 and what does it do.
1. About Windows Server 2016 Disk Management tool
Hard disk drive is an indispensable component to a computer, as I explained above, there should be a reliable tool to help manage disk partition. Firstly (initial release in 1983), there's a fdisk command line utility running from DOS, In 2000, Microsoft provided a new diskpart command line tool which has more advanced ability. Later, Microsoft developed a new Logical Disk Manager (LDM) which has ability to manage dynamic disk. To make this tool easier to be used, Microsoft provides a GUI Disk Management snap-in from Windows XP.
To help resize allocated partitions without starting over, Microsoft added new Shrink and Extend Volume functions in Server 2008. Windows Server 2016 Disk Management inherited the same GUI and functions without any modification.
2. How to run Disk Management in Windows Server 2016
There are 2 way to run Disk Management in Windows Server 2016:
- Press Windows + X together on the keyboard and click Disk Management in the list.
- Press Windows + R to open Run, input diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
3. What does Server 2016 Disk Management do
After opening Disk Management in Windows Server 2016, right click a partition, the front of disk or any Unallocated space, you'll see associated options, the unavailable options are grayed out.
To an allocated partition:
- Open root directory with File Explorer
- Mark partition as Active
- Change drive letter and path
- Format partition
- Shrink volume and make Unallocated space on the right.
- Extend volume with Unallocated space behind it.
- Delete partition
- Add mirror
If you select Add Mirror, both disks will be converted to dynamic.
To a brand new hard disk:
Online, offline and initialize brand new disk.
To a disk with volume:
Convert basic disk to Dynamic disk.
To a disk without any volume:
Convert MBR disk to GPT and vice versa, convert basic disk to Dynamic disk and vice versa.
To Unallocated space:
Create new volumes.
To dynamic disks:
Disk Management can create Simple, Mirrored, Spanned, Stripped and RAID-5 volume.
To create RAID 5 volume, there must be at least 3 dynamic disks. There are only two in my computer, so this option is grayed out.
4. Disadvantages of Disk Management
Windows Server 2016 Disk Management can only do some basic operations, in addition, the advanced Shrink and Extend functions has many restrictions.
- It can only shrink and extend NTFS partitions, FAT32 and other types of partitions are not supported.
- In some situations, for example when there's file system error in a partition, Disk Management cannot shrink it.
- If there are unmovable files in a partition, Disk Management can only shrink little space.
- It can only make Unallocated space on the right while shrinking a partition.
- It can only extend partition when there's contiguous Unallocated space on the right side.
- It cannot extend a partition by shrinking any other volumes.
- Lack of many abilities such as move, merge, copy, convert, wipe partition, scan bad sectors, etc.
To manage disk partitions for Windows 2016 server, NIUBI Partition Editor is better choice. Comparing with other software, it is much safer and faster because of its innovative technologies:
- Virtual Mode - all operations will be listed as pending for preview, real disk partitions won't be modified until click "Apply" to confirm.
- Cancel-at-well - if you applied wrong operations, you can cancel the ongoing operations without causing damage.
- 1 Second Rollback - if it detects any error while resizing partition, it automatically reverts server to original status in a flash.
- Hot Clone - clone disk partition in Windows without server interruption. You can clone system disk regularly as backup and boot from the clone disk immediately when system disk is down.
Download NIUBI Partition Editor, you'll see all disks with partition structure and other parameters on the right, available operations to selected disk and partition are listed on the left and by right clicking.