Free/Best Windows Server 2016 Disk Management Tool

by John, Updated on: June 6, 2023

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 more volume, or extend a partition when it becomes full. Copy disk partition to migrate OS/data or convert disk partition type, etc. Therefore, you need a reliable disk partition management tool. From Windows XP and Server 2003 there's a native free "Disk Management" tool. This article introduces 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:

  1. Press Windows + X together on the keyboard and click Disk Management in the list.
  2. 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.

Disk Management

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. The advanced Shrink and Extend Volume functions have many restrictions.

  1. It can only shrink and extend NTFS partitions, FAT32 and other types of partitions are not supported.
  2. In some situations, for example when there's file system error in a partition, Disk Management cannot shrink it.
  3. If there are unmovable files in a partition, Disk Management can only shrink little space.
  4. It can only make Unallocated space on the right while shrinking a partition.
  5. It can only extend partition when there's contiguous Unallocated space on the right side.
  6. It cannot extend a partition by shrinking any other volumes.
  7. 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:

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.

NIUBI Partition Editor

This server partition manager helps shrink, extend, move and merge partitions without data loss to optimize disk space. Optimize file system and defrag partition to improve computer performance. Clone disk/partition to migrate Operating System and data. Convert disk/partition type without losing data, such as convert dynamic disk to basic, convert NTFS to FAT32, convert between Primary and Logical. It also helps create, delete, format, hide, active, wipe partition, scan bad sectors, etc. Learn how to resize/copy/manage disk partition in Windows 2016 server.