Windows Server 2016 Extend Volume functionality
This page introduces the native Extend Volume function in Windows Server 2016 Disk Management, how to extend disk partition with it, its limitations and alternative choice.
About Extend Volume
All disk partitions are allocated when installing Operating System or got from manufacturer, but some disk partition run out of disk space after a period of time. Originally, you have to back up, recreate partitions and restore. It may cost a whole day to complete this task.
From Windows Vista, Microsoft adds new Extend Volume functionality in Disk Management snap-in, with which you can change size of the allocated partitions without reinstalling OS. However, only few partitions can be extended because of some inherent limitations. Windows Server 2016 inherited the same function without improvement, so many server administrators feedback that they cannot extend partition with this tool.
How to use Extend Volume
It is not difficult to run Extend Volume in Server 2016 Disk Management, but there are several steps, here we go.
Press and on keyboard and then select Disk Management.
Right click the partition that you want to extend and select Extend Volume.
Extend Volume Wizard will be launched, simply click Next to continue.
Available disk and space is selected, click Next to use default value or change the amount of space manually.
Click Finish to confirm and start extending.
In a short time, drive D is extended.
It is fast and not difficult to run Extend Volume in Server 2016, but all other partitions cannot be extended in my test server.
Extend Volume limitations
Windows Server 2016 format hard disk as GPT when installing, so you are not likely to see the restriction between Primary and Logical partition, which only exists in MBR disk. However, there are still 2 common limitations that cause you unable to extend partition in Server 2016 DM.
Extend Volume only works when there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right side of the drive that you want to extend.
Many people tried to shrink the adjacent drive D and got Unallocated space, but Extend Volume is disabled for C drive. This is the most common issue that server administrators encountered. When you shrink D with another Shrink Volume function, Unallocated space can only be produced on the right side of D, so you cannot extend C drive except moving the Unallocated space to the other side.
In my test server, only drive D meets the requirement of Extend Volume:
- Extend Volume is unavailable to drive C: and F, because the 20GB Unallocated space is nonadjacent.
- Extend Volume is invalid to drive E, because the Unallocated space is on the left.
In fact, both Shrink and Extend Volume support NTFS partition only, another common FAT32 partition can’t be extended.
To show you the truth, I formatted drive D to FAT32. As you see, Extend Volume is greyed out even though there is adjacent Unallocated space on the right side.
Windows Server 2016 Extend Volume functionality cannot produce or move Unallocated space to the left side, so the only way to use this native utility is by deleting the adjacent partition. But, programs and some Windows services are running from drive D, so you cannot extend C drive by deleting it. Furthermore, if the partition that you want to extend is FAT32 or other type, Extend Volume is still unavailable even if you delete the adjacent partition.
Luckily, there are alternative choice, more specifically, the better choice. Comparing with Disk Management, NIUBI Partition Editor has many advantages, for example:
- Both NTFS and FAT32 partitions are supported to shrink and extend.
- Unallocated space can be produced on either side when shrinking.
- Partition can be extended with Unallocated space on either side.
- If the Unallocated space is nonadjacent, NIUBI can move it.
- You just need 1 step to drag and drop on the disk map to shrink, move and extend disk partition.
Windows Server 2016 Extend Volume functionality can only extend NTFS partition by deleting the adjacent drive. It is useless in other conditions. To extend volume partition on Windows Server 2016, NIUBI Partition Editor is better choice. You just need to drag and drop on the disk map to shrink, (move) and extend disk partition.
Besides resizing partition to optimize disk space, it helps you do many other disk and partition operations. Comparing with other partition tools, NIUBI has more advantages such as:
- Unique 1 Second Rollback technology to ensure system and data intact. If software or hardware issue occur while shrinking and extending partitions, it automatically revert the server to original status in a flash.
- Working in virtual mode to avoid mistake, real disk partition won’t be modified until click Apply to confirm, so you can cancel any unwanted operations before this.
- With the unique Cancel-at-will technology, you can cancel the ongoing operations without losing data.
- Less probability to reboot server because of the Hot-Resize technology.