How to increase partition size for Windows 2016 server

by Jordan, Updated on: July 8, 2020

This article introduces how to increase partition size in Windows Server 2016, how to increase disk space of partition volume without losing data.

The same with previous versions, system C: drive runs out of space on Windows 2016 server, too. Luckily, if there is free space in any other volume, you can increase disk space of partition C without wasting a long time to recreate partitions and restore everything. If there is no free space on a disk, you can clone to a larger one and increase partition size with extra disk space. This article introduces full solution to increase partition size in Windows Server 2016.

1. Increase partition size in Server 2016 Disk Management

From Windows Server 2008, Microsoft added advanced Extend Volume function in native Disk Management tool, which is able to increase size of partition without losing data and on the fly. However, it only works under very restricted condition. Windows Server 2016 inherited the same function without any improvement, so you'll encounter issue while running this tool.

If you want to increase system partition size via Windows Server 2016 Disk Management, your disk partition configuration must meet following requirements:

  1. There is another partition such as D on the right of C and on the same disk.
  2. There are no programs or any Windows services installed in D, so you can delete it.
  3. There's a third partition with plenty of free space to save all files in drive D.
  4. D must be a Primary partition.

How to increase size of partition C with Windows Server 2016 Disk Management:

  1. Transfer all files in D to other partition (D means the partition behind C).
  2. Press Windows and X together on the keyboard and click Disk Management from the list.
  3. Right click drive D: and select Delete Volume, then its disk space will be converted to Unallocated.
  4. Right click C: drive and select Extend Volume, simply click Next till Finish in the pop-up dialog boxes.

If you want to increase partition size of C by shrinking D or other one, Disk Management cannot help you. As you see in the screenshot, Extend Volume is grayed out for all other volumes after shrinking D.

Cannot extend volume

This is because:

  • Extend Volume can only add Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.
  • Shrink Volume can only make Unallocated space on the right while shrinking a partition.

The 20GB Unallocated space is non-adjacent to C drive and E is on the right, so Extend Volume is disabled.

Disk Management can only resize NTFS partition, FAT32 and any other types of partitions are not supported.

If D is Logical drive, Disk Management still cannot extend C drive after deleting D.

With 3rd-party server partition software, there are no such limitations.

2. Increase disk space of a volume with NIUBI Partition Editor

To decrease and increase partition size in Windows Server 2016/2019, third party software is better choice, because:

There are many partition software for Server 2016, but not all can accomplish this task well. Before shrinking and extending partition, you'd better back up server and run safe partition software.

When resizing partition for Server 2016, all parameters of associated disk, partitions and files must be modified correctly, files in some partitions must be moved to new locations, system boot record must be updated if you need to increase system partition size. Therefore, any slight error could cause data loss and/or boot failure.

Better than other tools, NIUBI Partition Editor has powerful technologies to protect system and data:

In addition, it is 30% to 300% faster because of the advanced file-moving algorithm.

When extending Server 2016 partition, check if there's free unused space in any other volumes on the same disk. If yes, follow the steps below.

Steps to increase partition size of C drive in Windows Server 2016:

  1. Download NIUBI Partition Editor, right click D: drive and select "Resize/Move Volume", drag left border towards right in the pop-up window. (Or enter an amount in the box of Unallocated space before)
  2. Right click C: drive and select Resize/Move Volume again, drag the right border towards right to combine Unallocated space.
  3. Click Apply on top left to execute. (Any operations before this step only work in virtual mode.)

Video guide

  • The steps are similar if you want to increase disk space of a data volume, for example how to extend D drive.
  • If you want to extend C drive with non-adjacent partition such as E, there's an additional step to move partition D rightwards.
  • If you want to increase partition size in RAID arrays, there's no difference. Note: do not break array or do any operations to raid controller
  • If there's no available free space on the same disk, you can copy disk to a larger one and increase partition size with additional disk space.

3. How to increase size of virtual partition in VMware/Hyper-V

If you run Windows 2016 server as virtual machine in VMware or Hyper-V, similarly, check if there's enough free space on the same disk. If yes, simply install NIUBI to the virtual server and follow the steps above.

If there's no available free space on the same virtual disk, follow the steps below:

  1. Expand virtual disk size for VMware VMDK and Hyper-V VHD/VHDX. Then additional space will be shown as Unallocated at the end of original disk.
  2. Follow the method in the video to move Unallocated space and combine to C drive (or other partitions).

Besides shrinking, extending and moving partitions, NIUBI Partition Editor helps merge, convert, defrag, hide, wipe partition, set read-only attribute, scan bad sectors and much more.

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