Increase partition size & disk space in Windows Server 2016

Updated on: November 16, 2019

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

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

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 partition size without losing data on the fly. However, it only works under very restricted condition. Windows Server 2016 inherited the same function without any improvement, so Disk Management is not the best tool to help increase disk space of a volume.

If you want to increase space of partition C via Server 2016 Disk Management, your disk partition configuration must meet following requirements:

  1. There is another partition (D:) on the same disk.
  2. There are no programs or any Windows services installed in drive D, so you can delete it.
  3. There's another partition that has plenty of free space to save all files in drive D.
  4. Drive D must be a Primary partition.

Steps to increase disk space of partition C in Windows Server 2016 Disk Management:

  1. Transfer all files in drive D to other partition.
  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 Extend Volume Wizard windows.

If you want to increase free space of a partition by shrinking another 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 function can only extend Unallocated space to the left contiguous partition.
  • Shrink Volume can only make Unallocated space on the right while shrinking.

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

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

If you can delete a partition to expand the left contiguous partition, the two partitions must be the same Primary or Logical.

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

Increase disk space of Server 2016 volume with NIUBI Partition Editor

There are many disk 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 changing partition size on 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 disk space of system partition. 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:

It is also 30% to 300% faster because of the advanced file-moving algorithm.

In most of servers, administrators want to expand system partition. In that case, check if there's free unused space in any other volumes on the same disk. If yes, it is very easy.

How 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. (You may also 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 the right side to combine Unallocated space.
  3. Click Apply on top left to execute. (Any operations before this step only work in virtual mode.)

Video guide to decrease and increase partition size in Server 2016:

Video guide

  • The steps are similar if you want to increase disk space of any data volume.
  • If you want to extend C drive with non-adjacent partition such as E, there's an additional step to move partition D.
  • If you want to increase disk space of a virtual partition in RAID arrays, there's no difference. Do NOT break array or do any operations to controller, simply follow steps above.
  • If there's no available free space in a disk, you can copy to a larger one and increase size of partition(s) with additional space.

How to increase virtual disk size and partition size

In some servers, the entire system disk is full. If you want to increase size of a physical disk, it is impossible, because the size is fixed. In that case, you'd better copy with NIUBI Partition Editor and migrate to a larger disk.

If you run Windows 2016 server as virtual machine in VMware or Hyper-V, it's much easier if a virtual disk is full. To increase disk space of virtual partition in Windows 2016 Server, 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 on the end of original virtual disk.
  2. Increase partition size by merging Unallocated space.

If you want to increase virtual partition size in Windows 2016 server when there's available free space on the same disk, you just need to follow the steps in the video above, there's no difference.

In Summary

To increase partition size on Windows Server 2016, the first step is backing up and running safe partitioning software. Then check if there's available free space on the same disk, if yes, follow the steps in the video to shrink and extend partition, no matter this disk is physical, any types of hardware RAID array or virtual disk in VMware/Hyper-V.

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.