Microsoft operating systems, starting from Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and now Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, have always had a built-in method of extending or expanding a partition that was configured on the computer’s physical hard disks. While shrinking partitions was not possible internally, and usually required usage of 3rd-Party tools, expanding partitions was relatively easy, but did have its limitations. Now, unlike previous Microsoft operating systems, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 allow for an easy, out-of-the-box, method of expanding those partitions and making them larger, while reliving us of these previous limitations.
This is made possible by using the Extend feature in Disk Management, or in the DISKPART command line executable. When you extend a partition, all data on the existing partition will NOT be erased, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, therefore I always recommend using a good backup procedure to back up your data, just in case.
Extending a partition in Windows Server 2008 is similar to the process in Windows Vista. I’ve used screenshots of Windows Vista, except the ones related to Server Manager in Windows Server 2008. The rest of the procedure is the same.
Note: Extending any volume is fine as long as you have additional unallocated free space on that same physical hard disk . Note that you can also extend the partition beyond the physical disk it is located on. This is useful when you run out of space on that physical hard disk, and have brought in a new physical hard disk that you wish to use. However, unlike using that new disk as a totally new partition by itself, this disk (or part of it) becomes a part of a partition located on the first disk. While useful in some cases, this scenario might cause fault tolerance issues, because this extended partition is NOT fault tolerant, and if something happens to one physical disk, all the data on that extended partition becomes unavailable, and data loss can occur. In any case, such an extended partition can contain an unlimited number of logical drives.
Windows Server 2008 it looks like this:
Extending a partition or volume can be done via the CLI, or command line interface. This works in both Vista and Windows Server 2008. In order to do that perform the following steps:
Select disk 0 Select partition 1
Note: You may want to perform a LIST operation to view your existing disks and partitions BEFORE attempting to expand the wrong one. Needless to say, if you don’t have any space you can use on the same disk, you will NOT be able to extend the partition any further. So no real harm can be done here.
List disk List partition
The above command will extend the partition by 500 MB.
The above command will extend the partition by using all of the contiguous space available on that disk.
And with that, we are all done!