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System volume on server needs to be extended.

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It is a common problem that often server suffers from the lack of space on system volume. Old servers or new ones from vendors come with preformatted small volume - 5-6GB in total and after installing updates or applications the free space on system volumes starts vanishing rapidly. What is the point out from here?

1)The most easiest way is to move some data bases from C: to adjacent data partition, lets say D: and this will free up to 2GB space.
2)Another way, the recommended one is using partitioning tool to reallocate space from D: to C: without threat to data on both partitions. Highly recommended tools here are:
Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Server Edition, Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2009:
www.paragon-software.com;
BootItNG: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/index.htm
Acronis Disk Director: www.acronis.com
GParted: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php
An old tool Partition Magic 8 and free tool from Paragon again Partition Manager 9 Express:
http://www.paragon-software.com/downloads/free_downloads.html
All these tools can perform the requested action. The difference is in interface and the way these tools perform operation.
Let's stop on first one: Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Server Edition (in future could be version 10).
How it works? - First of all install the product if you have 500MB free space on system volume. Then restart the server for product driver installation. Start it and get the user interface with drives layout. Then:
a)Right click on partition that is adjacent to C: drive from right side and select Move\Resize
b)In opened operational window catch the left border of partition with mouse left click and drag it to right, free as much space as you need and apply changes. This operation could be handled either in Windows interface or could request restart when volume locked by open files (paging file or application accessing volume at the moment). So try to unlock the volume because resize and data movement runs quicker in Windows than in DOS mode.
c)Space is taken from second drive and now we have a block of free unallocated space between C: and second drive. Right click on C: and select Move\Resize. Catch the end of partition and drag it to right so to allocate space to system partition and apply changes. Will take several minutes to complete the task.
Now the system drive has enough space.
If you do not have space to install the tool in Windows then get advantage of Boot CD that comes with all the listed products. For example, Partition Manager 9.0 CD is based on Windows PE 2.0 version, has driver loading option which irreplaceable for different RAID and network configurations.
What should be done as precaution step before resize?
- First of all run CHKDSK x:/f on all volumes of your HDD (where x: is a drive letter of partition).
-Create backup. Partitioning operation is potentially dangerous, no difference what partitioning tool you use.
-If you are not sure with exact steps you need to apply contact support staff of the company whose software you are going to use.
With all these steps taken you must succeed in 99.9% cases of repartitioning tasks.

3)Third way to get rid off the warning messages about lacking free space on system volume is moving to bigger drive. One can move second volume to separate HDD and extended C: to entire drive using partitioning tools. But both system and data volumes can be moved to bigger drive or RAID using Autoresize option that will increase both volumes automatically during copy operation.
Tools known for this operation:
Drive Copy 9.0 Professional Edition: http://www.paragon-software.com/business/dc-professional/

And finally there is a way to image the system volume and restore it to new drive. Most usable for dynamic drive configurations as: span, stripe. Removing span and stripe means easing data and the only way to avoid this is to backup these configurations and restore as simple volumes to new drive.
Drive Backup 9.0, Ghost 10, True Image, all these products can do this task.
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Author:noxcho
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Administrative Comment

by:younghv
@noxcho,
I just linked this Article to the question here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q_26642467.html

Whenever one of your Articles has validity in a question, post the full URL link right in your comment.

If the comment is used as part of the solution, you will received additional "Article Points" (and it can save a whole bunch of typing).

younghv
EE Page Editor
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
Just keep in mind, that you need the server version of the partition software in question.

Only the opensource solution gparted is able to resize any operating system (linux, windows version)

--

Btw. at least Windows 2008 is able to resize partitions via Windows Harddisk management console.

Tolomir
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Author Comment

by:noxcho
Hi Tolomir,

yes it is. But in a limited way. It can move only right border of partition (shrink or extend) but it cannot move left border of adjacent partition when you have C: and D: drives and need to take some space from D: drive and allocate it to C:
In such cases only third party tools will work.
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
As said, resize partition ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:ywainberg
Hi

did you tried it on a production server?windows server 2008 with DB or with Exchange?
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Author Comment

by:noxcho
I did use Paragon on Windows 2008 R2 with Exchange on it.
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Expert Comment

by:ywainberg
do you think that a free edition of "Partition Magic 8 and free tool from Paragon again Partition Manager 9 Express" will do the trick or that the capabilities of  "take some space from D: drive and allocate it to C" is only reserved for the paid version?
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
These are home only products. No you cannot use them for that.

But you can use the free tool gparted for it:

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/features.php

Just grab the livecd http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php 

and follow instructions.

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/documentation.php

---

I would play on a testsystem before the handling.
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Expert Comment

by:ywainberg
thanks ,you will get my vote!!!
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Author Comment

by:noxcho
Make sure you get backup before you use Gparted. I got several failures where the system volume was screwed up by use of Gparted. My researches showed that cause was a single error in file system that caused the total mess of FS.
That's why backup is obligatory.
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
yes sure, run a

chkdsk c: /f
chkdsk d: /f

before resizing the partitions
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Expert Comment

by:younghv
Tolomir,

Personally, I prefer the /r modifier (which includes /f) to do a recursive function.

Also, where did you get the idea that Paragon is a "home only product"?
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
that was a direct answer to http:#a21675

do you think that a free edition of "Partition Magic 8 and free tool from Paragon again Partition Manager 9 Express...
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Author Comment

by:noxcho
This is business version: Paragon Buisiness
And Free versions does not work usually on servers. Whatever vendor you prefer.
Here are system requirements for free edition: Paragon Free product system requirements
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Expert Comment

by:Tolomir
The point is, commercial backup,defrag and partition solutions for windows servers are very expensive. And the manufacturer took care that the home editions cannot be used on server editions. So in most cases one has to use opensource tools.


Paragon partition manager business edition costs $299 and this is just the 1 server 1 license edition (Technician editions start at $499 for 10 servers...)
Acronis Disk Director® 11 Advanced Server costs $609.00 (For 1 server)
Magic Partition Manager Software - EASEUS Partition Master $159 (unlimited $399) <--- maybe best pick if commercial)

Tolomir
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Author Comment

by:noxcho
I select tools depending of the number of features and functionality they offer. Currently PPM11 TL is the best one in my humble opinion.
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