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Expanding Boot Partition on VM

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Good afternoon all,

We are running a VM infrastructure on a clustered ESX environment with two DELL R710's.  One of our IT Application Support Engineers contacted me and asked if it was possible to extend the partition of a certain Windows 2003 Server running as a VM on the above mentioned infrastructure.  

It was recently converted from a physical machine to a VM, which had unfortunately been built with only a single C: partition of 100GB -- not according to good practice, eh...:-)).  Upon the request to have this partition extended, and after doing much research, I found that the only way possible to do this with a physical server, was to backup, rebuild, extend and restore.  I researched many a Web Site which had many references to other boot partition extenders, such as Partition Magic, etc.  This was also after the disk had been converted to a Dynamic Disk.  Other Web Site articles mentioned that the same methodology had to be used to convert Dynamic Disk back to Basic Disk, i.e. backup, rebuild, extend and restore.

I decided to attempt a different route and made use of the VM Conversion Utility within VCentre.  This allows one to convert your current VM to another VM, with a different name, as the original will still exist, until you either remove it from inventory or remove it from Disk, which would remove the entire VM.

After shutting the Operating System of the original VM down, I proceeded to convert the VM to a different named VM.  When going through the various options of performing the VM Conversion, the size area gives one the option to extend the disk size of the original disk.  This is where I could now extend the disk size from 100 to 150GB.  The conversion took almost 4 hours.

Once the conversion completed successfully and I had powered-on my new VM, I had my Windows 2003 Server reinstated, with its original Network Name and with the extended boot partition and wait for it -- another surprise.  It had converted the original Dynamic Disk back to Basic Disk, so I could then leave it as is or convert it to Dynamic again.

Well, I hope this becomes a useful tip for someone else to use.
Author:Gavin Levey

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