Can I resize a system partition?

Hi experts
Does anyone know the best way to resize a Windows Server system partition?
My Exchange server 2003 on Windows 2003 R2 only has a 20GB C: drive. It's a VMWARE VM. It's running out of space rapidly. Are there any tools or best methods to add more space to the drive?
I have used DISKPART before but obviously not on a System partition. I have heard Acronis do a tool?
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
Well i can tell u for sure that Acronis Disk Director can do it.
I did it on my windows 2000 Server.

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acronis disk director server does that,

but at first u have the HDD in raid...then ensure a backup..

diskpart will do it but only if u have unallocated space in the same disk..
If your system was just a standard install then you could certainly use one of the many disk partitioning tools available these days (Good list with links: Your issue is going to be a little different since you're in a virtual environment.

When you first create a virtual machine there are options for how you configure the virtual disk. While that is a different subject all together; I mention it only as it is something you will want to look into for future reference as you may choose a different creation type next time.

Here are some ways you can go about accomplishing what you need.


Method 1: Using VMWare Converter (last tested w/V3):

   1. Turn off the virtual machine;
   2. Start the VMWare Converter application;
   3. Open the Convert Machine wizard;
   4. Select 'standalone virtual machine' as the source and destination system;
   5. Choose 'Select volumes and resize to save or add space';
   6. Enter a new size and you're done!

The expand process can be slow VMWare Tools might need to be reinstalled. A disadvantage is that Converter will create a new (many GB) copy of your VM.

Method 2: Using the VDiskManager:

   1. Turn off the virtual machine;
   2. Commit/remove all the snapshots first! (I forgot to mention this, thanks JimO). Or make a Full Clone if you use Link Clones.
   3. Open a Command Prompt and go to:
      C:\Program Files\VMWare\VMWare Server or C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation
>or for 64-bit
      C:\Program Files (x86)\VMWare\VMWare Server or C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation
   4. Run this command to expand the virtual disk:
      vmware-vdiskmanager -x 12GB "My harddisk.vmdk"
(in this case, 12 GB will be the new size). The file name can contain spaces because of the double quotes.
   5. Note: Because this only expands the disk and not the partition, you'll need to resize the partition table as well. This can be done by 3rd party tools like 'Partition Magic', but also with 'diskpart.exe', a built-in tool of Windows. VMWare provides a list of tools on their web site:

For Windows Vista, 7 and 2008R2:

If your VM runs Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 or Server 2003 R2
If your resized virtual disk is bootable, you cannot use diskpart from the virtual machine itself. Use a 3rd party tool or use another virtual machine. Here I describe how to use diskpart.exe with a 2nd virtual machine.

   1. Add the increased virtual hard disk to a second virtual machine;
   2. Power on this 2nd virtual machine;
   3. Open a Command Prompt and type: diskpart
   4. Type: list volume (Remember the volume number (#) of your volume)
   5. Type: select volume <volume number> (the number from step 8)
   6. Type: extend
   7. Turn off this 2nd virtual machine and remove the virtual hard disk from the virtual machine configuration. (This won't delete the hard disk file from disk)
   8. You can boot your VM with the resized disk. Windows automatically recognizes the new and correct disk and volume size.

If your VM runs Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2
These versions of Windows ship with a more enhanced version of diskpart.exe that supports partition extension for bootable disks.

   1. Power on your virtual machine;
   2. Open a Command Prompt and type: diskpart
   3. Type: list volume (Remember the volume number (#) of your volume)
   4. Type: select volume <volume number>
   5. Type: extend
   6. You do not have to reboot.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You know what's 100% free, reduces the chances of a corruption, and can actually be following a recommended practice?

Finding out what's using all that space and moving ALL DATA off the C: drive.

noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented: This tool will do the resize for free. But all the risks are on your shoulders.
Paragon Partition Manager 10 Server Edition will do this also, I made sooo many resizes with it already and never had problems:
Also allows you backup and restore partitions. Nice feature to use before backup.
You can actually use diskpart to extend C:, you just boot from CD, then it's not currently the boot volume and the pagefile on it is just another file that's not in use..
@ andyalder & noxcho - Have you found these options you each posted to work on virtual machines? This is a case of a virtual machine.
Indeed they will work with VMware, using diskpart (admittedly from another live VM rather than from CD but that's no difference) is even mentioned in the copy/paste you posted from Leon Meijer's Weblog.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Yes for sure. One can boot from gparted ISO file or Recovery CD for Partition Manager 10 - both will do the trick.
OK very cool... I only read up to the part that I saw would fix asker's issue.

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