Resize / Extend Server Operating System Hard Drives / Partitions

happytang
happytang used Ask the Experts™
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Hi everybody,

I'm looking for software that is currently being used to resize / extend Server System OS partitions. I've heard that Partition Magic is not the way to go, and any other articles I find are pretty outdated.

In one current scenario, an exchange server has a total C: drive size of 12GB. It's partitioned off of a 250GB HD, and there's clearly a lot of space on the other partitions that I can grab to extend the C: drive.

I need something proven, efficient, and causes the least amount of downtime possible.
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
I would move exchange databases to a different partition as they shouldn’t be on the same partition as your OS

If that is not what you want to do then have a look at Paragon Partition Manager (www.paragon-software.com/business/pm-server/). That is what everyone uses now a days to resize partitions. It can even resize dynamic disks

hope that helps
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
gparted is what we use for resizing partitions, but I haven't used it on the system partition lately

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/

I would definitely test anything first on another box or in a lab...especially on an exchange box.

Thanks

Mike

Commented:
If you do not want to use any 3rd party software you can use windows disk manager to do it.

Open up disk manager then right click the C drive.
Click extend volume
Select how much space you would like to add to the C drive.

dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
For Server systems use server software

See http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/diskdirector/partitioning.html for example.
Adam BrownSenior Systems Admin
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
go with hutnor's recommendation. Windows 2008 allows you to resize partitions on the fly without having to reboot. You may have to fiddle with it to get it to work properly, but as long as you have less than half the second partition on a drive full you can extend the primary partition (C:) very easily.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Windows can't do it, it might be able to extend C: but it can't shrink D: to create contiguous space at the end of C::, the shrink function in 2008 will create free space at the wrong side of D: to allow for a 3rd partition E: to be created so that's no use.

Paragon partition manager can shrink D: the right way on the fly, and any of the other utilities can do it off-line as long as it hasn't been converted to dynamic disks, also add BootIt NG to the list (select not to install it when you boot from CD, you don't want it installed on your hard disk you want to run it from CD).

Commented:
I don't think it works for system partition, we had similar problem & after taking backup & went ahead to do the partition & i told everything was broken,system even can't boot it.

System partition contains OS files which has to be there & when you try to allocate the space by extending it breaks,so i would not do it if its a production server, so just reinstall or change the database path to other drive.

Mike said truly, test before you implement it.
You can shrink the bigger drive and then expand with the free space the main drive. I did it on SBS2008s and win2008s. Don't need other software...

Author

Commented:
Thethical,

Are you talking about using the Win2008 Disk Management Service?
Adam BrownSenior Systems Admin
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Yes, he is. The caveat on there is that you have to shrink the big partition, create a new partition in the space that is created, copy all files from the partition you shrank to the new partition, delete that partition, and then expand the primary partition. Little tricky.

Commented:
Not sure why you want to be deleting & moving file around if you use the disk manager.

If your server has a C drive 12GB & D drive 250GB. D drive has 100GB free for example you can shrink this drive by anywhere from 1GB to 100GB.
It will then show up in the disk manager as the disk has 10GB free space not partitioned if you shrunk the D drive by 10GB.
You may now expand C drive by 10GB & never had to create/delete or move any files or partitions.

If you just have a C drive & the rest of the disk is unassigned then all you need to do is the expand sthe C drive.
Adam BrownSenior Systems Admin
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
hutnor, that doesn't work. Shrinking the D: partition with windows Disk Management puts the empty space at the end of the drive, making it look like this (C is partition 1, D is partition 2, X is unpartitioned: CCCCCCCCCCCCCCDDDDDDDDDDDDXXXXXXX
You can only expand the C: drive if there is unpartitioned space at the end of it, like this: CCCCCCCCCCXXXXXXXXXXXDDDDDDDDDDDD

Commented:
ah ok then. I never run into that problem using it probly because I never used it on a C & D drive setup like you explained.

So it will work on a hard drive that has only one partion of C & the rest of the disk was unpartitioned.

How is your servers hard drive partitioned with the OS on it?

Author

Commented:
Well 1 Physical HD is separated into 2 partitions, for examples sake we'll say it's:

C: 10GB (9GB in use)
D: 200GB (100GB in use)
Adam BrownSenior Systems Admin
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Well, using disk management the way I mentioned before could work. It won't require any reboots or anything, but you'll probably have to shut down exchange and SQL services you have running before you do it.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Yes, it would probably work, but it would be faster just using a spare disk to copy the contents of D: onto and off again even if it was just attached by USB2.
yes, just use the Disk Management Service and keep it easy. Always backup before you do any moves

Author

Commented:
Disk management service is pretty insufficient for my needs. Can't exactly force a disk to switch from Dynamic to Basic this way, so I ended up going with Paragon Partition Manager Server edition.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
First time you mentioned you have dynamic disks.

You can revert to basic without data loss by editing the partition table - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/913964 - then you can use a free partition manipulating tool such as BootitNG to slide partitions about.

Still, Paragon is easier to use even though you have to pay for it. (it's certainly not what everyone uses, a lot of us are cheapskates)

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