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EXTENDING WINDOWS DISKS

Posted on 2011-02-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
To extend the C: drive in windows, I have seen some people use Third party software to extend the C: drive,
I I also have seen scenarios where they convert C: drive from basic to dynamic and extend the C:\drive within windows without using a third party software.

So what is the difference?

thanks
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Question by:jskfan
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SeeMeShakinMyHead earned 223 total points
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Here is a good article to read on the proper way to do this.  

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590
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by:CSIPComputing
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Assuming that there is more than just a Drive C:, the third party utility will move other partitions around, or re-allocate free space within those partitions, such that the partitions remain in the same order and are built from contiguous (i.e. All In One) space.

Using the Windows Utilities, you may shrink an existing partition (to free space up for the expansion of Drive C:), and then when you extend Drive C:, it adds the free space to the Drive C': allocation, but does not move it into one contiguous space.

I.e. the 3rd party Utility would change the following:
From: C:10GB, D: 40Gb
To: C: 30Gb, D: 20GB (i.e. re-allocation and relocation)

The windows tools would change as follows:
From: C:10GB, D: 40GB
To: C:10GB, D:20GB, C:20GB(extended).  (I.e. not re-locate the space)

As fragmentation and contiguous file space can have quite an effect on server speed, I'd recommend using a 3rd party utility.
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by:SeeMeShakinMyHead
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Make sure you perform a full backup on this server before doing this.  I have seen 3rd party utilities that take space from other partitions and give to the system partition blow up the MFT and boot partitions.  This is a very serious undertaking, so a full backup is necessary and also do this during extended down time as I would anticipate rebuilding the server as part of the time alotted for this excercise.
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by:jskfan
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CSIPComputing:

scenario1:
There is only one partition C:\ and want to extend it from 20 Gb to 50 Gb.
Can I just convert to dynamic disk and extend the partition without third party ?

Scenario 2:
there are partition C:\ 20 Gb and Partition D: 40Gb
If I convert C: to dynamic and extend both partitions?
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by:SeeMeShakinMyHead
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Is there unallocated space on this volume or are you planning on spanning this to a different physical drive?
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by:CSIPComputing
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If there's only one partition, and you're using Windows Server 2008, then with a verified backup, yes you can extend the partition in the manner you descibe (You can't do this with Server 2003, it won't allow extending Drive C:) THe space will still appear as two partitions, both marked as Drive C:, but the impact will be minimal, as they will be contiguous space.

For your second scenario, as you convert the disk to dynamic, not the partition, then you should be able to extend either, or both partitions, again with a good backup, and assuming you're using Windows 2008 Server (for the same reasons).

However, as mentioned earlier, where you have a Drive C: and Drive D:, the space will be fragmented after you extend your partitions.
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by:andyalder
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I'd advise strongly against converting to dynamic, 3rd party tools often can't cope with it. Admittedly you can revert to basic without data loss in a C: scenario as you won't have used any of the additional functions of dynamic disks but that carries the risk of you editing the partition table wrongly if you use a hex editor tool or it carries a cost of a revert to basic program.

Generally it's better to create a D: drive and move the data to there unless c: is really tiny. If you do use an offline tool then Paragon Partition Manager is one of the easiest, but it isn't free.
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by:jskfan
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So third Party is the safest as I understood.

Regarding Basic and Dynamic, what is the advantage or disadvantage making a disk dynamic or basic?

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by:andyalder
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Dynamic adds a layer of complexity that you don't need, even MS have a blog entry suggesting it used to be useful but isn't often needed any more and if you don't need it don't use it.

One word of caution whatever you use, don't extend from <2TB to >2TB since you cn't convert to GPT to support disk greater than 2TB without data loss and that's not so easy to back out of extending the hardware.
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by:SeeMeShakinMyHead
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dynamic if you want to configure software raid on the drives.  Instead of being partitions, they will be volumes.  Also, once converted to dynamic, there is no going back - unless you want to reformat.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Scenario 1:  This is very easy to extend and can be done with many different free utilities - gparted, Dell's ExtPart (if a Dell), and even a Vista/7/2008/2008R2 DVD.

Scenario 2:  This is more difficult and can only be done with certain partitioning tools that can rearrange and resize partitions while keeping data intact ... although it is possible, as suggested, to backup and delete D:, extend C: using options in scenario 1, then restore data to new/smaller D:.  These utilities that can resize while keeping data intact often cost $$.

I too would avoid Dynamic disks - they seem on the surface to provide some cool features, but as discussed, can limit you in other ways.
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by:jskfan
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thanks
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