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How do I maximize the amount I am able to shrink a volume in Server2008 R2

Posted on 2011-02-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have a couple of 2TB hard drives that were mistakenly put in a RAID 0 configuration producing a 4TB volume. Our imaging software has a 2TB limit on source drives so we thought we could just shrink the partition since there is only about 250GB of data stored on it.

After querying the volume for available shrink space Disk Management reports the resultant drive would still be over 2TB.

What strategies can you recommend to maximize the available shrink space?

Note: This is a data drive not an OS drive, it has no paging file. Fragmentation of the volume is only 3%. There are shadow copies on this drive.


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Question by:juniorsa
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by:jeff77tor
ID: 34974910
Maybe I'm way off base, but I'm guessing you're over-complicating things.

You say the the RAID 0 config was a mistake and you want to take an image of the drive, but it is not an system (OS) drive. From that, I'm guessing you want to break the volume and configure as a RAID 1 (or something along those lines?)

Because this is not a system drive, I wouldn't think that imaging is necessary. Just use Windows Server Backup to make a backup of the files on the 4TB volume. This will preserve file permissions as well. You can use optical or removable media, just like your imaging software probably does.

Next, you can just delete the partition and create it with the correct configuration. Followed by restoring the files back to the new volume of the correct size.

In theory, none of this would require a reboot. So long as the RAID is handled by the OS or you don't want to change it.

Hope this helps.
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by:juniorsa
ID: 34974971
Does Windows Backup store the share information so that when the data is restored all the shares and permissions are recreated?
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34975776
No, the share information is stored in the registry under the lanmanserver service. In fact, if you just blow away the disk without deleting the directories (and shares), you can recreate the disk, restore the data, and then reenable the original shares and permissions by restarting the Server service. This does disrupt remote connections. Otherwise you need recreate the shares after you restore the data.
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by:juniorsa
ID: 34976055
So without rebooting:

Use Windows backup to backup drive E: to external drive.
Delete Raid 0 partition.
Create new Raid 1 disk
Create partition
restore files to new drive E:

Reboot and everything is back where it was before?

All shares, permissions...
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34976059
Correct. It's almost magic. ;-)
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by:juniorsa
ID: 34999891
I guess we got off track.

The question was how to shrink the drive, does anyone have any advice on how to compact all the used space at the front of the drive?

I have tried defrag, which only makes sure that all files are contiguous, but not packing all files together.

Thanks,

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jeff77tor earned 500 total points
ID: 35001191
Diskeeper will perform a full defragmentation of the disk, including consolidation of free space and the current version does run on Server 2008 R2. You might not be able to shrink it to anything smaller because it is a spanned volume. The span might need to occupy a portion of both disks.

I'm sticking with my original advice.
- Abandon the original plan and don't bother trying to shrink the volume
- Backup the data
- Stop the Server service
- Delete the partition(s) and volume in question
- Create your Raid 1 volume
- Restore the data
- Start the Server service
- Done

This should not take any more than an hour given you only have 250 GB of data.
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