Extending the C: drive for a VMware Windows 2003 Server.

Posted on 2011-10-03
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a Windows 2003 server that has a C: drive of only 12GB, this is the same partition that the OS and the paging file live on. This server is also a VMware virtual server my version of VMware is 5.0.What would be the best way to extend the current C: drive?

Question by:ahmad1467
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    How to Resize a Partition after Disk Expansion

    To re-size a disk, select the Virtual Machine, Select Edit Settings, Highlight the Virtual Hard Disk, and select Edit there is an option to increase size. This only changes the physical size of the virtual disk, it does not grow the partition on the disk. See below.

    IDE disks do not support: Expansion, and need to be converted to SCSI first.

    Before making any changes to the partition structure of the disk, ensure you have a full backup, not a snapshot.

    1. Resize partition with Gparted Live CDROM

    i. Download Gparted Live CDROM (

    ii. Upload the cdrom iso to the vSphere ESX/ESXi datastore.

    iii. Mount the cdrom or iso on the virtual machine.

    iv. Shutdown and restart the virtual machine booting from the cdrom.

    v. Select Resize partition.

    Here is a Tutorial Walkthorugh of how to resize a partition with a GParted Live CDROM

    2. Using DISKPART.exe

    (the system disk cannot be re-sized within the virtual machine, but other disks can be resized, eg. D: E: etc

    i. Shutdown the virtual machine.
    ii. Remove disks from virtual machine (but do not delete them).
    iii. Add the disks to another virtual machine.
    iv. Start up virtual machine.
    v. Use Diskpart in the OS to extend disks.

    see here for details on Diskpart usage

    3.Use VMware Converter Standalone to complete a V2V (virtual to virtual conversion).
    there is an option to increase or decrease the size of target disks on the desintation at conversion.

    Download VMware vCenter Converter here

    VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation

    VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide

    For the conversion steps, read fellow Expert Bestway's article.

    Best Practice Video Guide here

    Also the VMware KB here
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    Probably the easiest is to use vCenter Converter Standalone:

    Best Practice/Troubleshooting:

    Or, you can download GParted:, place the ISO on the datastore your VM is on, resize the virt disk to the size you want it to be, reboot the VM and it should go into the GParted app. Then, you can slide the partition to the full size.

    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Is the C partition the only partition on the physical volume?

    Use Disk Management, it will show you the partition options you have, if you are able to resize C it will let you:
    (i know it says windows vista, but the tool hasn't changed much since XP)

    If you are unable to resize the partition, or you have multiple partitions on the drive, you will most likely need to back up the C partition, (*and any other partitions on the drive*) and then reformat and repartition the drive with a bigger C partition. This will destroy all of your data, so be sure to back up. After the repartition, restore your C backup and then rebuild the MBR so that your computer will boot into windows. (depending on how you repartition the drive, the MBR may not need reinstalling)

    Good luck :)
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    If your VM doesn't go into the GParted ISO, you may need to go into the VM's BIOS & change the Boot Order. The easiest way to do so is go into the VM's Edit Settings area -> Options tab, Boot Options. Check the box to force entry into BIOS at next resart. When in the BIOS, go to the Boot Order and make sure CD Drive is 1st in the list.
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    The best way I have found to do this is to shut down the VM. Attach the C drive to another VM (XP or Windows 2003 Server) and then increase the size in vSphere client.

    Then use Diskpart to increase the size inside Windows.

    The whole thing would take you about 5 minutes.

    Command prompt

    list volume (take note of the volume you want to increase)
    list disk (take note of the disk you want to increase)
    select volume 1 (or what ever the number is of the volume you want to increase)
    extend disk=2


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