How to go about increasing storage space available to a virtural machine?

I have a windows xp guest installed on a esx 4.  The hard disk type is "thick" and I am running out of space. The data store still has planty of space. How would I increase the space? When I check the properties, the hard disk space section is greyed out.
I have the vpshere client

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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If it's just a system drive then you can use vmware converter to perform a virtual to virtual migration with a different volume size.  If it's just a data volume you can use dispkpart by growing the virtual disk first then using diskpart to expand the volume.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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.

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


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I personally only ever use Diskpart anymore, if its a Windows disk, or gparted on a NIX machine

To be clear, hancockas method can be used on any Windows volume, including the system volume

Its not necessary to remove the volumes from the original vm(step ii above)  when attaching a system or swap volume to another machine, and the volume can be added to a running vm if you Rescan the disk with disk manager BUT it will be necessary to shut down that second vm before you can detach the newly expanded drive, or revolt the original hm

For other volumes (not swap or system) you can just run Dispsrt on the orig machine after extending the vhd in settings

Its a good practice yo create an ISO's folder on your datastore and keep a gparted live, and the vmware coldclone ISO handy for these tasks
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Oh yes, the properties are greyed out because the machine is running, shut it down to extend the vhd,  then power it back on to extend the partition wit diskpart as described above
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@dnilson maybe wrong question, merry chrimbo, no vhds in this question.
Call them whet you like, a disk in a vmwsre VM is a vhd

Merry merr
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