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Win Server 2003 SBS Resize C Drive when low free space

Posted on 2012-04-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have to work on a Win Server 2003 Small Business that previous IT setup so that the C drive now only has 115 MB of free space.  The Server has 4 GB of RAM.

The physical hard drive that C: is on is 250 GB but it partitioned with only 8 GB for C: and as mentioned it is out of space causing lot's of event log errors of course.  The hard drive has lots of free space (over 200 GB free).

The response when logging in as admin is actually fairly normal, which I was surprised given it only has 115 MB free.  I assume this is because not many programs are running and it is running out of the 4GB RAM.  Most Win Desktops, when they get below 5 GB of free space crawl... Maybe the Win Server 2003 has a different design??

My question is:  Since there is only 115 MB free space left on C: when I go the disk management and go to increase the size of the C drive will it likely fail since there is only 115 MB free on C?  

I assume there needs to be some buffer space on the hard drive to perform the resize but not sure given the situation.  I was planning to grow the C: drive to at least  60 GB but not sure if I can do that right away or have to do small chunks at a time (first grow from 8 GB to 10 GB, then 10 GB to 12 GB etc. until I get some decent free space on C.

I was also worried the resize will fail and make the server unbootable.  All user data is backed up but there is no way to do an image backup etc. for course of the C drive.

Thanks
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Question by:rdwolf
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Subhashish Laha earned 84 total points
ID: 37842420
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by:kinecsys
kinecsys earned 167 total points
ID: 37842446
You'll have to bring the server offline and use third party software, a Linux boot CD or diskpart. Here's the link to the diskpart.exe instructions:

http://www.partition-tool.com/partition-magic/windows-server-2003-resize-partition.htm
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by:X-treem
X-treem earned 83 total points
ID: 37842460
boot up with a rescue disk (utlimate boot disk, systemrescuecd etc) and resize the system partition
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by:kinecsys
kinecsys earned 167 total points
ID: 37842571
Here's a better diskpart.exe link:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 83 total points
ID: 37845478
Plenty of people do this successfully.  BUT, I just visited an old client who tried to do this and brought his 65 user business down for a week because the resize (using GPARTED) and the way they tried to do things KILLED the server and then they had to restore from backup and ended up with a HUGE mess.  

BEFORE YOU RESIZE, I suggest you review my document on boot drive size (I agree - 8 is on the small side but consider you're using NINE YEAR OLD software on what is probably a 6-9 year old server.  Look at this as an opportunity and a REASONABLE NEED to migrate to a new version of SBS. At the very least, (hopefully this is not an OEM copy), you can do a migration to a VM and ease your space issues that way.  Otherwise, you may well be successful... as I said, many people are... but would you be ok being down for a week if something went wrong?

My document is here:
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/bootdrivesize.asp
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 83 total points
ID: 37845848
You cannot increase the size of C: in Windows Disk Management or using Diskpart.exe
In any case you need third party partitioning tool. And it is up to you which one to select - free or paid version.
Parted Magic is free one and works from boot CD: http://partedmagic.com/doku.php?id=downloads
Make the CD with its ISO image and boot the server from it. There start partition tool and perform resize.
Also, do you have adjacent partition next to C: drive?
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Author Closing Comment

by:rdwolf
ID: 37951870
Thanks all the input was helpful. I tried to do a disk clone of the 160 GB hard drive using Acronis software but the drive has disk errors and would not read properly etc.. Since the Server is older and has other issues from previous IT on the hardware I will be replacing with a new Dell T110 II Win Server 2011 Essentials.   Thanks for all the help.
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