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Yesterday, my system partition ran out of space (my OS is Windows Server 2003), and I need to resize it, how could I do this? Buy a new larger disk to replace it? I have searched GOOGLE, and found references to various partition resizing utilities.

How do I know which software is reliable and does its job properly? There data on my system is important, I do not want to risk the loss of it.

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If you are worried about your job, it may be an idea to get yourself up to speed on the relevant technologies rather than trusting people on the internet to hold your hand. – Robin Gill Jul 13 '12 at 11:12
Thanks for your suggestion, I just want to gather information, compare with them, then make the decision. – user142676 Jul 16 '12 at 7:19
Please note that your question has been edited to remove particular product references in order to conform to the non-promotion policy on ServerFault. – the-wabbit Jul 18 '12 at 15:28

The possible approaches are:

  • install a larger hard disk
  • perform a 1:1 copy of the data from the old disk - e.g. by mirroring the old disk using Windows Disk Management or employing a 3rd party Live CD
  • remove the old disk
  • expand the partitions / filesystems using 3rd party utilities (see below)


  • install a larger hard disk
  • copy the partitions expanding them simultaneously using some kind of 3rd party software (see below)
  • do not forget to copy the boot block and make sure your newly copied partitions carry the same attributes (especially the "Active" flag) and types as the old ones
  • remove the old disk


  • do a full backup (including system state) of your server system
  • install a new hard disk, remove the old one
  • create a new partitioning scheme suiting your current and future needs
  • restore from backup (this would involve installing a fresh instance of Windows Server 2003 first when you have used ntbackup to create the backup)

Windows Server 2003 does support the expansion of volumes but it does so for non-system volumes (i.e. not the one where your "WINDOWS" directory is) only. If you need to expand the system volume, you would need to resort to 3rd-party tools.

There is a number of commercial software packages for re-partitioning and partition / filesystem resize operations. There also are open-source Linux based LiveCD solutions like the GParted project with a pretty wide range in hardware (controller drivers) support and a broad feature set (resizing / moving partitions, resizing FAT/NTFS/extX filesystems).

If the system partition is the only (and thus the last) partition on your disk, you could use a Windows Server 2008 / Vista / Windows 7 DVD to start the recovery mode and use the command line to invoke "diskpart" to extend the volume as described in KB 325590, thus removing the need for involving non-Microsoft software in the process.

If the volume in question is on a FakeRAID device, you are very likely to encounter problems with any solution, so the recommended approach there would be creating a full backup and replaying it on a new installation.

In general, you should take the route you feel most comfortable and confident with. If you have never used partition editing utilities, you might prefer the backup/restore approach, although it would mean a longer downtime period and more manual work for the admin than the other two. Under no circumstances should you use partition editing utilities which have little prevalence in the market and thus have not been widely tested by a large number of users in most of the possible use cases.

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Thanks for your Abundant information, I have tried the snap-in disk management, but there's no "Resize" function like what I can do in my Windows 7, therefore, I decide to buy a large disk and then image my source disk to it. To my surprise, unlike other clone software or image tool, Partition Assistant enable my to resize the target partition during the clone operation. – user142676 Jul 16 '12 at 7:15
@user142676 as I noted, the "resize" option would only be available for non-system volumes with Windows Server 2003. Of course, most imaging / cloning utilities, including the free GParted which I suggested in my answer, would allow you to resize your destination volumes – the-wabbit Jul 16 '12 at 9:30

Is there any free space on the same disk that could be used to extend system partition? If yes, you could refer to this article it contains the tutorial resize partition:

If there no enough free space you have to buy a large hard disk and then replace it, if that you could also use this software Partition Assistant to migrate your OS to the new drive without data loss and reconfigure (reinstall) OS.

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