A Windows Server 2008 R2 machine was mistakenly partitioned. The system partition is now larger than it should be. Because Disk Management doesn't let me shrink the partition to the desired size, I believe the alternative is to repartition the drive and restore the data from backup.

Is it possible to restore system partition data created from Windows Server Backup to a smaller partition? I'd appreciate any guidance or suggestions so that I don't screw things up.

Update#1: The server is Dell PowerEdge T110 with PERC S100 RAID 1 configuration.

Update#2: PERC S100 is considered 'fake RAID' and can only run under Windows. Therefore, the GParted approach will not work in this case.

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    Have you looked into this? gparted-forum.surf4.info/viewtopic.php?id=13890 – Vick Vega Apr 26 '11 at 15:26
  • @Vick Thanks for the reference. After more digging it turns out that PERC S100 doesn't support Linux. Hence, the GParted solution is out. – ejel Apr 26 '11 at 15:49
  • I would suggest perform full back up, then system state backup, repartition, install new Windows, restore full backup and then restore system state backup. – Vick Vega Apr 26 '11 at 15:51
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    After reading the docs and manuals, and with linux not supported, the last option without reinstalling is Windows software that does the job. Unfortunally after a search, I haven't found any for free. Of non-free, I recomend EAESUS Partition Server. – Carlos Garcia Apr 27 '11 at 12:15

First of all, remember that Windows 2008 has an "especial" folder, called Winsxs, that can grow very big (usually 6-10 GB). I recomend a SO partition not less than 40 GB.

I'm supposing that the server is a real server hardware with two or more disks on raid 1 for the SO partition (standard build), if not, it will be more tricky to do the job.

Updated after reading your info

Last Idea

Check a BartPE or Windows PE Start CD with a partition software installed on it BartPE you can check the info. I remember have used it with a ghost installed to:

  • Cloning the Disk out after defragmenting and checking all the options
  • Resize the Virtual Disk
  • Restore the Image to a less partition (but big enought to hold the Image and some free space)

Maybe this option fits your needs.

Please mantain us updated. We all have cheap dell servers elsewhere :)

End update

What I have done in the past:

  • Defrag the So partition with a defragmenter (windows one can be enough)
  • Remove one disk from raid, in the worst case, you have a working SO in that disk
  • Use Gparted, a Live ISO, run it from CD, load the Raid Drivers if necessary and reduce the SO partition to your needs.
  • Start the SO, check and if all is OK, put the Disk on again to rebuild.

If anything goes wrong, shutdown, remove the online disk, put the disk backup, start the SO, check and put the disk to rebuild.

I like this system because you have an easy backup to restore without external software or media and in no-time.

Observation In case that you haven't raid, Gparted can do the same work, but you will need to make a Backup from the system in an extenal media. It can work on Virtual Machines too... A must have in my opinion.

Hope this helps.

  • I tried Gparted Live on USB via Tuxboot but it didn't detect the RAID driver. Perhaps I need to recheck how to load the Raid drivers or try the Live CD. I'm updating my question with the server detail if that helps. – ejel Apr 26 '11 at 15:08
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    @Ejel, I see... Seems we have a problem. Check This Forum, It looks a big forum on the problem we try to solve. – Carlos Garcia Apr 27 '11 at 12:18
  • My original intent, as described in my question, was to reformat and restore the partitions from current Windows Server Backup's images. Is there any advantage using BartPE approach? I also need to have disk cloning software and partition software on BartPE CD, is that right? – ejel May 3 '11 at 0:59

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