For some reason I decided to create small initial partitions for my virtual machine server (30 GB system partition for Windows Server 2008, 100 GB data partition, both on the same virtual disk). Now, it seems Windows Update is filling up my system disk, and I need to expand it. "Good luck I have a virtual machine" I thought, and went to expand the virtual disk.

Having expanded the disk, I went to the virtual server operating system Windows Server 2008 R2, and tried to expand the C-partition. Turns out I can't, as the data partition is directly following the C-partition on the same virtual disk.

Anyway I can solve this? Anyone have any idea?

Host: VMware ESXi 4.1 Guest: Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Standard


You could try to shrink the data partition and then expand the OS partition. Failing that, you could backup the data partition, delete it, expand the OS partition, recreate the data partition and finally, restore your data.

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  • Actually, a variation on this solution might be it. What do you about creating a new virtual disk and attaching it to the VM. Then create a new partition E on this disk, and copy all data from D to E. Then we can delete the D partition, and expand the C partition on the free space now made available. We can then change drive letters from E to D, and everything should work. After this we would have two virtual disks, which might be good in the future as well, if we want to move only the data disk to a new machine. – jos Jul 10 '11 at 9:05
  • That sounds like it should work. – joeqwerty Jul 11 '11 at 14:53
  • I'll mark this one as the answer, I'm pretty confident it will work. I'll try it in a week or so, I'll get back here with a status update then. Thanks! – jos Jul 11 '11 at 16:17
  • Glad to help. Let us know how it works out. – joeqwerty Jul 11 '11 at 16:18
  • Yep, expanded the system partition on my VM yesterday, worked like a charm. Thanks for the help! – jos Jul 19 '11 at 23:16

If you've ran into this problem then there's no dire tv ware-specific way of fixing the initial problem. What you can of course do is to create two new .vmdk's and backup/restore from the existing disk to the new ones.

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  • Why do I need two new vmdks? Wouldn't one be enough (please see comment on the first answer)? – jos Jul 10 '11 at 9:06

You can move the partitions around with partition utilities like GParted (Linux-based) or Acronis (commercial).

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  • So with this solution, I would expand the space on the virtual drive, then move the D partition to the end of the new free space. And then expand the C partition? Is that possible with GParted/Acronis? – jos Jul 10 '11 at 9:07
  • Yes, as long as the virtual drive/volume is expanded, then either utility can move and expand the partitions. Neither utility will directly modify the virtual drive/volume. – user48838 Jul 10 '11 at 10:09
  • I'll go with the other idea first because I won't need any external tools/utilities with that approach. If that fails, I'll try this, so thanks for posting! :) – jos Jul 11 '11 at 16:18

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