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How to extend partition on Windows 2003 Server?

In technical forums many people ask the same questions, how to extend a volume in Windows Server 2003, how to extend Windows 2003 system partition, etc. Yes, it is not an easy task for the people who have no such experience. Actually, it is very easy to extend a partition, no matter it is system volume, boot volume or a data partition. In this article I'll introduce how to extend a partition in Windows Server 2003 without formatting or reinstalling.

Diskpart extend partition

Unlike Windows Server 2008, there is no "Shrink/Extend Volume" feature built in Windows 2003 disk management. To extend Windows 2003 partitions, some people recommend diskpart command line, as it is free Windows builit-in utility and integrated extend command.

However, diskpart is not the best choice, as the limitations listed by Microsoft:

  • The volume must be formatted with the NTFS file system.
  • For Basic volumes, the unallocated space for the extension must be the next contiguous space on the same disk.
  • Only the extension of data volumes is supported. System or boot volumes may be blocked from being extended, and you may receive the error: "Diskpart failed to extend the volume. Please make sure the volume is valid for extending"
  • You cannot extend the partition if the system page file is located on the partition. Move the page file to a partition that you do not want to extend.

Third party server partition software

With partition software, such as Acronis Disk Director Server, Partition Magic Server, Partition Assistant Server, there are no such limitations, you can shrink and extend any volumes by dragging and dropping. However, you should select a reliable partition tool, nobody likes to see system crash or data loss.

Step-by-step extending a Windows 2003 partition

Firstly, check disk partition properties in disk management. There is drive C: D: and G: on disk 0, I want to extend system C: drive by taking space from the data partition.

Check partition size

Step 1: Launch Partition Assistant Server Edition, you'll see all disk partitions that connected to this 2003 Server. C: drive space is 20.03GB.

Main window

Click "Extend Partition Wizard" on top left "Wizards" panel.

Select extend feature

Step 2: In the pop up window, select the first choice "Extend system partition".

Extend system partition

Click 'Next', in next window, select the partition(s) you want to shrink (take free space from).

Select partition

Step 3: Drag the scroll bar rightwards or input new partition size directly.

Drag to extend

Extend partition

Click 'Next' and you'll see the pending operations, click 'Proceed' if there is no mistake.

Pending extend

Partiton extended

Check again in disk management, yes, C: drive has been extened to 30.05GB. (Remember to fresh the Computer Management window if you keep it openning during this operation.)

Extended partitions

In conclusion, to extend partition in Windows 2003 Server, you just need to select which partition to extend and which to shrink. To extend a data volume, it is similar with extending system partition.

If the system C: drive is NTFS, close all open files and applications, the extending partition operation can be done without rebooting.

No partition software is able to extend a partition by taking space from another physical hard disk.

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