Monday, December 30, 2013

Expand Boot Volume (C:) of Windows 2003 Virtual Machine

Like a lot of SysAdmins, the environment I manage isn't always up to date with the latest and greatest operating systems or patches for a variety of, usually, business related reasons. This inevitably causes problems as you try to keep everything running while still being old.

I had the wonderful opportunity of dealing with a variety of Windows 2003 servers that are running out of disk space. Unfortunately, previous caretakers of these boxes P2V'd them without doing any resizing of the boot partition. C: is running out of space fast. It just so happens, that's a major problem with 2003 - resizing the boot partition is nearly a no-go without shutting down the whole system and using GParted. Sometimes that kind of server downtime just isn't acceptable for the business.

Luckily, Dell (of all sources) has an online and free solution. Let's walk through the full process. For this tutorial, I will be showing it with VMware. Hyper-V is nearly identical.

  • Power down the VM (it won't but take a moment)
  • Open the VM Properties in your Hypervisor
  • Select the Hard Disk under Hardware
  • Provision as much space as you'd like

  • Boot your VM back up
  • Login and open Computer Management
    • You will see the new unallocated space you have just added to the virtual disk

  • Typically in other scenarios you could just right click your main partition and Expand. Unfortunately, Server 2003 can't seem to do that, even if you have the hotfix that supposedly fixes this problem.
  • Go grab Dell's Extpart.
    • This is an incredibly simple and efficient tool that will allow us to expand our C: volume without taking the machine offline for lengthy repartitioning.
  • The little executable that you download will extract to wherever you specify.
  • From the Start Menu select Run.
  • Type cmd and click OK to run the command line utility.
  • Change directories to c:\dell\ExtPart or the location the utility extpart.exe was extracted.
  • To extend the C: volume by 1 GB (1024 MB) use the following command: extpart c: 1024 


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