Data Centers

Manage server partition sizes on the fly with Acronis Disk Director

Have you ever needed to resize a Windows disk partition on a production server because of a disk failure or disk-full scenario? Acronis software has created an application that allows you to resize Windows partitions without damaging the installation. Derek Schauland walks you through Acronis Disk Director.

Many computers today ship with huge hard drives in excess of 250 GB, but even the most well-maintained computers or servers need a little bit of help sometimes. Disks get full, or files are poorly managed, or updates and files that are used are not cleaned up. When the Windows disk or partition got full in the past, there wasn't really a way to fix it without getting a bigger drive and reimaging the system. This process can take several hours or even days to get it back online and working properly. What if there was a product that could change the size of the Windows partitions and redistribute the free space without all the hassle and downtime?

Enter Acronis Disk Director 10.

You can use the wizard to resize partitions — shrinking large partitions with unused space and extending smaller partitions. This will improve performance and help avoid the need to reimage the system.

For example, suppose you have a server with a 10GB Windows partition and 100GB secondary partition. If the 10GB partition is full or is approaching full capacity, using Acronis Disk Director, you can allocate free space from the secondary partition to the Windows partition and have the changes applied at reboot.

Create a new partition

Disk Director 10 allows you to choose Manual Mode for more advanced management techniques or Automatic Mode for simpler administration. For this example, I will use Automatic Mode, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Choose the user interface mode in Disk Director 10.

Once the mode for the application is selected, the main window will display existing drives that are available for use. Disk Director 10 supports basic disk configurations and cannot be used with dynamic disks in Windows. Since dynamic disks can be grown and shrunk within the native Windows environment, there is no need to support them in Disk Director.

The main window displays only the disk set Disk Director can work with — in this case, the C: drive is the only disk available, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The main console of Disk Director10
In the Wizards portion of the left pane shown in Figure B, click Create Partition to add another partition to the existing disk. This will open the Create Partition Wizard, shown in Figure C, allowing you to easily add partitions by choosing from available free space.

Figure C

Select the disk where you want to create the partition.

To create a partition, complete the following steps:

  1. Check the box next to the drive you wish to work with and click the Next button to proceed.
  2. Enter the partition size in gigabytes or move the slider to select a size for your new partition, and click Next.
  3. Choose a type for your new partition.
  4. Choose a format type or file system for the new partition.
  5. Decide whether or not to assign a drive letter to the new partition; if you choose to assign a drive letter, select the drive letter.
  6. Enter an optional label for the new partition.
  7. Review the structure of the disk after the changes have been made and click Next to continue.
Note: Once the wizard completes, you will be presented with the main window showing your original partition and the newly created partition. The changes have not been committed to the system yet. Click the checkered flag toolbar button in the main window to commit the changes. You then will be presented with a list of Pending Operations to be committed, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Clicking Proceed will prompt you to reboot the system or the operation will be canceled, as shown in Figure E. Figure E

Once the server reboots and the startup process begins, Disk Director will create a new partition as directed by the wizard. When the system has finished rebooting and you log on, you will see the original and the new partitions that you created.

While the example shown here created a partition, the wizard for resizing partitions is quite similar. The application will allow you to shrink an existing partition and grow a full existing partition just as easily as creating a new one.

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About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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