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.

20 comments
pabarcia
pabarcia

What is the differences between this soft and Partition Magic? the last one do the same and pretty solid. patrick.-

smithtsr
smithtsr

Does this strictly work on Windows OS or does this work on multible OS's? Thank You Tom L Smith smithtsr@yahoo.com

kaeibin
kaeibin

why not use partition master, it is free

annatar3
annatar3

This basic version link doesn't work on servers. Need to select the server based option at a larger investment cost.

vwsportruck
vwsportruck

Will it work on a virtual machine in a VM environment? Secondly - will it allow me to have a partition span multiple disks? -=Mark

joseph
joseph

Hi this is good information.i have a question,is it possible we can do it in RAID servers?????

banderas.c
banderas.c

EASEUS Partition Master is not bad, I have tried EASEUS free home edition, it's amazing. I intalled the server edition in my sever

stamandster
stamandster

If you only have one disk usable than you can use Diskpart to extend the first partition. Second, you can use a free bootable ISO called Gparted to do the same thing.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

Is the ability to change partition sizes on the fly useful to you?

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

I had to repartition 4 Dell servers because the C drive ended up running out of space. The typical Dell setup. I made a full backup of each of the servers. Reinstalled the operating system (repartitioning the disks during the reinstall). Next I brought the new installation up to the same service pack level as the backup. Finally I restored the backup and presto more disk space. No need to spend a couple hundred dollars or more for a piece of software you are only going to use once. If you have mirrored drives you can break the mirror and perform the steps on one drive. Then when you know it was successfull recreate the mirror. If you run into problems you can always use the other disk to go back to where you started.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

It works with Raid, but not with dynamic disks. If your logical partition is in a raid set that spans multiple disks there should be no problem.

smason
smason

Not sure why anyone would spend money on Partition Magic or this Acronis product when Gparted works SO well.

mcfudge47
mcfudge47

Paragon Disk Manager 2008 does it all not just partitioning.

edtoff
edtoff

Does this software work with Raid 1 with 2 partitions

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

Not looking forward to the weekend bit, but I have to do this soon, so thanks for the great advise. MUCH cheaper than a server product that may only be needed once. Some words of caution tho: VERIFY your backups FIRST.

thomasjohnsen
thomasjohnsen

I was trying to use this the other day. It spent 30 minutes searching for drives. I gave up and used Partition Manager. Click, click, click... done. Total time: 5 minutes.

amsq77
amsq77

Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 Server Edition does the same and even better! I am using it for server resize operations and it never let me done. Simple drag and drop operations and in most cases no restart of working server!

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Because two of these servers were domain controllers I was very cautious. I tested this first in my test environment. It made me feel much more confident. Then I added the extra step of saving one of the mirrored drives so I could revert back to that if needed. Once I was sure everything was working and AD was playing nice with the other DC, I remirrored the old drive with the newly installed repartitioned drive.

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