Windows Server 2008 offers a new collection of disk management commands that can allow a disk to be expanded or shrunk while online. This functionality does not require that the drives be a dynamic disk, and it can be applied to the Windows C:\ drive. This functionality can enable administrators to manage the Windows storage requirements, which is one of the more challenging administration areas.
Systems connected to enterprise storage systems such as storage area network (SAN) volumes have long used the diskpart command for basic extensions of a drive, but now this can be done in the Disk Management snap-in within Server Manager.For a new or existing drive, the way to change the geometry within Server Manager is the same: Right-click the drive and the task menu will appear showing the Extend Volume and Shrink Volume commands for the drive. Figure A shows the command on the E:\ drive of a Windows Server 2008 system. Figure A
Once you select Extend Volume or Shrink Volume, a dialog box pops up with fields for the desired geometry of the current drive. (Note: On most extension tasks, Windows may add 1 MB to the amount of space, making the total larger than the available space. If you extend the drive to the maximum amount of space, simply ensure that the two fields match in the MB values.) Figure B shows the Extend Volume Wizard. Figure B
The procedure for the shrink task is similar to the extend task, and you can perform both online without a reboot. This functionality can greatly assist you in managing disk-hungry applications or the less common situation of giving back shared storage when a larger size is no longer required.
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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.