Jun 21, 2010

Expanding a Windows Boot Volume in VMWare

This was originally posted here. I have copied it for posterity and archival purposes =)

How to expand/grow a Windows system/boot disk under VMWare in a simple way

On several places it is written that it is somewhat problematic to expand the boot disk:
"...Windows DiskPart utility, it can extend (expand) only data volumes..."
            - VMware FAQ
But it is not hard to do it, and you don't need any disk utilities except diskpart.exe which is included in Windows.
The only guarantee I will give is that this has been working for me. ;-)
Follow this steps on your own risk:
1. Shut down the VMware Virtual Machine.
2. Make a complete Clone of the Virtual Machine. (Keep this clone as a backup if the procedure does not work for some reason.)
3. Locate the utility vmware-vdiskmanager.exe and the original disk file you want to expand. Open a command window and run the command below. Modify paths, file names and disk size as needed.
4. The VI Client can also be used to expand the disk after the clone is complete.

"C:\Program\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -x 8GB "C:\Documents and
Settings\userhome\My documents\My Virtual Machines\Win2k3test\Windows Server 2003, Standard
This takes some time to complete.
There's a lot more you can do with vmware-vdiskmanager.exe. If curious, se links on the VMware FAQ page above.
4. Edit the cloned Virtual Machine. Add the just expanded original disk to the machine.
5. Boot the clone VM. You will se the expanded drive on a new "drive letter". Open a command prompt and run diskpart.exe:
  • Run "list volume". Look for the volume number for the expanded drive.
  • Run "select volume x", where x is number for the expanded disk.
  • Run "extend".  The volume will instantly be extended.
  • Exit from diskpart.
6. Shut down the cloned machine and remove the expanded disk from the cloned machine.
7. Boot the original virtual machine. You should now have a larger volume.
You might want to run "chkdsk /f /r" and reboot to be sure the disk is ok. This Control take a long time to complete.
I hope this works for you! Please email me if this screws things up for you so that I can improve this guide or warn others!
Good luck!