Home > Software Development, Windows > Expanding a drive within a VMWare image

Expanding a drive within a VMWare image

November 20th, 2006

There are many ways to expand a drive within a VMWare image and I have outlined two approaches below depending on your setup. I have used both these methods successfully on a Windows Server 2003 Vmware image (Vmware Workstation 5.0)

Method 1

Advantages: You get to keep your Vmware snapshots
Limitations: You can’t extend all volumes, I had trouble trying to extend the system/boot volume. According to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article you can’t extend a volume if the system page file is located on the partition. You could try to move the page file to a partition that you do not wish to extend.

My setup:
C: System Drive 10 GB
D: Data 4GB

Let’s say that we want to expand the D drive from 4GB to 10GB

  1. Shutdown the VMWare Image
  2. Add a new disk to the VMWare image (the size should be that which you want to allocate to another volume, in this example 6GB).
  3. Boot up the VMWare image into Windows and go to Disk Management (Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management)
  4. A wizard should be displayed to initialize and convert the new disk. If you are not prompted then you may need to Rescan. Do not assign a new volume at this stage.
  5. You need to convert the D drive and the new drive to both be dynamic disks.
  6. Once both the drives are dynamic, then right click on the D drive and select Extend Volume.
  7. Follow the wizard to allocate the new space to the D drive.

Once you complete the wizard, the D drive should now be 10GB. That’s method 1 complete. If this worked for you, great! If not then take a look at Method 2 below.

Method 2

Advantages: You can successfully expand a system/boot drive.
Limitations: You have to remove all your snapshots (the vmware-vdiskmanager utility requires this.)

My Setup:
C: System Drive 8GB
D: Data 4GB
E: Data 4GB
Disk before resizing

Let’s say that we want to expand the C volume from 8GB to 12GB. Assume that the C drive is full to capacity (that’s why we are expanding it right!)

  1. If the Vmware image is running, shut it down.
  2. You need to find the name of the Vmware (.vmdk) file that represents the virtual disk that you want to expand. Go to VM->Settings and locate the drive
    that you want to expand. The disk file field on the right hand side will display the name of the .vmdk file. Virtual Machine Settings
  3. You need to remove any snapshots present in the Vmware image. Note: By deleting the snapshots the system still remains in its current state.
  4. Open up a command prompt and issue the following command: vmware-vdiskmanager -x 12GB “Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition.vmdk” where 12GB is the desired size of the expanded volume.
    Running vdiskmanager
  5. This expansion may take a while but when it is complete, boot up into Windows and go to Disk Management (Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management)
    You should see something similar to the following screenshot. The disk has been expanded but the new space is as yet unallocated. Now in theory you should be able to use the Windows diskpart utility to allocate this space but this would not work on a boot/system disk for me.
    Viewing the new unallocated space
  6. So with diskpart not up to the task, what are your options?:
    • Buy some Windows partition software (i.e. Partition Magic) at a cost of USD200- USD300 for a Server edition or
    • You could use Knoppix (free) to allocate the new space to the C drive. Knoppix is a bootable Live Linux CD and it happens to have a utility called QTparted.
  7. Since everyone likes free stuff, I went with Knoppix in this case. Download Knoppix (the iso image) to the machine which hosts the VMware image.
  8. Now you need to point your CD/DVD drive in your VMWare image to the iso image. How do I do this?
  9. Reboot your VMware image and have it boot from the cd drive. You may need to modify the BIOS settings in order to change the boot order to have the system boot from the CD drive. The exact settings that you need to modify will depend on the exact BIOS that you have. It should be straightforward to change this.
  10. After Knoppix boots , start at the large letter K at bottom left. Select K | System | QTParted to launch the utility. You will see the list of disks within the VMware on the left hand side. Selecting one of these disks will provide you with more details about that disk. In the following screenshot you can see the C drive with the 8GB allocated and the 4GB unallocated.
    Viewing disk in QTParted under Knoppix
  11. Right click on the drive that you want to expand and select Resize.
    Knoppix Context menu
  12. A dialog will be displayed and you can expand the allocated space by dragging the partition to the right. You could also type in the values into the textboxes. After allocating all the new space you now see that the total size is approx. 12GB.
  13. Click OK to exit the dialog. At this stage you have not commited the changes yet. Go to the main menu of QTParted and select the Commit option. The following prompt will be displayed.
    Commit Changes Warning
  14. Choose Yes to commit the changes. You will see the following two screenshots as it commits the changes.
    Commit Changes Progress 1
    Commit Changes Progress 2
  15. After the operation completes, you should see that the new volume now is 12GB in size with only 8GB in use (we now have 4GBs free :))
    Drive after changes commited
  16. Now, shutdown the Vmware image and boot back into Windows (you may need to change the boot order to accomplish this).
  17. Don’t be alarmed if CHKDSK wants to run some tests on your drive. It detected the changes you made in Knoppix and wants to verify that everything is ok.
    Chkdsk scan
  18. You may need to restart Windows again because it will have detected new hardware.
    Windows detect new hardware
  19. Once Windows is back up, go to Disk Management (Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management) and you should now see that the C drive has the extra 4GB as promised.
    Disk Management
    Disk with new space
  20. Also, in Windows Explorer, right click on the C drive and choose Properties. You will see now that there is over 4GB of free space. :))
    Disk Properties showing free space

Job Done!

Lessons for the future:
When you are creating future Vmware image make sure to allocate plenty of space to the drives.
You can set that they only grow as required so they only ever take up the space that you require at any point in time.

Categories: Software Development, Windows Tags:
  1. CrazyDownhiller
    January 22nd, 2007 at 20:44 | #1

    Sean, you are the man! Your Knoppix solution just saved me a whole day of work and kept my project on track. I and my team thank you!

  2. Steve
    January 25th, 2007 at 02:26 | #2

    Sean – This GREAT information! Thank you taking time to explain and show examples. I have one additional question… You show examples for IDE types of drives. What about SCSI drives? How can I expand those virtual drives within VMWARE? I opted for SCSI drives in my Windows 2003 Server VMWare machines. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  3. Sean
    January 25th, 2007 at 22:52 | #3

    Thanks CrazyDownhiller, happy that the article helped.

  4. Sean
    January 25th, 2007 at 22:55 | #4

    Hi Steve,
    I would be more familiar with IDE drives so that is was I used them in my VMWARE images. I don’t know if the solution will work for SCSI drives. Did you try it out? It may well work for SCSI drives as well, I just never needed to use it for those. Thanks for commenting.

  5. February 9th, 2007 at 15:14 | #5

    Hi there

    I’ve tried the above steps as well, but the most perculiar thing happens.

    In the “Disk Management” as above, my drive remains the original size, whereas the “Disk with new space” appears to have changed.

    Any idears or do I need to format my vitual drive C: ?

    screenshot can be found here:


  6. Elwin
    February 13th, 2007 at 22:18 | #6

    Same happened to me! first i thought it was because i made it 100GB, but reading your reply Andreas, i guess i have the same problem πŸ™

  7. Elwin
    February 13th, 2007 at 22:19 | #7

    (the properties on c drive also say it still is the old size)

  8. Elwin
    February 14th, 2007 at 00:24 | #8

    i just tried to make change the disk to grow when full:
    vmware-vdiskmanager.exe -r image.vmdk -t 0 newimage.vmdk
    it went succesfull, but isnt working prob. cause the disk managment still says its not full at all πŸ™‚
    btw, thanks anyhow for your work in this!!!

  9. Elwin
    February 14th, 2007 at 00:32 | #9

    (sorry for the 4 double post, keep thinking about it)
    i tried using knoppix again to make the partition a bit smaller, but it gives an error that it cant change the ntfs anymore πŸ™
    and i also cant use vmware-vdiskmanager.exe -x image.vmdk anymore either: Failed to expand the disk ‘image.vmdk’: One of the parameters supplied is invalid (1) (while using the exact same syntax as before, just not 100GB but 20GB) (it prob. can only resize it to a bigger size though)

  10. Elwin
    February 15th, 2007 at 22:21 | #10

    Just fixed it without fixing it πŸ˜›
    made a new image (200GB and this time i made it grow when become larger πŸ˜› )
    backuped the actual image with acronis , partitioned the new image with knoppix, and restored the backup on the new image with acronis πŸ˜€
    costs alot of downtime, and only half an hour actual work…. and a chance you have to re-activate 😐
    i now have a 200GB image which only takes 10GB on my hard drive cause it will grow when more data inputted πŸ™‚

  11. Sean
    February 15th, 2007 at 22:26 | #11

    Hi Elwin,

    Good to hear that you eventually found a solution. I wasn’t too sure why the above solution didn’t work fully for you. I have used the procedure above many times and it worked fine for me.

    Glad that this article helped in some way.

  12. Elwin
    February 18th, 2007 at 15:41 | #12

    it helped alot in understanding vmware πŸ™‚
    thnx 4 your reply!

  13. Brett
    February 22nd, 2007 at 17:26 | #13

    Thanks for the guide,

    I also ran into the issue of parted appearing to resize the drive, but in fact not resizing it. The fix that I used is to first mount the drive in knoppix, then unmount it. Then do the resize. For some reason if I did not explicitly mount and unmount the drive, parted had an issue with determining the mount state of the drive.

  14. Darn
    February 27th, 2007 at 16:54 | #14

    I got the same probs as the previous posters. C: will show my resized space which was 40GB, but the properties still reflect my old space.

    I tried to mount then unmount in knoppix but it didn’t work. I got an error which I forgot. will try it again so that I can post the error.

  15. Jeff
    March 2nd, 2007 at 09:43 | #15

    Hi Sean,

    I like the article; it’s very useful as people often have the same problem. I also was pulling my hair out till i found an article on this topic here:


    It made my life pretty easier. Think you might be interested.


  16. March 5th, 2007 at 10:42 | #16

    Thanks for the excellent HOWTO ! And for all friends that got the Failed to grow disk XXX : one of the parameters supplied is invalid. (1) error, please take note that in this case you have to convert first your VM disk into the most recent format using ‘vmware-vdiskmgr -r -t X new.vmdk’ – where X should be 0 if you want one big file as vmdk, and 1 if you want dozen of 2GB chunks (or 2/3 if you want preallocated and not growable disk).

  17. March 5th, 2007 at 13:12 | #17

    Sorry, it’s me again. Just to point out that I went through all the Qtparted issues & errors emphasized by other people, but at the end (maybe at the 2nd or 3rd attempt) Qtparted worked.

  18. Josh
    March 16th, 2007 at 02:31 | #18

    Regarding the problem with the disk looking expanded but not the partition…

    I was getting an error when committing my resize changes in QTParted saying that it couldn’t read the device status (or something similar). I ignored this at first and rebooted because it looked like the changes had actually saved. When I got in Windows I noticed that the drive was expanded but not the partition. I rebooted to Knoppix, tried QTParted again (click resize but don’t actually expand it so that we can save again) and got the same error message. I tried one last time and it actually saved that time without the error message.


    Seems to be ok in windows now πŸ˜‰

  19. bill ainsley
    March 29th, 2007 at 03:29 | #19

    Great news for you vista guys, the disk management in vista lets you extend the boot volume with no extra steps. I followed the steps outlined, until the disk management step, then just extended the volume to include the new unallocated space. It was quick painless and within minutes I was finished with the resizing of the virtual disk file. Thanks for the help.

  20. bill
    March 29th, 2007 at 19:54 | #20

    New information on vista, it appeared to work last night, I ran a vista defrag with my newly extended drive (10GB -> 18GB) then shutdown. This am I go to boot the vista VM and it gives me the “operating system not found” message. So I am trying all the mount and recover tools and have not been able to do anything with the disk file. I have built another vista vm and am going to do the extend and defrag on it to see if it blows up as well. I will update post when finished. If anyone has seen this or can recommend a solution please let me know. Nothing major on the corrupted disk file, just donÒ€ℒt want to have to reinstall all my apps again. THANKS.

  21. Joe
    April 10th, 2007 at 16:53 | #21

    Had the same problem as other above, where the drive size is recognized in the Disk Management MMC plugin, but not through windows explorer. Used the mount/umnount in Knoppix and it solved the problem.

  22. May 19th, 2007 at 00:52 | #22

    Great info. Just wanted to point out that Windows Vista allows resizing boot disks without the need to use third party software on the guest.

  23. SB
    May 30th, 2007 at 18:11 | #23

    Good info. I followed the steps and everything worked like a charm. THX

  24. fletch
    July 15th, 2007 at 17:30 | #24

    excellent instructions!

    i ran into the same error with QParted, and Windows refused to recognize the expanded partition.

    i tried GParted instead on its own livecd and fixed it

    since i already expanded it using QParted in Knoppix, i had to shrink it by 1K using GParted to get it to commit a change. after doing this, XP booted up, did a chkdksk, and now its all where it should be

  25. Alan
    August 2nd, 2007 at 14:22 | #25

    Guys,,,,,,,,,, VMWare Converter does the whole thing,,, it’s a free download from their site. Just Import the machine in question,,, select a new desitination and select “select volumes and resize to save or add space”,,,, and you’re done. I changed an 8gb to 15gb in a few minutes!!!!!!!!! sweet. It also gives you a few custom options before it makes the resized clone. A dodle.

  26. August 2nd, 2007 at 15:17 | #26

    Thanks for the comment Alan. Vmware Convertor is a relatively new product, I wrote this post about 8 or 9 months when there weren’t many ways to expand a drive within a vmware image.

  27. Alan
    August 2nd, 2007 at 15:51 | #27


  28. August 7th, 2007 at 10:02 | #28

    Hi Thank you for this very useful information as this has solved lots of probs related to increase of hard disk space in VMWare Images.

    Also pls could u tell me how to increase the mnory size of the image.


  29. August 7th, 2007 at 13:12 | #29

    how to increse memory space of vm-ware-image ?

  30. August 7th, 2007 at 14:55 | #30

    Hi Uma,
    To increase the memory in a VmWare Image, you first need to shut down the vmware image. Then open it in VmWare Workstation and via the Properties dialog you can increase or decrease the memory allocated.

    Hope that helps.

  31. greg
    September 4th, 2007 at 01:42 | #31


    To extend the boot volumes, what I have done is use vmware-diskmanager as above to make the disk larger, then mounted the disk as a second disk onto another VM. Then use diskpart, select the second disk, select the partiton then type extend. Diskpart will extend the partition to be the full size of the disk. shut down the second vm, remove the disk and then start up the first vm, you will now have a boot drive the full size of the extended disk.

    I have found that it works best if you use XP to mount a server 2k3 disk and extend the volume, and the same in reverse, ie, use Win2k3 to extend an XP disk.

    No extra utilities are required!

  32. sc110786
    October 5th, 2007 at 23:28 | #32

    I’m getting the same error where windows disk management shows the right size, but windows explorer shows the old size after running qparted. Can someone please help by posting how to mount and unmount in knoppix since I’m a newbie to linux. πŸ™‚ Thanks in advance

  33. October 11th, 2007 at 19:01 | #33

    I am getting the same thing where disk management and windows explorer show different results.

  34. Sean
    October 11th, 2007 at 21:42 | #34

    Hi sc110786 & Mayur,
    A few people have had this problem after they boot back into windows. Read the following comments from Josh above. “When I got in Windows I noticed that the drive was expanded but not the partition. I rebooted to Knoppix, tried QTParted again (click resize but donÒ€ℒt actually expand it so that we can save again) and got the same error message. I tried one last time and it actually saved that time without the error message.”

    Thanks for the comments. – Sean

  35. nathaniel kanner
    October 17th, 2007 at 03:44 | #35

    great article, sean! I had to download Knoppix 4.02 to get my VM to boot properly, and had to run QTParted twice (same issue as above). Great article!

  36. Sean
    October 17th, 2007 at 21:08 | #36

    Thanks for the comment Nathaniel, glad to hear that you got it sorted in the end.

  37. October 24th, 2007 at 03:04 | #37

    i actually wrote about this too on my blog.

    these are fantastic guides but you’ve forgotten to mention the in-build diskpart.exe in windows 2003 r2 that does the same thing, i have an article about it in my blog.

  38. October 30th, 2007 at 03:41 | #38

    Ran into the issue of Windows Disk Manager saying the drive was 12GB (full size I adjusted it to) but explorer still said it was 5GB (original size).

    Booted back into Knoppix, tried to mount it, informed me that the NTFS system needed to be repaired. Did a repair through Linuxntfs repair, went back to QTParted, opened up the resizer, clicked “ok” (disk was already resized) and clicked “commit”.

    One reboot later it worked great, thanks for the guide!

  39. Oblomov
    November 10th, 2007 at 16:46 | #39

    The VMware Converter method worked beautifully! Too bad they only make it for windows, and there is not a Linux version, but oh well, still was faster then the other methods.

  40. November 20th, 2007 at 20:59 | #40

    I found that a key component was to make sure that Windows had shutdown cleanly. If the windows virtual-machine did not shutdown cleanly, then QtParted would not be able to resize properly.
    This was a problem for me, because at first I wasn’t fast enough to catch the boot option to use the CDROM to boot to Knoppix… and just did a “reset”.

  41. November 20th, 2007 at 22:06 | #41

    If you try GParted, which is on the Knoppix CD. it worked for me the first time after qparted did not. QParted showed the disk in disk management as being expanded, but the disk in explorer didn’t change. GParted fixed all that.

  42. Jez
    December 5th, 2007 at 23:28 | #42

    Great article,

    QParted could not get to work at all. With the latest release of Knoppix the Gparted utility did the trick for me. By the way the version I had wanted the root password to run it. Since none is set by default you need to run a command shell the

    su – root

    I got the same dialog popup as QParted which I ignored.

    On reboot chkdsk did its thing and all was well.

    Can confirm that it was the existing of the swap file on C: that was the problem.

    To avoid the issue altogether in the future You can create a small separate disk and relocate the swap file there. Workstation 6 lets you resize as part of a machine import.

    Knoppix rocks !! Have spent most of today setting up the VM env to realise I was running out of space on C:

    I’ve got 16 gigs of space on my C drive. Should be able to install VS2008 now


  43. December 6th, 2007 at 16:00 | #43

    Nothing incredible here, but for those who have or use Acronis. I had to extend my vm’s c: by 7GB, here is what I did and it only took 15 minutes without any snags.

    1. turn off vm, on the host use vmware-vdiskmanager.exe x to extend the size of a disk, this should take several minutes, depending on size and performance of your hardware

    2. power on vm, go into disk management, ensure you have the unallocated space available, power off your vm and put your acronis boot cd in the drive

    3. be sure to use an acronis boot disk that includes disk director, use disk director to extend the c: on your vm, this should take less than 2 minutes, depending on size and performance of your hardware

    4. when finished, remove the disk and power on your vm, you should be all done


  44. Sean
    December 9th, 2007 at 10:56 | #44

    Heathhamm, Thanks for the comment. I was aware of Acronis and various other partitioning tools that could be used. The key to the above article is that you don’t need to purchase any software πŸ™‚

  45. Jim
    December 11th, 2007 at 05:29 | #45


    Great article, thank you! Everything worked for me exactly as you described.

    I’d been limping along with

  46. Jim
    December 11th, 2007 at 05:34 | #46


    (sorry, first post truncated)

    Great article, thank you! Everything worked for me exactly as you described.

    I’d been limping along with an image that had less than 50MB left. I was dreading the thought of having to create a new larger image and reload all my software onto it.

    Your article saved me what I thought was going to take hours! Seriously the best thing I’ve found all year. YOU ROCK!!

  47. December 27th, 2007 at 22:50 | #47

    Just wanted to tell everyone this is a great tutorial. Just one note make sure that you use a recent version of knoppix with qtparted. I used 5.1.1 and it worked great. Version 5.0.1 does not support NTFS properly and windows will not recognize the drive change.

  48. Kieran
    January 2nd, 2008 at 16:12 | #48

    Is the iso download really 600mb? It’s taking an age to download it!

  49. January 12th, 2008 at 17:11 | #49


    Thanks for sharing these instructions. I followed them with no problem using VMWare Workstation, Windows Enterprise Server 2003 SP2, Knoppix 5.1.1, and virtual SCSI disks.

    Happy New Year!

  50. jdog
    January 15th, 2008 at 00:07 | #50

    VMWare Converter for tha win!

  51. Josephraj Jayabalan
    February 6th, 2008 at 09:54 | #51

    Dear Sean,

    Great. We were stuck with Vmware Server 1.0.3 (on Suse Linux Ent 10.1) Virtual Machine. The C drive of the Windows 2003 was just 8G and it was almost full. Struggled so much with other options like vmkfstools, as it wasn’t available. Finally your solution worked like a charm. One thing I would like to add is that, instead of Knoppix, I used GPartEd Live CD ISO and connected it to the CD-ROM of this virtual machine.


  52. Darryl W
    February 16th, 2008 at 16:01 | #52

    Thanks a mil for this post. It worked perfectly!

    I also used GPartEd as it was quicker to download.

  53. PaulG
    February 27th, 2008 at 15:29 | #53

    Thanks, Did this on a Windows 2008 Server Web Edition HDD and Acronis Partition Manager, when the resize was compelete Windows complained WindowsSystem32WinLoad.exe was missing or corrupt, and would not boot. A “Bootrec /rebuildbcd” using the repair command prompt fixed it and rebooted to a huge drive! Thanks again.

  54. Claude
    May 2nd, 2008 at 02:24 | #54

    Thanks Sean for the time and effort to document this so clearly. It saved me tons of time and effort today (and in the future).

  55. Viren
    June 17th, 2008 at 17:52 | #55

    Thanks a lot Sean. Saved me a lot of time and efforts. Great details.

  56. mital
    July 21st, 2008 at 14:11 | #56

    Best article ever!! πŸ™‚
    I went with Method 2 and the Knoppix v5.1.1 of 2007-01-04 ( http://mirror.netcologne.de/knoppix/knoppix-cd/ )…..worked like a charm.
    Thanks a lot.

  57. Srini
    August 2nd, 2008 at 07:46 | #57

    Thanks a lot Sean for the great article.

    I followed Method 2 with Knoppix on Windows Server 2008 (Experimental) and it worked perfect. Although it failed first time when I tried to extend 100% of the newly created disk space. The second time I substracted 0.97 MB (seems like it was used for some administrative purpose) from the total size and it worked.

  58. Darius
    September 10th, 2008 at 16:18 | #58

    Thank you Sir! this solution was exactly what I needed. Thanks a lot! πŸ™‚

  59. Myra
    September 30th, 2008 at 07:21 | #59

    Thanks Srini ! πŸ˜‰

  60. netadmin
    October 4th, 2008 at 15:13 | #60

    Another way to do this is to use VMware converter. It is free software from VMware. It will let you take a Virtual Machine and do whatever you like with the disks.

  61. David Bernal
    October 5th, 2008 at 06:59 | #61

    Thanks for all your posts.
    This helped tremendously. Saved tons of work.
    I had to fix my ntfs partition before windows 2003 would see the new size.
    Thanks again!

  62. Micah Peterson
    October 31st, 2008 at 17:00 | #62

    You are the man, thanks a ton, you saved me a wack of time!

  63. Rick
    November 13th, 2008 at 20:26 | #63

    The reason why Explorer does not see the changes is because when you are in Knoppix, prior to commiting the changes (spanning the disk), you have to first unmount the drive, then click commit on QTParted. Then, all changes are written back to the drive, or else, the changes are never commited back to the drive entirely.

    If you are having an issue like this… boot back into Knoppix, make sure the drive is not mounted by typing “mount” (will show you all currently mounted drives), then go to QTParted and select the drive, QTParted will automatically mount it when you select it, click back to File->Commit, it will give you a warning. Do not click “Yes” yet, pull up a command prompt and type “umount /dev/drive_name_here” and it will unmount it. Then click Yes and voila!… Done.

  64. webbsolution
    November 14th, 2008 at 16:38 | #64

    Neat solution however I have a new challenge related to this method.

    I have resized the disk. In computer management it reads as the correct size with 3.9 gb free. Great.

    In my computer it reads as 3.99 gb main disk (it was 4 GB before) with 130mb free, cant run scan disk (not enough space), can’t install anything …ran chkdsk from the command prompt and then shut it down and ran it from safe mode….rebooted a few times.

    There is no unaloocated space int he drive in the computer management GUI

    Windows is freaking out…
    Any ideas?

  65. alex
    January 5th, 2009 at 01:30 | #65

    While searching for solution to my problem i ran across this very informative article.

    I may be missing something because it was way too easy. I just used vmware converted to change the only drive size on my 2003 R2 from 12GB to 50GB.

    After installing vmware converter 3.0.3 (free from vmware) i run converter and changed portion size. (all windows, all gui) It took less than 5 minutes to complete and created new set of vm files. Hit the power button and now my C drive is 50gb.

    maybe the software wasn’t around when this article was written ?


    Best to all,

  66. Rodney Dixon
    January 6th, 2009 at 18:56 | #66

    Used Method 2 to increase my boot partition. Worked like a champ. Thanks for the great info.

  67. adam
    February 10th, 2009 at 21:07 | #67

    As Alex stated. You can use vmware converter for this.
    Launch Vmware converter, virtual to virtual, expand disk size. Done.

  68. Tom de Vries
    March 23rd, 2009 at 15:57 | #68

    Hi, after trying to resize a couple of times without succes we managed to get it right. The main problem we had was that committing did not work because windows was not started correctly the last time in order to boot from the ISO. So the trick is to set the boot sequence first to CD so that you will not have the problem that you have to interupt windows to be able to boot from CD
    1. get into the BIOS and change the boot devices
    2. boot windows correctly and shutdown again
    3. set VMWare to boot from the ISO
    and your resize will work.

  69. May 8th, 2009 at 03:21 | #69

    It worked like a charm!! Thanks for the great advise!

  70. Young Wong
    August 3rd, 2009 at 03:33 | #70

    Like Josh from (18) I got some warning message when I commit changed in QTPart in Knoppix; that was when I downloaded and used the latest Knoppix 6.0 version.

    I got no error as described by Sean in the original post when I used version 4 of Knoppix and the resize work perfectly.

  71. September 23rd, 2009 at 20:08 | #71

    Thanks, Sean. This worked perfectly and your step by step directions were better than any vendor documentation I’ve encountered. (I’m looking at you, Oracle.)

  72. Terv
    October 23rd, 2009 at 01:21 | #72

    A much easier method to extending the boot partition is to use VMWare Converter Standalone (install it on the VM) and choose a local conversion. As part of the fourth step you can specify a new drive size for the boot partition and then finish through the wizard. The new cloned VM will have the enlarged boot partition. Boot it to make sure it is working and if it is delete your old VM.

    I have done this on multiple Citrix (Terminal Servers) and have never had any side effects.

  73. January 15th, 2010 at 01:46 | #73

    Comprehensive Survey of tehcniques to Extend / Expand virtual disks – VMWare, Fusion, VMware Server, VM Workstation, esx, including this post


  74. Smith
    January 17th, 2010 at 01:38 | #74

    Thanks Sean, worked great for Windows Server 2003. I had the same issue as a couple others where Disk Manager showed the new space but windows explorer did not. I ended up just going back into Knoppix and unmounting/remounting by C: partition (the one extended) and rebooted back into Windows. New drive space showed up!

  75. Alex
    January 30th, 2010 at 17:43 | #75

    How do I move the system page file to another partion so I can extended?

  76. February 4th, 2010 at 05:10 | #76

    You should download and try fatVM http://www.gudgud.com/fatvm

    fatVM is a reliable, robust, and safe, 1-click solution for extending the C drive of your VMware Fusion or Workstation virtual disk that is becoming full.
    * It provides a simple, intuitive, interface and a reliable process that hides the technical complexity of extending a virtual disk.
    * It is robust because it can extend virtual disks having snapshots and clones.
    * It is safe because it preserves your original disk, which remains available to you for when the need ever arises.

  77. Chris
    February 16th, 2010 at 17:17 | #77

    VMware converter is probably fine but for those who want to make it
    manually, just use WiNPE instead of knoppix

    1- create the bootable WINPE ISO image (see the Microsoft WAIK, takes 2mns)
    2- boot your 2003 VM from the WinPE image (attach the ISO image created in step -1- to the DVD, make sure your VM will try to boot from the DVD first)
    3- at the WINPE command prompt
    diskpart> list vol
    diskpart> select vol x
    diskpart> extend
    diskpart> exit

    4- you are back to the winPE command prompt, type exit to reboot the VM

    (make sure you detach the WinPE image)

    then from the PE command prompt

    list volume
    select vol x

    (back to WinPE command prompt)

  78. Xerxel
    February 28th, 2010 at 19:12 | #78

    Whilst the comments here are true there is [b]another way [/b]to give yourself much more space on the C drive if you have another drive available (either physical or as part of a virtual machine) even if yu can’t span the system/boot volume.

    All you do is use a feature of Unix which windows has which windows admins don’t realize is a part of everyday admin work for a unix admin, ie [b]symbolic links[/b].

    For example, say you had a folder called c:Data which was large and you wanted to free up space on the C drive but you couldn’t just move c:Data because various programs expect it to be in the location c:Data.

    All you do is copy your folder and its subfolders to your new drive and give it a name which reminds you that it is the new location, for example copy c:Data to d:DataFromCDrive

    [i](if any programs are using the files in c:Data at the time then stop them first or boot into safe mode and carry out these steps)[/i]

    Now all you do is delete the original contents of c:Data to make it empty. [i](which is fine as you have a copy of it).[/i]
    Using the Microsoft pstool called junction.exe you tell the filesystem where you moved the files to, ie:

    [b]junction.exe c:Data d:DataFromCDrive[/b]

    [i](if you are moving a folder with spaces such as “Program Files” make sure you use quotes)[/i]

    Now open up explorer and navigate to c:Data — all the expected files will be there but you [b]just freed up space on the C drive coz you deleted the files from the original location.[/b]As this happens at the NTFS level, the applications are totall oblivious. This works for Program Files, Inetpub, infact anything taking up large amounts of space on the C drive which would be major hassle to move otherwise such as SQL server.


    PS. sysinternals tool are available here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/default.aspx
    PPS. Don’t put your swap file on the C drive – this slows your machine down.
    PPPS. Most of you are nadgers except the person who first asked the legit question πŸ˜‰

  79. Duggan Roberts
    March 19th, 2010 at 17:15 | #79

    Just to let people know who might be expanding a SUSE Lenux Enterprise server after you use gparted and reboot into SUSE you have to do a resize_reiserfs within the terminal. For example I increased my partition 50G so I here is what I had to type in:

    resize_reiserfs -s 50G /dev/sda2

    Hope this might help someone out there.


  80. March 21st, 2010 at 16:22 | #80

    Duggan, thanks for the comment and for dropping by.

  81. Duggan Roberts
    April 2nd, 2010 at 16:36 | #81

    No prob and should be SUSE Linux Enterprise server not Lenux but sure everyone figured that out just realized the spelling error.

  82. Nick
    May 7th, 2010 at 21:29 | #82

    hi i recently had some trouble doing this i finally was successful by doing the following method. it was alot faster then any of the other methods stated.

    To expand a VMDK first power off the VM.
    From CMD cd to VMWare Root directory and run vmware-vdiskmanager -x 12GB “c:pathofVMDKName.vmdk”
    hit enter
    you should see grow to 100%
    then open a different xp or windows server vm.
    add a disk and select the vmdk you just expanded.
    now go to cmd
    User input: diskpart
    User input list volumes
    find the volume you want to expand.
    User input: select volumeX
    User input: assign
    user input: extend
    This will extend the selected partition to the full size you grew earlier.
    Shutdown host remove HDD
    Now open the other host and power on vm ,
    You will need to reboot the vm again.
    You will then have expanded your Virtual HDD to 12GB.

  83. ESX guy
    May 17th, 2010 at 19:21 | #83

    Dell has a utility called ESX Part, wonderful tool. i can expand a disk in under a minute. increase the size of disk in vcenter, use ext part to expand! that simple

  84. June 16th, 2010 at 16:44 | #84


    i have tried with method 1, using
    “c:program filesVMWareVMWare Workstationvmware-vdiskmanager.exe” -x 50GB “Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition R2 SP2-cl1.vmdk” Using log file C:Documents and SettingsAVarghese_CamsoftLocal SettingsTempvdiskmanager.log

    but i am getting
    Diskname or some other argument is missing.
    VMware Virtual Disk Manager – build 118166.
    pls help me solve this.

    i have successfully resize with VMWare converter.

    Anish Panthalani

  85. June 16th, 2010 at 16:45 | #85

    Sorry i have tried with Method 2

  86. jeffster
    June 23rd, 2010 at 20:50 | #86

    Method 2 worked like a charm. Knoppix options were a bit different but I guess that’s due to updated versions but easy enough to figure out. Thanks for the info.

  87. Asad Quraishi
    June 30th, 2010 at 12:50 | #87

    Hey thanks! I haven’t tried this let but from what I already know this looks like it will work!

  88. Georg
    August 3rd, 2010 at 06:22 | #88


    Thank you – Method 2 worked.

    A couple of things:

    1.) Downloaded ADRIANE-KNOPPIX_V6.2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN.iso and mounted to VMWare
    2.) once booted, go to GUI (I think it was option 7 or so) tools -> load X session. From the “K” icon, went to “Preferences” to find “qtparted”
    3.) the frist run of qtparted exited with a “fail” and a message to run checkdisk. Tried from qtparted, but that checkdisk failed/didn’t finish. Logged off and exited Knoppix. (unmounted the KNOPPIX ISO here)
    4.) started from scratch (backed up VM). In WindowsXP, asked to run checkdisk (right click disk -> Properties -> Tools -> Error Checking [checked both options boxes too]). Restared Windows VM to let checkdisk run
    5.) Rebooted into Knoppix and ran qtparted – worked like a charm

    Hope that wasn’t too confusing.


  89. Roy
    September 23rd, 2010 at 10:26 | #89

    For ESXi (or ESX) users there is an easy way to expand a system partition, commend from an other user and tested very succesfully by myself:

    “In my experience the easiest way to do this is to create another guest, call it test. Remove the C drive from the original guest you want to increase the drive space on and add it as the D drive on the new test machine. Now you can increase the size of the virtual disk. Run diskpart to expand the partition to it’s new size. Remove the D from the test machine and add it back as the C on the original guest and you now have an increased C drive. You can also run a vmware convert and increase the size that way. I’ve done them both ways and I find that simply moving the drive to a test machine is much faster.”

  90. Jon
    October 20th, 2010 at 16:57 | #90

    You can also use a free Dell tool named ExtPart… it doesn’t even require a reboot in most cases

  91. Ali
    December 7th, 2010 at 06:00 | #91

    EXT part is the fastest way to do this t took me about 2 mins !!!!!!!!

    Following is the process

    1. extend your VMdisk. My original was 20 so i extend by 10

    vmware-vdiskmanager -x 30GB “Terdata12.vmdk”

    2.download ExtPart… from

    3.Go into the VM and from command line

    extpart c: 10240 (to extend by 10GB )


    Done 2mins

  92. Wayne
    December 17th, 2010 at 14:51 | #92

    Thank you so much! I have been looking for a solution to increase the size of the system patition on guest machines on esxi and this worked! I came across many soultions but this one was clear cut and accurate! unlike my spelling!

    Thanks again!


  93. January 7th, 2011 at 06:59 | #93

    Thanks for the info Sean, your work on this is appreciated. BTW, I was following your procedure #2 and found that Windows 2008 Server (enterprise) allows you to expand the partition without needing Knoppix. I had a full system partition, and i extended it (from 30Gb to 100Gb). After that I was able to change the partion size to make use of the full 100Gb in drive manager, which has to be new in 2008 server or I missed it in 2003.

    It worked like a charm. I’d never have tried it at all without your procedure. Definitely easier than doing BESR backups and VM restores.


  94. matt
    February 16th, 2011 at 09:12 | #94

    ADRIANE-KNOPPIX is bullshit… not at all user friendly…
    1. expand hard disk first using vmware/work station settings when the system is shutdown/powered off
    2. download Partition Magic or something install it and add merg the unallocated parecian to the existing one…
    u r done..

  95. chessplayer
    May 25th, 2011 at 11:37 | #95

    Thanks alot! nice documentation!!

    i am a total linux noob, too.
    I tried gparted, because its much smaller, windows users don ‘ t be afraid – there is a graphical user interface.

    problems i had in command line with vmware-vdiskmanager: you should write the complete file name of the vmdk file (don ‘t use the ” * ” abreviation. Regardless u will have “failed to open the disk .. failed to lock the file vdiskmanager (16392)”

  96. ny3tclip
    July 29th, 2011 at 17:41 | #96

    awesome! Thanks for the help.

  97. Gest
    August 5th, 2011 at 12:38 | #97

    Good one.

    You can check video demonstration at


  98. tv
    October 7th, 2011 at 08:56 | #98

    Thanks a lot!

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