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Increase Virtual Machine Hard Drive Size

Guest trex09

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Long time reader, first time poster here in the forum.




Essentially I have some virtual hard drives that I built a long time ago. They are only 8 gigs big and I keep running out of drive space and my NOC keeps sending me the MOM alerts (just got on 10 minutes ago).


Anyway, any reccomendation on the best path?


BTW - I'm running Windows Server 2003 with Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1. All my VM's are Windows Server 2003 w/latest service pack.


Thanks in advance! :D

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Hey there,


Personally I've expanded virtual hard drives probably a hundred times so I'm VERY familiar with the process. The lesson with all this, when you build a virtual machine MAKE SURE YOU CREATE LARGE DISKS. :)


So, you have 2 options which I've tested and work for both Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Windows Virtual Server 2005 R2 Virtual Machine Guests.


Let's start with my least favorite method.


1) - Download and install VHD Resizer and run it against the old .VHD you want to expand. Once completed you will need to mount it to another VM and run DiskPart against it to expand it to the full size of the disk.


Although the process works, it's VERY slow. VERY slow... That being said, if your in a pinch this will work every time.


2) - Good ole, Ghost.exe. Yup, that's right, Ghost is a great tool for Imaging but it's also an amazing tool for preforming P2V's and Extending / Expanding Virtual Hard Drives (.VHD).


The steps are simple, First add the new Disk to the Virtual Server when it's turned off, Boot the Virtual Box from the Ghost CD or Floppy (Or create a bootable .iso or floppy disk), Do a Local to Local Disk Image, Select the original drive as the source and the new drive you just created as the destination, start the ghost and wait.


I found this method to only take about half the time as the VHD Resizer tool.


When it's done imaging, remove the original drive from the VM and give the new drive it's old Channel information and start the VM.


Be sure you remove the mounted Floppy or .iso etc... from the VM. I forgot this one time and spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out why the VM wouldn't boot... Oops.... my GHOST Disk 2 Virtual Floppy was still in the drive..


After your VM boots it might be a bit sluggish until the Server recognizes the new drive and installs it. For Windows Server 2003 it will ask you to reboot to install new hardware. Select yes and after the reboot, you should be golden.


Let me know how it goes!

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Never used Diskpart so I went ahead and tested this out using GHOST.


Just finished the first box. Worked perfectly.


Like you said, after imaging the drive, the box was SUPER slow until the system came up and Windows prompted me to reboot. After the reboot, things are great. No more 95% full C drives. :)

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BTW - why did Microsoft make this so hard? Why not just allow us to resize the drives through the GUI?


anyway. just wanted to get that out. ;):roll:


No kidding. Remember tho, this is a DISK issue and has little to nothing to do with being virtual.


To change the size requires a lot of work on a disk and MFT level so it's more complex than just resizing it. Server 2008 makes this easier I hear but I never tried it.


BTW - Ghost Rules ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...
Guest gnfast87

I found a product by Acronis that works even better than Ghost. I believe the free down is good for 2 weeks. You should be able to expand quite a few VHD's in 2 weeks! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

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