Tutorial: Extend C drive in VMware on Server 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008

Sometimes, you might want to extend C drive in Virtual Machine. Here we would like to tell how to extend C drive in VMware on Windows Server 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019 in detailed steps.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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“How do I extend C drive on my virtual machine?”

“My Windows Server 2012 Virtual Machine has less space in C drive and instantly prompts low disk space warning every time when I power on VMware. How can I extend D drive in VMware to fix this problem? I do not want to reinstall the OS and repartition the system hard disk from scratch. Can you share a great way to expand C drive in Server VMware?”

According to Wikipedia, VMware workstation Pro is a hosted hypervisor that runs on x64 versions of Windows and Linux operating systems. With it, users can set up virtual machines on a single physical machine, and use them simultaneously along with the actual machine. However, like the actual machine, the C drive in VMware is also likely to run out of disk space after a long time of usage. Then, it will boot up and run slower and slower, even frozen sometimes. So, how to extend C drive in VMware?

Steps to extend C drive in Windows Server VMware

To expand C drive on Server Virtual Machine, you need to first add storage to the VM disk, and then increase C drive size within Server. In this section, we will show how to finish the whole process detailedly (taking Server 2012 as an example).

Step 1. Add storage to VM disk through VMware Settings (optional)

When the (system partition) C partition is the only one partition on your Virtual Machine hard disk, you have to expend its disk space through the Virtual Machine Settings first of all.

Note: If your VMware hard disk has C drive and other partitions that have much free space left, please skip to Step 2 to extend C drive with other partitions in VMware after power it on.

1.1. Verify that your VMware is powered off and has no snapshots.

1.2. Click “VM” on the top and go to "Settings."

1.3. Select the hard disk you want to expand.

1.4. On the right side of the window, click “Utilities” and select “Expand” from the drop-down menu.

1.5. In the pop-out mini window, you can resize the disk to a new size.

1.6. Click "OK." This will set the new maximum size for the virtual disk.

After you have expanded the virtual disk size, you need to power on your VMware Workstation and open Disk Management (press Win+R combination on your keyboard to open Run dialogue, and input “diskmgmt.msc” and hit on "Enter"). In Server 2012 Disk Management, you will find an “Unallocated Space” we have just created. Then go for "Step 2" to learn how to extend C drive with the unallocated space in VMware.

Step 2. Extend C drive in VMware within Windows Server

If the unallocated space is right after the C drive, you can add it to the system drive easily in Disk Management. If it is not adjacent to the C partition, you need to use a third-party Server Disk Manage because Disk Management only allows you to extend a partition followed by an unallocated space at its right side. Next, we will show how to do it in those two different cases.

Case 1. The unallocated space is right after C drive

In this case, this task is easy to finish within the following steps.

2.1.1. Right-click the C drive in Disk Management and select “Extend Volume”.

Extend C Drive

2.1.2. In the Extend Volume Wizard window, click “Next” to continue.

Extend Volume Wizard

2.1.3. Select disk which contains the unallocated space to extend the system drive, and hit on “Add” >“Next”. You can also decide how much unallocated space you want to assigned to C drive in the “Select the amount of space in MB” column.

Select Disk

2.1.4. Then click “Finish” and wait for the process to accomplish.


Case 2. The unallocated space is not right after C drive in VMware

If the unallocated space is not adjacent to C drive in Virtual Machine, you can switch to a powerful Server Disk Manager such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Server (compatible with both Windows PC and Server). It breaks out the limitation of Windows Server Disk Management. Its “Merge Partition” feature can directly merge unallocated space into C drive or other partitions you want to extend no matter where it is located on the disk. And it "App Mover" feature enables you to free up disk space on C drive by migrating installed apps to another drive

Download its Demo version and see how it works (PS.: you cannot execute the final operation in the Demo).

Demo Version Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003
Secure Download

2.2.1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Server on your Virtual Machine. Right-click the C drive and choose "Advanced" and select “Merge Partitions” from the menu.

Merge Partitions

2.2.2. In this window, you will see the C drive has been ticked already. You just need to choose the target unallocated space and click “OK”.

Tick Unallocated Space

2.2.3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to execute the pending operation.


More notable features to extend C drive in VMware:
Apart from the “Merge Partition” function, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Server owns some other amazing features to help Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2016, and 2019 to extend C drive.
1. Allocate Free Space: it can directly assign some free space from one partition to another without damaging inside data.
2. Move Partition: it is able to move the unallocated space next to the target drive, and then extend it successfully through Disk Management.
3. Extend System Wizard: this wizard can extend NTFS system partition without rebooting on your PC or Server.


Now, you have learned how to extend C drive in VMware that is running Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019. With the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Server, you can effortlessly expand C drive in both Virtual and actual Server Machine.

Besides, it also allows you to move Windows Server to new hard drive, copy partition to another hard drive, and align partitions on SSD drive. If you want to install and enjoy this wonderful program on unlimited PC or Server computers, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Unlimited.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.