2 Solutions for Unable to Shrink Volume in Windows Server 2016

If you are unable to shrink volume in Server 2016 and create another volume or extend another existing volume, here you can learn why you cannot shrink volumes in Server 2016, as well as how to fix this problem easily.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Unable to shrink volume in Server 2016 due to unmovable files

I have D: drive that is 200G and about half of it is empty space. I shrinked it to this size from 300GB, but now I cannot shrink it anymore. It has something to do with the unmovable files. I have emptied the trash bin but it did not help with this issue. So how can I shrink it more? Thanks.

- Question from quora.com

Shrinking volume can generate an unallocated space, with which you can create new partition or extend another existing partition in Server 2016. Generally, users can shrink a volume via the Windows built-in Disk Management, which provides the “Shrink Volume” and “Extend Volume” options.  However, in some cases, it cannot shrink volume successfully as you expected. Like the user case above, when there are some unmovable files on the target partition, the shrinking volume process might be unable to continue smoothly.

2 Methods to solve “cannot shrink volume in Server 2016” 

In this part, we will show how to solve this issue via two different methods. One is manually disabling unmovable file while another is using a professional partition manager. For more details on how to do it step by step, just keep reading.

Method 1. Disable the unmovable files

In the process of shrinking a volume in Server 2016, you will get a notification saying “You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located”. To put it simply, if there are 4 blocks in the target drive: 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the unmovable files are located in block 3, then you can only shrink the partition to 3 block, even if there are much free space in space 1 and 2.

The unmovable files refer to page file, hibernation and other large files. If you are unable to shrink volume in Server 2016, 2019, 2012 or other Server computer due to those unmovable files, you can try the traditional method.

1. Disable hibernation

1. Press the Windows+R button on the keyboard to open Run menu.

2. Input cmd and hit on Enter to open Command Prompt window.

3. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off, and then press Enter.

4. Type exit, and then press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

Disable Hibernate

2. Disable page file

1. Right click on This PC and open Properties.

2. Select Advanced in System Properties window.

3. Click Advanced tab.

4. Under Performance, click Settings.

5. Under Performance Options, click Advanced tab.

6. Here under Virtual memory pane, select Change.

7. Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.

Disable Pagefile

3. Disable system protection

1. Click Start, in the pop-out list, select System.

2. Then select Advanced System Settings.

3. In the dialog, click System Protection and then Configure button.

4. Here, you can choose Disable the System Protection feature.

After cancelling page file, hibernation and system protection, now you can try to shrink the volume again. At last, don't forget to enable hibernation and page file.

Method 2. Shrink volume flexibly with a 3rd party partition manager

This above solution is kind of complicated for most users. Therefore, here we will share you with a much easier solution to fixing "unable to shrink volume in Server 2016" problem.

To easily shrink volume in Windows Server computer without being affected by unmovable files, it is advised to use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server instead. More powerful than Windows Server Disk Management, it can move the location of all files including the unmovable files when shrinking a partition in Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003 computer. So it allows you to easily shrink volume even if there are unmovable files. Just 3 steps can shrink partitions.

Try Demo Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Server, right click the target partition and select “Resize/Move Partition”.

Shrink Partition

Step 2. In this window, drag the partition to the left side to shrink it.


Step 3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the pending operation.


This can help you to shrink partition with ease when the unmovable files prevent you from doing that in Disk Management. In addition, if you cannot shrink partition in Server 2016 because the partition is formatted to be FAT32 (Disk Management can only shrink or extend NTFS/RAW partition), AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can also help you with that. This might be a great help for users who want to shrink C drive since the system drive is always with FAT32 file system. Besides, it allows you to shrink encrypted partition effortlessly.

Apart from all the above amazing functions, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server also has many other wonderful functions such as:
● Copy partition to another drive.
Move Server OS to another hard drive without boot problems.
● Convert system/data disk between MBR and GPT without deleting partitions/losing data.
● Convert dynamic disk to basic without losing data.
● Wipe system disk completely.

What to do after shrinking volume in Server 2016?

In Disk Management, you can only use the unallocated space by shrinking volume to create a new volume. If that’s your final purpose, right-click the unallocated space, select “New Simple Volume” and follow the wizard to finish the operation.

Create Partition Disk Management

However, the unallocated space cannot be utilized to extend another existing partition in Disk Management. That's because: the unallocated space will be generated after the partition you shrank, and “Extend Volume” can only work when the unallocated space is right after the partition you need to extend. Luckily, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can move the unallocated space behind the to-be-extend partition via “Move Partition” function.

Move Partition D

Besides, its "Merge Partitions" function is able to directly merge unallocated space into a partition even when the unallocated space is not adjacent to the aim partition.

Choose Unallocated Space

If there is no unallocated space available on the disk, you can try "Allocate Free Space" feature to assign some free space from one partition to another by simple 3 steps.

Allocate Free Space From D To C Drive


This post gives a clear explanation about why you are unable to shrink volume in Server 2016, and provides two effective methods for your reference. To solve it easily, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is highly recommended.If you want to install the program on many computers in one company, the Unlimited Edition is a better choice. For computer specialists and technicians, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Technician is strongly recommended.

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.