Resize NTFS partitions using the GParted live CD

Working late tonight… I have a client that has a Dell PowerEdge 2800 server that is running out of disk space on the OS partition. The physical disk setup is a RAID 5 logical drive on 3 physical drives which is handled by the PERC 4 RAID controller. Dell shipped the unit with a 12GB / 120GB split with Windows 2003 Server loaded on the smaller C partition. Nowadays 12GB is certainly not enough room for the fully service packed 2003 operating system plus the usual array of management, AV, and backup utilities. Up to this point, everything that could be moved to the larger storage partition has been, including: Windows Server Update Services, Symantec Corporate Edition, and the systems page file. That was a time buying workaround, but the free space is ever decreasing with each wave of Microsoft updates. Now for the fun part.

I backed up the C and D partitions using the Acronis True Image Enterprise boot disk by creating a complete system image and storing it on an external USB drive. After that, I mounted the drive and its partitions on a Windows system and verified that the images contained the appropriate data in an uncorrupted state. I downloaded and burned a copy of Gparted live CD. You can download a copy for yourself here. After booting the server using the live CD, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it loaded the necessary drivers to see my logical drive from the PERC 4 card. Using the GUI provided by the live CD, I shrank the overly large storage partition down by about 15GB’s. Once that completed I went ahead and increased the size of the smaller operating system partition. It really is quite simple, you just choose the partition or drive that you want to resize and move the sliders left and right to shrink or grow the size. After applying my changes, I rebooted the server and watched the server boot into Windows 2003 Server. I ran a chkdsk just to verify that everything is in order as far as Windows is concerned. Result: Simple and flawless NTFS resizing done without the need to purchase any proprietary disk management software.

I highly recommend this live CD for anyone that needs to modify drives or partitions on a regular basis. You simply cannot beat the price and compatibility, the tool works on all modern file systems/drives.