Expand server disk in a virtual image

Did you ever participate in a survival training? If so, which tools did you have in your backpack to make it a success? I guess that you had at least a Swiss knife with you. It is not big or heavy and has a lot of functions to help you with little practical things.
An infrastructure tester needs his version of the Swiss knife as well. During infrastructure testing, you often have to deal with small tasks (e.g. compare logfiles, creating images, …) which could take a lot of time when done manually. In this case, small tools would be of a great help.

Last week, I was struggling with such a small task:

  • I had a VMImage with Windows2003 server on one partition/disk (C:) of 15GB for which I needed to install additional software.
  • Current size of image was too small to perform this task.
  • Thus, the disk needed to be expanded with another 5GB.

So, I started my quest in order to find the right tool at no cost. Here are my findings.

  • Windows has a default DOS command “diskpart” to expand disks
    Problem: with this built-in tool you cannot expand the boot disk (in this case C:).

    DOS command “diskpart”

  • There a lot of partition tools on the market. For home use (Windows XP/7/8) you have a lot of free editions (e.g. EaseUS Partition Master, Partition Magic, …). Unfortunately, partitioning a server, requires the professional edition of these tools which is, in most cases, not for free.
  • Finally, I found a product (Aomei Partition Assistant Lite) which has a free server edition. At a first glimpse, this product seemed to have the functions I needed.

Now I had all my Swiss knife tools to do the job, hereunder the steps:

  • Step 1: Ensure that your VMWare image is powered off
  • Step 2: Launch VMPlayer
  • Step 3: Select the VMWare image
  • Step 4: Edit the virtual machine settings
  • Step 5: Select the hard disk and go to utilities -> expand disk and specify size

    Expand hard disk of VMImage

  • Step 6: The disk is now expanded but the additional space is still  unallocated.

    Situation before disk allocation

    Situation before disk allocation

  • Step 7: Launch the partition software on your server inside the VMWare image.
  • Step 8: In the tool select the boot disk and expand it with the unallocated space.

    Situation after disk allocation

Conclusion: with these small tools (VMPlayer, Aomei Partition Assistant Lite), I could perform my task at no cost!

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