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VMWare Virtual Machine Image Size Increase For Windows XP      
  3/5/2008 9:06:39 AM

I've been using VMWare Workstation for a while now.  I use them to simulate customer environments.  I've been creating Windows XP images allowing only 5GB of disk space for the OS and application.  Recently, I came across the need to extend my image size.

In the past, I've gotten away with adding additional volumes, mounting them as subdirectories, typically under c:/Program Files/application directory.

This time, it was not that simple.  I needed to extend the volume to accomidate more than one application.  I decided the simplest solution was just to extend "C:."

This is how I did it.

Extend Image
  1. Make sure the virtual machine is off.
  2. Start a command console in the host machine. Window-R, cmd
  3. Type vmware-vdiskmanager -x[size] [image name].

  4. This step can take some time.
Extend XP Volume

One of the limitations I ran into was Windows does not extend its system drive.  A quick search online would find common solutions such as Partition Magic or Linux solutions like Knoppix.  Partion Magic costs money.  Knoppix was free, but requires downloading the CD image.  I did try the Knoppix, but ran into a problem that others ran into.  I managed to extend the disk but not the partition.  There was no solution found with that one.  I banged my head against the monitor, and gave up.
The alternative solution, which worked for me, was the use of Window's Diskpart.  The limitation was that it cannot extend the system drive.  This can easily be bypassed.
  1. With the virtual machine off, launch VMWare Workstation.
  2. Close the virtual machine which we are trying to extend.
  3. Open another XP machine.
  4. In the "Edit virtual machine settings" menu, add a new hard disk.
  5. Select "Use an existing virtual disk" and select the volume we are trying to extend, and "Finish".
  6. Start this machine.  By doing this, the volume we want to extend is now a secondary drive on this second active XP virtual machine.
  7. Once XP is up and running, check the drives to verify that the drive we are trying to extend in not the system drive.
  8. Start Window-R and type "diskpart".
  9. From the diskpart prompt, type "list volume".
  10. Type "select volume=[vol#]" where vol# is the number of the volume we want to extend.  In this case, 2.
  11. Type "extend".
  12. This step should be relatively fast.
  13. Once complete, shutdown this virtual machine.
Almost There
  1. Remove this disk image from the second XP machine from within the VMWare Workstation.
  2. Restart the original virtual machine, the one we just extended.
  3. Verify in Disk Manager, Disk Properties, etc. that the disk has been extended.

5 comments are found.
5/14/2010 11:17:12 AM

Thanks Ben for your comment.

I never ran into the RAW vs NTFS problem. I am not certain as to why you did. Also, my usage for these VM images have always been for testing. As such, I never had any experience with a machine from a domain. Logically it doesn't make sense why it will be removed. However, thanks for the tip. I'm sure it will be useful to others in the future.
5/13/2010 6:22:25 PM

I was able to use a Windows 2003 (VMware) server to extend another Win2k3 (Vmware) machine's partition. I did however find that I had to first assign a drive letter to the partition I wanted to extend. Prior to this, it reported that the partition was RAW and not NTFS.

Something odd also happened the extension. The original system was no longer joined to the domain, but I had no issues re-joining it.
8/22/2008 7:44:49 AM

Hi, first i must say thanks for your article!
Second i ended up just adding another drive to the VM and moved my SQL Server Database to my second drive.
Thanks though!
8/21/2008 4:45:51 PM

Hi Etienne,

I have not done this with Windows 2003.  If you are able to explain where it is failing, maybe I can try to help.  For example, if Windows 2003 does not have the ability to perform the 2nd step of "Extending" the volume, I would suggest taking that disk, and attaching it to an XP image as an additional disk, and performing that operation using XP.  Before trying, I would make sure you have a backup copy of that image you are trying to extend.

I will say that have done the exact same operation on Server 2003 images.

If this doesn't help, maybe you can provide me with a bit more info and I can try to help.  If anyone reading this with Windows 2003 image expansion experience, maybe you can chime in too.
8/21/2008 8:44:26 AM

But what if i am using Windows 2003?
It does not allow me to extend!


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