Expanding a VM’s Hard Drive

Today, I needed to expand the hard drive in a VMware Workstation 6.5 image. It’s a simple process, but can be non-trivial if you don’t know where to start. I’ve posted the steps below, (much more for my reference than anyone else’s 😉 )

  1. Open a command prompt, and CD to the directory which contains the VMDK file you wish to expand.
  2. Use the command “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe –x 6GB ‘Windows XP Professional’”, where ‘Windows XP Professional’ is the name of the Virtual Machine Disk File. This will increase the disk allocation to 6GB, (this may take a while).
  3. Now to join the unallocated space to the primary partition – Ensure your image is powered off, and is set to mount the gparted ISO, (can be downloaded here). This can be changed in the image options under Settings -> CD/DVD. Select the ‘Use ISO image:’ option and point it to the gparted ISO.
  4. Next Power on the Virtual Machine, press ESC at the BIOS screen to get to the Boot Menu. Select CD-ROM as the Boot device.
  5. Gnome Partition Editor will load, press Enter at the boot screen. Select all options as they are asked as default, (ensure you select English as your language.)
  6. To complete the join of the unallocated space to your partition, complete the following steps:

• Once the partition editor loads, click on /dev/sda1 in the partition list.
• Click the Resize/Move button.
• Click and drag the arrow to extend the size of the partition, make sure you do a resize (double arrow) and not a move (four way arrow) so you should have 0mb free space preceding and following, and then click the Resize/Move button.
• Next click the Apply button and then the operation will start, you can expand Details to see the progress, once completed click the Close button.
• Click the power button in the top left corner, then select reboot.
• Edit the VM and remove the ISO from the CD/ROM device.
• When the OS restarts it will do a Check Disk, let this complete, Windows will prompt for a reboot after you login.
• Reboot and load Disk Management (diskpart.exe -> Show volume) and your Primary Partition will be the new size without any unallocated space.

See, it’s as easy as that 🙂 …