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Backup Windows Image And Extend Free Space To Unallocated Disk Space

My Windows is running out of free disk space on a small, fixed size virtual disk. Without reinstalling Windows afresh as well as retaining current Windows environment, what should I do?

In short, I will create a Windows image (clone the Windows) to restore on a bigger virtual hard disk and extend Windows free space to take up those unallocated disk space.
This guide is tested with Windows 7 running on virtual machine, but it should be applicable for the latest Windows 10 running on physical machine or virtual machine too.

In detail:

1) Go to Control Panel and open “Backup and Restore”. Alternatively, click Start button to type “Backup and restore” and click the shortcut appears in search list.

2) In left pane, click “Create a system image” for backup the Windows image to a secondary virtual disk or external USB disk.
This native Windows program is like Norton Ghost in good old day – clone the Windows! So, make sure the secondary disk or external hard disk is as big as or bigger than the running Windows size.

Using Windows native program to clone a Windows image

3) When cloning Windows image process complete, click NO for “create a system repair disc” if you’ve a bootable Windows installation disc / ISO image. Otherwise, create one repair disk.

4) Turn off VM and remove the small disk (as we’ve just created a working Windows image). Add a bigger virtual disk to VM and boot it up with Windows installation / repair disc attached to VM.

5) When the Install Windows dialog box appear, click “Repair your computer” (highlighted).

Access to Windows Recovery from Windows installation disc

6) In the “System recovery options” dialog box, select “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier”. Next, it will detect and prompt you to use the Windows image backup in secondary disk or USB disk. Follow the rest of steps with default value as it prompts you to complete the reimage process.

7) When reimage process complete, remove Windows installation disc as well as secondary disk that contains the Windows image backup.

8) Next, boot up to Windows as normal.

9) Open Command Prompt window or click Start button to run “diskmgmt.msc” (Disk Management program). You’ll notice the current Windows disk size capacity does not extended to use all disk space. So, let’s do it manually – right click on volume C: (the Windows partition) and select “Extend volume” option to use all unallocated disk space.

Using Disk Management tool to extend Windows free space

Job done when the extend volume process complete. Happy working!

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