Not enough free space when upgrading

by Jane / Wed Aug 08 2018

When we upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, or from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2012, we may get an error message saying there’s not enough free space on C Drive for upgrading, please free up some space before proceeding

The official guide has solutions on this, it recommends us to:

  1. Clean up disk and free up space
  2. Disable page file on this drive

But, the thing is, those two official/general resolutions are actually not sufficient to get enough free space for upgrading, see the screenshots below

clean up space
disable page file

Clean up space function only free up 2.04M and disable page file gives up 2013MB (~2G) free space, apparently not enough for solving low disk space problem nor upgrading issue, we need at least 10GB free space for upgrading, make it up to 20G just in case

But where can we get such space?

Get it from other drives, like D, E, or other partition on the same disk

What tools can we use to perform such operations?

The built-in tools like Disk Management and Diskpart.exe (command prompt), also you can use third-party partition software, or some non-Microsoft disk management products, like Macrorit Partition Expert

Why would I use partition software when the default tools are capable of the same job?

You don’t have to use any partition manager software when you have unallocated space right after C Drive or feel OK to delete the continuous partition next to C Drive and make that area unallocated

Take Disk Management, for example, Extend Volume, this function requires continuous unallocated space and the file system of C Drive (or other partition you’d like to extend) to be NTFS. If there’s no unallocated space on the exact area and C Drive is FAT32, the Extend Volume will be grayed out

How about we create unallocated by shrinking a large volume

You can, of course, shrink a volume to create unallocated space, but when the position is not next to C Drive, the extend volume option would still be grayed out, you disk map may be looked like this:

C: Drive
D: Drive
E: Drive

(C Drive + D Drive + E Drive)

Now C Drive is in low disk space, D Drive medium, E Drive has plenty of free space, we run Disk Management, Shrink E Drive and get disk map like this:

C: Drive
D: Drive
Smaller E: Drive

(C Drive + D Drive + Smaller E Drive + unallocated space)

Then we right-click on C Drive and found Extend Volume Grayed out…

We can’t move unallocated space next to C Drive, Windows currently doesn’t support so, unless we delete D Drive we won’t be able to activate that function

The same requirements for the diskpart command tool

So, shrink a volume to create unallocated space for C Drive extending is not a solution

What if I insist extending C Drive in Disk Management, what should I do?

Flee free to ignore the partition software, we can extend C Drive in Disk Management like this:

  1. Backup the partition we’re about to delete, in this case, D Drive, you can manually copy all the files and folders (or selected ones) in that drive and paste them to another drive, or simply use the Windows backup wizard
  2. Run Disk Management and right-click on D Drive, choose the ‘Delete Volume’ option and click Yes to the warning message once you had the backup
  3. Then right-click on C Drive, the extend volume option is now activated, click on it and follow the guide to extend

You don’t have to use all the unallocated space for C Drive extending, in the extend volume wizard guide window, we can specify that to the desired size, then the rest of the unallocated space can be used to create D Drive again, so we right-click on the rest, and “Create Volume” on it to get D Drive back again, although it’s getting smaller, it should be enough from part of the data we backed up

Is partition software difficult to use?

No, not at all. I mean, Partition Expert is easy to use, you just need to follow the steps below to extend C Drive:

  1. Run Partition Expert and click on E Drive (we use the same disk map above)
  2. Click the function “Resize/Move Volume” to open the resize window
  3. Drag the left handle to the right to shrink this volume and click OK when you get enough unallocated space
  4. Click on D Drive, Resize/Move volume on it, drag the entire disk to the right
  5. Click on C Drive, Resize/Move volume, drag the right side handle to the end and click OK, Commit
Hover on the image to show extending effect

I don’t think that’s easy to operate, any alternatives?

…Although it seems too much on the description, it actually takes few clicks, all the clicks may take seconds to complete.

Never mind, we do have an alternative plan: Partition Extender

Steps to extend C Drive in Partition Extender:

  1. Click on D Drive first and click Next, drag the handle to the right
  2. Repeat the same operation on C Drive
Extend System Volume in Partition Extender

In Partition Extender, you don’t have to create unallocated space first, you just click on a drive, drag the handle, and it will automatically get free space from the partition right next to it

Try the demo below to extend C Drive, this works the same in Partition Extender

C: Drive
D: Drive

When there's unallocated space next to D Drive, Partition Expert first merge that and then take free space from D Drive if you keep on dragging the handle to extend in the resize window

That’s impressive, but I don’t want to install any software

No need to install, we have portable edition available, just download it and directly run it from the package, choose the 32-bit or 64-bit edition, if you’re not sure about which Windows version you’re running, click on the link to find it out

A simple task like partition extending, the small utility Partition Extender will be enough.

For daily disk partition managing job, we recommend Partition Expert, the alternative and powerful Disk Management alternative program

As for Data cleaning, we have Data Wiper to ensure data safe

And as for hard drive surface test, we get Disk Scanner to scan bad sectors

All of our programs have the portable edition and support both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems

Download and Try