I had a 25GB partition for a Windows 7 guest machine running on a VMware Workstation 7 host. Over time, the /windows/winsxs directory grew to +20GB due to updates. VMware Workstation 7 (and I assume VMware Workstation 8) makes it easy to extend your system partition, with the help of third party tools. VMware Workstation 6 has a more involved process that will not be covered in this article. However, at least one of the links in the Additional Reading section at the end of this article covers VMware Workstation 6.
Open VMware Workstation 7 and click on the virtual machine with the partition you wish to increase. Enter the virtual machine’s settings and double-click on the disk you want to make bigger. Please note that you cannot have any snapshots for this VM. I suggest cloning or copying the VM you want to extend rather than risk losing everything. Work with the copy in case something goes wrong. If asked later, say that you moved rather than copied the VM. That way none of the hardware will change, thus avoiding any Windows license headaches. Just remember to delete the old VM so no conflicts arise (and adherence to license agreements) once you have verified that everything works as intended.
After double-clicking on the disk you want to extend, a new dialogue box will appear and one of the dropdown buttons on that dialogue box is labeled Utilities located towards the right-hand side of the dialogue box. Click on Utilities. I have highlighted the first two steps in the below screenshot.
The Utilities dropdown menu has an Expand option that should be selected.
Once Expand is selected, you will be presented with another dialogue box that allows you to change the disk size. In the below example, the 25GB disk from the above example will be changed to 40 GB after the Expand button is clicked.
A warning message may pop up saying something to the effect that the extra space hasn’t been allocated yet. Windows 7 does not natively support allocating extra space to a system drive. I used AOMEI Partition Assistant. Download it and install it on the virtual machine.
After launching AOMEI Partition Assistant, right click on the disk you want to make larger, and choose Resize Partition.
Either drag the handle (highlighted in red below) to the right, or manually change the Partition size and then click OK.
To save the changes, click on Apply in the upper left-hand corner. A final dialogue box may appear to make sure you are certain you wish to proceed with the changes. Click on Proceed and the changes will take effect.