OK, I've tried two methods for extending the primary hard drive. One was to Ghost the drive to another larger virt drive. The other was to make a copy of it, extending it via vmkfstools and extending the partition with diskpart as a secondary drive as described here:
BOTH times I try to boot off the new drive and as soon as I log in, after seeing a brief "applying settings" and whatnot, it logs out and I'm back to the logon screen.
Does it consistently do that over and over or just the first time after the drive is extended? Can you boot to safe mode and run Chkdsk on the drive? Was Windows 2003 shutdown properly prior to extending, if not this can cause problems.
You could always use Converter to do this, or the GPartEd Live CD as detailed below...
Method 1 Using vmkfstools and gparted (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php)
o Download the gparted livecd ISO and make it available so it can be mounted by the virtual machines CD-ROM
o Shutdown the virtual machine you want to resize
o Log into the ESX Server console via Putty
o Type vmkfstools X ie. /vmfs/volumes/Storage1/my_vm.vmdk New disk size can be specified in kilo, mega or gigabytes and will be the total size of the new disk. So if you want to increase a virtual disk from 20GB to 24GB you would specify either 24000m or 24g
o Power on the Virtual Machine and make sure it boots properly, load Disk Management and you will see the new unallocated space
o Now to join the unallocated space to the primary partition, first shutdown the Virtual Machine
o Connect the Virtual Machine to the GpartEd ISO file and make sure you enable Connected at Power On
o Power on the Virtual Machine
o Press ESC at the Bios screen to get to the Boot Menu
o Select CD-ROM as the Boot device
o Gnome Partition Editor will load, press Enter at the boot screen
o At the Boot option screen select Manual Video Card and then select Done
o Select US English at the Language screen
o Select qwerty/us.map at the Keyboard screen
o Select Generic VESA Compatiable at the Video Driver screen
o Select 8 at the Display Depth screen
o Select 1024x768 at the Resolution screen
o Once the partition editor loads, click on /dev/sda1 in the partition list
o Click the Resize/Move button
o 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 0 free space preceding and following and then click the Resize/Move button
o 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.
o Click the power button in the bottom right corner, then select reboot.
o Edit the VM and remove the ISO from the CD/ROM device (change to Client)
o When the server restarts it will do a Check Disk, let this complete, Windows will prompt for a reboot after you login
o Reboot and load Disk Management and your Primary Partion will be the new size without any unallocated space
Great suggestions, all! I am going to try giovanni.galloro's links - they look promising.
Mattpound - No, I don't think it is a space issue.
esiebert7625 - I will give that method a shot next time Yes, it was shut down properly before, so I don't think that is it. It is doing this repeatedly. I can't log in to safe mode, either.
I will post an update as soon as I can.
As a final note, I tried the Ghost method again and it worked properly. I think I booted the VM after the Ghost procedure last time and that assigned a drive letter to the destination drive, so when I tried to use it I ran into the logon loop. This time I made sure not to do that and it worked right off the bat. Live and learn.