[TUTORIAL]Delete W7's Reserved Partition After Install & Keep All Your Data

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by murdercitydevil, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    #1 murdercitydevil, Sep 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2017
    This tutorial is a result of this thread, http://forums.mydigitallife.net/threads/9613, which chronicles the steps I took in achieving this as well as all feedback and help I received from the good people on these forums. A big thanks goes to wcahill, Dolorous Edd, Phazor, Hot Carl, secr9tos, and everyone else who helped out.

    Disclaimer
    Obviously, I'm in no way responsible if you mess something up and delete all your data with no way to back it up. Take care when formatting and deleting partitions and you should have no problems!

    Basics
    If you're like me and have installed W7 for the first time, you may be stuck with a 100mb reserved, hidden, system partition that holds all of the OS's boot information. Like me, you may have not realized that it's installed by default, or did not know how to avoid creating it at the time. If, like me, you are a perfectionist and this strange hidden partition bothers you, you will want to get rid of it! The problem is reconfiguring your disk so that the OS and its boot files are located on a single partition, while at the same time keeping W7 functional and having all your programs, files, and settings perfectly intact as if nothing ever changed. Here's how to do it!

    What You Will Need
    1. Basic knowledge of creating/restoring system images
    2. Basic knowledge of creating/deleting partitions and formatting a disk
    3. Partitioning software on a bootable CD (optional)
    4. 3rd party imaging software (such as Acronis TrueImage)
    5. A bootable CD with file managing capabilities (must be done outside of Windows...otherwise you cannot transfer/copy important system files)
    6. A secondary drive to store your image backups. Using Acronis, I needed something like 25 gigs of space to store the image.

    How To Do It [NOTE] This is what worked for me. I'm sure there are more ways than one to get this accomplished, and you may need to take additional steps to get it working for you. There are several methods outlined in the original thread that I did not need to try.

    1. First and foremost, create an image of your disk with Window's built in imaging software (All Programs>Maintenance>Backup and Restore>Create a system image). This is not the final image you will use; instead, this is your backup in case something goes wrong and Windows becomes unbootable. This image will not work in achieving the desired result because it makes an image of the ENTIRE disk, meaning it includes the hidden partition, and when restored, you will be back where you started. To use it, boot from your Windows 7 installation DVD and click Restore My Computer, then follow the steps to restore the image.

    2. Set your Windows 7 OS partition as the new boot device. First, download bootsect.exe. Make a new folder and extract bootsect.exe there. Then right click and make a new text document in the same folder. Name it whatever you want but make sure to save it as .bat. Edit the file and insert the following:
    (change C to whatever your Windows 7 drive letter is)
    Now run the batch file as an administrator. It will tell you that the bootcode was updated. It may also say that the update is unreliable, access denied, etc. This is fine.

    3. Restart and boot with a CD that can access your hard drives and has a file manager. I used a CD with Ubuntu 9.04. It has the option of running Ubuntu straight from the CD without installing anything. I believe the Ultimate Boot CD also has several tools that can do the same thing, but Ubuntu is very easy to use and has a great GUI. What you need to do is locate your 100mb system reserved partition, copy everything on it, and paste it onto the root folder of your Windows 7 partition. The only thing that is duplicated is the System Volume Information folder, but I don't think it matters whether or not this is copied.

    4. Boot back into Windows 7. Make sure the boot files you just copied are now on the OS partition (You may need to assign a drive letter to the partition, otherwise it won't show up in Windows Explorer. To do this, open Disk Management [Type diskmgmt.msc in the Start search box and press Enter], right click on the System Reserved partition, and select "Change drive letters and paths...", then add a drive letter of your choosing. Also make sure you can view hidden and system protected files in Explorer). Now, this may or may not be necessary, but I repeated step 2 and ran the batch file again, just in case.

    5. Now you need to set your Windows 7 Partition as the ACTIVE partition. I could not proceed whatsoever until Dolorous Edd suggested this, it's very important! Navigate to disk management again. You should see your disk, containing your Windows 7 Install partition and the 100mb System Reserved partition. Right click on your Windows 7 partition and select "Mark Partition as Active". It will give you some warning dialogs, just click OK. If you don't do this, Windows 7 will not be recognized as bootable after you delete the system reserved partition later on. Additionally, Windows System Repair will not recognize your OS and you will be unable to repair the boot files, if necessary.

    6. Now, finally, you can delete that pesky 100mb partition and get your precious disk space back :D. For this, you will need partition software that can be run from a CD. I used GParted. Boot the CD and locate the disk on which your Windows 7 install is located. *Use caution! Be careful not to delete anything except the 100mb partition, especially if you have more than one hard drive on your computer* Select the 100mb partition, which should be named "System Reserved" and delete it. You will now be left with your Windows 7 Partition, and 100mb of unallocated space.

    7. Reboot and try to load Windows 7. If you did everything right, you should be able to boot with no problems. You can verify that the partition is deleted by going into Disk Management again.

    6. Now you're ready to back up your Windows 7 install. Like I said before, using the built-in disk imaging will not work because it will image the ENTIRE disk, so you need 3rd party software that can image individual partitions. Additionally, the software needs to come with the ability to create a bootable CD from which you can restore backups, as you will be formatting your entire disk in the next step. I used Acronis TrueImage and made a "rescue" CD or whatever its called that is included with the software (this basically just runs the same program off a CD without ever having to load Windows). Do not select "Clone Disk" as this will do the same thing as Windows' image backup - make a copy of the entire disk, 100mb of unallocated space included. Make a backup of only your Windows 7 Partition and save it on a separate disk. With Acronis I left all the options at default and stored it on my 1TB storage drive.

    7. Reboot and load up your partitioning software again. This time, you're going to delete your Windows 7 partition as well. *Make sure you have backups! I'm not responsible if you lose all your data!!* Your disk should now consist of all unallocated space. Now you are going to create a new single partition and format it for NTFS. After you're satisfied, reboot and now load up your imaging software's rescue/recovery/emergency CD.

    8. Now it's time to restore Windows 7 onto your new, continuous partition. Select the option to restore data and locate the image file that you stored on a separate disk in step 6. Again, I used all the default settings. The target of your image should obviously be the new partition you just created. When it's finished, reboot! If everything went according to plan, you should boot your new merged Windows 7 partition complete with all your files, programs, and settings, which is now 100mb bigger and devoid of a stupid hidden system partition! Success!

    NOTE:
    If, in step 8, you weren't able to boot, fire up your Windows 7 Install disk and attempt System Repair. If unsuccessful, reference the original thread (http://forums.mydigitallife.net/threads/9613) for other posters' suggestions. Secr9tos, for instance, said the following:

    Conclusion
    Good luck and remember if anything goes wrong, you should have your original image to use as a backup. Post your results/issues/suggestions/feedback! Thanks for reading!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Dolorous Edd

    Dolorous Edd MDL Expert

    Aug 31, 2009
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    This is a good guide for those of us who missed the boat so to speak and wound up with the 100mb partition. I would like to add that it is a good idea to make an image any time you do a fresh install.
     
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  3. imatrix

    imatrix MDL Guru

    Jul 29, 2009
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    is the benefit worth the risk? will this increase the performance? and what's the big deal to have 100mb partition there?
     
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  4. Dolorous Edd

    Dolorous Edd MDL Expert

    Aug 31, 2009
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    Bottom line is that the 100mb partition doesn't hurt anything but some of us just don't want it there. I removed it from my system because I use images to restore my computer whenever I screw it up and I did not want that 100mb partition restored every time I restored from my restoration image.

    By all means, if you are OK with that 100mb partition then leave it there.
     
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  5. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    benefit worth the risk? Depends on how you perceive the benefit. If you do it correctly and carefully, there is zero risk. Increase performance? Well, you'll have 100 mb extra disk space and a single partition for all OS files. I suppose in theory this might speed up boot time by a few milliseconds :D And there is no big deal, like it says at the top, this is for those of us who are anal about this type of thing. The same type of people who run CCleaner and scan for viruses on a daily basis, I suppose.
     
  6. drably

    drably MDL Member

    Feb 4, 2008
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    if you install without the partition in the first place, you wont have to worry about this.
     
  7. luxury54

    luxury54 MDL Novice

    Aug 15, 2009
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    acronis true image 2009 is backing up also the 100mb partition so nothing to worry in case you want to restore the image (if it stays hidden it won't even bother me so no need to complicate things)
    and by the way,I made a HDD backup with acronis and with all my programs installed and configured,the image takes 2,7 GB of space with it's normal compression method (that is done in real time while backing up) so I don't know how you end up with a 25 GB image :eek:
     
  8. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Yeah I think it's pretty clear how obvious this is. Thanks for the brilliant insight. However, it's not the point.

    And yeah, my image is actually 18 gigs, but that includes a bunch of media that I have in my Libraries plus saved games that I copied over from my old Vista install.
     
  9. George King

    George King MDL Member

    Aug 5, 2009
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    Hi, can you write BAT installer for delete 100MB partion? I all things can be done without restart ;)
     
  10. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    I have absolutely no idea how you would combine all of this into a batch file. I have no experience doing anything like that. Also, I don't think it's possible because a few steps have to be done outside of windows. You can't format your disk while in Windows, for instance.
     
  11. George King

    George King MDL Member

    Aug 5, 2009
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    Here must be method how mount hide partion and copy all needed files...
     
  12. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    There might be, but I'm not the person who would know anything about it. Like I said I don't know how to write batch scripts...especially ones as complicated as this.
     
  13. Gamer2win

    Gamer2win MDL Novice

    Jun 10, 2008
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    If you partition your drive and format it before installing win7
    there won't be any hidden partitions
     
  14. tci

    tci MDL Novice

    May 25, 2007
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    Nice tutorial but it seems like a lot of work and time consuming. Here's what i did.

    1. Installed Paragon Partition Manager
    2. Deleted the 100mb partition.
    3. Extended my main partition to use up all the free space.

    All done within windows, 1 reboot required.

    Im sure other partitioning programs can be used.
     
  15. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    How did you do that if all your boot files were stored on that partition? Unless Windows randomly chooses where to put its boot files...because my hidden partition had nothing but boot stuff and system volume information. Windows was a vegetable without those files. Also from what I've heard doing partition work such as extending on a partition that's full of files can lead to corruption and possible data loss. But if it worked for you, then that's good!
     
  16. tci

    tci MDL Novice

    May 25, 2007
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    Now that you mention it i dont know, all i did was use the partitioning program. On my C i have a Boot and Recovery folder and system boots fine.
     
  17. murdercitydevil

    murdercitydevil MDL Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Interesting...well in any case, for me the boot stuff was stored on my system reserved partition, and Windows was not able to automatically repair anything, so as you can see I was forced to do it the hard way. I just wanted to help out those who may be in the same situation I was.
     
  18. MaCaNiX

    MaCaNiX MDL Novice

    Oct 24, 2009
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    Dell Laptop hidden and locked uitility partition

    Used this to delete a Dell Laptop hidden (and locked) utility partition which is pretty much useless if you have the recovery CD (Win7)
    Few hassles getting any of the boot partition managers to "see" & delete the locked partition but worked out in the end... now have a Dell lappy with one large, contiguous boot partition...:biggrin:

    Great tutorial all round... thanks mate..
     
  19. NiHiLisT

    NiHiLisT MDL Member

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Nice post!

    But whats the deal with the 100MB partition? I mean it's there but it does not bother me at all. Are there any disadvantages to have it on the hard drive?
     
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  20. kwanbis

    kwanbis MDL Junior Member

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Good reading. I don't think is worth it, but very interesting.