What is the System Reserved Partition and Can You Delete It?
Just as all who are interested in knowing how their computer works, especially storage, you have discovered the hidden partition called the System Reserved. Only a few surface users ever learn about this partition, as you have to open Disk Management in Windows. Therefore, first, hats off for this discovery.
The questions most people ask are; the purpose of the partition, how it is created, and if it is possible to delete it. This article provides the answers to these questions and an additional tip.
What Is the System Reserved Partition?
It is a special partition created by Windows from Windows 7 onwards. The partition is also available on Windows server 2008 and newer Windows server operating systems. It takes about 100MB in Windows 7, 350MB and 500MB on Windows 8 and 10 respectively.
What Is the Use of a System Reserved Partition?
Windows uses the System Reserved partition to save specific crucial data. They are:
Boot manager: The partition stores the boot manager code as well as the Boot Configuration Data, BCD. When you start your computer, the computer finds the necessary commands to start appropriately from the System Reserved partition. In simple terms, your system needs the partition to start.
Bitlocker encryption files: You may want to protect your data by using Bitlocker to encrypt your hard drive. Your computer will circumvent the encryption at starting by booting the unencrypted System Reserved partition first. It then uses the Bitlocker files stored in this partition to decrypt the locked drives and eventually boot the encrypted Windows system.
Recovery environment data: They are only necessary for Windows 10. Hence the additional 150MB above Windows 8.
When Does Windows create the System Reserved Partition?
Windows creates the partition when you are installing the OS for the first time on your drive. It does this before the creation of the primary system partition.
Can You Delete the System Reserved Partition?
Can you or should you? The answer to the latter is no. Windows hide the partition to keep from tampering with it because it contains essential information for the operating system. Besides, it is impossible to delete this partition directly, which is unlike other partitions. Therefore, it is wise to leave it.
Furthermore, why would you want to free 500MB at the risk of messing up the operation of your computer, especially in this age of cheap storage memory?
Nonetheless, if you want to get rid of this partition, you will find several helpful online guides and tools to guide you through the lengthy process.
How to Prevent Windows from Creating a Reserved System Partition
The best practice for those who do not want the System Reserved partition on their drive is to prevent windows from creating it in the first place. You can do this by using a disk-partitioning tool to create a partition that consumes all the unallocated space before you install Windows.
When installing Windows, you should point it to the partition. It will then install all the files into this single partition. However, you will still not have saved any storage space since the system must install the boot files. The only difference is that this time they will be in the primary partition instead, hence no System Reserved partition.