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Windows 7: Um. 55GB (yes, GB) System Reserved Partition?!

02 May 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Um. 55GB (yes, GB) System Reserved Partition?!

So I've been struggling a bit with my disk space of late; I've got a 320GB drive in my main Windows machine that's really all I've been using. (System specs list a 400GB drive but it's currently dedicated to other uses.) It finally dawned on me that something was out of whack, because a 320GB drive should be showing up as around 300 in Windows last I checked, but mine's registering as 260 or so.

So, I went hunting for a reason, and discovered that somehow, rather than the usual 100MB System Reserved boot partition, I've got a 55 GIGABYTE one. And it's otherwise normal; about 35MB is used on it.

Searching around, I can't find anyone with anything even remotely like this. I suppose it's possible that I was being stupid when I first installed W7 on this machine and changed the partition size somehow, but I can't find anything else that might do it. I also found that resizing this partition may be problematic.

What I DON'T want to do is get rid of the partition altogether. I just want to take back 54.999 GB worth of wasted hard drive space, but I can't seem to find a straight-up answer of whether resizing it down to 100MB (or even 200MB) is going to completely hose my machine. If it is, I'll bite the bullet, back everything up, and reinstall clean. But I'd rather not, so any info anyone here can provide would be super awesome.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2011   #2
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

The System Reserve holds boot files but ALSO has a "Recycle.bin" in some cases.

If you really want to get nosy, you can open Disk Management (Right click Computer > Manage > Disk Management) and assign the partition a drive letter. If you don't see anything, turn off hiding of system files in (alt) Tools > Options > View.

If you still can't figure it out, google for a program called WinDirStat and run that. Have it scan the partition and see what it comes up with. Report back.

WARNING: You can tank your bootloader if you mess something up, your Windows disc will be your friend to fix the bootloader if it gets messed up. Make sure to remove the drive letter when you're "done" investigating.

PS: Here's what I see in mine:

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2011   #3

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
another useful tool to look for disk space used / file / directory sizes / wasted space.

Get it here.

JAM Software - Windows Freeware

BTW a decent solution to your problem might be

1) Create a W7 recovery disk.
2) using GPARTED or other partition tool delete this partition and re-size your W7 partition. Leave 100 MB unformatted / unreserved .
You'll need the CD / USB BOOTABLE versions of the partitioning tool you want to use.
3) boot

You'll get a boot failure -- now the trick is to use the W7 recovery disk to rebuild the boot sector.

It should work.

Backup any important data however before doing this just in case you get hosed up.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 May 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Yeah, I got hosed up. Fortunately, none of the data is a problem though. Time to yank the W7 recovery out.

I did see the Recycle Bin in there when I poked around but it was empty; less than 25 megs of data on the partition. I'm thinking I was just a retard when I partitioned instead of letting Win7 do it's own thing.

Thanks for the info and recommendations! Once I get it solved I'll swing back and mark it as such. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2011   #5
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

The thing is, Windows 7 will ALWAYS create a System Reserve if it does the partitioning itself. If you used a tool like GParted, etc to partition the drive before hand, you won't have that problem. You should also be able to just shrink the partition to around 100MB and expand your main partition.

I would make an Image via Windows Backup and Restore just in case, though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I sort of went the other way on it and dug out my 400GB drive that I was using in a media server, but wasn't actually being used for any storage. Installed Win7 on that then did a copy of the user profile from the old drive to the new.

For reference, though, what caused the need for that was because I did try resizing the partition down to 100MB and then expanding the main partition, and it pretty much caused it to fail to boot. I spent a few hours last night monkeying with it and about half of today before I finally said the heck with it and got the other drive.

Oh, and this time around, I used gparted to create the partition table ahead of time. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2011   #7
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Great to hear. For those who find this topic, you can also use DISKPART on the Windows 7 disc to create your partitions as well. The rule is as long as the Windows 7 installer does not create the partitions, you will not have this issue, however it can be a bit difficult and risky to remove it after the fact if you are not careful, comfortable, or know what you are doing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Um. 55GB (yes, GB) System Reserved Partition?!

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