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Windows 7: Moving "System Reserved" partition

30 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Moving "System Reserved" partition

Hi all

I've two Windows 7 installations as a multi boot on two physical drives:

Disk 1 - 100 MB System reserved partition and a windows partition with my first (not genuine I later found) installation
Disk 2 - Second "genuine" installation

I'll eventually delete the first installation and would like also to shift the System reserved partition to the second disk so that it "stands alone" as a boot drive. I'm comfortable enough with creating/copying/moving partitions but guess that it won't be as simple as "inserting" a copy of the system reserved partition at the start of the second disk and switching the boot order of the drives.

I can't find any tutorials/posts on the topic, nearest hint suggested I might be looking at a repair install, but before I go down the trial and error route I thought I'd check to see if anyone knew.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Welcome to SF!

I did all this using Partition Wizard and changing the Boot Sequence in BIOS.

I didn't have any problems- just make some backups first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Does the legal second installation boot and operate fine when the other drive is totally disconnected???

If it does, you could just do that--ignore the first drive and reformat it or throw it in the closet. As I understand it, the 100 MB "reserved partition" is there to assist recovery, but it offers you nothing for recovery that you can't find on a legit Windows 7 install disc anyway.

I don't have the 100 MB system reserved partition on my PC and I deliberately chose not to install it.

I'm assuming you have a legit install disc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Dec 2010   #4
Julio Cortez

Windows 10 1703

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
As I understand it, the 100 MB "reserved partition" is there to assist recovery, but it offers you nothing for recovery that you can't find on a legit Windows 7 install disc anyway.
It serves recovery, boot and bitlocker purposes as far as I know.
If you decide not to create it during install, however, I guess/assume that all those features are installed in the "default" C:\ drive (I don't have that 100MB partition at the beginning of the disk but I'm able to launch the startup recovery without the DVD anyway so I assume the necessary files for it have just been stored in C:\).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Your way should work but make sure your "new" drive is the only one connected and you may need to run system/startup repair up to 3 times to rebuild the MBR, Boot sector and BCD.
Have a look at these tutorials first
System Reserved : Create Using Disk Management

Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

The system reserved partition can be useful for multiboot situations. If the system reserved is not present one of the multi OSs needs to take on a multibooting role. I think it's best to keep the OSs as independent as possible. To dispense with it make your new drive active, make old system reserved inactive. With the new drive alone connected run the system repair up to 3 times to incorporate the boot functions into the one OS (Windows 7) partition.

If you decide to keep the system reserved partition now would be an ideal time to make it 200MB (which is what MS originally planned it to be). The system reserved requires 50MB free for shadow copy purposes when using Windows imaging. Unfortunately this partition can occasionally and temporarily fill to over 50 MB prevent imaging. Therefore, make it 200MB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Thanks for all your quick replies.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Does the legal second installation boot and operate fine when the other drive is totally disconnected???
Unfortunately not. I'll give the repair install a try with just the new drive attached and with a 200MB partition.

I don't want to lose the original installation just yet as I had over 6 months invested in it before Microsoft decided it wasn't a genuine copy. Is it easy to add the original installation as an afterthought?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #7
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello andrewbt, welcome to Seven Forums!

It can be a very useful little partition/tool and if you wanted to place the System Reserved partition in the first position on the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to keep it out of the way, have a look at this one also and be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.

System Reserved : Create for Dual Boot
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Nearly there now.

After disconnecting drive 1 I tried setting up the reserved partition and repairing the installation on drive 2 along the lines that were suggested in the linked articles. After a few reboots it reported it was repaired, but it didn't work. Not sure what the problem was exactly... some problem reported with the boot/bcd file and retrying the repair install didn't pick this up.

I also tried copying the original system reserved partition across as rap3302 suggested but that didn't solve it.

In the end I did a custom/clean install using the home premium family upgrade pack with just disk 2 connected. Luckily it recognised the existing install on disk 2 as qualifying me for the upgrade and archived it as it overwrote it. I'd struggled with this yesterday as the upgrade wouldn't accept the product key without an earlier windows version installed. Curiously installing from the non genuine W7 seemed to qualify me for the upgrade but left me split over 2 disks.

Incidentally, I must have had one of the first copies of XP which wouldn't go near reinstalling on my latest PC otherwise I'd have saved a lot of time yesterday.

Anyway, thanks for the various tips and I've learned a bit along the way. I would still like to add a pointer to the non genuine windows on disk 1 for my boot (from disk 2 now). I can get there by juggling disk boot order in the BIOS but it's cumbersome. I've seen some posts suggesting Vista software for this... not sure if it also works for W7 but I'll hunt a little more.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #9


The installer will allow Upgrade version key during install if it sees any OS on the system.

However I would be concerned about not wiping the HD of all code before installing Win7 over a bootleg Win7 installation. SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation

The registry edit workaround to get it to accept Upgrade key after install to a clean HD is quite easy and fully legit: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version

It seems you went to a lot of trouble to try to construct the 100mb SysReserved partition for your reinstall. Did you mark it Active before running Startup Repair from the booted DVD Repair console/Repair CD 3 full times with reboots, with all other HD's unplugged? This will normally construct it.

If you installed over the bootleg without using Custom>Drive Options to delete, repartition and format before install it might not have replaced or even used the old 100mb SysReserved partition. Is it currently marked System Active in Disk mgmt? Do you have the Repair console on Advanced Boot Tools accessed by tapping F8 at bootup?

You can post back a screenshot of full Disk Mgmt drive map and listings if you want us to look it over.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

For future reference if the automatic startup repair function doesn't seem to do everything right then under the repair disk command prompt use the "bootrec" command.
History probably now but
bootrec /RebuildBcd
may have helped your BCD repair problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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