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Windows 7: Cannot delete an active system partition?

12 Oct 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Cannot delete an active system partition?

I know this might be a very silly question, but I am trying to format one of my storage drives, and it seems like Windows does not want me to.

I have always only used it to store data, so why is Windows 7 telling me it is a system partition? Did Windows put data on the drive and start using it without even asking me?

At first I tried just unplugging the drive, but then Windows would not boot, so clearly it needs it for some reason.

I'm really confused as to why Windows needs this storage drive so badly. Could anyone help me figure this out? I would really appreciate it! Thanks~

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #2


Please post back a screenshot of maximized full Disk Mgmt drive map and listings with all drives plugged. Use Snipping Tool in Start Menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Here it is. "Seagate 750GB" is the drive I want to reformat.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Oct 2010   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Use the DiskPart Inactive command.

You will use the following DiskPart commands:
List Volume
Select Volume 2 (here I've used the letter 2. You use the correct one for your system)
Inactive (will mark the selected volume as inactive)
(which will exit from DiskPart)

To run DiskPart, you must go to an elevated command prompt.

Command Prompt - Elevated command prompt

Elevated command prompt = Run CMD.EXE as administrator
· WIN key
· Type CMD.EXE (do not hit Enter key)
· In the Programs list, Right-Click on CMD.EXE
· Click on Run as administrator
· YES button

OR for keyboard fans:
· WIN key
· Type CMD.EXE (do not hit Enter key)
· Press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER key combo
· Press ALT + y in response to UAC (User Access Control) prompt asking to “allow program …”
Now to get to diskpart, simply
type Diskpart

run the diskpart commands mentioned above and then type
EXIT to exit from CMD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Thanks, you helped me get to the format menu, but I still cannot format the disk because it is still marked as "System."

Now the error is "Format is not allowed on the current boot, system, pagefile, crashdump, or hibernation volume."

I'll try to figure out how to switch the system volume I guess.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Well, I went to what I thought was my storage drive and found that there is indeed a hidden "boot" folder. I have no idea why Windows 7 put that on the storage drive. It's not the first hard drive connected in my system.

Is there a quick and easy way to move that folder?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #7


Hi Grant -

The problem as you've guessed is that the boot critical files were placed on the Seagate.

To fix this boot into BIOS setup to set the Win7 HD as first HD to boot in BIOS setup.

Next boot the Win7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, press Shift F10 to open a Command Line and use the Diskpart commands given here to mark Win7 partition Active while marking the Seagate Inactive: Partition - Mark as Active

Next power down to unplug the Seagate, boot into DVD Repair console, accept any offered repair. If it fails to start at reboot, boot back into DVD Repair, click through to Recovery Tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots until Win7 starts. Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

You can then power down to plug the Seagate back in, make sure it is not marked Active in Disk Mgmt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #8

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Go back to the diskpart command.
use following commands:
SELECT DISK n where n is the number of the disk you want to format.
DETAIL DISK (just to make sure you picked the correct disk)
CLEAN (this will zero out the first and last sectors)
FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK (this will format the partition)
ASSIGN (win 7 will assign next available letter; you can change later if you don't like)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

The procedure I gave you will make that storage drive look like a normal virgin drive.

The procedure Greg gave you will make your C the "active" drive which you need.

In other words, both procedures.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #10


If you clean the data drive it will lose any data, so back it up first.

You'll need to wait until after it is marked Inactive, or in Diskpart bring the Seagate drive Partition 1 into focus and write "Delete Partition Override" to delete it while still a System drive.

You can then run the Repair on C once marked Active without having to unplug the Seagate since it can't interfere.

Remember to set C HD as first to boot in BIOS setup.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Cannot delete an active system partition?

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