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Windows 7 Insists on 100 MB or 200 MB system partition


spacesurfer
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Well, I've noticed that Windows 7 creates a 200 MB partition before the system OS partition during the install process in virtual machine. In the newer builds, the partition size is 100 MB.

With the most recent build, I chose to remove all partitions and install, and when I did that it said windows 7 may create additional partitions and again it did a 200 mb partitions, which is hidden from "computer".

There's a way to prevent Windows 7 from creating this partition without the need to third-party partition tools or an XP/Vista CD.

1) Start Windows 7 setup.

2) Once it has started, press Shift+F10 to start the command prompt.

3) Start diskpart and create a primary partition of the size you need. Or, if you don't want to partition, format your drive. Make sure you format the primary partition so that there is no unpartitioned space before the partition where you want to install Windows 7.

4) Exit diskpart.

5) Continue with setup and choose the disk.

Since the drives are partitioned already, Windows 7 will not create this system partition.

Also, note that when you are at the point of selecting a partition to install Windows 7 to, and you choose to format the partition using that GUI interface, then Windows 7 will take the liberty create the system partition as mentioned above.

If you do decide not to let Windows 7 create a system partition, be aware of the following: Disadvantages of skipping system partition as noted by cluberti.

And now, here's the original discussion about the use for the system partition. Anyone know any more on this? Share your thoughts.

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It's for recovery tools from boot cd, sections "Repair my computer" a.k.a Startup repair , System restore, complete pc restore.

Dun think so if it is used for system restore or complete pc restore as 200mb is insufficient for the whole os which by default installation uses 10.7gb of hdd space... ;) Its more like a protected system files or the main core files of win7 which is hosted there hidden from the user in the os which also speed up the loading of windows or the responsiveness of the windows at the same time preventing unauthorized modification to the system files... my 2cents :)

Edited by finderz
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It's for recovery tools from boot cd, sections "Repair my computer" a.k.a Startup repair , System restore, complete pc restore.

Dun think so if it is used for system restore or complete pc restore as 200mb is insufficient for the whole os which by default installation uses 10.7gb of hdd space... ;) Its more like a protected system files or the main core files of win7 which is hosted there hidden from the user in the os which also speed up the loading of windows or the responsiveness of the windows at the same time preventing unauthorized modification to the system files... my 2cents :)

If it's true, then it's the first OS that's one giant rootkit. :)

GL

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The 200mb partition is installed automatically by MS if the hard drive has only one primary partition. Otherwise, it creates a RECOVERY directory on the installed primary. This is what MS intended.

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The 200 MB partition is the "System Partition" required to boot windows and facilitates a clean way to activate advanced features like enabling encryption on your OS volume. Note that it is marked as the Active partition.

When you start your machine, the stuff in the System Partition (like bootmgr, BCD store) gets loaded first (since the partition is marked Active). Next, the bootmgr loads up full fledged OSes (like XP, Vista or Win7) located in other larger OS partitions. This 2-phase approach allows Windows to quickly and easily load up the bootmgr without having to worry about advanced disk or volume functionality offered by drivers like BitLocker. In the second phase, the advanced functionality can be activated when the overall OS loads up.

BTW, this 200 MB partition has nothing to do with the GPT protective partition. It is recommended that you don't use this partition to store other things.

Hope this helps and clears things up.

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BTW, this 200 MB partition has nothing to do with the GPT protective partition. It is recommended that you don't use this partition to store other things.

Well, I'll admit you're partially correct. The 200MB partition is for EFI compatibility, and is thus a GPT-protected partition. This is actually created during initial creation of GPT-formatted disks during Vista setup, and thus is actually part of the GPT functionality in the system, but I will correct myself if we're going to be nit-picky - it is a 200MB system partition for compliance with Microsoft's stated point that the EFI system partition be the first partition on the disk. It's part of the initial creation of GPT volume(s) on the disk, but it's ultimate usage is to be the EFI system partition. The reason it's related to GPT-partitioning is that an EFI system partition MUST be on a GPT-formatted volume, hence my reply.

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So Windows 7 defaults to GPT? No option for MBR?

I believe it does so on a clean boot, but you can manually set up partitions if you like. However, if you let Vista do it, by default it creates GPT partitions. I haven't reinstalled it yet, so I could be wrong, but I believe you can do it manually if you'd like.

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I still do not understand it.

Is the 200Mb partition used for boot or for recovery?

And what would be the disadvantage of self partitioning your harddisk and Windows 7 using that partition without the 200Mb partition but a directory instead of it on the partition used?

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It's for boot and recovery. If you have an EFI machine, you NEED this partition (EFI system partition), and if you ever want to recover (or convert to bitlocker), this is also helpful (not required, but helpful).

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Simple, click in "extend" button and change the 200mb for a bigger partition. Works fine for me. :)

Ex:

No partitions -> New -> 40GB = two partitions (200mb + 40GB)

Delete 40GB, select partition 200mb, click in extend and resize to 40GB. :)

It is the same size for the message when you disable the swap partition in C:\

Maybe it is for the same use.

Edited by Rhyel
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if you create / format drives with vista cd and then put win7 disk and install it, it doesnot create this partition

I noticed this as well. Would it be better for a dual-boot Win7/Vista or Win7/XP pc to have the 200MB partition?

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