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Windows 7 Insists on 100 MB or 200 MB system partition


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35 replies to this topic

#1
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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#2
etso

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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.
I don't speak english good, sorry

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#3
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 :)

Edited by finderz, 31 December 2008 - 08:54 PM.


#4
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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

#5
wguimb

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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.

#6
cluberti

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It's a function of the GPT partitioning system, it's normal. You will have a 200MB partition with Win7, period.
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#7
deep debroy

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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.

#8
cluberti

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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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#9
killerb255

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

#10
cluberti

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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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#11
XP_NO

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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?

#12
cluberti

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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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#13
Rhyel

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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, 16 January 2009 - 12:08 PM.


#14
yken

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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

#15
Beachcoma

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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?

#16
midiboy

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Hi guys,

maybe you have a solution. I have a dual boot system with Vista and W7. W7 sees the 200MB partition as what it is and does not assign a drive letter. Vista however, has assigned a driveletter to that 200MB partition (D:) and won´t let me change or remove that drive letter, not even using diskpart. Any ideas how to fix this easily ?

edit: I have managed to hide the partition with Paragon Partition Manager from within Vista. That fixed the problem.
Ist this not possible without that tool ??

Thanks,
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#17
maxXPsoft

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not creating 200mb part here at all with XP first installed and then 7 on second part although it hides the XP part in 7 which I don't like cause it rearranges the hard drives. 7 becomes C: and so forth
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#18
mats

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There is another purpose of the 200 MB partion. Think bitlocker ;)

#19
kartel

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No 200mb partition here, but I got 4 Primaries!
Also whatever OS I boot, comes up as C:

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Edited by kartel, 24 February 2009 - 11:24 AM.

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#20
Access Denied

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OK, for what its worth. I have installed 7 twice in the last week or so and here is are my results. First install, no 200mb partition. Second install, 200mb partition created.

No telling what this is caused by. :wacko:
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#21
Navid0

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OK, for what its worth. I have installed 7 twice in the last week or so and here is are my results. First install, no 200mb partition. Second install, 200mb partition created.

No telling what this is caused by. :wacko:


It is actually very simple:
If an active system partition already exists in the system when you are installing Windows 7, the installer will NOT create a 200MB system partition.
If there is no active system partition when you are installing Windows 7, it WILL create a 200MHz system partition.

You can use another OS or GParted to create and format a new partition on the hard drive you want to install Windows 7 on and set it as active. Then, boot to the Windows 7 install DVD and install into that partition and it will not create the 200MB partition.

#22
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Makes sense now. thanx :)
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#23
spacesurfer

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I'm still not clear on the pros and cons of this 200 mb partition.

Pros??


Cons??


It's only 200 mb but still it's 200 mb!
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#24
doomangel.gr

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i think that vista was going to move to gpt instead of mbr but windows 7 is actually moving that way. Some guys even mentioned that this 200mb partition has something to do with the new winfs file system which i don't think that it is included. also someone mentioned something about efi machines, the only efi machines i can think of are the the Intel Macs.

Edited by doomangel.gr, 25 February 2009 - 01:39 PM.


#25
cluberti

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WinFS isn't technically a file system, it's a SQL-based relational engine that runs on top of an NTFS filesystem to help categorize. WinFS partially exists today in ADO.net and SQL 2008, and you can read more about it on MSDN.

Also, the rumor is that the 200MB size on the EFI partition will shrink for Win7 RTM.
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