I have an HDD with a windows 10 on it. This disk is organized like this :

  • ESP (efi) partition of 100 MB
  • recovery partition of 900 MB
  • windows os partition of 300GB
  • windows data partition of 600GB

I know that the ESP is to allow windows do boot on my uefi, and if I delete it, there will be problems to boot. The recovery is the normal partition to recover windows... The OS is where windows is actually installed. DATA is just a partition to store data and avoid data lost in recovery manipulations.

I bought an SSD and I want to move the OS to the SSD and keep the HDD to store data. With the SSD there is a tutorial to replace the HDD by the SSD with a cloning tool. I 1st clone my HDD to SSD I was planning to delete the the systems partitions on the HDD after. But I see that the cloning tool copied only the recovery and the OS. Giving this :

  • recovery partition of 900 MB
  • windows os partition of 400GB

After switching the boot order, windows booted normally (with all my configuration, normal for a clone) and I checked that the running OS was on the SSD, it was as expected. I thought this worked due to the remaining ESP partition on my HDD still installed. I read there that the windows installer create the EPS partition by himself. So I formatted the SSD, created an usb installer, remove the HDD and installed the windows on the SSD (the SSD was the only drive in). After boot (SSD alone) windows worked normally, but still without ESP partition. I still have

  • recovery partition of 900 MB
  • windows os partition of 400GB

I tried several reboot, install both disk, just one, switch port nothing to do. There isn't problems to boot and run, both booting on HDD or SSD.

So what is my concern ?
For the moment I haven't deleted the ESP - recovery - OS partitions on my HDD, but I want to know if I can do it without getting errors in the future. I read a lot of question here or on others sites saying deleting ESP will bug the boot (link ...). So is that normal that my SSD haven't this partition ? What am I missing ?

  • I cannot post other links of website saying to not delete ESP due to my low reputation.. sry – Taknok Aug 11 '17 at 14:21

It's possible that after you cloned the recovery and windows partitions that the system was still booting to the old EPS partition. As the EPS partition doesn't necessarily have to be on the same drive as the operating system. But in the latter case where you reinstalled... well, there are two primary possibilities:

  1. The EPS partition is there but whatever tools you are using aren't showing it on the SSD drive for some reason.
  2. You aren't using UEFI to boot. Most systems still have the ability to boot via a legacy MBR based bootloader.

The easiest way to check is with the System Information utility. Press Win + R and type msinfo32 and click ok. In the system summary on the right side look for BIOS Mode. It will be either UEFI or BIOS.

And, for the total clarity, if you are booting via UEFI and you remove the EPS partition your system will become unbootable until the EPS partition is restored.

  • I'm in UEFI (checked with msinfo32). – Taknok Aug 12 '17 at 15:42
  • I clonned my ESP, recovery ans os with gparted, but as expected, now the both ESP point to the HDD. I just have to found how to edit it. When the SSD is alone it boot well (but with or without idk), and when I put the HDD even with SDD in priority, the HDD boot (due to pointer in ESP). – Taknok Aug 12 '17 at 16:31

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