I have two drives: a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD. I very recently installed Windows 10 on the machine and it's (obviously) installed on the SSD.

At the moment, the SSD consists of two partitions:

  • 118 GB NTFS (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)
  • <1 GB (Recovery Partition)

The problem, however, is with the HDD. It consists of two partitions:

  • 10 GB NTFS "DriverCD" (the machine was bought without the system installed, so this partition contains drivers and documentation)
  • 921 GB FAT32 (System, Active, Page File) - let's call it (D:).

I would like to format the (D:) partition to NTFS to not be limited to 4 GB files (a FAT32 limitation). The Disk Manager does not allow me to do it since it treats this partition as System for whatever reason. The partition contains these hidden files: D: dir

Note: before the Windows 10 installation, the (D:) partition contained a FREEDOS installation that I removed (cut and backed up, actually) using Windows Explorer after the Windows installation. Could that have anything to do with this?

I have tried making the (D:) partition INACTIVE in DISKPART in the command prompt, which resulted in breaking the booting process (I reverted the change by making it ACTIVE again in recovery mode).

What should I do to unmark the partition as System, format it, and use it as a simple data partition?


What I usually do is get a third party formatting software. Minitools Partition Wizard is my favorite and always gets the job done. You can format anything, even if windows won't let you format. It's super easy to use and I'm sure there's a free trial version that will get you where you need to go.


  • If the system doesn’t boot anymore when the partition is inactive, simply re-formatting it with NTFS is probably not a good idea, as this might also break the booting. I would try starting with the HDD disconnected and connect it once the system is up. This way the pagefile.sys (and other files) should not be active, and a reformat should be possible. – Ro-ee Sep 5 '17 at 23:49
  • @Ro-ee the computer is a laptop, I can't disassemble it and disconnect the HDD. – Maciej Lipinski Sep 6 '17 at 6:47
  • @MaciejLipinski Why not? What model of a laptop do you have? HDDs, RAM and Wi-Fi are the most often designed so them can be easily replaced (and hence removed) – The Dreams Wind Sep 6 '17 at 6:51
  • @AleksandrMedvedev I will have to check. There may be a seal that, if broken, would void the guarantee. I will post an update in a couple hours – Maciej Lipinski Sep 6 '17 at 6:56
  • @AleksandrMedvedev Unfortunately there is a seal - I can't disassemble it. What else could I do to remove the "System" and "Page File" status from the partition? – Maciej Lipinski Sep 6 '17 at 18:39

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