I have just reset a Toshiba Satellite laptop to factory settings and wanted to create a data partition but when I use the disk manager I can see

My partition schema

multiple recovery partitions

I expected to see a recovery partition but 3 surprised me.

How do I work out which ones I keep? and how do I delete them as when I right click on them all the options a greyed out?


  • What also somewhat strange is the Capacity, and the "free space" is the same for all of them? Means all of them are empty? (can you clarify if that is truly the case?) – Darius Feb 6 '18 at 10:52
  • Based on the answers provide by both gronostaj and harrymc I will just leave them alone. – Walkerbo Feb 7 '18 at 0:23

A recovery partition is a special partition on the system hard drive, used to restore the system to factory settings in the event of a catastrophic system failure.

To protect recovery partitions from being changed or deleted, they usually have no drive letter and only a Help option is provided in Disk Management. A recovery partition is the LAST resort when having system problems, as it will wipe out all data and programs in the system partition.

Your EFI partition was created by installing Windows on a GPT disk, and holds the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). You cannot delete it without making Windows unbootable.

The other partitions were created by the computer manufacture, or by upgrading Windows to the next version or service-pack. The upgrade program will create a recovery partition if it detects that there is no sufficient space on your recovery partition (GPT disk) or system reserved partition (MBR disk).

According to Microsoft, the previous Windows version recovery partition is nonfunctional, so you can delete it to free up some (small) disk space. The problem here is not to delete by mistake the latest one instead of the oldest one ...

Note: You cannot remove a recovery partition in Disk Management, so you need to use Diskpart.exe from the command prompt.

You may delete all recovery partitions, provided you have one of the following: A recovery drive, a recent system image backup or a Windows installation CD (which may not contain all the required drivers).

The final advice is to leave these partitions where they are, since the minimal gain in disk-space is not worth not having a last-ditch effort for restoring your computer to a working condition if the worse comes to happen.

  • Thank you for your advice. I will take the suggestions that both you and gronostaj made and leave the partitions alone. Cheers – Walkerbo Feb 7 '18 at 0:13

I'd advise you to leave recovery partitions untouched.

Second partition is an EFI System Partition (ESP). It indicates that you're booting in UEFI mode. For Windows this implies that your disk is using GPT partitioning scheme.

Unlike MBR, GPT doesn't have the 4 partitions limit. You can just shrink the system partition and create a new one in the reclaimed free space.

These recovery partitions are 11 GB in total, that's 1.2% of your disk's total capacity - probably not worth taking the risk of messing something up.

  • Thank you for your advice. I will take the suggestions that both you and harrymc made and leave the partitions alone. Cheers – Walkerbo Feb 7 '18 at 0:13

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