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I am unable to update Windows. When Windows Update tries to run, I get an error message that has a "Fix issues" button.

Windows update error message with "Fix issues" button

Pressing that brings up a process that eventually gives the error message, "We couldn't update the system reserved partition."

"We couldn't update the system reserved partition."

It turns out I didn't have a System Reserved partition. I figured it might work to create it, so I did, using Option 1 from this link. Now my partitions look like this, but I still get the same error as above.

Most of the information surrounding this error refers to increasing the available space on the System Reserved partition, but as the screenshot shows, there's plenty of space on the partition.

How can I debug this update error?

  • Have you tried enlarging it? I ran into the same issue when I did the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After I increased the size of the system partition, the upgrade completed successfully. – Charles Burge Feb 7 at 2:24
  • @CharlesBurge I mean, in some sense yes, in that it wasn't there, and now it is. So it went from zero space to 188MB free. – Kris Harper Feb 7 at 2:50
  • Kris - Have a look here on the MS KB, there is the answer in here based on which option of either GPT or MBR – Pimp Juice IT Feb 7 at 3:19
  • Your System Reserved partition is not large enough - it's only 200 MB, but Windows 10 needs 500 MB. – harrymc Feb 7 at 9:21
  • @PimpJuiceIT That link says to cd Boot\Fonts but that directory does not exist on my System Reserved partition. – Kris Harper Feb 8 at 0:50
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The error message is correct : Your System Reserved partition is not large enough.

Your partition has 200 MB, but for Windows 10 the recommended size is 500 MB.

If this does not work, I think that the System Reserved partition you created manually is not used because of the way in which the disk was partitioned and Windows installed.

The simplest solution would be to delete the System Reserved partition, then do Startup Repair. If that doesn't help, then I can only think of Repair Install Windows.

  • Cool. I will try resizing it when I get home tonight. – Kris Harper Feb 7 at 14:48
  • I resized it so now it's 1GB, but I still get the same error message, "We couldn't update the system reserved partition." – Kris Harper Feb 8 at 0:48
  • I think your System Reserved partition is badly created. Can you take a screenshot of Disk Management with the Status column fully displayed? Is your Windows 64-bit? Do you have BIOS+MBR or do you have UEFI+GPT? – harrymc Feb 8 at 7:52
  • Here's a screenshot of the full Status column. My disk is MBR, although I boot using UEFI since this is not my primary boot device. – Kris Harper Feb 8 at 13:04
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    I'm handicapped by not knowing the history of your disk. I think you will need to delete the System Reserved partition, then do Startup Repair. If that doesn't help, then I can only think of Repair Install Windows. – harrymc Feb 9 at 8:01
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On my 10 PC (which was updated from 7), the system reserved is the first partition on disk 0 (may not matter) and has attributes in Disk Management of Active (like yours) but also System and Primary. This may be vital.

Setting the partition as active is done by right clicking it in Disk Management and choosing the option. Putting the boot information on the reserved partition and marking it system (Microsoft switched the terms for some reason) is more involved. It is late here, but I will return if that is needed for it to work.

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