I am using Windows 7, and I wanted to make a System image (using Windows 7), but Windows 7 checked three partitions as System (100 MB + C (install partition) + D (my partition for my files, all programs are installed at C)).

I don't want to backup my D partition, but that is not really the point. I don't want Windows messing with my other partitions and making them system. Is there a way to limit Windows 7 just to partition C (install partition)?

If there is no way to stop Windows from making other partitions system, can I at least delete the files that make partition D system?

PS: All these three partitions are on one physical disk, partitions from other disks aren't treated as System.

FACTS: desktop PC, no OEM partitions, I personally have installed Windows 7 (many times) on the C partition.

Why is my D partition checked as System partition when I try to create a System Image (using Windows 7 Ultimate built in tool), even though Windows (and all the software) are installed on the C partition?

Is there a way to make D "normal" or non-system partition?

Here is a picture of how it looks like if I try to create a system image. Once again, why is D also a system partition?

Enter image description here

  • 1
    IS this on a machine that you built and installed yourself? or is this on a pre-built system (like HP or Dell)?
    – MaQleod
    Sep 9 '11 at 17:48
  • @MaQleod, I've addressed that in my answer wrt OEM configuration, but I've +1'd you all the same.
    – user3463
    Sep 9 '11 at 17:52
  • I didn't build it, but it was customized, and I also added one more hard disk... It's a desktop PC. I manually installed Windows 7 (many, many times) on it, but now I decided to make use of System restore via System image. Also I didn't get any software or anything with it, and there are and never were any OEM partitions.
    – Ben
    Sep 9 '11 at 17:54
  • Hi Ben. Based on the amount of confusion from our answers (mine included, which I've since deleted), perhaps you could make your question clearer. We're focusing on the 100MB partition while your question is really about the System status of your D: drive.
    – user3463
    Sep 9 '11 at 18:24
  • @Randolph West Yes, my question is why is D partition also marked as system. And how to avoid that. I also updated the question, so if you could help me out, I would be really thankful.
    – Ben
    Sep 10 '11 at 9:27

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have a newer computer, one with an EFI or UEFI "BIOS". Some of these systems do not like to boot directly into NTFS partitions, and so the Windows 7 installer will create a "small" 100 MB partition at the front of the drive to handle part of the boot process. You need this partition and should not mess with it. It's not a recovery partition and is an important part of your system.

It should be safe to mark your D: partition as a non-system partition, but, as always when working with partition tables, I recommend that you make sure you have a good backup of the files first.

  • I've deleted my answer. Yours makes more sense. +1
    – user3463
    Sep 9 '11 at 18:22
  • 3
    The small 100MB partition is actually for when people decide to use Bitlocker. EFI will boot into Windows just fine without a dedicated system partition.
    – surfasb
    Sep 10 '11 at 0:04
  • Thanks, but I wanted to know why is my D partition also marked as a system partition, as I thought that there are only 2 system partitions.
    – Ben
    Sep 10 '11 at 9:25

Windows 7 marks all partitions as system that are in any way related to "system" settings, in other words to settings, files, paths that are needed to fully reconstruct the computer to a previous state.

Thus you have to make sure that you do not have any programs or services installed on non system partitions. Also including folders from non system partitions to libraries makes that partition "system".

So you just have to remove all those links and then make a system image.

  • Likely he has all or part of his user profile on D:. Those default user folders are "system files", not just user data, and hence the drive containing them would be a "system" drive.
    – kreemoweet
    Sep 6 '12 at 5:00

I suspect the partition is set to Active, and therefore Windows considers it a System partition. Make sure you back up your system before doing this.

  • From an elevated command prompt, type diskpart.
  • At the DISKPART prompt, type LIST DISK
  • At the next prompt, type SELECT DISK # (where # is your D: drive)
  • At the next prompt, type LIST PARTITION
  • At the next prompt, type SELECT PARTITION # (where # is partition you want to mark inactive)
  • At the next prompt, type INACTIVE

Source: How to deactivate an active partition? (I've paraphrased it a tiny bit)

  • I know why I have 3 partitions (though I have more, but I didn't mention them). I was asking why are 3 system, I know about the first two (100mb + installed partition (C)). But I don't know why my manually created D partition is shown as system in windows system image creation process.
    – Ben
    Sep 9 '11 at 17:56

If you install Windows 7 yourself from normal installation CD/DVD, you can install it to just one partition. There's nothing in Windows 7 that would require multiple partitions, while you can split the disk if you so want.

  • I know that, but I don't understand why my D drive is also checked as System partition during System image creation using windows 7 utility.
    – Ben
    Sep 9 '11 at 18:00

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