I recently decided to enable bitlocker on my Windows 7 computer. Little did I know that this meant the setup wizard would chop off a 300MB piece of my C: partition and create a primary partition from that piece. Since one can only have 4 primary partitions at a time, this meant one other partition had to go; without warning!

Prior to enabling bitlocker, my (legacy/non-UEFI mode) partition scheme looked like this:

  • operating system (C:)
  • 350MB system-reserved partition
  • data partition (D:)
  • LVM containing one Intel rapid-start partition (a kind of hibernation partition; the computer has a SSD)

Afterwards it looked like this:

  • operating system (C:)
  • 300MB NTFS partition (created by the bitlocker setup wizard)
  • 350MB system reserved partition
  • free space, where D: used to be
  • LVM containing one Intel rapid-start partition (a kind of hibernation partition; the computer has a SSD)

The computer was formatted with the system reserved partition when I got it from the vendor, and since it was not delivered with an actual windows 7 setup disk - only a disk containing an image of an already installed windows 7 - I had no choice but to live with that pesky system reserved partition.

How do I get my data partition (D:) back?
I can think of two ways:

  • Find a way to extract an image from the free space that used to be D: which I can read later; That way I can expand the LVM to cover the space of where D: was, and recreate D: inside the LVM.
  • Try to get rid of the system reserved partition and recover D: as one of four primary partitions, e.g. using this tool.

How do I do either of these? Are there other options?


I discovered that the bitlocker setup wizard is really stupid: not only did it ditch one of my partitions without asking, it also created the 300MB partition as a new system reserved partition, making the old one (of size 350MB) obsolete. I could just delete this obsolete partiton and recover the lost data partition using the tool described above.

If you try this and afterwards you computers complains that it cannot find an operating system, boot using your windoes 7 recovery disk/partition and opt for the windows startup repair tool that you can find on there.

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