Ok, I recently got this netbook that came with Windows 7 and wanted to install Linux on it as well for a dual-boot. It came with four primary partitions on a 250 GB HDD, those being:

  • 15 GB recovery partition
  • 100 MB system reserved
  • Drive C, chose 45 GB for it
  • Drive D, left the rest there

Now as you'll notice, the partitions are already capped and I can't install Linux there without deleting at least one of them. Problem is that since Windows doesn't really recognize the ext2/3/4 file systems, it's a lot more convenient to keep a NTFS partition as a shared partition (for content like pictures, videos, etc.) for the two OS's.

It'd be simple, if I could just change the last partition into an extended one, but I'm pretty sure that the /boot directory on Linux needs to be on a primary partition. Thus, I'd need to scrap two of the above partitions. And since the netbook didn't come with an install DVD, I need to leave the recovery partition there to be able to recover Windows from any corruptions or other problems.

Thus can I delete the system reserved partition without it causing any problems later on 7? From what I gathered on my googling streak, it probably isn't required, but I'd rather not take the chance of screwing up my Windows system totally.

The only other option I see is putting both the system files of Windows and the shared info on one big NTFS partition and then making a single / partition for the Linux and using a swap file instead of a swap logical partition, but I'd rather have my shared stuff and non-bootable Linux directories as separate logical parts of an extended partition with /boot on a primary partition.

Of course, if someone can point me towards an even better solution, I'd be more than happy to try that.

  • I'm pretty sure that the /boot directory on Linux can be a logical (=inside extended) one
    – ptor
    Nov 25 '09 at 11:29
  • I tried that and it refuses to boot. Selecting the Linux from GRUB has the computer perform a restart, i.e., load BIOS again and come back to GRUB.
    – t0mppa
    Nov 25 '09 at 13:33

Can the Windows 7 system reserved partition be deleted without problems?

in a word, no

in addition to being used for BitLocker encryption, the system reserved partition holds the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and certain boot files.

the following files and folders are the initial content of the partition:

[System Volume Information]

... before BitLocker is enabled and in use.

If forcefully deleted with a third party partition manager or partition editor, the Partition Table which is (normally) located in the master boot record (MBR) may be corrupted, or may become invalid.

however, it is possible to to Prevent Windows 7 from Creating a Hidden /Recovery /System Reserved Partition during Installation.

  • 2
    A little hard to prevent it during installation, since like I mentioned, I didn't get an install CD/DVD, thus can't do that. Also, can you confirm that corruption of the MBR is the only possible negative side effect? That shouldn't be too hard to deal with and thus would make the removal operation plausible.
    – t0mppa
    Nov 25 '09 at 3:15
  • no, i cannot confirm that but if you create a drive image before tampering with the partition table, you can restore the drive should something go terribly wrong.
    – Molly7244
    Nov 26 '09 at 4:07
  • 1
    This seems to directly conflict with what appears to be a duplicate superuser question unless I'm missing something. In other words, it is possible. The OP didn't mention bitlocker, so I'm not sure if it would be relevant here.
    – Hendy
    Sep 13 '12 at 2:38

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