Windows Server

System Reserved Partition notes for Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 installations create a default partition that is not visible to the OS. Rick Vanover explains what this allocation does for Windows.

When it comes to disk provisioning, in a general sense, Windows administrators should always provision what is required and have the ability to expand if that need increases. To that end, you might wonder what the 100 MB of System Reserved Partition space is doing for your servers.

If you check the default installation of Windows Server 2008 R2, you will see a partition like the one in Figure A. Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.
While 100 MB isn't much, you still don't know what the partition is simply by looking at it. What makes it somewhat more interesting is that the Share And Storage Management console (a new tool for Windows Server 2008) does not report this partition. Figure B shows the same disk in this other view. Figure B

Click the image to enlarge.
I researched why this partition is there, and I learned that it is to prepare the server for BitLocker -- if it is configured and it functions as a boot loader. (Note: If a drive will receive a new Windows Server 2008 install, yet there is already a boot loader in place for one or more operating systems, System Reserved Partition may not be created.) On the System Reserved Partition, there is nothing much of interest. Figure C shows Windows Server 2008 R2's reserved partition viewed through a recovery tool. Figure C

Click the image to enlarge.

Don't try to delete System Reserved Partition, as BitLocker won't work if it is added at a later date. Allocating 100 MB of disk space is worth it if you decide to add this feature.

Stay on top of the latest Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 tips and tricks with our free Windows Server newsletter, delivered each Wednesday.

Automatically sign up today!

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

9 comments
jason4554
jason4554

Hey Rick Vanover, in your article you show a 100 MB system partition but Microsoft clearly calls for a minimum of 1.5 GB system partition to use bitlocker encryption. Nowhere does the server 2008 R2 installer mention this when installing. Microsoft even has a tool for increasing the size of your system partition after the install as they forgot any kind of mention of this during the installation process. I found the Microsoft instructions on the use of the system partition resizing tool to be overly complex. My system doesn't even have the tool installed even thought MS notes say it's installed already. I've also noticed that you haven't replied to gary9955's question regarding your partition.


Have you even setup bitlocker on 2008 server yourself or do you just write articles about how things are SUPPOSED to work?

BruceWayneJoker
BruceWayneJoker

just choosing partition assistant. It's the easiest way for you to manage your hard drive partitions! Even its free edition can be compared to some others' paid edition in functioning and efficiency. Read more about it: disk-partition.com/res/partition-assistant-for-windows-server-2008.html

gary9955
gary9955

Don't you need a 1.5 Gb partition for BitLocker?

uberjew
uberjew

I was wondering about that. Thanks for the answer!

mike.panagos
mike.panagos

Kudos for the explanation! Well written and concise, which is sometimes hard to come by, unfortunately... -mike www.grimadmin.com

bbroadhurst
bbroadhurst

It was only last week that I was discussing what possible uses this partition could have. We didnt even think of Bitlocker. Thanks for the info, good article as usual.

jason4554
jason4554

@BruceWayneJoker  Total crap software.  Has no keyboard support and will throw your server into endless reboots. I recommend avoiding this "tool".

mauricioz
mauricioz

Before reading this article, I've always deleted the second partition for the drive and extended the system reserved to the size I need for the system volume. Is this OK if I'm sure I'm not going to use Bitlocker? Sorry for my english.

Editor's Picks