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!