By Ivy / Last Updated June 25, 2021

Quick navigation:

Overview of system reserved partition

System reserved partition contains boot files that is required to start Windows, so your computer will not boot if this partition is missing. To avoid this situation, you need to move system reserved partition to another drive. Before that, let's get basic of system reserved partition. It contains two important things for computer startup. 

1. The Boot Manager and Boot Configuration Data.

When your computer boots, the Windows Boot Manager starts up and reads the boot data from the Boot Configuration Data (BCD). Then, your computer will boot the bootloader off the System Reserved partition. At last, the  Windows will boot from your system drive.

2. The startup files used for BitLocker Drive Encryption.

If you ever decide to encrypt your hard drive with BitLocker drive encryption, the System Reserved partition contains the necessary files for starting your computer. Your computer boots the unencrypted System Reserved partition, and it will decrypt the main encrypted drive and boot the encrypted Windows system.

2 situations to move system reserved partition to another disk

By default, it's not suggested to move system reserved partition in Windows 10/8/7. But if the system reserved partition is on wrong drive or the disk is experiencing smart error, you have to do so. Then, let's have a closer look at these situations.

Situation 1: The system reserved partition on wrong drive

Sometimes, you may forget to disconnect exta hard drive when you clone disk or install Windows 7/8/10. Then, you may find your C drive on disk 1 and system reserved partition on disk 2. If you remove the disk 2, your computer will fail to boot. Therefore, to ensure your disk can boot properly, you have to merge system reserved partition with C drive on disk 1. Also, you may find nothing in system reserved partition on disk 1.

Situation 2: The disk contanining system reserved partition is experiencing smart error

If your computer is experiencing smart error, you may receive an error message, saying, "SMART Failure Predicted on Hard Disk 0: WD5000BEVP-75A0RT0-(S1). Warning: Immediately backup your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent. Press F1 to Continue. ". In this case, your disk may fail at any time, so you need to move system reserved partition to a healthy disk immediately.

Don't worry too much, keep reading below, I'll show you how to safely move system reserved partition to another disk. Here are three methods in total, including using Disk Management, command line and third-party cloning software. Note that changing system reserved partition in Windows 10/8/7 is dangerous and may cause system failure, please create a system backup or disk backup just in case.

Method 1: Move system reserved partition to SSD with System  Clone

Here you will learn the easiest solution to change system reserved partition in Windows 10/8/7, which is to use "System Clone" feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional. It will clone all the boot drive(s) including the system reserved partition and move it to second drive, either HDD or SSD. 

Meanwhile, it could ensure secure boot after cloning by setting the active system reserved partition as primary partition, and avoid unwanted deletion by hiding its drive letter. In addition, it still supports "Disk Clone" and "Partition Clone" to protect system or data on this disk. 

Now, take Windows 10 as an example, let's start to learn how  to move system reserved partition in Windows 10 with "System Clone" feature. You need to make some preparations.
Prepare an external hard drive and be sure it can be detected. If you don't have extra disk, you can choose to create an unallocated space the disk containing system reserved partition( around 500MB in Windows 10) to store the system partition.
♦ Click the download button below to install AOMEI Backupper Professional. If you want to merge system reserved partition with C drive in Server 2012/2016/2019 and previous version, you could consider using server cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Server.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Then, follow the detailed steps below to move system reserved partition.

Step 1. In the main page of AOMEI Backupper Professional, select Clone and System Clone. Then, it will automatically select the operating system and system reserved partition required to start Windows.

Choose System Clone

Notes: 
⊙ If you want to include all the content on hard drive with system reserved partition, you could consider cloning hard drive to SSD or another HDD with Disk Clone feature.

Step 2. Select the recognized external hard drive (or unallocated space) as destination path, and click Next. 

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the writting and reading speed of SSDs and extend its lifespan. Then, click Start Clone to perform Windows 10 move system reserved partition. 

Move System Reserved Partition to Another Drive

Notes: 
⊙ You could choose to clone all sectors with "Sector by sector clone" feature.
⊙ It's advisable to create bootable media in advance, so you can boot your computer even if it's not bootable. If you have multiple computers, you could consider using PXE boot tool in AOMEI Backupper Server.

Step 4. Boot computer from the cloned SSD and check if it can start normally. If it is, the operation is successful. Then, it's suggested to delete the previous system reserved partition to free disk space.

Method 2: Move system reserved partition to another drive with Backup and Restore

Except for System Clone in AOMEI Backupper, you still can use "System Backup" and "System Restore" to move system reserved partition to different drive. But you need to make more effort.

In this case, it will also select operating system and boot-related partition(s) including system reserved partition. Thus, all you need to do is to backup system to external hard drive and then restore to a different drive.

Step 1. Connect the hard drive containing system image and new SSD on your computer. Then, launch AOMEI Backupper, click Restore and choose Select Image File to find the image on your external drive.

Select Image File

Step 2. Tick "restore this system backup" and "Restore system to other location", then click Next to continue.

Restore This System Backup

Note: This software will select the latest system image automatically according to its backup time. If this backup image is damaged, you can select a previous one by ticking a different time point.

Step 3. Select a destination partition on the new SSD. For safety, it’s suggested to select the first partition. Then, click "Next".

Select Destination Path

Step 4. Click "Start Restore" to move system reserved partition and system partition to new SSD.

Restore System Reserved Partition to Another Drive

Tips:
⊙ If you want to backup and restore system image to new computer, it's suggested to tick "Universal Restore (supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional)". Because this feature can install all the necessary drivers required to boot Windows.
⊙ If the target disk is an SSD, please tick "SSD Alignment" to accelerate the writing and reading speed of SSDs with its 4k alignment technology.

Method 3: Move system reserved partition on wrong drive with Disk Management

The second method is to use built-in Disk Management to move boot partition on wrong drive. With further ado, let's get started.

Please note that the following operation may cause unexpected problems. Thus, you need to create a repair disc first. Once your computer cannot boot successfully, you can use it to troubleshoot the computer.

Step 1. Create a new simple partition on the disk 0 with disk management. Please note that the System Reserved partition is 100 MB on Windows 7, 350 MB on Windows 8, and 500 MB on Windows 10.

To open disk management, you can click “Win+R” and type diskmgmt.msc in the run box. Then right-click the unallocated space and choose New Simple Volume. If you do not have an unallocated space on the disk 0, you can shrink partition first.

Create New Partition

Step 2. Assign a drive letter for your newly simple partition (Z:).

Step 3. Copy everything from the system reserved partition to your newly simple partition (Z:), Including Boot folder, bootmgr, BOOTSEC.BAK

Step 4. Remove the drive letter from system reserved partition on disk 1.

Step 5. Set the new partition as "System Reserved".

Step 6. Remove the drive letter of your new System Reserved partition, then mark it as active.

Step 7. Restart your computer and delete system reserved partition on the disk 1 if the Windows can start. If not, start your computer using the previous created repair disc and repair it using Startup Repair option.

Method 4: Move system reserved partition on second drive with command line

Except for Disk Management, built-in command line utility Diskpart can also help you move system reserved partition to another drive, but this method only works well on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Then, learn how to change system reserved partition with the following steps.

Step 1. Open cmd as administrator, type the following command and hit enter.

bcdboot C:\windows /s C:

Create Boot Files

Step 2. Open Disk Management, right-click the C drive and select "Mark Partition as Active". 

Step 3. Select the system reserved partition and tap on "Mark Partition as Inactive ".

Step 4. Restart your computer and confirm it can boot successfully.

Step 5. Right-click the system reserved partition and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths", then follow the on-screen instruction to assign a letter for this partition.

Step 6. Right-click the system reserved partition again and tap on "Delete Volume" to delete system reserved partition.

Note: If you are not familar with command line, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Professional or built-in Disk Management.

Wrapping Things up

System reserved partition is very important for computer users to start Windows, so please be sure it's on the disk with Windows installed. If not, you need to move system reserved partition to another drive in Windows 10/8/7 to prevent startup failure. This article provides you three methods and just pick one of them.

Also, I want to remind you that system reserved partition on wrong drive is mainly caused by extra device while cloning disk or installing Windows. Please only keep the source and target disk connected to your computer and plug out other devices.

In addition, it's suggested to keep AOMEI Backupper on your computer to protect your data and system by its powerful features, such as, clone larger HDD to smaller SSD, migrate Windows 10 to SSD, backup system/disk/partition/file, create incremental/differential backup, create bootable media, universal restore, etc. Please download this powerfully software to secure your data and system.