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about "system reserved" in my "E" drive/partition

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#1 seraphin


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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:40 PM

A complete novice of OS but have questions about system reserved.

My apology if questions are not stated clearly -


It seems that most laptops these days come with at least two partitions in the HD.

Partition One is called Win7 OS (or Win8, I assume) and the other "system reserved".

I've heard that "system reserved" is an IMPORTANT partition and CAN HELP restore the system after it crashes (is this correct?).


I recently backed up my whole HD - not sure if the backup software really backed up EVERYTHING (i.e. both partitions or just main WIn7 OS partition) or only the files in partition one ??


Today I obtained a new HD from a thrown-away laptop and I reformated it.

Question 1 -

after/if I copy everything in system reserved to the reformated HD, can it run by itself like a computer?

Question 2 -

if no, what then will be the minimum that I must copy to the reformated HD to make it an operatable HD?

The reason I am asking my Q2 is that the reformated HD is smaller in capacity. Thus I cannot make a system imagery from my current laptop to the new HD, as I have lots of NON-essential programs installed. I would like to just put in the essential minimum in the reformated HD so that I could use the remaining space for other purposes. Google has failed to help me find what I need for this question (perhaps because I did not know what key words to use).


Any help will be appreciated. Thank you very much.




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#2 czarboom


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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:01 AM


So let me tackle what you're asking in order



Question 1 -

after/if I copy everything in system reserved to the reformated HD, can it run by itself like a computer?


Yes, and No.... I know that does not help much.  Meaning assuming the old HD and the new HD are the same type.  Right now there are two types of Hard Drives out there.  HDD (Hard Disk Drives, and SSD (Solid-state drives).  Knowing which one you have right now can be a huge factor in knowing what you can do when something goes down.  Also, using the recovery to make a backup is not a good idea, unless you have a good knowledge level of windows header and recovery functions.

Go to this site HDDGURU.com and NewEGG.com for more info on Hard Drives and what you should know.



Question 2 -

if no, what then will be the minimum that I must copy to the reformated HD to make it an operatable HD?

Answer:  In short, nothing at all.  Again I'll explain.  As long as your HD runs and is not physically broken, then almost any computer will recognize and run it.  (think of a thumb drive /USB stick).  Windows runs it even if its blank.  What you are trying to do is Clone your Drives to another HD and use that encase your current HD breaks?  Correct?

While that sounds good, now days you do not need to do that.  That is what the Recovery Drive is for.  Meaning if the Recovery Dive is a separate drive in your computer then when your primary HD goes out, you will insert the blank one and your OS will start a recovery program that fixes it.  Or ask for the Recovery Disk (cd/DVD) to boot it and reload the OS. 

In this process you will loose all your files. but your computer will run. 

So unless your old HD is physically broken its a operable HD right now, and you can load a copy of Windows 7 on it or Linux or whatever and on and on.

I think you want a cloned HD.  There are a bunch of programs like Norton Ghost, or Clonezilla out there, that will do it. 

I love Clonezilla, but it is not a simple tool to use.  If you want to try it go to Clonezilla.org  WARNING!!!! If you are not good with the info displayed at the clonezilla site DO NOT USE IT.  If you mess it up it will Delete your whole computer.

I like it because its freeware, and does a great job.

Here is some more info on Cloning and Backups

Here is a List of GOOD programs for Free for Cloning a HD to a HD


Unless your stuck on that I wouldn't do this.


It seems that you want to have a backup drive for when your HD goes down.  There are two things to consider here.

  1. Recovering the OS, and booting
  2. Restoring your files and folders.

So you might know how to do this. But first off I would box to place your old HD in, that takes it from SATA or PATA etc (ribbon cable) to USB cable.  You can find them at Best Buy or a site like New Egg.

From there plug in your old HD and reformat it (assuming you have nothing you want on it currently).  This will create a big blank external HD.  Or you can buy a external HDD with 1TB on it for less than $50 US now days.

Run windows Backup and Recovery and make the System Image and System Restore disks and do a backup.

Now I know you said the current HD in your new system is bigger than your old HD, but during a backup the backup will only take the files not the whole HD space.

Meaning if your old HD is 300GB and your new one is 500GB (with only 150GB used) then when you do a backup to your old HD it will only take at most 150GB.

  • There is a process to take a big backup and compact it to a smaller drive using Clonezilla, but I wouldn't do this if you're not versed in imaging and backups and command line functions.

So here is a link to give you better understand of my above craziness on Backups and Restoring Windows by Microsoft.


Overall, trying to use the recovery drive to make a backup to a old HD and it work, can be done.  But its very complicated and will not get you back any of your saved files, or pics, music etc.  You can either make a Hard Drive Clone, or Do a backup, system Image, and Recovery Disk in Windows.


Hope this helps and did confuse you.


Edited by czarboom, 03 July 2014 - 02:17 AM.

"Never Stop Asking Questions, Question Your Environment, Question Your Government, above all Question Yourself.  We all lose when you Stop asking Why?

#3 seraphin

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:24 AM

Thank you SO very much for the detailed explanation. Will google many of the issues/terms in it to fully understand everything.

But below is my quick feedback based on my limited understanding -


Issue 1 - the old HD is HDD.

Issue 2 - HD from the current laptop made some noise about a month ago (recently gone). So yes, I am trying to rescue the data from the current laptop

Issue 3 - Current laptop has used ~ 230 GB of the HD, the old HD has only 160 GB (available space less as you already know, since it also has its own partition for recovery). Thus, I cannot make the system imagery onto the old HD - hence was trying to be selective in picking and choosing files to move to the old HD.


Q1. If HD from my current laptop made/makes noise, can "recovery partition/system reserved partition" still RECOVER (i.e. run) when the HD/laptop crashes (assuming it's the Win7 partition that is damaged, the recovery partition/system reserved partition" is not) ??

Q2. If no, or there is no way to know if recovery partition is fine so it's best to avoid the risk, what should I choose to copy onto the old HD? From your explanation, it sounds like, without my doing anything to it except formatting, the old HD by itself can run as it is now. If so, then I only need to copy important data (pic, docs, xls, movies, music ..etc), perhaps Office suite (so I don't have to pay to Microsoft for a copy), and perhaps internet browser(s) (so that i can continue to get support from forums like this?). Does this sound about right ?


Thank you again for your insight.

#4 hamluis



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Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:58 AM

The Stystem Reserved partition...is insignificant and is an administrative partition created when Win 7 is installed.  There is no reason at all to put files in that small partition or to worry about the contents.


System Reserved Partition



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