Windows 10: Combine Unallocated space to System Partition

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  1.    17 Dec 2015 #1

    Combine Unallocated space to System Partition


    Greetings all,

    I had 2 useless partitions, one at the very beginning of my HD and the second at the very end. My setup is GPT Basic btw.

    I would like to know, using MiniTool Partition Wizard version 9.1, if it is possible to merge these former partitions (now 'unallocated' space) into the Windows partition (C??

    I right clicked on both of the unallocated space 'partitions' but any operations (namely, move) was greyed out.

    Any help is greatly appreciated - i would like to clean up the disk layout (even if we are talking about only 1 GB. of space)

    TIA.



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  2. Posts : 1,179
    Windows 10 Home
       17 Dec 2015 #2

    Hi 'Creed. I haven't had an exactly comparable situation but, ONLY AFTER I have made a complete disk image (I use Macrium Reflect, and have both a bootable rescue DVD and bootable rescue USB HDD) to external media, I would move all three: the ESP (aka EFI), Reserved (aka MSR), and C: partitions left (or up) to the amount corresponding to the 609.98 MB unallocated space. Then move the recovery partition all the way to the right (or down). Then resize the C: partition to fill the remaining 1.03 GB of unallocated space.

    I'm not aware of any prohibition against simply moving any of the allocated partitions you have.

    The gaps you describe are naturally unmovable since they contain nothing.

    There's nothing in the MSR either but that space is reserved for future use as part of the GUID partition standard. Although others may differ in opinion, I wouldn't myself do more than move the MSR.

    UPDATE - I wanted to check on what I claimed above and, since I have some 47 GB unallocated to the right of my C: partition (over-provisioning for my SSD), I slid C: to the right by about 1 GB. Then I found that my MSR (immediately to left of C: partition) has no move option -soooo... I guess I spoke big words too quickly. I know MiniTool offers the option to delete the MSR - but not sure of the consequences, perhaps none, I do have a complete disk image on hand - unless someone more knowledgeable speaks up on deleting MSR, maybe I could give it a try, for what that's worth, and report back on it?
    Last edited by Word Man; 17 Dec 2015 at 21:54. Reason: UPDATE
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  3. Posts : 1,179
    Windows 10 Home
       17 Dec 2015 #3

    Although some would say go ahead and delete the MSR, I'm not happy with that as it's there for future use - although mine and others have only a 16 MB MSR after clean installs, I still would like to do what I'm suggesting above but still have a 16 MB MSR.

    I checked into "diskpart" and it appears you can recreate a legit MSR using diskpart after having deleted it (purposely or not). I will run a new full disk image on my bootable rescue HDD (more convenient that networked drive where a lot of my images are) and give this a try. Not just this moment, perhaps tomorrow night and let you know.

    Meantime, maybe topgundcp or another member can give there opinion on deleting and recreating the MSR - or another way to accomplish what you want.

    There is, of course, the alternative of doing a clean install and getting the textbook placement of recovery, EFI, and MSR partitions before C: partition but that's perhaps outside the scope of your OP.
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  4.    17 Dec 2015 #4

    Thanks 'WordMan' for the quick reply.

    I noticed that both #3 (Other - Reserved Partition) & #5 (NTFS - Recovery Partition) have status of 'None' as does the unallocated space. So...i'm thinking that they are safe to delete, although both of them have used space for something.

    Oh well, more googling - after all, it is your friend!
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  5. Posts : 1,179
    Windows 10 Home
       17 Dec 2015 #5

    AthanasianCreed said: View Post
    Thanks 'WordMan' for the quick reply.

    I noticed that both #3 (Other - Reserved Partition) & #5 (NTFS - Recovery Partition) have status of 'None' as does the unallocated space. So...i'm thinking that they are safe to delete, although both of them have used space for something.

    Oh well, more googling - after all, it is your friend!
    Well #3 is the MSR (Microsoft Reserved) partition I've been talking about and the advisability of deleting that is debatable - I think it would only mean it's not there for future use as the GUID Partition Table (GPT) standard calls for, may or may not be important in future. I choose not to mess with the existence and size of mine but now think I can recreate it at a different position with diskpart (i.e., I would do after scooting #1 and #2 leftward, given your exact situation) after having deleted it with MiniTool.

    #5 is presumably where your Windows recovery tools and advanced boot options would be assuming it is indeed the active recovery partition. Check its status using "reagentc /info" from an elevated command prompt. Then, it's your choice whether you value that functionality or not and want to keep it, although slid to the right as I describe in my first post.
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  6.    17 Dec 2015 #6

    Ya, your probably right - do you think i can move # 2 & #5 over to incorporate the unallocated space, thereby increasing #2 & #5s space or do you think that's asking for trouble??

    Thanks brother for all your help!
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  7. Posts : 1,179
    Windows 10 Home
       17 Dec 2015 #7

    Yep. I believe you can slide 2 to the left, 5 to the right, delete MSR, slide C: to the left by 609.98 MB, recreate the 128 MB MSR in the gap between the EFI and C:, and then resize C: to absorb the 1.03 GB gap that will create into C:.

    I completed my backup and I will do the reverse of what you want.

    Here is my starting point:

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  8. Posts : 1,179
    Windows 10 Home
       18 Dec 2015 #8

    And, after this intermediate step:
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    This is where I ended up:
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    However:

    1) I couldn't move the EFI without the size changing from 100 MB to 329 MB - something I'll have to learn about. It looks like diskpart can create an EFI (after it's deleted) but I'm guessing that would have to be done booted into a WIndows Recovery Environment - not brave enough or have enough time right now to try.

    2) I checked after all this with "reagentc /info" but that recovery partition (1st partition) is no longer active. There may be away to restore a pointer or update BCD so that it's fixed but I don't have functional recovery right now. [EDITING TO ADD: As it turns out, it may have been only that I had to execute "reagentc /enable" from an elevated command prompt. On my restored system, I also found my recovery partition non-functional, perhaps due to some changes I made earlier in this thread. However, after "reagentc /enable", all is fixed with my first partition back and fully functional for Windows Recovery Environment.]

    Sooo, it looks like I managed to kind of do the reverse of what you're after but there were a few complications. If it wasn't so late tonight, I wouldn't mind exploring it more but tomorrow and another workday beckons.

    I'm gonna go ahead and restore this laptop to where I started and would look forward to other members' inputs on this attempt to answer your query, especially on the ability to move a recovery partition without losing functionality - might be some simple trick I missed there.

    In summary, though, I think you can do a lot with MiniTool but, depending on what it is you want to do, you may have to also rely on a working knowledge of diskpart, have a very reliable disk image to fall back on, and perhaps, alternatively, give a thought to whether you may be willing to do a truly clean install (wiping out all partitions in the process) of Win10 to get a more "textbook" GPT disk partition layout.
    Last edited by Word Man; 18 Dec 2015 at 00:50. Reason: Added comment about WinRE partition - in red.
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  9. Posts : 2,036
    Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64 Win10Prox64
       18 Dec 2015 #9

    A normal, Fresh install of Windows 10, when done, will have the following partition scheme:
    1. 450 MB Reserved partition, will contain WinRe.wim which is a WinPE containing a set of tools for diagnose, trouble shoot your PC when things go wrong.
    2. 100MB EFI System FAT32 partition containing Boot code. Without it, your PC won't boot.
    3. 16MB MSR partition unformatted (Not unallocated as understood by others) and must exist in every GPT type disk. Even though deleting it, Windows still boot and works but might cause trouble for future update/upgrade when this partition is needed to perform operation on GPT disk. MS created it for a reason and I would not mess with it just to save 16MB of space.
      More info: Windows and GPT FAQ
    4. The rest is your C Drive.


    Looking at your partition layout. You did in fact upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1. In Windows 8/8.1, the MSR partition is 128MB and in Windows 10, It was reduced to 16MB.

    IMPORTANT: Any time when you work on partition, you should/must make a backup image in case if something goes wrong then you can fall back to a working copy of Windows.

    Having said that. If you really, really want to clean up the mess and make it looks like a fresh install without losing any information/installed apps on your current C: drive. Follow this procedure that I posted on another thread and was proven working by the OP:
    Solved Help With Partition Management - Windows 10 Forums
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  10.    19 Dec 2015 #10

    Thanks guys for your help.

    It seems as if i need the MSR partition as per Microsoft -

    What is a Microsoft Reserved Partition (MSR)?

    The Microsoft Reserved Partition (MSR) reserves space on each disk drive for subsequent use by operating system software. GPT disks do not allow hidden sectors. Software components that formerly used hidden sectors now allocate portions of the MSR for component-specific partitions. For example, converting a basic disk to a dynamic disk causes the MSR on that disk to be reduced in size and a newly created partition holds the dynamic disk database. The MSR has the Partition GUID:
    DEFINE_GUID (PARTITION_MSFT_RESERVED_GUID, 0xE3C9E316L, 0x0B5C, 0x4DB8, 0x81, 0x7D, 0xF9, 0x2D, 0xF0, 0x02, 0x15, 0xAE)
    What disks require an MSR?

    Every GPT disk must contain an MSR. The order of partitions on the disk should be ESP (if any), OEM (if any) and MSR followed by primary data partition(s). It is particularly important that the MSR be created before other primary data partitions.
    Who creates the MSR?

    The MSR must be created when disk-partitioning information is first written to the drive. If the manufacturer partitions the disk, the manufacturer must create the MSR at the same time. If Windows partitions the disk during setup, Windows creates the MSR.

    Windows and GPT FAQ - Windows 10 hardware dev

    So...you are confident i can increase # 2 ESP by 601 mb unallocated space behind it & # 5 (NTFS) by 452 mb in front of it without hosing my system??

    Yes, i do have a backup of my system just in case.

    TIA,

    Ray
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