Friday, January 5, 2018

Move the System Reserved Partition

One of my techs came to me with a Windows 7 system that they cloned the drive to a bigger one using something like this from StarTech. The problem was the System Reserved Partition was at the back of the drive instead of the front so after cloning it was now in the middle which prevented the Windows partition from being expanded via Disk Manager.


This system in particular was an older system that was deployed originally without the System Reserved Partition due to us using a 3rd party FDE when it was deployed however later was transitioned to BitLocker. That and SCCM/MDT didn't initially create one back then.

These cloners work well vs a Software Refresh when new space is all thats needed. Also works well to transition older system to SSD from HDD, assuming the SSD is bigger. Just make sure you use SSDTweak or TweakSSD or whatever else is out there on Windows 7. 7 only adjusts for SSDs at install whereas Windows 10 will generally adjust itself after detecting an SSD is present. We will clone when theres still life left in the device but a Hardware Refresh is in its near future.

There are a few options to address in the Windows world that use more labor such as using BCD to move the Boot Manager to the Windows partition and decrypting etc, however I like to do the simplest thing. I like and use gparted so I thought I would just throw up how I've done it in the past in hopes to maybe help a few others that visit.

To prep, you need to download the gparted LiveCD ISO and convert to USB with LiveLinuxUSB. Boots faster and many systems no longer have optical drives.

Suspend Bitlocker if present, then boot up gparted. During bootup you are prompted for keyboard and language etc. In most cases you can just accept the defaults.

Once gparted has started up it should select the first disk and show layout in two formats. Note the System Reserved partition in red. The goal is to migrate the System Reserved partition in red) to the back end of the drive.  This is done so using the following procedure..


In my case this is done by selecting /dev/sda2 and then selecting the Resize/Move button. 


In the popup, simply drag the partition to the right side of the bar. While your here you can first resize to 500MB that Windows 10 sets this partition to by default. Then select Resize/Move and OK to the warning.



Just to note, we are not actually performing any moves or resizes at this point, we are simply just creating a chain of commands that gparted will follow once it is applied.  You can either apply at the end of each step, or wait till the bitter end and do it, its up to you.  Either way when you are done, you should see your drive laid out the way you want.

Once its laid out the way you want and the actions at the bottom are correct, just click Apply and away it goes. Since the Reserved partition is so small it only takes a moment or two to move it.


Once done, remove the gparted media and restart into Windows. It will run a CHKDSK. Then after startup you can go to Disk Manager and see your handy work.


Then its a simple matter of extending the volume for your end results.


After extending, Bitlocker, if present, will start encrypting the larger volume and this can take a while since it  encrypts the entire volume in Windows 7 while newer can be configured for used space only. Once this is done you can resume Bitlocker and go about your day. Additionally, depending how you are managing recovery keys, be sure that is updated if its not something like MBAM or a 3rd party manager.

-Kevin


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