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Recommended UEFI-Based Disk-Partition Configurations

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

This topic includes recommended disk-partition configurations for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)–based computers.

This topic also describes the default configuration, as well as configurations using a recovery partition. Other configurations are supported as long as they fulfill the requirements described in the topic, Understanding Disk Partitions.

To create these partition structures using Windows® System Image Manager (Windows SIM), see Create UEFI-based Hard-Disk Partitions by Using Windows SIM.

For image-based deployment, use the DiskPart tool to create the partition structures on your destination computers. For instructions, see Apply Images by Using ImageX.

Default Configuration

For new installations, by default, Windows Setup creates a system partition (that is, an Extensible Firmware Interface System partition, also called EFI System Partition, or ESP), a Microsoft® Reserved partition (MSR), and a Windows partition.

Windows Setup creates a system partition when:

  • There is no existing system partition.

  • There is enough disk space to create a 100 MB partition.

Windows Setup creates the MSR when:

  • There is no existing MSR.

  • There is enough disk space to create a 128 MB partition.

Creating the system partition takes priority over the MSR because the system partition is required to boot the computer.

When upgrading Windows from a previous version, Windows Setup does not change the arrangement of your partitions.

The recommended configuration includes a Windows RE tools partition, a system partition, an MSR, a Windows partition, and a recovery image partition.

We recommend that you add the Windows RE tools partition and system partition before you add the Windows partition, and the partition containing the recovery image at the end. This partition order helps to keep the system and Windows RE partitions safe during actions such as removing the recovery image partition or altering the size of the Windows partition.

To configure Windows RE tools and recovery image partitions, identify the partitions as utility partitions by setting the partition type:

  • In Windows SIM, set: Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartition\TypeID to de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac.

  • In the DiskPart tool, after you have created and formatted the partition, use the command set id= de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac.

To view drives that do not appear in Windows Explorer

By default, the system partition and utility partitions do not appear in Windows Explorer. To confirm that these partitions exist on the destination computer, do the following:

  1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Manage. The Computer Management control panel opens.

  2. Click Disk Management. The list of available disks and partitions appears.

  3. In the list of partitions, confirm that the system and utility partitions are present and are not assigned a drive letter.

See Also


Sample: Apply Images on a UEFI-based Computer by Using ImageX


Understanding Disk Partitions
Understanding BitLocker Drive Encryption
Create UEFI-based Hard-Disk Partitions by Using Windows SIM