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  • Defragmentation of the System Reserved partition?

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions – Maintenance and backups Defragmentation of the System Reserved partition?

    This topic contains 29 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  wavy 3 days, 1 hour ago.

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    • #1906623 Reply

      anonymous

      Hello, I would like to have some of the Askwoody MVPs and posters take a look at this and maybe come up with an answer. PKCano, Microfix, Abbodi86, and NoelC, Canadian Tech, could you give this some thought?

      I like to have my computer in good, “spic & span” shape. I do regular maintenance, cleanup and defragmentation.

      I have the partition called “SYSTEM RESERVED” that had been 0% fragmented for years, but has now slowly crept upwards and is currently at 9% fragmented. It was 8% prior to the July 2019 updates. Therefore some data is occasionally written to this reserved area. The partition is around 100 megs total with 25 megs of data is in it.

      Yes I know it is not an issue. Yes I know fragmentation of such a small rarely used partition is not impeding performance, but I want it 0% fragmented just the same.

      Does anyone know of a program that would defragment this “system Reserved” partition?

      Systernals does have PageDefrag and a special single file defragmenter program “Contig”, but I did not find anything to deal with a single partition from them.

      I don’t want to install a defragmentation program just to do this, hoping there was a stand alone program similar to PageDefrag Systernals makes.

      Thank you for any ideas.

    • #1906628 Reply

      PKCano
      Da Boss

      Start by giving us some of the specs on your computer, what version of Windows you are running, what updates(s) you think might have changed things.

      Usually the System Reserve Partition is just left alone. I’m guessing from the 100MB size that you are running Win7.
      The System Reserve Partition has several functions:
      +   It contains The Boot Manager code, Boot Configuration Database.
      + It reserves space for the startup files used for BitLocker Drive Encryption. If you decide to encrypt your system drive using BitLocker, you won’t have to repartition your system drive to make it possible.
      + Recovery environment data is also stored in System Reserved partition in Win10.

    • #1906629 Reply

      anonymous

      Hi fellow anonymous. You’ve chosen a good forum category to ask this, but it does not give immediate reference to what operating system you are currently using that may have created or come packaged with this partition. Also relevant to a full response, please describe the drive that contains this partition; both the drive itself and it’s place in your overall system, only drive or boot drive among several drives.

      Please ask if you need assistance in reporting this information. Apologies if this seems remedial. It is difficult to assess the prior experience of we the anonymous.

    • #1906645 Reply

      NetDef
      AskWoody_MVP

      If you really must defrag the system reserved partition:

      Mount it under a drive letter using Disk Manager

      Defrag it using your utility of choice.

      UNMount it afterwards using Disk Manager (take away the drive letter)

      Ignore it for as long as you think you need to.

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

    • #1906666 Reply

      anonymous

      Hello and thank you all for responding; PKCano, Anon, and NetDef. I did not think about the OS because I was more focused on the actual “System Reserved” partition itself rather than the OS.

      PKC you are right on with your assessment of that Partition. NetDef, I had seen that idea in the past on the web. I am a little worried on “making and deleting” a drive letter for a partition. But if you say it is common and no ill effects then I might do it. Anonymous, good point. I am rather technical, knowing how to work on a computer both hardware and software.

      So, It is a Windows 7 SP1 computer. I am Group B. The computer has one (1) drive internally. Windows Disk Management said: Volume-SYSTEM RESERVED, Layout-Simple, Type-NTFS, Status-Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition), 100 MB.

      The Windows Disk Defragmenter does see the partition and does have it in the list to defragment, and will try to defragment it. But afterwards it is still on X% fragmented (9% as of yesterday).

      PKC, I believe it is a Microsoft Update that occasionally makes a change there. Not every time but it seems maybe once a year with a special update that is done by them. I also have noticed that some AntiVirus makers use that area, AVG.

      NetDef has a good idea, but I don’t think it is the inability of the Windows defragmenter to see the drive, it is more that it will not do it, even though it looks like it is by its % done screen. Back about a year ago I did a lot of searching for an answer. Yours Netdef was the only one even remotely reasonable seen out there at the time. I was a dismayed. It would be nice if Systernals would make a program for this, but I am wishing.

      Thank you for your comments, they are appreciated. That is why I am here at Woody’s.

      • #1906669 Reply

        PKCano
        Da Boss

        If you decide to do that, I would making a full disk image (including boot sector and all partitions) before you start. Considering you could fumble, the computer may not start up afterward.
        Just being cautious.  🙂

      • #1906670 Reply

        NetDef
        AskWoody_MVP

        A) As long as you remove the drive letter association after the defrag, no harm done.

        B) Using the Windows Defrag, it’s entirely possible that you can’t fully defrag it. Allow me to explain.

        Windows Defrag will process a mounted (with drive letter) drive . . . but in specific circumstances you may not achieve a 0% fragmentation report. This is especially true of very small drive partitions. In reality, it might be one file, split in two, and there’s not enough free space on the drive to defrag it. Or Windows Defrag just doesn’t consider it fragmented enough to try just a bit more. I would not sweat it. It’s not enough to slow down anything by any margin we humans can perceive. Remember it’s a percentage, based on very few files (In this case) which are relatively large compared to the partition allocation. 9% is really not going to be a problem.

        Now on a large data partition, and assuming it’s not a SSD, 9% is worth solving! 🙂

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        • #1906701 Reply

          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          … there’s not enough contiguous free space on the drive to defrag it

          Anyway, I’d leave it alone (actually, I wouldn’t, and don’t, have one on any of my W7 installs, it’s optional*, unlike W10, but you need to prep the drive as a single partition before beginning the W7 install), it’s not worth wasting the time/energy on.

          *The W7 install routine will silently create a root folder, ‘Boot’, for the contents instead. In my case, Macrium adds it’s own recovery binaries and drivers there too.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1906684 Reply

      The Surfing Pensioner
      AskWoody Plus

      You’re worried about 9% fragmentation? My System Reserved is 58% fragmented and has been for at least the last two years! Windows Defragger sees it and claims to have defragged it every week, but doesn’t in fact go there. I have always been advised to leave well alone and was under the impression that to have one’s System Reserved in a glorious muddle was far less likely to cause problems than trying to tidy it up. Do please tell me, techies, if I’m wrong.

    • #1906780 Reply

      ek
      AskWoody Lounger

      So, it’s a 100MB partition with 25MB of data stored?  Absolutely no need to defrag in my opinion. If you were talking about a much larger partition and several GB of data then defraging might make more sense.

      Think about it: with such a tiny 100MB partition and only 25mb of data involved you’ll get 8% fragmentation with just one or two fragmented files that are a few MB in size.

      But, even more fundamentally: the entire 25MB on that partition will be read into the drive’s on-board cache after just a few spins of the platters (most modern mechanical drives have on-board cache >=  32MB).  So, even if you did somehow defrag the 100MB reserved partition you wouldn’t see any real performance benefit.

      I’ve assumed your drive is mechanical.  If it’s actually a solid state drive then it makes even less sense to defrag the reserved partition.

      • This reply was modified 5 days, 19 hours ago by  ek.
      • This reply was modified 5 days, 19 hours ago by  ek.
      • This reply was modified 5 days, 19 hours ago by  ek.
      • This reply was modified 5 days, 19 hours ago by  ek.
      • This reply was modified 5 days, 19 hours ago by  ek.
    • #1906798 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      After over 8 years of using my HP Pavilion dvt running Windows 7, I now have the grand total of about 5% of the Reserved partition fragmented and, as already mention by others here, the defragger does not do a thing when I run it on this partition, other than to change the date when I it was run last there to the current one. But I am not about to get a 3rd party “cleaner” to straighten out my PC. I shall die with my PC’s Reserved Partition undefragged, believe you me!

    • #1906803 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      That partition may contain the boot files and assuming an MBR boot the files must be in a specific location. Defragmenting may move those files and make your machine un-bootable.
      To confirm this can you post a screen shot of Disk Manager showing all partitions.

      If it ain’t broke…

      cheers, Paul

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1906807 Reply

      anonymous

      Hello and thank you all for responding; PKCano, Anon, NetDef, Satrow, Surfing pensioner, EK, Oscar and PaulT.

      The Surfing Pensioner says, “You’re worried about 9% fragmentation? My System Reserved is 58% fragmented and has been for at least the last two years! Windows Defragger sees it and claims to have defragged it every week…”. Fifty Eight Percent. That is very surprising to hear. When I was researching this last year, I heard people mention that. There were quite a few people wanting a solution as I. I am not “worried” over the fragmentation, I just want it to be zero. As I mentioned I know it is not a performance issue, it just bothers me, like a scratch on the fender of a car that most people do not see. I did see where one person was having error messages because the System Reserved was too full. I believe the person had to reinstall Windows 7 to fix his issue.

      PKCano asked what update could have done this. I don’t know, other than it happens maybe once a year by Microsoft Updates. So now I feel at least some Windows Updates do, some antivirus companies like AVG, and Satrow mentioned Macrium (Reflect). This list is growing.

      I remember about 10 years ago we had several computers at work that were always at some percent fragmented no matter what. My associate brought in a PAID FOR program from a reputable Partition company or maybe it was a Backup company that ran in the “blue screen DOS mode” outside of Windows. That worked perfect. Computers that were fragmented for years were all defragmented. So, it is possible.

      I want to express my gratitude to everyone for commenting. It shows how people care, as I do when I help others here at AskWoody’s. Thank you.

      I have used Sysinternals programs before. If in the future Mark Russinovich’s Sysinternals makes a program to deal with this, or another reputable company does, I would like to hear about and investigate it.

      Thank you again.

    • #1906854 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      My view on this is, a 9% fragmentation on 100mb in the system reserved area is absolutely nothing to worry about. Even if you did defragment it, the possibility of screwing up your system outweighs any filesystem access speed increase (if any) in this scenario. In any case upcoming patches may write to this area fragmenting further in the future.

      I too have used many utilities from Sysinternals and Wininternals over lunar and solar eclipses (prior to MS aquisition) and found Pagedefrag reliable for Win2k and XP pagefile.sys defragmentation.

      remember; the devil will find things for idle hands to do..

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

    • #1906889 Reply

      Bertram Pincus
      AskWoody Lounger

      Hi OP.  I respect your scrutiny or eye for keeping your machines running lean and mean.  But as most have mentioned, it’s not worth it to mess w/ your System Reserved (even at 58% fragmented , like The Surfing Pensioner is rocking).

      However, I had a couple ideas that might work (w/ low risk, well, arguably).  First, does that Piriform “Defraggler” application defrag System Res. partition?  (If so, you may want to try that: Piriform’s Disk Defraggler).  The other thing you could do is use a tool like AOMEI partition assistant, not Aomei backer-upper (that is garbage)… but their PA is kinda neat.   In fact, there’s a working key for versions up to v8 or v8.1.   DL from here: https://www.disk-partition.com/download.html

      (Download the Professional Trial version, use waybackmachine or a trustworthy source to get v8.0 or 8.1 -maybe newest version still works …

      [EDITED – information provided referred back to suspicious Vietnamese website, refer Lounge Rules: “Software of dubious original or from inappropriate distributors, key-gens, or similar, are unacceptable”]

      (I have no affiliation w/ this .exe… it comes in handy for a bootable media, and circumventing windows limitations when formatting partitions/disks/flashdrives, using Disk Management, for eg).  SO make a bootable media (USB is better than DVD b/c you can load  your drivers on larger USB)… change Boot order to USB or DVD (whichever you choose), and AOMEI boots into their Partition application.  Then COPY your system reserved, format new at 4096 (not MS default -my paranoid side when formatting a HDD 😛 ).  OH YEAH, make  SYSteM IMAGE before you make a copy of your system reserved in a new partition, then swap it back to your old… you know, just in case.  Just to err safe, I wouldn’t quick format your 100MB System Reserve Part.  Also, maybe run a chkdsk f/ r on any partition/disk to which you plan on copying your old SR partition to be before copying it, back.   The bootable flash drive will be the key.   You can mess w/ command prompt, reconfiguring partitions (AOMEI actually allows you to add an unallocated space to a disk  partition that lays AFTER said unallocated space (all kinds of stuff MS/Win doesn’t allow… DISKPART is pretty helpful though).  *Speaking of SysInternals, disable the one startup entry AOMEI will add (uncheck it in Autoruns, for eg).   You will get one singleton, AMTAG.BIN file on your C:\ drive list (safe to delete).

      Good luck… get that 5% of SR back before you have bad blocks/sectors, your platter goes kablooey, et, you know?  😛

      Screenshot for PartAsst…

      View post on imgur.com

    • #1906902 Reply

      anonymous

      ? says:

      been using Defraggler portable (piriform) for years. it defrags “System Reserved,” just fired up a windows 7 and looked. 100MB, 28.6 used, 71.4 total, 0% fragmented. i also like to see which files have been moving around by analyzing then looking at the fragmented files then doing a quick defragment. makes the windows defragmenter run faster after doing this as well. .Net patching is the main offender followed by MSE on my win7’s. i did chop off system reserved on one of the machines because “the devil will find things for idle hands to do” and well let’s just say unless you love running the admin cmd to recreate the boot sector then it is not recommended.

      • #1906962 Reply

        anonymous

        Hello Anonymous that recommended Piriform’s Defraggler. Tried the portable version 222 and it did not see any drive other than C & D.

        I also want to point out that Ccleaner was purchase by Avast, and I do not know what else was of theirs. I disconnected from the internet prior to running Defraggler Portable, it complained about not having an internet connection. I am sorry to say I am loosing faith in Periform Products and I have used them since version 1.

        Thanks to everyone here again.

        • #1906996 Reply

          anonymous

          ? says:

          sorry to hear that, i use portable versions from before Avast for CCleaner (v4.02 and v5.40) and Defraggler (v2.16.809). could possibly find them (pre Avast versions) somewhere?

          • #1907119 Reply

            anonymous

            Hello Anonymous that recommended Piriform’s Defraggler. I wanted to update you and others on what we found and had happened. Maybe the newer version of Defraggler has the “Unmounted Drives” hidden. We found a setting in Options to show “unmounted drives”. Once checked, they were shown.

            Now read this carefully. When Windows Defragmenter is used, it says the SYSTEM RESERVED is 9% fragmented. When defraggler is used, it said the SYSTEM RESERVED was 0% fragmented when analyzed! However if one looks closely when the SYSTEM RESERVED partition is selected, it does show a few orange squares which reflect the fact that there IS some fragmentation. But as soon as one clicks Analyze, it all turns blue and says 0% fragmented. Odd.

            Another in our group tried running defraggler on these partitions a Windows 8.1 machine but it just did not turn out right. The normal path to run System Restore failed so they had to go to “recovery” and in the recovery’s DOS like screen, ran the System Restore from there. That succeeded. Like PKCano said, make sure you have a backup or escape hatch to jump into.

            We have run into Defraggler clearing out System Restore points and this was known to happen and discussed out in the web.

            At this time like others have said here, I am going to live with the 9% fragmented since it is not a true performance or space issue.

            However, again I say, if Sysinternals (Microsoft) -hint hint- comes out with a SYSTEM RESERVED defragmentation program, I would investigate using it.

            Thank you again.

            • #1907360 Reply

              anonymous

              ? says:

              sorry it did not work as expected. i have been using Defraggler (portable) for a long time and haven’t changed settings from initial run and forgot to suggest doing that. i just looked at computer management>system reserved  then clicked on Defragment where i have the option to defrag “C:\” or “system reserved” which in my case is showing 0% fragmented.

        • #1907115 Reply

          Bertram Pincus
          AskWoody Lounger

          Install anything Piriform while offline.  Make sure if you’re using for e.g., CCleaner (an old version you like, pre-Avast), that if you install Piriform’s Defraggler you turn off updating in Defraggler’s Options, and make sure you disable Avast’s new entries you’ll find calling home in Task Scheduler (b/c then you’ll get hit w/ newest versions for whatever Piriform applications you’re using).

    • #1907315 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Wish I had seen the portable before I installed but just uninstalled. THe Defraggler install included the CCleaner product which got uninstalled as well.

      On W10 1803 I have an SSD with a OEM partition with wimre file that is 97% fragmented, OK since it is SSD. The program thinks my HDD data drive is an SSD so something is wrong. I looked for info on the difference between Defragment and Optimize but a quick search of the CCleaner site came up empty. Again gave it the boot with Revo…

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1907364 Reply

        anonymous

        ” info on the difference between Defragment and Optimize “. From what I have read, one Defragments a rotating drive to make it gather data faster and have less stress (drive head movement) on the drive. On an SSD, it is supposed to TRIM the drive. As I understand it, when you delete a file on an SSD, it deletes it, but the area is not available yet. It needs to be wiped clean, or reset, or formatted, or similar before it is made available for use. TRIM goes through the drive and reclaims these cluster/sectors.

        I am not an SSD lover but many…many are. I have heard people complain that their SSD is not as fast as it once was, especially if it a inexpensive one. One big reason is that TRIM is not run often enough.

        Steve Gibson makes a disk recovery tool and there has been much discussion from other techies on how running his program speeds up an SSD. In a talk show he mentioned it may be from a forcing of “TRIMing” that drive. Internet search Spinrite and SSDs.

        As mentioned above, Sysinternals (now of Microsoft) has a program called CONTIG that is designed to defragment single files. I know, I know, people say don’t but investigate the possibility if that 97% fragmented file bothers you. I would not think defragmenting one or two files on an SSD would ruin it. Just sayin…

        Hope this helps.

        • #1907650 Reply

          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          I have heard people complain that their SSD is not as fast as it once was, especially if it a inexpensive one. One big reason is that TRIM is not run often enough

          TRIM is automatic, usually within 60 seconds of file deletion.
          See this post for more information on checking if TRIM is working.

          cheers, Paul

          • #1907660 Reply

            anonymous

            Thank you PaulT for that information. I remember reading long ago that Windows Vista did not know about SSD’s and needed a driver or TRIM help, Windows 7 knew about it but did not run it often enough and Windows 8 and above knew how to handle SSDs properly.

      • #1907771 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus
    • #1907770 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      . From what I have read, one Defragments a rotating drive to make it gather data faster and have less stress (drive head movement) on the drive. On an SSD, it is supposed to TRIM the drive. As I understand it, when you delete a file on an SSD, it deletes it, but the area is not available yet. It needs to be wiped clean, or reset, or formatted, or similar before it is made available for use. TRIM goes through the drive and reclaims these

      That would make sense, but it would have been REAL nice to find that said in the docs.

      Also I need to take back something I said,

      THe Defraggler install included the CCleaner product which got uninstalled as well.

      Actually I believe I had CCleaner installed but some auto update happened when I installed Defraggler.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1908021 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      What is TRIM and TRIM vs Defrag:

      Thanks for the link Alex, what I was frustrated with was the lack of documentation @ CCleaner

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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