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Extend System Drive but Recovery Partition is in the Way Windows 11/10/8/7

Updated by Roxanne on Mar 22, 2022
Written by Jean
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Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Merge non-adjacent unallocated space to C drive This is exactly the same case with "cannot extend system drive because of recovery partition is in the way"...Full steps
Fix 2. Extend an existing partition without creating an unallocated space Step 1. Locate the Target Partition; Step 2. Extend the Target Partition...Full steps

Cannot extend c drive because of recovery partition

"I just replaced my system drive with a bigger drive. It worked fine, but now I can't extend the partition because the free space is contiguous. I have a System Reserved (350MB), C-Drive/healthy/boot/etc (297GB), Recovery Partition (450MB), Unallocated (167GB). So when I right-click on C drive, expand partition is greyed out. I assume that it's because the unallocated space is not contiguous. I'm running Windows 11/10. Anyone have any idea how I can resolve this and make one single system drive?"

This is a slightly modified thread from Microsoft Community (thread source), and it's not hard for us to find similar posts on other popular forums, with questions like "Cannot extend C drive because of recovery partition", "recovery partition is getting in the way of extending C partition", "Can I delete recovery partition to extend C drive?", and so forth.

From what the Microsoft Community user has outlined, he has a default UEFI/GPT-based hard drive partition layout, including a system partition, System Reserved partition (MSR), Windows C partition, Recovery Partition, in addition, a large chunk of unallocated space. Now he wants to merge the unallocated space to the C drive in Windows 11/10. He failed because there is a recovery partition in between. Once the C drive and unallocated space are blocked by the recovery partition, the "Extend Volume" option is greyed out, becoming no available to use at the moment. The situation can happen to Windows 11,10, 8, 7 and any other Windows versions, Virtual machines, and VMware.

default partition layout

Can you delete the recovery partition to extend the C drive?

Then you might ask, what if I remove the recovery partition? We don't suggest you do that because it's not worth the risk. It's uncontroversial for two reasons.

1. The recovery partition is the last straw for restoring a crashed computer

You should see that the recovery partition (Lenovo, Dell or HP recovery partition is also called OEM partition) is without a drive letter nor any executable functions on it. It's well protected by system suppliers for you to use a simple click to delete it off from the system hard drive. Regarding it's a partition that contains essential system backup and restoration files, users need to depend on the recovery partition to factory restore a Windows computer after an expected failure or likewise accidents.

2. Third-party software can perfectly extend system C drive blocked by recovery partition

EaseUS Partition Master is reputable as a Resize/Move partition magic software for quite a few years, and many of you should've heard of it when choosing a Windows Disk Management alternative. No matter it's a recovery partition in the middle or any other data partitions, it doesn't matter. You can easily increase an existing partition with non-adjacent unallocated space without affecting others at all.

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How to extend C drive across recovery partition without deleting

The "Resize/Move" is the primary function of EaseUS Partition Master, and it's been optimizing all the while to give our users the best experience. Besides the simple and direct operation, the partition manager software outstrips its rivals by resolving the key technical problems with the following two breakthroughs.

1. Merge non-adjacent unallocated space to C drive

This is exactly the same case with "cannot extend system drive because of recovery partition is in the way". Windows Disk Management couldn't handle noncontinuous partitions. Users have to extend one partition by means of deleting other involved partitions, which causes a total data loss. Whereas using third-party software doesn't have to do that. As long as there is unallocated space, no matter where it's placed, you don't need to move its space at all. 

2. Extend an existing partition without creating an unallocated space

The other more superior part is, even there is no allocated space available at the moment, the software will not ask you to create some unallocated space by shrinking from other volumes, you simply use the "Allocate Space" option to transfer free space from one partition to the other, like from D to C, from E to C, etc.

It's easy to understand and operate EaseUS Partition Master to merge free space to the C drive even blocked by the recovery partition. A few brisk mouse clicks should have done that.

Step 1. Locate the Target Partition.

To start extending partition, you should first locate the target partition and select "Resize/Move".

Select target partition to extend

Step 2. Extend the Target Partition.

Drag the partition panel rightward or leftward to add unallocated space into your current partition and click "OK" to confirm.

choose another drive to allocate space

Extra Option: Get Space from Another Drive

If there is not enough unallocated space on your disk, right-click on a big partition with enough free space, select "Allocate space".

Then select the target partition that you want to extend at the allocate space to column.

choose another drive to allocate space

Step 3. Execute Operations to Extend Partition.

Drag the dots of the target partition into the unallocated space and click "OK".

finish extending partition

Then Click the "Execute Operation" button and click "Apply" to keep all the changes. 

Here EaseUS Partition Master also provides a video guide for you to follow. Watch this guide and resize your partition accordingly.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Product Reviews

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