Some users want to delete EFI system partition for releasing disk space or other reasons, but they are afraid of losing important data. So what is an EFI system partition, what exactly is on this special partition, do you really need it and how can it be removed? Below we will give answer to those three questions separately.
What is an EFI system partition Windows 10?
The EFI system partition is commonly known by its acronym ESP. It is a partition on a data storage device and used by computers which adheres to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. When the computer is booted, UEFI firmware will load the bootloader (EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi) from the EFI system partition to start the OS and other necessary utilities.
The EFI system partition is always created during the OS installation process. If you have ever installed Windows OS by yourself, you may received the prompt at the Windows setup that tells you it’s going to create an EFI system partition for system files.
If you click “OK” at the prompt small window, you will get an EFI system partition, which is around 100MB in size, but only has data worth 30 MB. In the computer which uses the Legacy BIOS and MBR partition scheme, you will get a system reserved partition with the same size.
This partition always contains 4 major components: Boot loader (for all the installed OS), Device Driver (for devices present in a computer used by the firmware during the boot time), System utilities (that will run before an OS is booted) and data files such as error logs.
Can I delete EFI system partition?
Is EFI system partition needed? Can you delete it directly? We can know that the EFI system partition stores boot files that are necessary to load Windows operating system successfully. So the answer is that you need the EFI system partition, and you cannot delete it.
However, the things will be different when you want to delete the EFI system partition from an external hard drive (rather than the internal one), or you have installed two Windows operating systems (two ESP have created) and you now plan to delete one of them. Then how can you remove EFI system partition in Windows 10/8/7?
How to delete EFI system partition in Windows 10/8/7?
To delete a partition from a hard disk, Windows native Disk Management is recommended. But when you try to delete ESP in Disk Management, you will find the Delete Volume option is grayed out. Why? That’s because deleting EFI system partition will cause the OS unbootable. Thereby, EFI system partition is protected by the Windows OS to prevent and avoid accidental deletion.
In this situation, you can turn to a third-party disk partition manager called AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It allows you to remove EFI system partition or system reserved partition within three steps.
1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right click the EFI system partition and select “Delete Partition”.
2. In the pop-out small window, you can choose “Delete partition quickly without wiping data” or “Delete partition and wipe data on it”. Then click “OK”.
Note: you can also select the wiping method to fill sector with zero, random data, or adopt the DoD 5220.22-M and Gutmann wiping solution.
3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the pending operation.
After removing the EFI system partition (ESP) successfully, it will turn into unallocated space, with which you can create a new partition or extend another partition. Using AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, you can also perform other tricky disk partition management tasks that cannot be done by Disk Management, such as:
☞Delete/Format C drive within simple steps;
☞Convert NTFS to FAT32 or FAT32 to NTFS while keeping inside data safe;
☞Format a large partition, which is over 32GB, to FAT32 file system;
☞Convert disk partition style between MBR and GPT without deleting partitions;
☞Recover deleted partitions along with the data;
☞Merge unallocated space into an existing partition or merge two adjacent partitions;
How to recreate EFI system partition?
If you delete the EFI system partition by mistake and Windows fails to boot now, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to restore EFI system partition, or use Windows installation DVD to recreate EFI system partition.
Here we mainly discuss how to create a new EFI system partition with the Windows installation disk:
1. Boot your computer from the Windows installation media. Then press “Shift+F10” on the first screen to launch the Command Prompt window.
2. Then execute the following commands in the given order:
list partition # (# is the number of the partition which has much unused space to be shrunk)
shrink size=500 (shrink the partition by 500MB)
create partition EFI size=200
format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
create partition msr size = 128 (MSR represents for the Microsoft Reserved Partition MSR)
bcdboot c:\Windows /s b: /f ALL (C is the volume letter of the Windows OS partition)
Note: On an EFI-only system, the “bootrec /fixboot” command is not necessary and the last command should be "bcdboot C:\Windows".
3. Now, you can remove the Windows installation media and restart your PC.
Now, you should know everything important about EFI system partition, how to delete EFI system partition as well as how to recreate ESP in Windows 10/8/7. If you want to delete such a similar partition on Windows Server, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.