By Lucas / Last Updated January 18, 2023

Scenario: How to put the EFI partition on the beginning of the disk?

Hello, I'm attempting to figure out why qemu, kvm, tianocore, and virt-manager can't always boot Windows but can occasionally. Then several people told me that when Windows 10 installs the EFI partition as the first partition on the drive, they can successfully boot it. However, if Windows creates a different type of disk structure, such as a reserved partition, recovery partition, or EFI partition, Windows 10 will not boot. So, in this circumstance, I'm at a loss for what to do. I'm not certain. I heard somewhere that if I remove the reserved partition, the machine would not boot. What should I do?

Does EFI partition have to be first on the system disk?

In the case above, the user wants to move the EFI partition to the beginning of the disk, but he can’t ensure how to do it. Due to the special role that EFI partition plays in the system, we’ll show you some basics about it at first.

▶ What is EFI partition?
The EFI system partition, often known as the ESP, is a disc partition used by computers that support the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). It's a tiny FAT32 partition that's normally approximately 100MB in size. Because the EFI partition lacks a drive letter, it cannot be accessed through File Explorer.

When a computer boots, the UEFI firmware loads files from the ESP to launch loaded operating systems and programs.

EFI

An ESP carries boot loaders or kernel images for all installed operating systems, device driver files for hardware devices in a computer utilized by the firmware at boot time, system utility applications meant to execute before an operating system is started, and data files like error logs.

Does Windows need an EFI partition?
If you read the basics we show above, then you should understand that the EFI partition is essential to boot into the OS which contains many additional utilities that are required when your PC fails. If you accidentally delete it, your Windows will boot in failure.
So it's an indispensable part of Windows.

Should the EFI partition be first in Windows?
The answer is absolutely no.
In practice, putting the ESP first is recommended since it is unlikely to be harmed by partition shifting and resizing activities. But, putting the ESP at the end of the disk can work almost as well in most cases.
RAID and expand disk space, the EFI partition at the end of the disk will suddenly become one in the middle, then you might need to move it to another location.

How to move EFI to the left/right on the disk?

If the location of the EFI partition on your disk becomes a problem bothering you to manage your device, then you can move it to the left or the right on your disk.

Well, Windows doesn’t have such a tool supporting partition move tasks so here we recommend you a free Windows disk/partition management tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

It is a professional Windows manager for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP users with various practical functions such as disk cloning, resizing/deleting/creating/formatting/merging partition, even resizing BitLocker partition, converting a file system, etc. What’s more, if you choose the Pro Edition, you can try more convenient features like moving installed programs, allocating free space, and more.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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▶ Note: There must be an unallocated space adjacent to the target partition, if the disk does not have any unallocated space, you need to create unallocated space.

Step 1. Install and run this tool, right-click the partition you want to move, and select “Move Partition”.

Move Partition

Step 2. Drag the selected partition to the new location.

Move to new location

Step 3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to confirm.

Proceed

Conclusion

Does EFI partition have to be first on the system disk? Now you have a clear answer.

EFI partition is an important part of the system boot procedure, many users might not know much about it. Hope this article can give you more information about it and help you manage your disk easily.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a helpful tool for all kinds of users. It also has the Server Edition for the Server computer and the Unlimited Edition for enterprises to manage many machines much easier.