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Solved – Cannot Delete The Active System Partition on This Disk in Windows 7

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    Cannot Delete The Active System Partition in Windows 7

    Nowadays partition and disk management becomes a very important topic so that more and more Windows users pay much attention to it. As for you, it is also popular. Disk Management is a tool which is built-in in Windows operating system, so you may use this free tool to do disk management. When there is a need to delete system partition, it is likely to be failed because "Delete Volume" feature is greyed out in Windows 7, just like the following screenshot shows:

    cannot delete active system partition

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    In fact, in addition to system partition, there are still other partitions that cannot be deleted in Disk Management, including boot volume, the volume where page file, crash dump files and hibernation files are saved, EFI system partition, OEM partition and recovery partition. Please refer to Cannot Delete Volumes in Windows for more information.

    When meeting such an issue, do you think of the reasons that Windows doesn’t allow you to delete the system partition? Let’s turn to the content for details as follows.

    Reasons to Delete Active System Partition and Fail to Make a Deletion

    Why to Delete Active System Partition in Windows 7

    Actually, Windows doesn't allow you to delete an active system partition, so here I want to ask: "why to delete it? Do you know the result after a deletion?" The answer is "I need to make a deletion for the active system partition for a new installation or more disk space". Actually, you can delete a volume in many situations, so please look at the following situations that I summarize.

    • Dual System
    • You have installed two operating systems in your computer, Windows 7 on disk 1 and Windows 8 on disk 2. Now you don’t want to use Windows 8 and decide to delete this operating system partition, but this operation is failed.

      For example:
      "I created a HDD partition in an attempt to install a multiboot system using both 8 and 7 but all I did was mess up the OS's of both. Now I want to do a clean install of 8 ONLY but I don't know how to get rid of the partition! When I opened up disk manager after the install to wipe the partition clean, I got 'Windows cannot delete the active system partition on this disk'. Can someone help me to do a complete deletion?"

    • Free up Disk Space
    • If there are two operating systems, you may delete one active system partition to free up some disk space. And then you may use the unallocated space to create a new partition.

    • Make a New Installation
    • If you want to reinstall a new operating system to the original location, maybe you choose to clean the previous OS, but Windows can not help to delete the active system partition.

    Before introducing the reason to you, let’s refer to what is active system partition. Generally speaking, this partition is the important computing term for disk partitions of a hard drive, which is necessary and should be properly configured for a system to operate.

    As for the system partition, it must be a primary partition which contains the boot loader that is used to boot your operating system. In addition, the partition which holds the boot sector must be set active, otherwise, your computer is unbootable. Therefore, if you want to delete your system partition, Windows Disk Management will fail to do this work.

    Let’s see a true example, and then make an analysis for this example:

    "I am trying to delete or format the partition on disk 1, and it seems like Windows does not want me to. I have always only used it to store data, so why is Windows 7 telling me it is a system partition? At first I tried just unplugging the drive, but then Windows would not boot, so clearly it needs it for some reason. I'm really confused as to why Windows needs this storage drive so badly. Could anyone help me figure this out? I would really appreciate it!" --- sevenforums

    cannot delete active system partition

    From the picture, you can see the partition on disk 1 is labeled "System, Active, Primary Partition", so it is not allowed to be deleted or formatted in Windows 7.

    tip Tip:
    Partition C also is unable to be deleted in Windows, because it contains some boot file, page file and crash dump file. So delete is not allowed on the current boot system pagefile.

    How to solve this issue? Don’t worry, it is easy and there are some solutions below.

    How to Delete Active System Partition in Windows 7

    As you know, you are not allowed to remove system partition in Disk Management. Thus, you need to look for other methods to delete such a partition. The above second part mentioned the specific situations to delete a system volume, so you should know perhaps there is a need to make a system partition deletion not only in single operating system, but also in dual system on your computer. Thus, this post will tell you how to delete system active primary partition in two cases in Windows 7.

    Case 1: Delete System Volume in Single Operating System

    As for many of you, only one operating system is installed in the computer. Usually, probably there is something wrong with your system, such as system breakdown, blue screen, black screen or slow running speed, so a new reinstallation becomes a popular choice. Before reinstallation, you may choose to delete the system partition in Disk Management, however, it is not allowed. In this case, how to achieve this aim? Actually, it is very easy in Windows 7.

    Before you delete active system partition, please ensure the important data on your hard drive is backed up. Please refer to copy disk for the entire disk backup.

    solution1 Solution 1: Use MiniTool Partition Wizard

    In order to delete system partition, you need to enter Win-PE environment. So you can ask third-party software for help. Fortunately, here is a recommendation - MiniTool Partition Wizard which contains six editions including Free Edition, Personal Edition, Pro Ultimate, Server and two advanced editions. This tool provides a feature "Bootable Media" which can be used to manage your disk and partition in Win-PE, such as delete partition, format partition, copy partition, resize/extend partition, recover lost partitions and more.

    Note: MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition doesn’t support this feature. If you want to delete your system drive, you need to purchase a license.

    Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition. Then in the main interface, click "Bootable Media" feature to create bootable disc and then boot your computer from the disc.

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    Step 2: Then you will enter a page of MiniTool PE Loader. Click "Partition Wizard" to enter the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard.

    pe loder

    Step 3: Right click the active system partition and click "Delete" feature. Or after selecting the target drive, click "Delete Partition" in the left pane.


    Step 4: Then this partition tool will tell you "deleting system partition may cause your computer to be unbootable", here click "Yes". And finally click "Apply" to perform this operation.


    solution1 Solution 2: Run Diskpart Command

    Some of you may consider using Diskpart command line to delete your system partition. Follow these steps to remove Windows 7 active system partition.

    1.Please open cmd window by pressing "Win + R" keys and then inputting "cmd". Or you can input "cmd" in "Search Box" and then right click this tool to select "Run as administrator".

    open diskpart

    2.Type "diskpart".
    3.Type "list disk" to display all the disks.
    4.Type "select disk n". Here "n" means the disk number that contains the active system partition.
    5.Type "list volume" to display all the volumes on the selected disk. Here by viewing the status and information, it is easy to know which one is system partition.
    6.Type "select volume n". "N" is the volume number of the system volume.
    7.Type "delete volume" to perform system volume deletion.


    attention Attention:

    This may work, however, diskpart will prevent you from deleting the volume if it is required by windows, just like the error shows "The selected volume or partition is in use. To continue with the operation use the OVERRIDE parameter." Please try the following prompt:


    solution2 Solution 3: Use Windows 7 Installation Disc

    In addition, when Windows is unable to delete the active system partition, you also can use Windows installation disc to do this work.

    1.Please connect a Windows 7 installation disc to your computer, and then after choosing language , time format and keyboard method, click "Install Now".

    windows 7 installation disc

    2.Click "I accept the terms of license" and next choose "Custom (Advanced)" installation type.
    3.Now the important step is to select partition 1 and partition 2, then click "Delete".

    delete partitions

    Then after finishing the deletion, next do as the hint says, you can easily format the disk and finish a new system installation.

    Case 2: Remove Active System Partition in Dual System

    Nowadays dual system is getting more and more popular, however, it is possible that you want to delete one to free up space or create a new partition. However, Windows cannot delete the active system partition in Disk Management. In this case, how to remove system partition? In fact, it is easy to do that. Here I will introduce you two situations about detailed guidance to delete system partition in dual system.

    situation 1 Situation 1: Two Operating Systems on Two Different Hard Drives

    If there are two system partitions, one is partition C on disk 0, and another is partition F on disk 1.

    In this case, actually these two operating systems are set active. If you want to delete F drive, you also can do as the above mentioned way shows in case 1, using the feature "Delete Partition" feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard.


    If your disks are MBR, after finishing all the operations, the most important thing is that you must modify the boot order in BIOS. Please make sure the hard drive that contains the reserved OS is set to the first place.

    modify boot order

    situation 1 Situation 2: Two Operating Systems on a Hard Drive

    Sometimes, you may choose to install two operating systems in the same hard disk. Here I also take partition C and partition F as the example.

    recommend There Is System Reserved Partition

    When you install an operating system, it is possible that there is a system reserved partition at the beginning of the hard disk. If there are two operating systems on this disk, and the boot files of these two Oss are saved to the system reserved partition, which is active by default. When booting the computer, you can select one to boot. If you plan to delete one system partition, also MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD is useful with "Delete" feature.

    recommend There Is No System Reserved Partition

    Sometimes, there is no system reserved partition on the disk. If there are two systems, including Windows 8 on partition C and Windows 7 on Windows F. You need to set the system partition you want to use "active". If you want to use Windows 7, you need to set partition C active. If you want to use Windows 8, partition F should be active.

    Two circumstances you should consider:
    1.Now you are using Windows 7, and you want to delete Windows 8 on C drive, you can directly use MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD to delete this system partition.
    2.If you are using Windows 7, and you decide to delete Widows 7 on partition F, after removing this active system partition, the most important thing that you must do is to set partition C "active".

    In the second circumstance, how to delete partition F and then set partition "active"? You can also use MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD to help you delete and mark your partition active. With this partition manager, it is very easy and convenient to do this work.

    Step-by-step guidance is here.

    Step 1: You also need to boot your computer from bootable disc, just like the case 1 mentioned.

    Step 2: After entering into the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, you need to select the system partition F you want to delete, click "Delete Partition" function in the left pane.

    delete partition

    Step 3: Then right click partition C to select "Set Active" feature.

    set active

    Step 4: Click "Apply" to execute all the changes.



    Bottom Line

    Now we come to the end of this post. In this article, I introduce you the problem that Windows cannot delete the active system partition, why to delete such a partition, why fail to do this work and the detailed solutions in single operating system and dual system. If you also meet this issue, please try the ways according to your actual circumstances. If you have any suggestion or advice, welcome to email us via [email protected] or leave a comment below. Thanks in advance.