Is the 100MB system partition required for Windows 7 to work? I don't seem to have one. C is disk 3 not 0.

I bought an Origin PC. It came with a 256MB SSD C drive, and a hybrid D drive. I added an E HDD.

The C drive is too full so I bought a 1TB SSD and cloned the 256 to it using Acronis TI. That's when I noticed that there is no 100MB system partition on C --and looking, not on the other two either. I believe Origin said they put a recovery partition on the C drive but there isn't one, but they did include a optical disc and an USB drive. Origin tech support said the 100MB system partition is not required; they didn't say anything about the supposed recovery partition. I don't know if they thought I was supposed to make one with the USB drive or what.

Moreover, I discovered that the C drive is drive 3 not 0, so some applications won't run. I wonder if I caused that by ignorantly using the wrong drive cables (SATA channels) when I added the 3rd drive, and in so doing I think I might have changed which bay the C drive is in.

When I asked Origin if I could reformat the 1TB SSD, disconnect the other two HDDs, and use their USB drive to reinstall the OS, they said that it is for the specific system (256MB SSD) and don't know if a restore to a different SSD with a different controller would work.

So I though that maybe I could just substitute the 1TB for the 256MB and at least I'd have space on C. But if that "different SSD/different controller" thing is true, the 1TB drive might not work. I suppose I could just try it, but I'm worried that something would get hosed on the 1TB's partition etc.

Please advise me what my options are. Thank you.
E. Douglas (Doug) JensenConsultantAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
The system reserved partition is not a hard and fast rule. if you start with a clean disk with no partitions the installer will create the hidden / no drive letter system reserved partition.. otherwise it will install to the partition you stated and not create a system reserved partition.. and as long as you have the boot order correct it should work just fine.. you may and I say may have to create a new boot loader in the mbr but your cloning software should have done it for you.

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This all seems peculiar.

First, I have to guess the PC came with a 256GB - Gigabyte, not Megabyte - SSD drive. When that proved to be not enough space, you would normally find ways to offload some of the bulk to the hybrid D drive. This should prove to be a high-performing, yet cost-effective solution, with the small annoyance that you have to exercise some judgement about what gets placed on C vs D.

 The hidden system partition is not required for Windows 7 to run normally if the bootloader has been configured to boot directly to the eventual C: partition.

There still exist applications that substitute their own idea of disk number to drive letter mappings? If that's really a problem, the simplest solution would be to replug the SATA connectors so the drives appear to the BIOS in the order you desire. You will probably have to inform the bootloader of the new order. Which bay the drives are in is irrelevant, but the SATA ports are numbered.

To the best of my knowledge, 1TB SSDs are pretty expensive. It's going to be a rare use case where its performance will be measurably better than the SSD + Hybrid setup, assuming you've done a reasonable separation of data between the two.
The small partition is only needed if you are going to encrypt the rest of the disk with Windows' built-in encryption tool. As I don't use encryption, I always force the installation not to create the small partition, as it usually does nothing other than complicate things (it can cause backups to fail, or the Servicepack not to install).

Besides that, encryption is only available Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows 7, so for most systems it isn't even an option.

The best thing to do when you install an OS is to remove all other disks from the system and only have the destination disk installed. Then install the OS. After that I allocate a drive letter like X: or above to the optical drives, never D:, so they don't get into the way. Then I add the other disks and assign them those drive-letters I want them to have.
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

that the c drive is drive 3 does not harm the system; it can be on any drive
you said about this "so some applications won't run"  - which ones, and what happens?  normally there is no problem with this setting

if you want to reinstall, and be sure it works the way they say, why not revert to the original install, then do the restore as Origin recommends
if you want it then on another disk - make an image of this setup, and transfer it to athe new SSD
you can use Acronis - or the paragon software (free) :
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
How many disks do you have at the moment? Is the system booting from C: or some other drive?
Usually the Boot Drive is marked as SYSTEM and the Windows folder containing partition should have BOOT signature in Windows Disk Management.
Can you take a screen shot of Windows Disk Management and post it here?
E. Douglas (Doug) JensenConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank all of you for your advice. I feel reassured about the Windows 7 100 MB partition not being on any disk, and about C: being disk 3. The one program that refused to work was the Samsung-provided cloning program that came with the replacement SSD. So I used Acronis to clone the small SSD to the large one, switched them, and the large one boots fine. I had wondered if I had caused the C; drive to be disk 3 when I took out some unused drive bays and added an HDD and rearranged where all three drives were--I bet I switched SATA cables.

I am going to accept all solutions--I hope that each gets the points instead of dividing them as I suspect (I don't recall).
E. Douglas (Doug) JensenConsultantAuthor Commented:
The 256GB SSD C drive filled up, not because I have any bulk data, I have two 6TB HDDs for all my data. I have too many applications and they store a lot of information on the C drive--in particular, I have an indexing program that indexes those two 6TB data drives and insisted that the index be on C. I have since changed to an indexing program that lets me store the index on one of the data drives. But still the C drive was too full, especially for an SSD. I actually use all of those programs, and the ones I use the most are the largest ones.
You don't have to install your software to C:. I avoid that as much as possible. I prefer my OS to be completely separate from all my other stuff.
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