Windows 2008 R2 / Windows 7 with Citrix PVS – System reserved partition issue

Now that I am done with a new XenApp 6.5 Farm, it is time to set up Citrix Provisioning 6.1 and convert the environment to a PVS managed farm.

Unfortunately after booting up a converted Windows 2008 R2 XenApp 6.5 server to a PVS disk with XenCovert, I received a “Please insert System Disk” error when booting up.  After doing some research, I realized that that the System Reserved partition is not compatible for a Provisioned image. Note that this applies to Windows 7 as well.

Some facts:
If you install Windows 7/Windows 2008 on a clean disk with no existing partitions, it creates a System Reserved partition at the beginning of the disk and uses the remainder of the unallocated space to create your system drive. That small partition isn’t assigned a drive letter, so you won’t even know it exists unless you look in the Disk Management console or use a low-level utility, such as Diskpart, to inspect the disk structure.


1. Set up your Windows 7/ Windows 2008 R2 servers without the System Reserved partition:

Once Setup is loaded, press Shift + F10 keys at the first setup screen (which allows selection of language, keyboard and locale). A Command Prompt window will be opened.

Run Diskpart

Type in the following:

List disk (to show the ID number of the hard disk to partition, normally is Disk 0)

select disk 0 (change 0 to another number if applicable)


create partition primary

select partition 1


format fs=ntfs quick


Continue installation

2. Remove the System Reserve partion – In my case this is what I had to do since the server I wanted to convert to a PVS image was already finalized.

I found this solution in this article from terabyte however Carlo from extracted the information into a simple to follow instructions.

Assign a drive letter to the System Reserved partition. I used S.

Unload the BCD registry hive by running the following command:

reg  unload  HKLM\BCD00000000

Copy the bootmgr file from the System Reserved partition to the C: Partition. 

robocopy  S:\  C:\  bootmgr

Copy the Boot folder from the (booting) partition to the C: partition.

robocopy  S:\Boot  C:\Boot  /s

To update the copied BCD file so it will boot correctly, run the following command:

bcdedit  /store  c:\boot\bcd  /set  {bootmgr}  device  partition=C:

Remove the Drive letter (S:) from Disk Manager and Reboot.

Once the System Restarts (Booting from the C: drive now), you are now free to delete the System Reserved partition.image

With only 1 active Volume now, you can assign a vDisk (in my case V) and proceed with your XenConvert imaging.  Be sure to use Volume to Volume.

Lastly as noted by MWaler in his post (thanks for the pointer) , make sure to set the active partition, if not you will run into issues when booting up.


About CyberRuiz
Highly motivated with over 12 years experience on Citrix/VMWare/Microsoft/technologies. Exceptional communication skills and team player. CCIA – Citrix Certified Integration Architect. CCEA – Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator. VCP – VMWare Certified Professional in ESX 2.x, VI3, VI4 MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

One Response to Windows 2008 R2 / Windows 7 with Citrix PVS – System reserved partition issue

  1. Pingback: System Reserved partition on 2008/7 | mwaler

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: