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February 19, 2020

New 1909 Disk Layout

On November 13, my partner and mentor Kari published a post here entitled Thank you, Microsoft – An Important Change in Windows Setup. At that time, the latest build of 1909 wasn’t in synch with what he reported there — namely, deposition of the Recovery Partition (WinRE) at the tail end of the boot/system drive rather than at its head. Right now, I’m running Build 18363.476 on my Lenovo X380 Yoga and here’s what I see for its disk layout info:New 1909 Disk Layout.WinRE-at-rear

Based on Kari’s earlier reporting, I’d assumed this wouldn’t appear until 20H1/2004 went public. I was wrong, and I’m glad!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

What, Exactly, Are We Looking at Here?

The item of interest in the foregoing screecap is Disk 0, which includes the C: drive. Notice that the EFI partition leads off the order, with the Windows C: volume in 2nd place, and the Windows Recovery information last. Here’s what I see having changed:
1. The EFI partition size has increased from 100 MB to 260 MB.
2. The Windows Recovery partition (WinRE_DRV) now follows the C: partition, in keeping with Microsoft’s recommendations and best practices (see Kari’s article for an explanation).
3. The Windows Recovery partition has increased in size from 450 MB to 1000 MB (1 GB).
At least, that’s how things look on my newer Lenovo systems (two X380 Yogas and an X1 Extreme, all with 1 TB NVMe SSDs for their C: drives). My production desktop still has the old-fashioned layout, and now shows an older 450 MB partition in first place, and a 498 MB partition in next-to-last place (that drive is over-provisioned, so it’s got some unallocated space at the tail for the disk controller to grab if it needs to replace failing or problem sectors). Using the REAGENTC command, however, I see that the first partition on the C: drive remains the active recovery partition.

My best guess is that I’ll have to clean install 1909 on this machine to get the benefit of the “proper” disk organization on that PC. I’m planning on building a replacement over the Christmas holiday, so I should be seeing those results before the year is out. I’ll report back if my assumption proves false or misguided. Stay tuned.

Good stuff!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

9 Responses “New 1909 Disk Layout”

  1. December 3, 2019 at 02:43

    Good news but weird! I do not get that layout, WinRE after C: drive, in 19H2 / 1909, but I do get it in 20H1 / 2004. In my case, I only get it in post-18875 builds.

  2. CountMike
    December 3, 2019 at 09:35

    Just last week I did a clean install of 1909 and disk is still partitioned
    Recovery (529GB) – EFI System partition (100MB) – C:\

  3. December 4, 2019 at 18:04

    It could be that only some machines are getting this layout. Given Kari and CountMike’s feedback, I’m coming around to the idea that indeed automatic reformatting won’t come until later rather than sooner. This could have been a red herring, caused by Lenovo’s adoption of “the right disk layout” in its factory image setup routines. I’ve launched an inquiry with them to see if this supposition might be correct. I also ordered a X390 Yoga for my wife, and when it comes through the door, the first thing I plan to check is its disk layout (it’s coming with Win10 Pro pre-installed). We’ll see! Thanks for the feedback, guys!

  4. December 5, 2019 at 08:08

    Hello, how can I achieve this layout with unattended.xml? If I put WinRE last, it did not succeed, maybe becaus I left the size of the windows drive “C” empty. Have I to calculate C with this layout? Thanks, I love your site, very interesting stuff.

  5. December 6, 2019 at 07:00

    Thanks, sadly I cannot let it compute by Windows. so I have to used specific answer files for every hard disk size. Maybe because WindowsPE works sequentially, creates EFI, MSR, get all the rest for the C: drive (if not told how much it should be) and than have nothing left. If you use the same answer file on different PC with different hdd sizes it is the only solotion to place C: on the end and let him grab all the rest. BTW, fine article you linked.

    • December 6, 2019 at 14:05

      Have you tried MDT in deployment? In MDT Task Sequence, it is so extremely easy partition the disk exactly as you want to, regardless if a BIOS / MBR or UEFI / GPT system, and regardless of the disk size. See my MDT series here on

      “BTW, fine article you linked.”

      I just hope that not too many people read it yesterday. I was really tired and distracted when writing it (not an excuse, just stating facts), and in my confusion got my own head mixed up, the terms “other way around”. I had to completely rewrite it today 😉

  6. December 6, 2019 at 14:58

    No, because I created a one click USB-Drive for installation with unattended.xml and a ps-script running multiple times. Created it followoing your fantastic tutorial ’bout ADK, and then refining it for my needs. We dont have MDT we use Baramundi what I dont want to use here.

    • December 6, 2019 at 17:16

      I understand your point, I am just recommending you to at least try MDT. Easy to use and learn, fast, totally free.

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