Explained: Windows 10 Upgrade: is Recovery Drive Upgraded as well?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Mbi Ent' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

After upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 on the C drive, I still have a partition which is viewable under 'This PC' and is labeled as the 'Recovery' partition (also known as 'the D drive'). As far as I understand, the D Drive contains the vendor's recovery data for my Windows 8.1 which was originally installed on my system. What I would like to know is if the recovery partition has also been upgraded to Windows 10, or if it still contains Windows 8.1 recovery data? If it is the latter, could I just delete the recovery drive? "

My response:

This is a very good question, and is frequently asked.

The simple answer is that the recovery partition (your D drive) would not have been modified during the upgrade to Windows 10. The reasoning here is that the recovery drive / partition contains vendor-specific data and hardware drivers in its image files, and therefore cannot be modified by simply upgrading the C drive to Windows 10.

Put another way: if your newly installed Windows 10 upgrade crashed and you decided to use the "recovery" option during start up in order to reset the system, this would reinstall Windows 8.1 (clean) on your computer, wiping out all the data, including your personal files in most cases. Your previously installed Windows 10 would be lost, and you would have to do the upgrade again or use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to clean install Windows 10. In this case, you do not need a serial number to reinstall Windows 10 because Microsoft already has your computer registered the moment Windows 10 was first installed on your system.

To answer your other question: yes, you can delete the "D drive" recovery partition if you like - oftentimes these partitions are no more than 20GB large, which is not very substantial. If you are good with partitioning software, you may be able to rearrange the partition scheme so that the recovery drive partition is deleted, and then its space is reassigned to the C drive. This would give you a bit of extra space on the C drive. This will only work if both the C and D drive partitions are contiguous (side by side), so it may requires you to move around some partitions.

Another option, which doesn't require too much technical know-how is to use launch Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) in Windows 10, then right click over your recovery drive to "Change drive letters and paths", then select "Remove" to remove the drive letter. This will effectively hide the "D" drive from "This PC" (File Explorer).

I hope that helps.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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