Okay to Delete Incorrectly-"Marked" *Active* E:\ Partition?


  • Hello:


    I have a working computer, with two physical “basic” drives.  Drive 1 has two partitions, a C-partition and a D-partition.  Drive 2 has one partition, an E-partition.  I only have one operating system installed on the entire computer, Windows XP Professional, with service pack 3 installed on the C-partition.  My problem is that I, incorrectly, marked the E-partition as “active,” giving me an “active” C-partition and an “active” E-partition.  From my research, I believe this would signify that my E-partition will be marked as being “bootable,” for use with another instance of an operating system.  I do not plan on installing any other operating system on my E-partition; therefore, I would like to “unmark” the “active” flag for my E-partition.  I am fine if I have to delete the partition, to “unmark” this E-partition as “active.”  However, I have read that simply deleting the partition and reformatting the partition or drive will not remove the “active” flag.  Is this correct?  Moreover, if I do delete the E-partition and reboot, since my system is booting, properly, now, should I anticipate having boot-up problems, once I restart the system, after deleting the E-partition?  I have read where others have experienced such boot-up issues, after removing a previously-marked “active partition.”  However, do others expect me to have problems, with my situation, since my C-partition is, obviously, marked as “active” and I am not experiencing any boot-up problems, currently?


    I appreciate everyone’s assistance and look forward to your responses.  Thank you.

    • Edited by Voltron-IU Tuesday, August 23, 2011 7:43 PM
    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 7:11 AM

All replies

  • To prove to yourself that the system will boot correctly without the "E" drive, simply disconnect the second physical drive, and ensure that your computer boots up properly.

    In my experience, you can safely format the incorrectly marked 'Active' partition without any fear of not being able to boot.  But as I said, just to make sure, disconnect the second drive, and boot.

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    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 7:38 AM
  • Thank you for your quick response, Bigteddy.  Once I complete your steps, in your experience, what is the best way to delete the E-partition, since that option is grayed-out within the Disk Management applet, in Windows XP?

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:22 AM
  • I'm not sure why it is greyed-out.  That is unexpected.  Can you perform a quick format on it?
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    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 9:41 AM
  • Hello, Bigteddy:


    Once again, thank you for your follow-up.  I apologize, as I made a mistake that I will blame on the late hour.  :)  The "Delete Partition" option, within the XP applet, is not grayed-out.  Therefore, once I can verify that physically removing the E-partition will not stop the system from booting, I will use the Disk Management applet and select the "Delete Partition" option, to remove the incorrectly-created "active" partition, the E-partition.  Am I correct to assume that once I do this, the partition table will be updated, delisting the former E-partition as an "active" partition?  And, thus, I will be able to recreate a new basic disk, with one partition, the new E-partition and NOT make it “active?” 


    My main point is to properly “clean up” my partition tables and have only one “active” partition, my C-partition.  Are my assumptions correct?  Does the notion that removing an “active” partition may make a system unbootable come from users deleting their only “active” partition, namely their C-partition?  My thinking is if one’s system partition, usually their C-partition, remains “active” and is not deleted or bothered, in any way, if they have another “active” partition that is removed, I would think that, unless something strange occurs, any removal of any additional “active” partition should occur, without issues, if one uses the native Disk Management applet, within Windows XP.  I am trying to decide if I have any reason for hesitation, in considering removing my E-partition, simply to delist it as an “active” partition, as I have read material suggesting not to mark partitions as “active,” unless one intends to boot an operating system from said partition. 


    Thanks, again, Bigteddy, for your input and for anyone else who may wish to contribute their experiences and thoughts with such issues.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:26 PM
  • Yes, once the partition is deleted, you can create a new one without making it active!
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    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:33 PM