How to Fix: 'We couldn't update the system reserved partition' Error

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Vince C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Every time I try to upgrade to Windows 10, I receive an error message stating that 'We couldn't update the system reserved partition'. My Windows 7 is on an SSD (solid state hard drive) with 62.2 GB free space. According to the 'Disk Management' utility, my System Reserved partition is 99.9 mb with what looks to be 65 mb free space. How can I increase the size of the System Reserved partition so that I can upgrade to Windows 10? "

My response:

You can use a partition editing tool to increase the size of the System Reserved partition. That said, I've seen instructions online that explain how to do this by using an administrative command prompt; however the instructions are not very straightforward and if not done properly, can leave you with an unbootable computer. As such I've decided to go through the entire process myself using a partition editing program with graphical user interface, so that I could explain the entire process step by step in an easy to understand manner.

How to Fix: "We couldn't update the system reserved partition" Error

The steps below will explain how to increase the System Reserved partition - if you have one (some installations of Windows do not). Chances are if you are receiving the error message that 'We couldn't update the system reserved partition' when attempting to install Windows 10, you have a System Reserved partition.

Warning: please note that the steps below deal with resizing partitions. As such, you should backup your entire system before proceeding as there is always a chance something can go wrong and you will lose data and/or your system will become unbootable. For this task I recommend using Acronis True Image as it can backup the entire hard drive including the operating system; if something goes wrong you can easily restore changes.

With that said, let's move on to the instructions:

  1. Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard (free) from In this tutorial I used version 9.1 of the program.
  2. Once the installation has finished, launch the program. A window will appear asking you what you want to do; click the image that says "MiniTool Partiton Wizard Free" at the top left of the window. The MiniTool Partition Wizard main window will now appear; maximize the window if it is not already.
  3. Left click the C drive near the top of the window to activate the C drive.
  4. Now, right click the C drive and select 'Move / Resize' from the dialogue menu.
  5. The "Move / Resize Partition" window will appear. Under the heading 'Size and Location', there is a big yellow box representing your C drive. Move your mouse to the very beginning of the box (far left) and note the black triangle on the edge. Place your mouse over top of the black triangle and the mouse cursor will change to a black cursor with two arrows: one pointing left, and the other pointing right. It will look something like this: <--||-->. Note: if you move the mouse too far right it will change to 4 arrows -- you don't want that as it will not allow you to resize the partition (described in the proceeding step).
  6. Next: left click and hold the mouse button over top of the black triangle, then drag the mouse over slightly to the right. You should see the heading underneath that says "Unallocated space before:" start to change from 0.0 to a bigger number. As soon as that number changes, you will now be able to edit the values in the "Unallocated space before:" dialogue box. Note that simply clicking on or attempting to edit the "Unallocated space before:" field without first dragging the partition (as described at the beginning of this step) will not allow you to input any numbers. You must drag the partition first, then you can edit the "Unallocated space before:" field.
  7. Now that you can edit the "Unallocated space before:" field, type in "300" to input 300MB. You may notice that the 'Unallocated space after:' also changes - I think this is a bug in the program, but it's not a big deal as we can reclaim this space later. Click OK when you've entered in 300MB.
  8. Click the Apply check mark button at the top of the main window. A window will pop up asking if you want to apply the changes; click Yes. Another window will appear asking you to reboot; save any unfinished work you may have open (such as a document, for example), and then click 'Restart now'.
  9. The computer will reboot. During the boot process it will say "Welcome to Partition Wizard ..." on a black screen; do not press any key to abort the process. A graphical blue screen will then appear and the program will begin resizing your hard drive partitions. The process should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to complete and the computer will restart again.
  10. After the computer reboots, login to Windows as normal. Then, click Start and type in "disk management" (no quotes). Wait for the Disk Management icon to appear in the list and then click it. The Disk Management window should now appear; maximize the window if it is not already.
  11. In the graphical view (in the lower part of the screen), left click on the partition that says "System Reserved" to select it. Then, right click over top of it and select "Extend Volume" from the dialogue menu. The "Extend Volume" window will now appear; click Next. On the proceeding screen (entitled "Select Disks") it will ask you to select which disk to take space from. The 300MB of empty space you created with MiniTool Partition Wizard should already be selected under the "Selected" heading; click Next.
  12. A confirmation window will appear; click the Finish button. When Windows has finished extending the volume, it will take you back to the Disk Management screen where you will see System Reserved volume with what should be approximately 400MB of space (assuming it had 100MB to begin with, plus the 300 you just added).
  13. If you have unallocated free space at the end of your C drive, you can reclaim that as well. Simply right click the C drive from within Disk Management, then select the "Extend Volume" option just as you did with the System Reserved partition. Click Next, Next, Finish and it should suck up the remaining free space.
  14. You can now attempt to download Windows 10 again and hopefully the 'We couldn't update the system reserved partition' error will have gone away.

Hope that helps!

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of 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.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (9 votes)