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Definition of System and Boot Partition
Article ID: 100525 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q100525
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 314470
The names commonly used for the partitions containing Windows startup and operating system files are for the system and boot partitions, respectively.
System PartitionThe system partition refers to the disk volume containing hardware specific files needed to boot Windows (NTLDR, BOOT.INI, and so on). On Intel x86-based machines, it must be a primary partition that has been marked active. On x86 machines, this is always drive 0, the drive the system BIOS searches during system boot for the operating system.
Boot PartitionThe boot partition contains the Windows operating system files (usually \WINNT) and it support files (usually \WINNT\SYSTEM32). It can be the same partition as the system partition.
Article ID: 100525 - Last Review: February 20, 2007 - Revision: 2.2