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Microsoft appears to have fixed the Recovery Partition hell in Windows 10
[Image: windows-partitions-recovery.png]

Windows 10 users who perform a fresh install of the operating system won't run into issues related to the creation of Recovery Partitions on the operating system anymore starting Windows 10 version 2004 according to reports.

The Recovery Partition is an essential part of the Windows installation; it may be used to restore the operating system if issues are encountered.

One of the main issues associated with the Recovery Partition on Windows was that it was often placed at the very beginning of the disk. The layout would start with the Recovery Partition and then the main partition with Windows itself.  The problem with that layout is that Windows cannot extend the Recovery Partition easily, e.g. when it lacks the space for the required data. Windows would then create another Recovery Partition on the disk; systems would end up with multiple Recovery Partitions and seemingly little options to detect or delete old ones.

Tip: read about the differences between GPT and MBR style partitions.

Diskpart and third-party partition tools can remove old recovery partitions from the operating system, and some tools may also help in adding the freed up space to an existing volume. Most computer users may not feel comfortable running these applications, especially considering that the amount of disk space that is gained is minimal.

The correct layout puts the Recovery Partition behind the operating system partition on the disk. Some manufacturers and Microsoft itself may do so already for devices that they sell. The following Disk Management screenshot is from a Surface Go device that I bought some time ago.

Microsoft itself recommends that manufacturers place the Recovery Partition right after the Windows partition on the drive on Windows.
Quote:We recommend that you place this partition immediately after the Windows partition. This allows Windows to modify and recreate the partition later if future updates require a larger recovery image.

Starting with Windows 10 version 2004, Windows will use the correct partition structure for new installations. The company has not officially confirmed the change, but Windows Latest reports that a Microsoft support member confirmed it to them when asked about it.

How to detect and delete old Windows Recovery Partitions

You can use Disk Management to display the list of partitions on the system. One option to open the interface is to use Windows-X to open the admin menu and select Disk Management from the menu that opens.

If you notice multiple recovery partitions, you may want to delete old ones. But how do you determine which partitions are old and which is the current one?
  1. Open an elevated command prompt, e.g. by opening Start, typing cmd.exe, holding down Shift and Ctrl, and selecting the Command Prompt result.
  2. Run the command reagentc /info, it displays which Recovery Partition, if any, is active.
  3. Open Start again, type PowerShell, hold down Shift and Ctrl, and select the result to open an elevated PowerShell window.
  4. Type get-partition, it displays information about the partitions including the partition number.
All that is left to do is compare the number of the active partition that you got under (2) with the partition numbers under (4).
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