Users who have performed a clean install of Windows 7 on a empty or new hard disk would know that Windows 7 setup creates a 100 MB reserved partition before installing Windows 7 on a new hard disk. The partition contains boot files and Windows Recovery Environment files, and doesn’t allow you delete this partition, as doing so may prevent users from booting into Windows.
By default, Windows 7 hides this special partition in Windows Explorer. To check if there is a system reserved partition on your Windows 7 PC, type diskmgmt.msc in Start menu search box and hit enter key. This will open Windows Disk Management, where you can see the system reserved partition.
Open Hidden System Drive is a free tool from the makers of popular Windows 7 Boot Updater (the tool which is used to change Windows 7 boot screen). Open Hidden System Drive utility lets you open and view files in the 100 MB Reserved Partition created during Windows 7 installation. As we have mentioned before, this partition contains Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and crucial boot files.
Here is how to use Open Hidden System Drive:
Step 1: Visit the official page and download Open Hidden System Drive tool. Separate downloads are available for both x86 and x64 versions of Windows 7. So, be sure to download the right version.
Step 2: Double-click on OpenHiddenSystemDrive.exe file to open the hidden, System Reserved partition in Windows Explorer. At first, the drive may look empty but it’s because files with system and hidden are not viewable by default. To view hidden files, you need to temporarily disable the “hide protected operating system files” option. To do this:
a. Open Windows Explorer, Navigate to Tools and then Folder Options.
b. Click on View tab and scroll down to see Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option. If you can’t see the option, please follow our how to fix hide protected operating system files missing from Folder Options guide.
c. Uncheck the box. Click Yes button for the warning message and then click Apply button. You are done!
All hidden system files should now appear.
Note: This guide is applicable for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions only.