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Win10 1803 Sometimes Creates Phantom Recovery Drive

On Monday, April 30, Microsoft unleased Windows 10 Version 1803 on the world. Among the various reports of potential gotchas, I’ve been bitten by this one. Win10 1803 sometimes creates phantom recovery drive post-upgrade/install. You can tell it’s happened to you because you’ll get regular notifications from the OS complaining about an overfull drive. Actually, the partition in question is the Recovery partition. Once it’s been written the first time, it doesn’t usually get written to much, if at all, thereafter so it’s an unlikely candidate for disk congestion. The real problem is that 1803 assigns this partition a drive letter (which it doesn’t normally have). That, in turn, ties it into disk space management and reporting, whence the complaints arise. Fortunately, there are a couple of quick and easy fixes readily available.

I call this a “nagification” because this notification message appears often enough to be annoying. Let’s make it go away, shall we?

If Win10 1803 Sometimes Creates Phantom Recovery Drive, Then What?

You’d think the way to fix this issue would be to right-click the partition in the Disk Management console. But if you run diskmgmt.msc and right-click that partition (far left on Disk 2 in the following screenshot), you get only a “Help” entry as shown.

Normally, the right-click menu includes lots of entries, including one that reads “Change Drive Letter
and Paths…” Not this time! Menu entry aside, there’s no help here.

OK, then. If diskmgmt.msc won’t cut it, what will? For those who believe the saying: “Real geeks do it at the command line,” one can use the disk partitioning command, aka Diskpart. Here’s a sequence of commands that will do the job, assuming the bogus drive is labeled Z:  (as in my contrived example). You’ll have to replace references to disk and partition numbers to reflect the specific partition you wish to divest of its bogus and unwanted drive letter.

Do It with Diskpart

The following sequence of commands should set you straight (I use volume 2 and drive letter Z because that’s what’s on my system). Text items that start with double colons (::) indicate comments in batch files and serve that same purpose here. Enter these commands inside an administrative command prompt window, please! The text in bold is what you must enter. You’ll also have to supply proper values for volume number and drive letter in the third and fourth commands, respectively.


diskpart          :: opens the disk partition utility
list volume       :: lists volumes on PC where diskpart runs
                  :: find volume number & drive letter for bogus drive
select volume 2   :: selects the volume associated with drive letter Z:
                  :: substitute actual volume number for 2
remove letter=Z   :: removes drive letter Z associated with volume 2
                  :: substitute actual drive letter for Z
exit              :: exit Diskpart utility
exit              :: close command prompt window


This is pretty easy, as long as you read the output of list volume carefully. You want to be sure to use the right volume number and drive letter in these commands. To that end, I recommend throwing in an extra list volume after the select and remove letter commands. The first should show an asterisk at the left to indicate selection of the desired volume. The second should show there’s no longer a drive letter associated with that volume. Done!

MiniTool Partition Wizard Does It in One Click!

Although using Diskpart isn’t rocket science, it’s waaaaay easier if you download and use the free version of the MiniTool Partition Wizard Free (aka MTPW). Simply right-click on the Z: partition, and select “Change Letter” from the resulting pop-up menu. You’ll see this window appear next:

By default this shows up with the new assigment of “None.” That’s exactly what you want, so click OK to get that drive letter outa here. Done again! My preferred method, in fact.

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