Deleting a GPT Protective Partition or EFI System Partition On Windows

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There are some partitions on the drive which are protected and cannot be deleted just like. These are EFI system partition or GPT protective partition. For instance, Mac reserves or creates 200 MB partition at the time of setting up a Time Machine backup on an external drive.

When you try using Disk Management Tool to delete these partitions, you’ll see that the Delete Volume option do not function. But still, you can remove it. Read on to know why they are protected and how to delete them.

Do not try this on the internal drive of your Mac system. If you are using Boot Camp to boot into Windows from your Mac, then you will notice an EFI System Partition when you start your Mac machine. Do not touch that. The partition is required and is sealed for a reason. So don’t try to eliminate it.

On the other hand, a ‘GPT protective partition’ or ‘EFI system partition’ is created at the starting of the external drive by Mac OS X when setting up Time Machine. If you are using that 200-MB partition for Time Machine backup, then let it be.

There is only one reason for you to want that partition. When you are done with Time Machine backup and no longer using it for the same. And when you try to delete it, it simply refuses. You have to try something more than Disk Management Tool to get that 200-MB partition for re-use.

The method that we are talking about, doesn’t delete the partition alone. It wipes the entire external drive out. This will clean the entire data from the drive and start again with a new partition table. Do take a copy of all your documents before you start wiping the drive. If the backups are in Time Machine format and cannot access your Mac machine, you can restore them on Windows.

Make a Note of the Disk Number

There is one use of Disk Management Tool in this process. To make a note of the Disk number you want to delete. The numbering of the disks starts from 0 (Zero). The system might show the external drive you want to remove as Disk 2, but actually the 3rd from the list. So be careful while writing the disk number. If you enter a wrong disk number, obviously you’ll be removing the wrong disk.

To open the Disk Management Tool hit Windows + R and type diskmgmt.msc. in the dialog box and press Enter. You can do this on all version of Windows.

Clean the Partition Table

To delete the EFI protected partition, you have to wipe the entire drive along with other partitions on the drive. The entire partition table will be removed. And later you can re-partition it.

Let’s start the process by opening the Command Prompt (Admin). On Windows 8 and 10, right click on the Windows icon and select Command Prompt (Admin). If you are using Windows 7, you have to search for Command Prompt shortcut in the Start Menu and select Run as Administrator.

Once the Windows opens type diskpart and press Enter. This will launch the diskpart command where advanced partitioning task is done.

Type list disk and press Enter to view the list of disks connected to the system. Remember, you used Disk Management Tool to note down the number and same disk number should also be reflected here.

Type select disk followed by the number of the disk. For example, you’ll be typing select disk 2 since we have selected disk 2 from the above example.

Then type the command Clean. This will wipe the entire drive clean. So be very, very careful about the disk number you select to perform this action.

This ends the cleaning process. All partitions including the EFI protected partition will be removed from drive leaving you with one big empty chunk of the drive.

And lastly, type exit and come out of the Command Prompt by closing the window.

Creating New Partitions

Now go back to Disk Management Tool and right click the empty disk and choose Initialize Disk. Then choose either GPT or MBR partition table and it will start working like other disks. You can create partitions as well. you are now free from the EFI protected partition.

Also Read: How To Fix An Invalid Partition Table?


If you want to remove the partitions that won’t get deleted easily, or want to partition the drive, you can use diskpart clean command to it. If you delete the wrong partition and lost your entire data, then buying a recovery software is the only solution. There are a lot of reliable tools which does an incredible job of data recovery after diskpart clean command. So without wasting time and fiddling with the disk, get partition recovery software immediately and restore your lost partition data.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…