SOLVED! “Unable To Recover Your PC. The System Drive Is Too Small”

When computers experience critical errors and nothing could restore its performance, Recover from a drive is one of the last hopes of Windows users. Assuming that people know what must be done, they should be able to use the recovery drive to return their PC to normal. Still, some issues may complicate the process and the “Unable to recover your PC. The system drive is too small” error is one of them. In the case that the same error is giving you a hard time, this article is exactly what you need.

The Root Of The Problem

Disk Capacity

If the disk capacity is smaller than what the recovery process requires, it’s natural for errors to appear. However, if capacity is responsible for the “Unable to recover your PC. The system drive is too small” error, there is no need to do much. 


Disk partitions come in handy from time to time but they could get in the way of operations such as recovery. Needless to say, if the disk used for recovery contains partitions, the process cannot proceed. 

Corrupted Recovery Drive

All in all, the recovery drive plays a key role in the recovery process. In the case that the recovery drive is corrupted, Recover from a drive won’t work. 

Actions To Take

Take Capacity Into Account

In the beginning, you should take a look at the size of your disk. It should be equal to or larger than the size of the recovery. Remember that while assessing the size, the amount of data stored in the System Recovery Image file does not matter. For instance, if the size of the recovery drive is 500GB with only 100GB of data, the disk’s size cannot be lower than 500GB.

Change The Minimum Size

When the recovery drive was created, the minimum size of your target disk was stamped automatically into a file named $PBR_ResetConfig.xml. Within the file is a code segment named <MinSize> denoting the minimum size of the target disk in Megabytes (MB). If the size of the disk is lower than the <MinSize> value, the consequence is the “Unable to recover your PC. The system drive is too small” error.

  • Step 1: Open the recovery drive.
  • Step 2: Enter the Sources folder.
  • Step 3: Go toPBR_ResetConfig.xml and open it using Notepad.
  • Step 4: Scroll through the lines of code as you look for <MinSize>.
  • Step 5: Chang <MinSize> to a value that is equal to the disk.
  • Step 6: Save your changes and close everything.

Get Rid Of The Partitions

For the recovery process to succeed, you have to take care of the partitions in your Disk. One way to remove the partitions is to format the disk by following these steps: 

  • Step 1: Connect the disk to a computer and start it up.
  • Step 2: After Windows finishes loading, press the Windows + R to open Run, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
  • Step 3: Locate the disk, right-click it and click Delete Volume. Following the deletion,  right-click the target disk and format it.

Once it comes to formatting, you should remember two things: First, formatting a disk is going to result in the removal of all the partitions as well as any data. Secondly, the formatted disk will be labeled as Disk 1 in the Disk Management utility.

Recreate The Recovery Drive

If the recovery drive is corrupted, you have no choice but to create the recovery drive again. 

  • Step 1: Go to Search bar, type Create a recovery drive and press Enter.
  • Step 2: Check the checkbox besides Back up system files to the recovery drive then hit Next.
  • Step 3: Connect a USB to your PC, select Next and choose Create.


  • While creating a System Recovery Image, save it in a location where nothing is installed so that the image does not suffer from computer failures. The best locations include USB flash drive, Digital Video Disc (DVD), etc.
  • Avoid using third-party programs to create System Recovery Image. Instead, you should make use of the built-in utility (Backup and Restore).
  • In a shared work environment, System Recovery Image can be created on a Network Drive to serve as a source of data for multiple users.
  • If you make your System Recovery Image in an external drive, ensure that it is formatted using New Technology File System (NTFS).
  • To restore your system after total failures, choose a System Recovery Image over a Recovery Drive or System Restore Point. It restores files, folders, programs, settings, drivers and network configurations.

What’s The Difference Between System Recovery Image And System Restore?

System Restore enables you to create system restore points and you could roll back your computer system to those points. On the other hand, System Recovery Image captures the current state of your computer including its applications, files and folders to preserve them.

Is It Possible To Create A System Recovery Image In A Virtual Machine?

Yes, it can be done. As long as the virtual machine is running a recent version of the Windows operating system, it is possible to create a System Recovery Image.

Does System Recovery Image Affect Onboard Drives Following Bootup?

Whether you boot up System Recovery Image from a USB drive or Digital Video Disc (DVD), it does not affect the files or folders contained in the host computer.

Can I Run A System Recovery Image In A Virtual Machine?

Yes, you can. The System Recovery Image can be selected as the data source when activating a virtual machine session.

Does The System Recovery Image Contain The Drivers?

Absolutely! The System Recovery Image is an exact copy of your computer system. It contains the Windows 10 operating system, drivers, system settings, files and programs.


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