Fix Error: Unable to recover PC. The system drive is too small

Restoring the system image acts as a savior in case of a disaster such as a crashed or a crashing system. By using System Image Recovery, you can recover Windows and your data. You simply need to run the Windows System Image Recovery utility to restore the system from the system image that you’d created. This will reinstate the data that was there at the time of the creation of the image.

But what if this recovery action fails, throwing the error “Unable to recover your pc. The system drive is too small.”?

Unable to recover pc. The system drive is too small

Stay calm and don’t panic. You can try the fixes mentioned in this blog. If the methods mentioned here couldn’t resolve the error “the system drive too small”, reach out to a data recovery to restore data.

As said, we’ll see the fixes for this error in this blog, but before that, it’s important to know the causes based on which we can try to troubleshoot and fix the error.

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Causes of the error “Unable to recover your pc. The system drive is too small.”

Drive too small” may occur due to the following reasons:

  • Inadequate size of the disk on which you want to restore—target disk
  • Restoring to an external (target) disk, without removing the original (source) disk
  • Issues with the system image

Now that we know the probable causes of the error, let’s try to figure out the actual cause and fix the “Disk too small” error.

How to fix “The System Drive Is Too Small” Error?

1) Check the size of the target disk

Make sure that the size of the target disk is at least equal to or larger than the source disk.

The size of the data stored on the source disk or on the image doesn’t matter. For instance, if the system image is created from a 500 GB disk containing only 100 GB of data, the required target disk’s size must still be at least equal to or greater than 500 GB.

If the size of the target disk is equal to or greater than the source disk and you still see this error, follow the next method.

2) Change the minimum required size

When you create a system image, the minimum required the size of the target drive is automatically stamped in the file $PBR_ResetConfig.xml. Once you open this file, you’ll see something like this:


Note: The value of <MinSize> in the sample file is 1000000, where the system reads 1000000 as 1000000 MegaBytes.

The <MinSize> attribute that you see in this file defines the required minimum size of the target drive in MegaBytes. This shows that even if the actual size of your target drive is greater than or equal to the source disk, but lesser than the <MinSize> value, you might encounter this error.

If this is the case, edit the value of <MinSize> attribute by navigating as follows:

Open the system image file >> sources >> open the $PBR_ResetConfig.xml file on a notepad >> Look for <MinSize> attribute and change the value.

3) Remove the source disk if restoring to an external disk

Remove the source disk before doing system recovery if the target disk is connected to the source system so as to prevent conflict.

When you do a system restore, the external disk is assigned the same ID as that of the source disk. If both the disks are connected to the same system, there occurs a conflict that might hamper the restore process and the system may throw the error “Unable to recover – System drive too small”.

4) Delete volumes and format the target drive

At times you plan to restore the system image to a used disk that already has partitions. If you’re trying to do so and getting this error, delete the existing partitions and format the drive.

[CAUTION]: Doing this will delete all the data stored on the used disk.

You can do this by following the steps given below:

a) Connect the used disk to a system

b) Press Windows + R and type diskmgmt.msc in the dialogue box that opens, Click OK


c) Right Click and delete the volumes on the used disk

disk management

d) Once all the volumes are deleted, right-click and format

Note: As your used disk will be an external disk, under disk management utility you’ll be able to see your disk named Disk 1 or so.

5) Create the system image once again

If you’d created the system image by using a third-party tool, try to create one by using the Windows built-in utility and then try to restore from this newly created image.

a) Type Control Panel in Windows Search at the bottom left corner of the screen and click to launch it

b) Click Backup and Restore

control panel

c) Click Create a System Image

create a system image

d) Follow the prompts to create the system image

If none of the above-given methods works, contact a Professional Data Recovery Service Provider. The data recovery experts could recover your data.


In short, we saw various causes of the error “Unable to recover pc. The system drive is too small.” which doesn’t allow you to restore from a system image. We also got to know the fixes for this error and emphasized the need of contacting a Professional Data Recovery Service Provider in case the provided methods couldn’t restore the system image.

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