The Hidden Partition (inquiring minds want to know)

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Disk Drives (Floppy, USB, HDD, CD/DVD/BD) discussion

The Hidden Partition (inquiring minds want to know)

  • Greetings all,

     

    My first post to the forum, hope I've chosen the correct group.

     

    Received my laptop two weeks ago. No  problems. I'm running fully patched XP Home. Got to poking around and discovered the 3gb hidden partition. Emailed tech support, they informed me that the partiton contains "system utilities". Fair enough. I'm a curious sort and a professional Unix geek (mostly SunOS and Solaris), so I poked around with fsutil, etc., and got the  "device not ready" response from an attempted query of the partition (resulting from the partition not being mounted, I assume).

     

    I was about to try mounting it when I had a rare lucid moment and considered that this might have unintended consequences.

     

    Has anyone done this? Can it be done? Should it be done?

     

    I've searched the forum and seen a few  different answers as to what the partion contains. Anybody know the "real" answer?

     

    TIA for your thoughts and advice.

     

    Regards, Glenn

     

  • that partition contains the files for the dell restore utility that restores your system to the way dell sent it to you.
  • Assuming Inspiron of some type with MediaDirect installed.

     

    Your partitions should be 1. small FAT partition with Dell 32 bit diags, 2. ~2-3GB partition for MediaDirect 3. Large NTFS partition C: for the o/s 4. ~4-7 GB hidden partition for Dell PCRestore, which is an image of the original factory load.

     

  •  

    Bill-thanks for the official response. Yes, my machine is a I9400/E1705 with MD

    Your answer is close, but isn't exactly what I have:

     

    55mb FAT eide config (contains diags I assume)

    3.29gb FAT32 76% full

    69.76gb NTFS

     

    This is what I see via the Computer Management gui.When I select "hidden" from the view menu nothing appears. 

     

     Am I missing something?

     

    Regards,

     

    Glenn 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • So, that's in the neighborhood of 73GB, give or take. I would guess you have an 80GB HDD. The missing 7GB or so would be the hidden partition with Dell PCRestore. In XP, it's hidden, and in Vista it is commonly the D:\restore drive.

     

  • Bill-Thanks for the prompt responses. I thought the "hidden" option in the gui would show it. Questions answered.

     

    Regards,

     

    Glenn

     


  • DELL-Bill B wrote:
    So, that's in the neighborhood of 73GB, give or take. I would guess you have an 80GB HDD. The missing 7GB or so would be the hidden partition with Dell PCRestore. In XP, it's hidden, and in Vista it is commonly the D:\restore drive.
    A so-called 80GB hdd would appear to the OS to only be about 74GB anyways, so my guess is there is no hidden partition at all.  Those are the only three partitions on the hdd and they take up all the space on it.

    ==================================================
    Inspiron 15R Laptop
    Intel Core i3-370M (2.4GHz, 4 Threads, 3MB cache) CPU
    4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 RAM
    500GB 5400rpm HDD
    15.6 Inch High Definition (720p) LED Display with TrueLife
    Intel HD Graphics
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit
    Integrated 10/100 Network Card
    8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
    Integrated High Definition Audio 2.2
    Dell Wireless 1501
    Integrated 1.3M Pixel Webcam
    6-Cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
    PA-12 65W Power Adaptor (19.5V, 3.34A)
    ==================================================

  • As balaji said, the manufacturer's 80,000,000,000 is really about 74.5 GB, so don't try to make things add up to 80 GB. The two hidden partitions are covered here:

     

     

     

    You do not appear to have a MediaDirect 3 partition, as that would show up as a 2GB hidden NTFS partition. Given your assertion that you have MD, and that the three partitions you're aware of are a bit short of 74.5 GB, it's possible you may have MediaDirect 2. That's completely hidden (even from Disk Mgmt) in an HPA. MD2 is covered here:

     

     

    If you're curious to confirm whether you have an HPA, my Dsrfix utility will reveal that.

     

     

     

    Dan Goodell

     

     

  • Dan-I have MD2-Thanks for the links-great info.

     

    Glenn 

  • Thanks, Dan. I probably should have linked to your site on my first post.

     

    There should be 4 partitions on that system, sizes may vary- diags, PCRestore, MD, and XP.