Recovery Partition: Is this Dell or Windows 7?

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Recovery Partition: Is this Dell or Windows 7?

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This is a 10.89GB Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition). No drive letter. No file system listed under Disk Management, but Easeus Partition Master identifies it as NTFS with 6.7GB used.

Is this a Windows 7 partition or a Dell partition. Dell DataSafe local backup is unable to detect what it calls "The Recovery Partition" since I cloned the original drive to this one, so if this is Dell, I don't need it and will try to delete it.

Any help figuring this out will be appreciated!

Rob

Verified Answer
  • There's a much easier method of transferring the boot routines from the Dell Recovery Patition to the Operating System Partition. Firstly I'll explain why I wanted to get rid of the Recovery Partiion.

    I've a new Dell XPS which shipped with a small hard drive (did not specify larger disk as they are much cheaper purchased online independently). Firstly I backed up everything to an external USB drive using Paragon & Recovery Suite 10 and restored the complete disk / partition images to the new hard drive. As the new hard drive was large I wanted to make 3 separate partitions - 1 for the OS and program files and the other 2 for data files. Unfortunately the Dell pre-loaded Utility and Recovery Partitions count toward the limit of 4 partitons per disk hence I only had 2 partions available were I to retain both Dell partitions. Having first checked that the Dell Recovery Partition was backed up externally and in duplicate I then deleted the partion via Paragon but quickly found computer would not boot. Undeleting the Recovery Partition via Paragon did not fix the problem, I suspect because I did not perform the extra step of marking the undeleted partition 'Active'. I then booted from the Paragon recovery CD and restored the Recovery Partition from backup on external USB drive. Computer then booted fine. It may sound a bit messy but I was on a 'learning curve' and the whole process of restoring a working boot partition took less than 30 minutes.

    I still needed to get rid of the Recovery Partition, not because of space concerns but due to the partition limit of 4 described above. The way I did it was simple and did not require any downloads, burning a BING cd or use of Regedit. Btw I'm using Windows 7 64 bit edition but I understand process for 32 bit ver of Win 7 and Win Vista is very similar:

    From the start button type 'Command' in the search screen and click on the command prompt option to display a DOS type screen.

    From the resulting command prompt type:  Bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

    In above example, assuming the operating system partition is drive c: and the boot routines are located in the default location (C:\Windows) it's assumed user requires the c: drive to become bootable hance the 'c:' following the '/s'. Help on syntax is available by typing: Bcdboot /?

    Next step is to use the Disk Management Utility to mark the Operating System partition (factory set to C: on my new Dell) to 'Active' which will also have the effect of marking the Dell Recovery Partition as 'Inactive'. Disk management can be invoked in Win7 via  Control Panel - System and Security - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management or (shorter) by using the start button and typing  DISKMGMT.MSC in the search line.

    After changing the active partition check that the computer will boot successfully with the Dell Recovery Partition inactive. The unwanted recovery partition can then be removed. The whole process using Bcdboot and Disk Management only took around 5 minutes.

    As a general comment I feel that the Dell Recovery Partition is only really useful during the first few months of using a new computer as its use is very destructive of data and user modifications, at least for those who have not created an additional partition to separate data files from the operating system. In effect it's performing a 'factory reset' on the computer thus anyone using this recovery option months or years 'down the line' will then have to spend many hours re-installing customized software, downloading patches and recovering any data files held on the OS partition. Far better, imo, to run regular partition backups to an external drive and restore from them. One hint I could offer in this regard is to retain old hard disks when upgrading disk or replacing a pc and buy a cheap disk enclosure (aka disk caddy) to mount the old hdd as a USB drive, great for storing backups and should be detached from computer after backup has run (and preferably stored in another room, ideally in another building). In this way it's relatively quick and easy to recover from a failed hard disk or corrupt OS. There are a number of relatively inexpensive backup programs which generate complete disk / partition images including 2 I've used - Paragon and Acronis. Whichever backup program you choose ensure you create a 'recovery CD' so that system can be booted and the backup software ran without a working operating system.

     

All Replies
  • The 10.89 GB partition contains the restore image for your C: drive and is hidden from your operating system to help prevent accidental damage to it.  It is generated by Dell at the time your system is built, but they don't keep a record of it.  Once you have removed it you cannot replace it.  Microsoft has nothing to do with it.

    I'm not certain about Windows 7, but with Vista the image was produced by something called imageX or some name similar to that.  Datasafe won't touch it.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • What is the practical use of this partition, and how is it accessed?

  • It is accessed by F8 and used to restore the system to factory ship status.  If you used a partition manager at all, the function is gone - it can no longer be used from a startup menu.  You CAN restore it using ImageX though - if you prepare a boot CD with IMageX on it.

     

  • ejn63

    It is accessed by F8 and used to restore the system to factory ship status.  If you used a partition manager at all, the function is gone - it can no longer be used from a startup menu.  You CAN restore it using ImageX though - if you prepare a boot CD with IMageX on it.

     

    I did use a partition manager. Tell me more about restoring it using ImageX. If I decide not to restore it, is it really safe to delete? It's an active system partition. Are you guys sure it has no OS components on it?

    Rob

     

  • Still looking for more info on this. I have assigned a drive letter to the recovery partition, so I can now open it and see all files, but this is the active system partition and cannot be deleted. If I make C (OS) the active partition and delete the recovery partition (now A) will Windows still boot?

    Rob

  • I've told you what it is, and ejn63 has explained how it is accessed.  Since you have adjusted the partitions I'm not sure if the recovery application will work, but Windows should boot if you make the C drive active.  As you seem to be in a mood for experimentation, why not find out for yourself?  The worst that can happen is that you will need to reinstall Windows and any applications you wish to use.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • JackShack

    .....why not find out for yourself?  The worst that can happen is that you will need to reinstall Windows and any applications you wish to use.

    Easy for you to say....Smile

     

     

  • JackShack

    .....why not find out for yourself?  The worst that can happen is that you will need to reinstall Windows and any applications you wish to use.

    Easy for you to say....Smile

     

     

  • i also have the same problem of recovery partition...can u please help me in restoring my recovery partition... i need to have my system back as factory one...please tell me how to fix a missing recovery partition( which is actually there but  some not found )...

  • ajayprataplivein

    i also have the same problem of recovery partition...can u please help me in restoring my recovery partition... i need to have my system back as factory one...please tell me how to fix a missing recovery partition( which is actually there but  some not found )...

    I've given up on fixing it. I'm going to delete it as soon as I have some good backup images in place. I've also requested and received (free of charge) an OS CD for Windows 7 from Dell.

    Rob

     

  • OK Boys and Girls, here's the latest:

    I set the C Windows partition to active and it would not boot.

    Booted from Acronis boot disk and set C Windows as Active and boot. Still no joy.

    I restored the Recovery partition from a backup, set to active and all is fine, but still looking for a way do either get the recovery partition to work as it should (not likely) or preferably delete it and set up the machine to boot from the OS. Hate having that useless 11GB partition sitting on the drive.

    Here's the current description of the partitions from disk management:

    RECOVERY (A:) (I added the drive letter) NTFS Healthy (System, Active, Primary)

    OS (C:) NTFS Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary)

    Curiously, Even though C is now a "boot" partition, it will not boot unless the Recovery partition is set to active.

    Suggestions?

    Rob

     

  • The best information I've found is here. According to Brian K, if you delete it, Win7 won't boot. You need to copy the booting files from the recovery
    partition to the Win7 partition before you delete the recovery partition. He provides these instructions:

    I'll assume the recovery partition doesn't have a drive letter.

    Before commencing the Win7 procedure you should make a BootIt NG (BING) CD.

    unzip the file
    double click makedisk.exe, next
    dot in I accept the agreement, next
    no tick for Registration, next
    dot in Mouse Support Enabled, next
    dot in VESA Video, next
    dot in Partition Work (Don't put a dot in Normal), next
    don't choose any Default Device Options (if necessary, these can be chosen
    in BING), next
    leave Registration strings blank, next
    select your CD burner drive letter (you can use a CD-RW or a CD-R disc)
    Finish

    In Win7, you have to unhide the Recovery Partition.

    In Disk Management, right click the Recovery Partition, click Change Drive Letter and Paths..., click Add, dot in Assign the following drive letter,
    click the drop down arrow and select P , click OK.

    Start an Administrator mode Command Prompt. To do this, click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories. Right-click on the Command
    Prompt item and select Run as administrator from the pop-up menu. If a UAC prompt is displayed, click the Yes button.

    Unload the BCD registry hive by running the following command:
    reg unload HKLM\BCD00000000

    Copy the bootmgr file from the Recovery Partition to the Windows 7 partition. Run the following command: robocopy p:\ c:\ bootmgr

    Copy the Boot folder from the Recovery Partition to the Windows 7 partition. Run the following command: robocopy p:\Boot C:\Boot /s

    The booting files have now been copied. If you wish to verify that they were copied correctly, run the following command: dir c:\ /ah

    If the bootmgr file and the Boot folder show up in the list, the procedure was successful.

    In Disk Management, right click the Recovery Partition, click Change Drive Letter and Paths..., click Remove, Yes. This hides the Recovery Partition
    again. In Disk Management, right click the C: drive, click Mark Partition as Active, Yes.

    Restart the computer with a BING CD in the drive.
    In BING, do a BCD Edit on Win7.
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=318
    In BING, delete the Recovery Partition.

    click Close on Work with Partitions
    click Reboot and remove the CD

    Win7 should boot.

    This may be a little too involved for me....may have to just accept that I have a useless (except for booting) 11GB partition.

    Rob

  • 11 Steps to Remove the Active Recovery Partition:

    This forum sure has changed over the past few years. I thought that surely there would be lots of good information and experience here about the nature of the Dell recovery partition and how to remove it while still enabling Windows 7 to boot. But I had to really search for this information elsewhere and will share it here for others who may have a similar situation.

    My situation, as posted above is that I cloned the original hard drive of my XPS 8100 to a larger drive and then resized and added partitions. The Recovery Partition and little Dell diagnostic partition may have been working on the newly cloned drive, but certainly weren't after resizing and adding partitions, so both those partitions were basically just sitting there taking up space, except for one important thing: The 11GB Recovery Partition is an active system partition, contains the boot files, and Win7 will not boot without it unless you make some changes. Since I have 2 1TB drives, and do my own regular scheduled backups, I wanted to get these partitions off my drive.  Here is what I did:

    1.       To be safe, I made backup images of all partitions, just in case it didn't work.

    2.       I downloaded and burned BootIt NG (AKA BING). Note: You cannot install BING in Win7. You just burn it to a bootable CD/DVD by clicking the makedisk.exe from the unzipped files.

    3.       From Win7, open Regedit, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, unload BCD00000000 from
    the registry by highlighting it, click File/Unload Hive, Yes - or the following boot files will be in use and won't copy. (Note: If you don't have BCD00000000 under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, which was the case for me, just proceed to the next step.)

    4.       In Disk Management, right click the Recovery partition, click Change Drive Letter and Paths..., click Add, dot in Assign the following drive letter, OK.

    5.       In Folder and search options, View tab, put a dot in "Show hidden files, folders and drives". Also, remove the tick from "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)". OK.

    6.       In Computer, Recovery partition, open and copy the "Boot" folder and "bootmgr" and paste them into the C: drive. (Copy, do not Move these files)

    7.       In Folder and search options, View tab, put a tick in "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)". OK.

    8.       In Disk Management, right click the Recovery Partition, click Change Drive Letter and Paths..., click Remove, Yes.In Disk Management, right click the C: drive, click Mark Partition as Active, Yes.

    9.       Restart the computer with a BING CD in the drive. If necessary, set boot order to boot from CD drive first.) In BING (Partition Work), delete the Recovery partition (and the other little diagnostic partition, if you want to). You can also move and resize partitions to use the new space, or do this later with your own partition software.

    10.   In BING, do a BCD Edit on Win7. Follow instructions at http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=318

    11.   Reboot

    This method worked perfectly for me, and it's not as difficult at all once you get started and follow all the instructions carefully. I hope this helps others who want to remove these partitions.

    Rob


  • I wish I'd seen this forum before I tried to retrieve my "waste of space" partition, when I've time I might try them in the future. In the meantime I'll pass on my slightly simpler solution, (or at least less techy), but not as good:

    By the way, I have a win7 64 bit Dell Laptop Studio 1558.

    - I tried and got very helpful dell support, but their solution did not work. They did not appreciate you needed the Recovery partition (or what is on it) to boot windows.

    - make sure you have some sort of disk image copy. Ideally test you can restore it to a spare drive, and test it (makes a good backup anyway). see this link for free one's,
    http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm
    (I always like to run my image and partition programs from a bootable CD, no conflicts then)

    - There are 2 very big files in the RECOVERY partition,  dell/image/factory.wim preload/base.wim I deleted them both. I could probably have deleted more, but did not know the importance of any files, and in any case, these 2 files took up most of the space. N.B. I could only delete these by removing the drive and connecting it to another laptop via USB. There may be an easier "in situ" way to do it.

    (next 2 steps done with the free "Minitool partition wizard").

    - I then reduced the size of the RECOVERY partition and left about 500MB free space just in case it might be needed. It could be that I could have reduced it by more.

    - I then increased the size of the OS (normally C:) partition by incorporating the recovered space from the RECOVERY partition.

    I am sure more space could be recovered and/or a complete removal of the RECOVERY partition (see other posts), but this seems to work well and is quite simple to perform.

    I advised Dell support of my method, and they thanked me and said they would pass it on.  I cannot understand why Dell put the recovery data on the same hard drive. If the hard drive breaks down, you loose everything. It would be simple to create an image on the hard drive which could be copied by the user, together with software to create bootable media for the recovery.

     

  • There's a much easier method of transferring the boot routines from the Dell Recovery Patition to the Operating System Partition. Firstly I'll explain why I wanted to get rid of the Recovery Partiion.

    I've a new Dell XPS which shipped with a small hard drive (did not specify larger disk as they are much cheaper purchased online independently). Firstly I backed up everything to an external USB drive using Paragon & Recovery Suite 10 and restored the complete disk / partition images to the new hard drive. As the new hard drive was large I wanted to make 3 separate partitions - 1 for the OS and program files and the other 2 for data files. Unfortunately the Dell pre-loaded Utility and Recovery Partitions count toward the limit of 4 partitons per disk hence I only had 2 partions available were I to retain both Dell partitions. Having first checked that the Dell Recovery Partition was backed up externally and in duplicate I then deleted the partion via Paragon but quickly found computer would not boot. Undeleting the Recovery Partition via Paragon did not fix the problem, I suspect because I did not perform the extra step of marking the undeleted partition 'Active'. I then booted from the Paragon recovery CD and restored the Recovery Partition from backup on external USB drive. Computer then booted fine. It may sound a bit messy but I was on a 'learning curve' and the whole process of restoring a working boot partition took less than 30 minutes.

    I still needed to get rid of the Recovery Partition, not because of space concerns but due to the partition limit of 4 described above. The way I did it was simple and did not require any downloads, burning a BING cd or use of Regedit. Btw I'm using Windows 7 64 bit edition but I understand process for 32 bit ver of Win 7 and Win Vista is very similar:

    From the start button type 'Command' in the search screen and click on the command prompt option to display a DOS type screen.

    From the resulting command prompt type:  Bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

    In above example, assuming the operating system partition is drive c: and the boot routines are located in the default location (C:\Windows) it's assumed user requires the c: drive to become bootable hance the 'c:' following the '/s'. Help on syntax is available by typing: Bcdboot /?

    Next step is to use the Disk Management Utility to mark the Operating System partition (factory set to C: on my new Dell) to 'Active' which will also have the effect of marking the Dell Recovery Partition as 'Inactive'. Disk management can be invoked in Win7 via  Control Panel - System and Security - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management or (shorter) by using the start button and typing  DISKMGMT.MSC in the search line.

    After changing the active partition check that the computer will boot successfully with the Dell Recovery Partition inactive. The unwanted recovery partition can then be removed. The whole process using Bcdboot and Disk Management only took around 5 minutes.

    As a general comment I feel that the Dell Recovery Partition is only really useful during the first few months of using a new computer as its use is very destructive of data and user modifications, at least for those who have not created an additional partition to separate data files from the operating system. In effect it's performing a 'factory reset' on the computer thus anyone using this recovery option months or years 'down the line' will then have to spend many hours re-installing customized software, downloading patches and recovering any data files held on the OS partition. Far better, imo, to run regular partition backups to an external drive and restore from them. One hint I could offer in this regard is to retain old hard disks when upgrading disk or replacing a pc and buy a cheap disk enclosure (aka disk caddy) to mount the old hdd as a USB drive, great for storing backups and should be detached from computer after backup has run (and preferably stored in another room, ideally in another building). In this way it's relatively quick and easy to recover from a failed hard disk or corrupt OS. There are a number of relatively inexpensive backup programs which generate complete disk / partition images including 2 I've used - Paragon and Acronis. Whichever backup program you choose ensure you create a 'recovery CD' so that system can be booted and the backup software ran without a working operating system.