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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Funny how one thing leads to another.

    As a long time user of the Secunia online security scanner, I decided to download Secunia PSI 1.0.0.1 when it was announced in the Computer Security and Backup forum. It reported that PowerPoint Viewer was insecure and needed to be updated. Looking into this, I discovered that it was referring to the viewer in the HP recovery partition and not the one I use. Not a problem.

    It did pique my curiosity, though. What is in that recovery partition?

    Using Windows Explorer I found that I was blocked from viewing what was in the partition. I got the message shown below and could go no further.

    Which prompts the following questions:

    1- How do they block access to the partition?

    2- Can this blocking be defeated?

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Have you tried...

    In a Windows Explorer window:
    - Click "Organize"
    - Click "Folder and Search Options"
    - Click the "View" tab
    - Uncheck, "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"
    - Click "OK"

    Give that a try ... it's just a guess. <IMG SRC=http://www.the-highway.com/Smileys/Ponder.gif>
    Jeff
    simul iustus et peccator

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Good thought, Jeff, but that is SOP around here, along with the settings for file extensions and hidden files and folders (see graphic).

    This "blocking" is beyond these "usual" settings. Note the customized HP warning message, the lack of column headers and, while not shown in my original graphic, the drop-down menu items are different from normal. For example, the only available option under "File" when I click on the "HP" folder is "Close".

    I wonder if MS provides OEMs with tools to modify certain components of the OS. As an example, some new computers from certain OEMs no longer display the Windows Experience Index while systems from other OEMs do.

    Cheers,

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  4. #4
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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    If it would be one setting in the Folder Options, which I'm not sure it is, since it bears similarities with it in Windows XP it would be "Display Contents of System Folders", but it isn't present in Vista as it seems.

    Every user of a new installation of Windows XP knows that they get a blue pane in the file list pane to the right when trying to navigate to system folders such as: C: (root), Program files, Windows, WindowsSystem32 etc.

    And they also know that it is possible to enable viewing of individual folders by clicking on a link in the right blue pane. But most users (at least on their own account) probably do as I do: check the box "Display Contents of System Folders", to enable view in all System folders.

    But if I start from the beginning:
    Contents of System Folders are not displayed and we assume I don't know about its setting.
    -I change the "radio button" to show hidden files and folders. Result: no change, still a blue pane in the system folders.
    -Next step: uncheck "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)". Result: no change, still a blue pane in the system folders.
    -Last step: or it should have been the first; check "Display Contents of System Folders". Result: system folder content visible.

    However, I know that this setting isn't present in Vista, but what you see is somehow similar to the above. For the "lack of column headers", it is the same as in the above I discussed, although that's XP and OS native settings, see screen shot.

    Recovery partitions can be quite different from "normal" as you know; some do not show up in Explorer etc.

    Maybe they have some hook into the explorer for hiding the content. I can understand your curiosity <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>, but the simple answer, as you know, is that it holds what was on the PC when it was new; PP Viewer et al.

    And yes Paul, even though I am not used to the Vista icons and folder tree since I do not use it, I can see from your first screen shot that you indeed have Hide protected operating system files unchecked, since the SVI folder is showing, so that one was an obvious (to me).

    In this blog entry at My Digital Life they discuss deleting and removing the HP recovery partition, which I know is not your purpose, only viewing, and they mention "Users also cannot view the contents". So I guess thatís it. But I have not looked closer to the HP variant, sorry not much info.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Hi Argus, thanks for your thoughts.

    There may not be an equivalent to the XP "Display Contents of System Folders" option in Vista, but in any event I can display all the system folders and files you refer to. It's just the files and folders in that darn HP recovery partition that I can't access.

    You may be right about HP (and other OEMs) having hooks into Windows Explorer to add protection to the recovery partition. As you say, recovery partitions can be quite different from "normal" partitions. What I'd really like to know is how it is done and can it be overridden.

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Searching around the web, it looks as though the protection may be done by setting the partition type to something other than the standard NTFS or FAT. There seems to be an option for hidden FAT, and I came across a suggestion that you could use a third party partition manager to change this to a FAT partition. I'm not sure I would want to try something so extreme.

    StuartR

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    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Stuart,

    Thanks, I had not considered those possibilities. Like you, I don't want to get too extreme. I'm curious, not insane!

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    Hi Paul,
    This article explains how Dell hides or protects some of their partitions. Following the "Appendix: What About Windows Vista" link in that article leads to this article . While this applies to Dell computers, I would imagine that HP uses a similar procedure. If nothing else, these explanations are interesting reading. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Re: Windows Explorer (Vista SP1)

    I like the way Sony does it, they use a hidden partition and can NOT be accessed by the user. This way the "D" drive does NOT get filled with backups.
    It is a 6.36 GB partition with NO File System, at least that is what is shown on my Vista machine within Disk Management.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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