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Thread: A 3 Hour Tour?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Lightbulb A 3 Hour Tour?

    DISCLAIMER: The following procedure worked for me. It is NOT guaranteed to work for you. I very carefully planned and executed this process and still ran into two problems in the EXECUTE stage. Luckily, I kept my head and just tried it again and solved the problem, see notes. I also knew through many previous experiments that my Acronis True Image 2010 images would bail me out if necessary, but I still did this on my laptop not on my desktop which is currently my main machine. I would NOT have attempted this while on the road depending on my laptop even with the TI image! Nuff Said.

    PLEASE READ ENTIRE ACCOUNT BEFORE ATTEMPTING!!!!

    Object:
    Remove Dell Recovery & Utility Partitions

    Preparation:
    1. Create an Image Back of all partitions on your Boot Drive w/Verify Option!!!!!!!
    2. Create a System Recovery Disk!!!!
    3. Download Partition Wizard .ISO file & Burn to CD/DVD
    Note: If you are using an imaging tool other than Windows 7 make sure your tool has the capability to make a bootable CD/DVD and MAKE IT!!!! If things go wrong you'll need this to restore your backup as Windows will NOT boot!}

    Execute: {Be careful so this doesn't turn into an Execution!}
    1. Boot from the CD/DVD created in step 3 above.
    2. Change the Recovery Partition from Active to INACTIVE.
    3. Change the OS Partition to ACTIVE.
    4. Apply Changes. {REBOOT...this will fail!}

    Fix the Boot Problem:
    1. Insert your System Recovery Disk (created in Preparation step 2)
    2. Boot machine from your CD/DVD drive.
    3. Click: NEXT at the first prompt.
    4. Select the appropriate OS partition. (Note: If no OS partitions are shown follow the prompts below and then just execute this section of

    the instructions again starting with Fix the Boot Problem: Step 2... This happened to me and the second time through it found it OK!).
    5. Click: NEXT.
    6. Select: StartUp Repair.
    7. REBOOT

    Reclaim your freed disk space:
    1. If you're here Windows should have booted properly. For the next steps you can use EASEUS Partition Manager or reboot from the Partition Wizard CD/DVD and do it from there. I used EASEUS since I already had it loaded on my laptop.)
    2. Delete the 2 Dell partitions at the front of your OS drive, one FAT and one NTFS (Recovery)
    3. Move C: (The OS partition) to the front of the drive by using the MOVE/SIZE feature and setting the space before value to ZERO.
    4. Apply Changes. {This will cause Reboot with EASEUS probably not with Partition Wizard since you are not in Windows with it." {NOTE: This takes some time to complete, especially the LAST 1%!}
    ARGH! After 4 hours with:
    99% Total Progress
    99% Current Operation
    100% Updating System Information
    I gave up and rebooted; required the power switch; no boot.
    Booted from System Restore Disk. Not this time bucko...Whip out the TI Boot Disk & Restore the image. Here's a plug for multiple image versions. The one I took today was corrupt. Moved back to the previous one...worked fine...go figure. Even more interesting after restoring the previous generation I tried again to restore the newest generation and it worked!!!!!
    5. Repeated all the steps this far but Replacing EASEUS with Partition Wizard this time! This time it was quick and easy.
    6. Use Partition Wizard to add the recovered space to the partition of your choice.

    Notes:

    1. You may ask me why I didn't use EASEUS for all the operations. Simple the free version does not provide the capability for a Bootable CD/DVD and also does not let you change the partition flags. At least it wouldn't let me change the Active flag on the Dell Recovery Partition. After the experience I asked myself why I used EASEUS at all! As a matter of fact it is now banished from all my machines!!! Long live Partition Wizard!

    2. You may also ask why I didn't combine step 5 of Reclaim your freed disk space into step 3. Just me I like taking things one step at a time.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2011-05-20 at 12:11.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to RetiredGeek For This Useful Post:

    acoustic1218 (2012-01-01),CLiNT (2011-11-17),curiousclive (2011-11-17)

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have Sony PCes rather than a Dell, but here is what I did to remove my Sony recovery partition and reclaim the space. This was a much simpler process in my case. YMMV

    1) Opened Win 7 Disk Manager (see RG screen shot above)
    2) Right click on the left hand most partition (in my case Sony Recovery for Vista) and select delete. This leaves this space as unallocated space.
    3) Use Partition Wizard to add this unallocated space to the C Drive (OS). I had to use a 3rd party partitioning app because the Win 7 Disk Manager is unable to recover space located to the left of the OS partition.

    That's all it took. The boot record was located on the Win 7 partition (C Drive) so the system would still boot. The third partition was the data partition I had previously created.

    RG admonishment to create a Rescue Disk with your image app is a great suggestion just in case! You might have to use this Rescue Media to boot to allow you to restore.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Ted,

    Obviously, your recovery partition wasn't set to System. Lucky for you as it made things much easier.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Yes, after reading your "3 hour tour" horror show, I was glad mine was soooo easy! Glad you were able to find the solution. This might help others with Dell's.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    Yes, after reading your "3 hour tour" horror show, I was glad mine was soooo easy! Glad you were able to find the solution. This might help others with Dell's.
    Ted,

    I don't consider it as much a "Horror Show" as a very useful learning experience. "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Or in this case hopefully smarter.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I stand corrected. I have done many similar experiments with my systems. That's why my Images get such a workout!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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    5 Star Lounger
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    Thanks a lot retired geek
    I restored to image and followed your guide and it has worked. Now I have a partition with working windows at small enough size to image and restore to SSD.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2011-11-18 at 13:30.

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    As Ted mentioned, best I think to keep W7 from creating that little partition, keep it all on the same partition. I think it just creates its own need for itself when ya start moving partitions around.

    Which leads into simplifying steps 3 and 4 of moving the OS partition to reclaim free space in front of the partition. Ya gotta move it anyway right? So why work the heck out of the heads reading and writing, just image the OS partition, remove the partitions and reformat to desired and slap the image back down in the proper place. Done. It kind of sounds like that's what you ended up doing in the end but I'm not sure.

    Oh, and if its a specific configuration that makes that difficult, I won't put up with it, I'll redo the system...I'm the boss.
    Last edited by Infinicore; 2011-11-17 at 19:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    I have Sony PCes rather than a Dell, but here is what I did to remove my Sony recovery partition and reclaim the space. This was a much simpler process in my case. YMMV

    1) Opened Win 7 Disk Manager (see RG screen shot above)
    2) Right click on the left hand most partition (in my case Sony Recovery for Vista) and select delete. This leaves this space as unallocated space.
    3) Use Partition Wizard to add this unallocated space to the C Drive (OS). I had to use a 3rd party partitioning app because the Win 7 Disk Manager is unable to recover space located to the left of the OS partition.

    That's all it took. The boot record was located on the Win 7 partition (C Drive) so the system would still boot. The third partition was the data partition I had previously created.

    RG admonishment to create a Rescue Disk with your image app is a great suggestion just in case! You might have to use this Rescue Media to boot to allow you to restore.
    Hi Ted
    That is what I did first of, just deleted the recovery partition. But it then would not boot and neither would repair option fix start-up problems.
    Thats when I went to this forum to ask for help. Although Retired Geeks instructions were a little long it resolved my problem in about half an hour so.
    Not too long as was struggling more than 4 hours trying to solve it by myself without success. So am very grateful to Retired Geek and this forum for all the help.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2011-11-18 at 13:28.

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    3 Star Lounger Jagworld's Avatar
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    Do you think your scenario will work on my emachine?

    Hi Ted;
    What do you think...?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Jag,

    I see no reason it shouldn't. However, that said make sure you follow the directions and make a Image backup of the drive and have the proper rescue media to recover the image if need be. You just never know when you go messing around at this level. YMMV
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    A 3 hour trip well worth it

    #1 great site ,thanks for the info ,,especially the 3 hour tour ,,, a fine trip indeed by master navigator Retired Geek.

    This post/request is @ RetiredGeek
    Checking to see if I am on right track ,,I have a new dell vostro 3750 running win 7.

    My objective is to clean up all pre installed not needed junk off system , install all my needed programs.
    This new win 7 empty(boot files?) and recovery partition jazz adds a few more steps to this but with the detailed instruction above will take care of that.
    Is dell back up /restore program needed ,(thinking of deleting it also ) to use dell original dvd setup , not that I may ever use it, but should I leave it installed?
    Thinking is once I get this system cleaned up ,cloned , my weekly ghost backup will render the dell dvd useless.

    At the end of this I wish to have a single all inclusive partition,( OS, boot info etc)clean starting point, to clone to create dual boot setup ,
    1) main win 7 , 2) test win 7 .

    From here I wish to dual boot win 7 (any win 7 possible problems to watch for here), and have a 3rd data partition.

    I have been using norton ghost (of Hiren’s disk)for last few years for image backup ,and to achieve the dual booting setup on vista and xp machines .
    I have considered switching to Acronis TI or Boot-it from Norton may times in the past ,is this something I should do?

    Any tips / comments / wisdom is welcome ,that may help or tweak my understanding.
    Thanks

  14. #13
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Acoustic1218,

    Welcome to the lounge as a poster.

    I don't see any problems with what you are attempting.
    Do you need Dell Backup, definitely NOT!
    Should you switch to Acronis, again definitely NOT! I'm a long time Acronis user but I'm still using 2010 Home as it seems to be the last version that works. I've been testing Macrium Reflect Free and will most likely switch to it when my current Acronis version no longer works on some future upgrade of the OS. Many here also like EASEUS TO-DO Backup Free. I, as many others here see no reason to pay for software if reliable free versions are available. Of course the free versions have some limitations and if you can't live with them you can move to the paid versions of these two programs.

    My one major piece of advice is to Image your system BEFORE you start any of this just in case!

    Happy New Year and Good Luck.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  16. #14
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    Again thanks for sharing your knowledge
    Uhhh on 3rd read thru,, what exactly do you mean on
    Preparation:
    1. Create an Image Back of all partitions on your Boot Drive w/Verify Option!!!!!!!
    A) ,,image as individual partitions or as computer as a whole (i am gonna make a few different versions ,but if there is a best practice,i am all ears)

    B) also I am thinking that any pro level tool will accomplish your mission for partition wizard/easeus, I
    do not have that one , but I do use Hiren's boot cd and there are a few good names on it.

    C) Left field here, anyone having trouble with a logictech trackball and/or trackpad in the dos environment on new dell machine?

    Maybe we would call these tweaks of tweaks ,a detour of sorts ..
    Good day to you.

  17. #15
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    For C, do you mean the DOS command line window? If so, yeah, pretty much nothing modern works there, just the keyboard...it went subterranean (layered over by Windows) over 20 years ago!

    Is Hiren's boot cd legit now? For the longest time it was sort of an underground cd with a lot of illegally obtained software so I always stayed away from it.

    EaseUS ToDo backup seems to be continually well-supported even though its free and I've tried it with complete success. Verify option just means you make the software additionally check any image just made to see if it is in perfect order for possible restoration in the future.

    How you image depends on what you want imaged. For instance you might only want to image the OS partitions and just regularly backup the data partitions to other disks. If you have a lot of data it might take an excessive amount of time to always be imaging that partition to stay current with data changes, whereas if the OS partitions don't change too often after initial setup and software install, they don't need to be imaged as often and its a quicker process each time.
    So let your usage habits dictate how often and how many partitions should be included or imaged individually or not at all.

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