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  1. #1
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    What is this partition for?

    My PowerSpec computer came with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed. When I take a closer look at the HDD layout (using Windows Manage), I find 2 partitions. The first partition, 3.45 GB, is labeled "System", and is listed as the active primary partition. The second partition, 1859.57 GB, is labeled "Windows (C" and is also listed as a primary partition (but not as active). This is obviously where the bulk of Windows 7 resides.

    My question is, what does the first partition contain?

  2. #2
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    The first partition is for BitLocker. It stores the boot files required to decrypt the second partition. You don't need this partition if you don't use BitLocker, but it's not easy to remove and you won't miss the space.

    cheers, Paul

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    Thanks. I don't use BitLocker, but I'll leave this partition alone until I get a lot smarter.

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Usually the System Reserved partition is much smaller than 3.45 GB, usually a few hundred Mbs at most. I wonder if this might have recovery info as well.
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    A 3rd party partition application may grant you a view if Windows diskmanager will not.
    To check if some of your OS's boot components are resident on that partition, open an elevated
    command prompt and type "BCDedit" without the quotes.

    If the partition is a recovery partition don't forget to image it along with the "C" drive as well when you do your image backups.
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    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    If the partition is marked Active, and the other partition is not, then it does contain your boot files. And at 3.45GB, it more than likely contains your recovery image files that would restore the machine to factory fresh condition.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks all for the info.

    Clint, the attachment shows what I get when I run BCDedit. Apparently, the first (unlabeled) partition is required for booting, but does not contain a system image file. Am I interpreting this correctly?
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Your bootmgr is located on the 3.45 GB hidden "system" volume, so if you were to delete that hidden partition you would have
    to rebuild or relocate your bootfiles.


    A 3rd party partition application may grant you a view if Windows diskmanager will not.
    There may be a recovery apparatus present, or there may simply be the system boot files and little else.
    There will be NO system image recovery of your OS on this partition.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  9. #9
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    If you want to see what's in the partition, open the management console, select "Disk Management", and right-click on the graphical display of the partition in the lower pane. Select "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." In the dialog box that opens, click the "Add" button. The default action is that the radio button beside "Assign the following drive letter" is checked, and an unused drive letter is visible in a dropdown box on the upper right. Click "OK". You'll get a warning about some programs depending on drive letters; you can OK that.

    Windows will assign a drive letter, then you can open Windows Explorer and view the contents like you would any other partition. Don't make any changes to anything in the partition, but feel free to satisfy your curiosity as to what is there. You can do a snip of the Explorer window and attach it in a post here, if you like.

    Once you've satisfied your curiosity, use "Disk Management" again in the same way, only this time there will be a "Remove" button in the dialog box after you have selected that partition and then selected "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." Click "Remove", and the partition will once again be "hidden", with no drive letter. You'll get the same warning about programs and drive letters; you can OK that again. This is a safe procedure so long as you don't make any changes to anything in the partition.

    There may be some hidden files/folders, in which case you can open a command prompt, change to that drive letter, and run a DIR command. Again, this is safe so long as you don't make any changes. If you're uncomfortable about it, just leave it be.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-02-16 at 19:15.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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  11. #10
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    Thanks, Clint. I just needed the confirmation that I was reading the BCDedit output correctly. I didn't actually expect a recovery image in that partition; I made one using Acronis, and I also have the Win 7 (or 8) installation disks if I want to start over.

    bbearren, I'm not curious enough to risk doing what you suggest. That's skating too close to the edge for someone who usually attacks his computer in the wee hours of the morning, when slip-ups have been known to happen. But that's good info if I ever forget that I make mistakes.

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