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  1. #1
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    Need help removing obsolete OEM recovery partition after upgrade to Win10

    I recently upgraded an older, high end, Windows 7 laptop to Windows 10. When it was purchased in 2010, it was common for the OEM Recovery Partition to be the "first" partition, followed by the small System Reserved partition, and then the C: partition. As part of the upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft added a 450MB Windows Recovery Environment partition following the C: partition.

    The OEM partition is now 12 GB of useless data. It's actually Windows 7 prior to SP1. I would like to remove the OEM partition, move the System Reserved partition to beginning of the drive, and then expand the C: partition "left." I know I can easily do this by utilizing the Gparted program on a Ubuntu Live CD. However, I don't want to end up with a situation where the PC won't boot because of the missing OEM partition. I could leave well enough alone, but the large OEM partition is causing disk image backups to take almost twice as long as necessary.

    If I do as I mentioned, using Gparted on a Ubuntu Live CD, will the boot up sequence adjust itself to look at the correct location so the PC boots properly after the OEM partition is gone?

    Thanks for any help or experience you can pass along.

  2. #2
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    I removed the recovery partition in my Toshiba Win 7 laptop - simply because Toshiba split the HDD down the middle and just stick in 8 or 9GB which I thought was a waste.

    The way I did it (and you could try this with your Win 10 bootable ISO) - was to boot up with a Win 7 SP1 install disk and choose the clean install and when it asked me where I wanted to install it, I clicked on the recovery partition - selected Delete, clicked on the partition again then Extend so that it merged with C: and then cancelled the install.

    I created a full external system image first in case I screwed up as I was working by instinct, not having done it before.

    It must have benefitted the machine some how, as I got a better score when rating it with Novabench.

    https://novabench.com/
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2016-04-17 at 18:03.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    DJG,

    See this Thread. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  4. #4
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    That was a mouthful, RG - I was able to do mine in a crack, although it was on a Win 7 laptop and then went on to repeat the process on my other Toshiba Win 7 laptop.

  5. #5
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    RG, thanks for the link to the detailed procedure. I don't need to delete the obsolete recovery partition because I'm running short of space on the HD. I'm only using a total of about 45GB on a 320GB drive. My primary goal is to eliminate the time needed to include 12GB of useless data every time I run a full disk image backup. So, would this idea work:

    1. Boot my PC from a Ubuntu Live CD and mount the recovery partition. (I've already done this just to see what's there.)
    2. Delete all the files in the recovery partition. (I could first copy them to an external HD so I can replace them if something goes wrong.)
    3. Close Ubuntu and reboot into Windows.

    Since I'm not doing a sector by sector disk image backup, wouldn't the imaging program rapidly create an empty recovery partition and then move on?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    DJG,

    It should work. However, make sure you check to see which Partition is the Active Boot partition. Sometimes this is the Manufactures restore partition since this allows them to capture the key strokes to initiate a Factory Restore before moving on to C: to complete the boot process. If this is the case erasing all the files will render your machine unbootable.

    This is what my Dell Laptop (also upgraded from 7 to 10 and the one mentioned in the referenced post) looks like.
    Dell1564parts.JPG

    Now on the other hand my desktop (upgraded from 8-8.1-10) shows this.
    Dell8700parts.PNG

    You'll notice that C: is NOT the Active Boot Partition but rather the unlettered EFI partition. This is why you want to make sure you have a system recovery disk/usb so that if the partition you delete is the Active Boot partition you can use that disk/usb to do a boot repair.

    Of course as always a good Full Disk Image and the appropriate Boot Media to run the restore is your best defense against problems.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  7. #7
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    Buy a bigger backup drive!

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
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    RG,

    Thanks for the additional info. The PC I'm working on is partitioned like this following the upgrade to Windows 10.
    Aspire Partitions.PNG

    So removing data from the old 12GB OEM Recovery Partition shouldn't affect the boot process. Likewise, removing the OEM partition shouldn't affect the process either IF the system can figure out where to look afterwards. Which leads me to ask, how does the boot process know where to look? Does it look for a particular partition number or does it look for a label like "System Reserved"? If the former, then things could get messed up by simply deleting a partition to the left. If the latter, then the PC should boot OK after removing a partition to the left.

    As I mentioned in my initial post, older PC tended to have the OEM Recovery Partition to the left while newer PCs tend to have the OEM Recovery Partition to the extreme right. I have a Dell laptop that was partitioned like your desktop. I simply reused the PBR Image partition for a dual boot with Ubuntu after I upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

    So could I delete all the data from the OEM partition, shrink it to practically nothing, move System Reserved left, and expand C: left against System Reserved without causing boot problems? That operation should be easy with any partition editor and would retain the partition numbering if that's what's needed to maintain the boot process intact.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    It's like someone is listening? Latest from Lincoln Spector.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  10. #10
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    All of the "how to" articles of late, including Lincoln Spector's, deal with newer PCs where the manufacturer placed the OEM Recovery Partition at the "end" of the drive. These are safe and easy to remove or reuse, because doing so does not alter the partition numbering ahead of them. Older PCs, like mine, have the OEM Recovery Partition at the "beginning" of the drive. Removing it should, in theory, alter the partition numbers. If my Active System Reserved had been Partition 1 and my Boot C: had been Partition 2, they should become Partitions 0 and 1 respectively.

    Microsoft has created confusion starting with Win8, because they show their 450-500MB Windows Recovery Environment partition in Disk Management as a Recovery Partition. WinRE is not a recovery partition in the same sense as an OEM Recovery Partition which contains a full copy the the OS, included software, etc. When I was looking for info on removing the recovery partition, I universally got hits on the WinRE partition.

    I think I've established that my OEM Recovery Partition is worthless at this point. If it can be removed without disrupting the boot sequence due to partition renumbering, it could be deleted. The question remains---will the boot process recognize the deletion of a partition to the "left" or will the system become un-bootable?

  11. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    DLG,

    You'll notice that the dates on the my original linked post are 2011!

    Yes it will become unbootable that's why you need the Windows recovery media to do a boot repair as stated. Don't forget you'll also need recovery media for your Imaging program in case the whole thing winds up in the toilet!

    HTH
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  12. #12
    Star Lounger
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    I'd like to thank everyone for their input, especially RG. It's been a valuable, and interesting, learning experience. For the time being, I'm going to leave everything as is. If something happens down the road that requires a clean install of Windows 10, the obsolete OEM Recovery Partition will get deleted automatically as part of the process.

  13. #13
    3 Star Lounger
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    I have found that a Macrium Reflect Free rescue disk includes an option to repair Windows boot problems. It seems to work much better than using the Windows disk.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to nate01pa For This Useful Post:

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  15. #14
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Nate,

    Thanks, I was unaware of this option. I'll have to investigate further.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  16. #15
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Nate,

    Interesting, but I can't find this option in my copy of Macrium Reflect Home Edition v6.1.1225!

    It also doesn't show on the MR site in the feature comparison chart.

    Ok, it is there when booted from the Boot Media!

    Can't believe I never noticed it before, guess since I didn't need it I never looked for it.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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