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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    New Dell, Continued

    You may have seen elsewhere that my son and I have new Dell desktops and we're both aclimating very well. I'm looking in the owner's manual and Google to learn a little something about the way Dell sets up the hard drive. If you have a link with some good reading, I'd appreciate it. Meanwhile, I'll keep Googling. Here's my questions about the hard drive setup:

    1) Does the Dell restoration disk, if used, put the hard drive back as shown, including the TWO "control" partitions?
    2) What are those two partitions and are they "location" dependent? What if I were to rearrange things with Acronis Disk Director - would that screw up my operation?

    I'm not planning on getting rid of either partition and at this time, I certainly don't need additional space. I'm just trying to learn how the Dell operates. I'm already making my backups using TrueImage. So, let's suppose that a user were to buy and install a bigger hard drive. Would the "scenario" be to insert the new drive, run Dell's restoration process and, THEN restore from a TrueImage backup to the new resulting C: drive? I know, this is hopefully far away stuff, but as I said I'm just trying to learn what I've got and I now know we have a lot of Dell owners here in The Lounge...
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  2. #2
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    BigAl,

    I think these days the Dell restoration process uses the partitions on your HD. The FAT16 partition I think is a Ghost boot partition that may also have other utility programs. The FAT32 partition contains your original factory software in compressed files. If there are not directions in the user guide on how to initiate a restore I'm sure you can find them online at the Dell support site. If your new system has a floppy you could boot with an old DOS boot disk and examine the contents of each partition. I'm not sure about the partitions being location dependent. My guess is that at a minimum the Ghost partition is. Don't know if this did anything more than muddy the waters a bit for you.

    For a new drive scenario I'd back up all the partitions with TI, insert the new drive, and restore all the partitions with TI. That should allow you to use Disk Director to do further partition adjustment. I'd leave the Dell restore stuff out of the equation for a new drive unless you just want to reinstall and reupdate everything that happended after you received the machine.

    Joe
    Joe

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    Hey Al,

    This is older information, and I found it while reading a "how to" post to install a Linux Distribution on a Dell notebook - but it could still apply.

    What the Dell Recovery software did, was only erase the "C:" partition, and replace that information from the hidden recovery partition. It did not remove your partition table, or any other partitions. Just a simple wipe and replace of "C:".

    I can't however, find the site I read that on <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>. It was for a WindowsXP installed notebook, about 2 years ago.
    Christopher Baldrey

  4. #4
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    Hey Al - I do not know about Acronis but with Partition Magic I was able to remove the hidden partitions and combine them into one. Doing so did not affect the boot drive or the OS.

    This last Dell I worked on came with XP and I put SP2 on it. We decided to remove the hidden partitions because in no way did we want to take the PC back to out-of-the-box state, back to SP1, lose all critical updates, and have all the superfluous Dell sales pitches, icons, and trial versions of software never used put back on - and, on top of that, have all the personal data overwritten.

    Personally, I hate that recovery method because of how destructive it is. I wish Dell, HP, and the laptop makers that use the same tactics would come up with a reliable "System Restore" method that worked more like XP's System Restore and would allow you to roll back incrementally in time, rather than all the way back. I think the primary intent of Dell's method is to make it easy on Dell tech support.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    Thanks Bill to you AND Chris for your comments. I too dislike the way OEMs are doing their hard drives when you buy a new computer, but I guess we have to live with it. As I said earlier, I don't need the space, but I'm just trying to be prepared for the (possible) day a year from now when I might have to replace a blown hard drive. If that were the case, the two hidden partitions would be of NO VALUE, right? So, what does one "get" when one buys a Dell computer? The attachment shows that I paid an extra $10 bucks for an OS Reinstallation CD, rather than the usual Dell restore CD. I also received a Drivers and Utilities CD and a CD for the SoundBlaster sound card I bought. So, if my drive were to be replaced, where would I start? Like many people, I couldn't care less about all the "junk" that's pre-installed, only what would I do to get a clean install of Windows.

    Since I regularly backup with TI, I would hope to NEVER have to start with a clean install, but one never knows... I'm hesitant to say this but I'm thinking I need to talk to a human at Dell, but I'm also fearful ot the, er, language barrier in such a conversation. I'll have to sleep on it a little longer before I make that phone call...
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  6. #6
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    Have you tried the email support? It's sort of like talking to a computer: they send canned answers until you exhaust their decision tree and force them to really think. Perhaps "hey can I delete this partition" is on their short list of common issues?

  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    You are right that if your HD fried, you would be hose if you had to rely on their fancy Symantec Ghost option. The "re-installation" CD seems like the smart way to go, but it still sounds fishy. If you Google:

    genuine "re-installation"
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: New Dell, Continued

    Dell sells Home XP with a restore disk and ProXP with a Dell Windows disc and a driver/app disc. The only hidden partition on a drive with Pro is a 32mb utility partition. I find the Pro version is better for me. After a very short time and especially after a Service Pack you will be better off with your own image for a restore as the original will be way out of date.

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