Dell hard drive partitions

Posted on 2008-02-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I would like to upgrade to a larger hard drive.  I am planning on using DriveImage XML to copy my current  partition to the new drive.  My problem is that Dell put 2 extra partitions on the physical drive.  One is 32 MB and the other is 3.62 GB (neither are assigned a drive letter).  If I copy JUST the C: partition to the new drive, will the drive boot properly or are the other partitions required?
Question by:ericcoz
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 20837074
I dont think that can boot properly if you just clone the C. You should copy disk to disk. Those partitions are hidden partitions.

Accepted Solution

computrex earned 172 total points
ID: 20837077
The 32 MB Partition is dells maintenance partition and contains utilities.  You don't have to copy it.  But it is nice to have.  Besides it only being 32 mb. This partition is not necessary for boot.
The 3.62 - This may have been created by dell, but it certainly is not necessary for boot.
LVL 21

Assisted Solution

briancassin earned 164 total points
ID: 20837082
I believe the 3.62GB partion is probably your restore partition meaning if your computer needs to be reinstalled you have an option to go to that restore partition and restore your system.  You probably do not want to lose that unless you have your windows cd's and all your programs and drivers on CD to reinstall.
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Expert Comment

ID: 20837093
Further I would suggest you COPY the partition to the new drive and then expand it to the full size.  The image may not give you a bootable partition.
My shop does these on dells quite a bit.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:Gary Case
Gary Case earned 164 total points
ID: 20837335
If you image the C: partition and then restore just that partition it will work just fine EXCEPT you'll have to modify the BOOT.INI file to "point" to the first partition.

If you look at your current BOOT.INI [The easiest way to see it is right-click on My Computer; select Properties; click the Advanced tab; click on Settings in the Startup and Recovery section; then click on Edit]  you'll see a section that looks like this:

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS= ...

The "partition(1)" is probably different on your Dell ... most likely it's got a 2 instead of the 1.   This causes the system to boot from the 2nd partition ... since there's a small extra partition in front of it.   All you need to do is change this to a 1 ==> the problem is if you change it to a 1 on the new system.

The process to do that is pretty simple:  Restore the image;  then boot to a bootable CD that will let you access the drive and modify BOOT.INI.   That can be a Bart's PE, Knoppix, or the simple EDITBINI program available free from Terabyte Systems.

The 3.62GB partition is indeed Dell's recovery partition => but rather than keep that, it's a much better idea to simply image your system after it's nicely configured ... and save that image.   If you ever need to "reload" then you just restore that image and all updates; all your programs; etc. will already be loaded and updated.   If you restore to Dell's recovery partition the system is just like when it came from the factory -- VERY out-of-date; none of your programs loaded;  menus and icons not like you prefer them; etc.   If you DO want to restore to that state (to get a nice "clean" system), do it now ... then do all the updates; load your programs; etc. => and then make an image that you keep for any future restore needs.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 20837352
You could also take it one step further make a restore patition of your own about say 10GB give or take depending on preferences and so forth,  then image as how garycase mentioned get rid of all the crudware that dell preinstalls update everything configure how you want it then make an image of it and put that over to the other partition you can then make that your own personal restore partition.

a list of utilities that can do this are here
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 20932383
It must boot. As far as I know Dell locates service directory in 32MB partition and keeps backups in 3.2GB partition from which it can roll back when needed.
Use Drive Copy 8.5 tool for this purpose.

Expert Comment

ID: 21135743
Forced accept.

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