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Do we need to Ghost the dell partition?

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Hi All,

When running Ghost 15 on a new Dell Win7 machine, as usually when selecting the C drive Ghost then recommends adding the RECOVERY PARTITION (800 MB on this machine) and says it's required as it contains the boot configuration database.  We added that as we always abide by Ghosts recommendation.  However, this machine also has a small 39 MB Dell partition that Ghost calls "Dell Utility" that Ghost doesn't seem to think it needs. Presumably this is where Dell keeps their tools, Windows reports this partition as being 39 MB with no volume name and no file system.  Ghost at least sees it as "Dell Utility Partition."  Would we need to be including this in our Ghost backup jobs in order to fully recover this computer to a booting state? Normally we would take everything, but in this case Ghost is only saying the RECOVERY PARTITION is linked to the C drive and the other is not necessary.

We're aware that Windows 7 always adds that extra 100 MB recovery partition upon installing.  However, this one is 800 MB.  Presumably because it's a Dell OS factory install and they did it differently so we just want to make sure it's not linked to that Dell Utility partition and that one is not needed in anyway.  

We asked Norton, they said to stick with Ghost's recommendation at the Dell Utility partition would not be needed to boot the machine if the drive died.  They said if anything to back it up separately, but they don't recommend adding it to the C drive backups.  

Thanks!
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Question by:Jsmply
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nobus earned 300 total points
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here is what it is :  http://www.goodells.net/dellutility/

i hope this helps!

you can recreate it from the Dell resource cd - so imo you do not need it
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by:Jsmply
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Thanks Nobus.  Figured that's what it was.  Just wanted to make sure Dell didn't do anything unique that would keep the machine from being bootable if that partition wasn't imaged.

We might just image it ONE time and store the partition somewhere just to have.
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by:Jsmply
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Nobus, the Dell Utility partition should NEVER change, correct?  So imaging it once today and never updating the image should be sufficient if we want to do a full restore 3 years from now (and couple that original dell utility image with newer images of the RECOVERY and C Drive partitions, correct?

Just wanted to verify, thanks.
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by:nobus
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i suppose it's the one used for running Diags, accessed with F11 at boot
i found this too :  http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/

so imo it never changes
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by:Jsmply
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Never changes, and isn't even neccesary to boot, correct?
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by:nobus
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from that document yes
if you want to be sure -  ghost one completely (3 partitions)
then delete the small one, and test
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by:DanCh99
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ok, so we know what it is.
and it's small.
and it's useful.

so why wouldn't you want it as part of your image?  If you're trying to diagnose a memory issue, say, in a few years time and can't easily get to the Dell Diagnostics, won't that be really annoying??
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by:Jsmply
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Agreed. Norton support for whatever reason said not to add it into the regular recurring backups though but image it now and be done with it. Do you agree?
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by:rsoly777
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The Dell partition is only needed if you need to do dell diagnostics. You can do a couple things: You can rebuild your imaging machine from scratch and remove the dell partition ( Diagnostics would then need to performed with a disk. You can do a complete disk image and not worry about the dell partition as it is really small and it will always re-create this partition when a machine is imaged or you can image just the partition you want. For our classroom I do a combination I have a complete image for our base image which includes the whole disk. I have a OS partition ghost when I just want to refresh the OS and I have a partition only image for our D:\Drive which contains a lot of data so I do that one separately also..
Hope this helps
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by:Jsmply
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Thanks.  So rsoly777 just to confirm, if all we need to boot the machine is the OS partition and the RECOVERY partition, correct?  If we just re-imaged those two back on then the OS would boot just fine we just wouldn't have access to the Dell diagnostics, correct?

Also, if we take an image of the Dell partition (which we've done) there is no need to update that over time, correct?  We did a one time image of the Dell partition (to multiple external disks) but the OS partition and the RECOVERY partition will be imaged regularly on scheduled jobs.  

Thanks!
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by:nobus
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(you could even keep the recovery partition too - if it is needed, to be restored)
i don't see why - unless you are very short of space, but then a bigger disk is a better solution
imaging those partitions along won't take much time too..
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by:rsoly777
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That is correct The dell diagnostics partition does not affect the machine starting up. Occasionally Dell will have an updated patch that will update the diagnostics partition but it is up to you if you want to install it. If you do just create a new partition image of the diagnostics partition which should take all of a couple minutes for the capture at most.
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by:Jsmply
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Nobus - We weren't debating imaging it, we were just debating as to if it needs to be imaged on a regular basis.  For whatever reason, Norton support said NOT to include it in the regular backup job of the OS partition (which by default also images RECOVERY partition because it's an active partition linked to OS).  They claim it can cause errors if its added to the same backup job.  Just took them at their word and setup a second job (non-scheduled) and ran a one time image of the Dell utility partition.  The question was, if that partition never gets updated and like rsoly said a patch came down that updated it and they came out of sync (or worst case scenario was lost) would it then cause a problem booting the OS (which apparently does need the RECOVERY partition on Dell builds as it's the active partition).  The other option was to setup a scheduled job to image the Dell partition regularly as well.  
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by:rsoly777
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Just another note is you can delete that partition and just use the dell diagnostics patch to create a USB thumb drive or CD of the diagnostics and just use that for diagnostics.
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by:Jsmply
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You mean via device manager on the live machine?
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by:nobus
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i was not discussing - only offering possible options
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by:rsoly777
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No you would have to delete this partition when you first install. I have never tried deleting it after the fact. You could try it on one machine since you do have a complete ghost of all the machines partitions just make sure you are aware of the correct sizes before you image them back Otherwise I would just leave that partition it is really no big deal to have it on there.
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by:Jsmply
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If its not the active or OS partition, couldn't it be removed at any time?
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by:rsoly777
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I would assume so but can't say for sure as I have never done it
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by:noxcho
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If your Dell partition does not contain Boot folder plus BootMgr file then you can easily delete it. And yes, it does not change ever. I checked the status of this partition for two years and it always was the same. So if you backup it once then it is enough.
But if you delete it you would need to run Startup repair from Windows 7 install DVD to correct BCD record automatically. The fact is that in BCD at the moment your boot partition is second one on HDD (which is normally 100MB MSR partition). If you delete Dell partition then your 100MB partition becomes first partition automatically and BCD must know about this fact.
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by:Jsmply
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Thx
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