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Multiple restore partitions on Windows 8. Why?

Posted on 2013-12-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-25

this is my situation my Windows partition C:\ is running out of space so I decided to allocate some unused disk-space I have on the same hard-drive (see image). I wasn't able to do this because between my C:\ partition and the unused space is a system-restore partition (see image). The system will only expand my c:\ partition if there is nothing in-between. Can anyone please explain why there are multiple system-restore partitions on the same disk? When I right-click on the systemrestore partition that is in the middle I only get a HELP option on the context menu. No possibility to delete, move, etcc..

I would like to understand the situation and then be able to extend drive c:\ so I do not run out of space. (I only have 3% left).

I would also appreciate if anyone could recommend me a (free) app to see what files / programs are taking up so much space on drive C:\  (which is 155GB!). Something similar to TreeFile.
Question by:Sven Baehr
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Eaddy Barnes
ID: 39718158
Hi mkieczka,

I have a few things that you could check out to rule a few things out of the way..
1. System restore, disable it and see if your able to delete this drives.

2. Did you check to see if you have a virus on the system thats replicating files in different places?

3. It could be temporary files that aren't being deleted for whatever reason

4. You could try the program TreeSize to check file sizes on the system.

5. Did you check to see if you have any p2p (torrent program) downloading files in the background?

Check these out and write back when you're done..
LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39718163
I have 2 small partitions at the beginning of the disk and a small one at the end with C: in the middle. My C: drive is 465Gb.

I do not know why you have multiple recovery partitions unless (a) you tried additional installs and/or (b) you have a Windows Backup Program (Vendor or otherwise) running.

For Drive C: I suggest you get a trial copy of TreeSize Professional (Jam Software) as it will tell you precisely where your space is going. You either are running backups (even if you are unaware) or have set a very large system restore size.  You can check the latter in computer properties, advanced section.

.... Thinkpads_User

Author Comment

by:Sven Baehr
ID: 39718173
Hello Thinkpads_User,

thank you very much for your kind reply. Regarding to point (A) I did not try additional installs. It still is on the default factory install. And regarding to point (B), no I do not have backup software from vendors. The only backup-software that I am aware of , is the native System Restore from Microsoft (which already seems to be using multiple partitions as you can see).

I should have mentioned earlier that I already expanded my C:\ drive a few months ago. Same reason, I was running out of space on drive c:\ . Back then I had no problems, it was extremely easy as I only had to expand C:\ to my current 155GB.

TreeFile was available at the Windows AppStore for free. I have it running right now. I rather delete stuff than keep expanding my drive.

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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39718176
Check the size of System Volume Information (used for System Restore). That may be very large.

Also run Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) to remove old temp files.

.... Thinkpads_User
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 39718656
What is the model of your machine? Is this laptop or standard PC?
The recovery partition could be put there by vendor of your machine to hold the recovery software in it. As you are using GPT for at drive they could not put it in front of C or at the beginning of the disk. Thus it is located after C drive. And as this partition has protection you cannot do anything with it via Windows.
Such tools like Paragon Partition Manager or Hard Disk Manager should be able to resize it or even delete if you do not need this factory reset options.
Personally I would get a decent backup software (not from MS) and ake a backup of the system. Then delete this protected partition and reallocate the space as want. And if needed I can always restore from backup.

Author Comment

by:Sven Baehr
ID: 39719514
Hello everybody,

I want to start by thanking everybody for their time, interest and effort to help me.

So here is what I did so far:

1) Deactivated System Restore and deleted all restore points (I did this from Windows 8 UI, I did not manually delete any restore partitions).

Result: Nothing really happened, same partitions were present. Weird, isn't it? I'd expect at least ONE partition to disappear after disabling System Restore.

2)  I used CCleaner and cleanmgr.exe to remove temp files and crap that generally uses a lot of diskspace.

Result: The mentioned partitions were not affected by this but I recovered some diskspace.

3) I used TreeFile to see which programs and folders take up valuable diskspace.

Result: I noticed that iTunes used about 45 GB and a new proggy called BitCoin bloated up to 15 GB. I moved iTunes Media to an external HDD and deleted BitCoin. I no longer am in a critical diskspace situation but I still wonder what those systemrestore partitions are about.

@Noxcho: My computer is a Laptop. Brand ASUS, Model: R.O.G. G75VX . I am sure the laptop has a factory restore partition but I would have guessed it is before C:\ or at the very end of the disk. Reason for this is that I already was in a similar situation a few months ago (critical disk space) . All I did back then was expanding C:\  using the MS built-in partition manager, (meaning that I had no "odd restore partition" right after C:\). I did it in a breeze and left some unused diskspace so I can do the same thing again.... only this time I find a 300 MB restore partition between C:\ and the unused diskspace from last time.

I am considering purchasing Paragon Hard Disk Manager 14 Suite to make a backup of all partitions and then try to resize C:\.

It is important to me not to compromise the factory partition since I do not have factory CDs/DVDs. (Even though I must say Windows 8 is a bad joke!! Many times I though about rolling back to W7 but I don't have the license).  

How can I differentiate Windows System-Restore partitions from Factory Restore Partitions? I would like to delete all partitions except for C:\ and the factory restore partition (unless I can have the restore DVDs shipped to me). Any recommendations?

Kind regards and again, Thanks !

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39719918
Hi hex,
Windows does not create system restore partitions. It creates Reserved Partitions called MSR - Microsoft Reserved Parititions amd all restore points are saved in System Information folder on partition. This folder is normally hidden. If you use Windows Backp feature then it creates backp in VHD format on selected drive and partition. So your case is definitely Asus created partition.
As I said already the fact that you use UEFI makes it impossible to put the restore partition (contains only recovery software) before the C: parititon. That's why it came right after system drive.
Frankly speaking I don't understand why it was not there before when you tried to increase the C drive. Maybe you activated Asus restore since then and it was created?!?!.
Anyway, once you have HDM14 Suite you can create backup of your system and delete this restore partition cause you do not need it.
Or take one backup, then reset the system to original state (asus) and take again backup with Paragon. Then you habe the factory backup as well. After that restore from first backup and perform delete/resize as you orignially wanted.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39719919
Ah yes, factory restore partitions are simply FAT or NTFS partitions with special partition ID. HDM can show you the ID of partition or even let browse them with Volume Explorer.
LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39719937
I think it is a wise thing to get Recovery DVD's when new. I do that so I can rebuild a hard drive if necessary. I think the first two and the last partitions are the ones made by the Vendor and Windows 8. I do not know where the others came from unless your Vendor does something different than mine (which is a distinct possibility).

Even though I must say Windows 8 is a bad joke!! Many times I though about rolling back to W7

I went to Windows 8.1 and set it so it starts on the desktop. I have everything on the Desktop and now have my computer working just like Windows 7.

.... Thinkpads_User

Author Comment

by:Sven Baehr
ID: 39738438
Hello experts,

sorry to keep you waiting for almost 10 days. I was waiting for Paragon's X-Mas special on Partition Hard Disk Manager 14 Suite. As a Student I live on a tight budget and the 20$ discount makes a big difference to me!

Anyway I was able to do what I wanted to do in the first place, resize (expand) Windows partition C:\   using the unallocated space on the same disk.

Strange thing though: I couldn't resize using Paragon. I had to delete the partition (only possible with paragon) and then expand C:\ [u]with windows 8 disk manager[/u] (Paragon was not able to do this!) ...intriguing!

I was NOT able to find out why this mysterious partition was created right in the middle of the disk!
I left the partition previous to C:\ untouched. I also left the partition at the end of the disk untouched.

I also wasn't able find out what was inside of that partition. I hope I will not miss it!  Does anyone know of a vendor or software that will locate a partition in the middle of the disk? (or right after C:\)
I noticed I had a Virtual Machine (VM Virtual Box) with Tails OS installed on my system. Do you think this could be it? I deleted Tails OS from the VM and the partition was still on the disk. I haven't uninstalled VM though.

I guess my problem is solved!, the mystery is unresolved!

I really appreciate all of your help, effort and time!

Marry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten!!
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39739077
As long as you have Hard Disk Manager with its backup feature you do not need this partition at all. As I wrote already this partition is a service partition which has only purpose - to boot the recovery environment for vendor backup tool. It is normally created at the start of the HDD but in case of GPT it cannot be at the start. That was your case.
With HDM you could see what was in partition - in the main interface there js Volume Explorer or File Transfer Wizard - both of them are able to browse these protected or even unknown partition.
Anyhow you have done good work!

Frohe Weinachten!

Author Comment

by:Sven Baehr
ID: 39739321
Hello Noxcho,

thank you very much, I think you have resolved the partition mystery too! I wish I would have read your previous post with closer attention and looked into the partition with the HDM tool.

Dankeschön und Grüße,


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