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u2surfer
1 Nickel

Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

I have a few new servers that I have installed 2012 R2 on from my MSDN iso, and after configuring everything and trying to run the Windows Backup it fails because the small Dell recovery partition is Fat32 and not NTFS.

Any good reason at all to keep that partition around if I back good backups available, especially if its presence prevents standard backups?

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14 Replies
theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

In the future know that this partition will be created whenever you use Dell deployment tools (USC/LCC, SBUU/SMTD).  Using only the Windows DVD, a partition will still be created there, but it should be NTFS as well.

At this point, if you delete it, you probably won't be able to boot Windows until you run a Startup Repair, as the boot files will probably be stored there by default.  You also will not be able to use BitLocker without that partition (or without creating a new one for it).

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u2surfer
1 Nickel

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

So it sounds like I will need to probably delete it then, and then run the Startup Repair.  I am not using BitLocker, so that's not of much concern for me.


Will startup repair just create another small partition like it, or will it put the boot files on my primary OS partition? 

I did essentially use a Windows DVD since I just used an iso to install, so I am not sure why it created it as a FAT32.

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u2surfer
1 Nickel

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

Also, in Disk Management it shows my other main partition with the Boot classification, the FAT32 partition just shows System, Active, Primary. 

Does that mean that it might not have the boot files on it?

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theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

Will startup repair just create another small partition like it, or will it put the boot files on my primary OS partition? 

Yes, it will put them on the next available partition.

I did essentially use a Windows DVD since I just used an iso to install, so I am not sure why it created it as a FAT32.

You didn't use a SBUU/SMTD DVD or the server's hardware-built-in OS installation feature?  If you didn't use a Dell deployment tool or installation disc, a generic/retail (including MSDN) should not create a partition with a "Dell" label, nor should it create a FAT32 partition. 

This is from a recent install of 2012R2 on a PE R200:

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u2surfer
1 Nickel

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

Yes, it was the generic iso directly from MSDN, so that's why I am surprised by it.  The partition doesn't have the Dell name, but it is still an extra partition the setup created without me configuring it. This is what mine looks like.

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theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

Your setup "looks" to me like something that would come from the factory or using Dell's utilities for the install.  The small 32MB partition is typically the Dell-installed pre-boot diagnostics (also labeled as "OEM", which you would never get from MSDN media).  I've never noticed whether Dell sends out systems with FAT32 WinRE partitions - I always do my own installs, which is why I can tell you that 2012+ uses a 350MB System Reserved partion (2008 uses a 100MB System Reserved partition, and Dell media leaves a partition labeled OEM Reserved) and there are no other partitions created (besides the OS partition, obviously Smiley Happy).  Your 2GB partition is also named "OS", which is not standard by either Dell or Microsoft standards.

You installed by booting directly from a vanilla MSDN ISO of Server 2012 - no customizations, answerfiles, etc.?  No Dell install tools or discs?  Are you sure you deleted all the existing partitions before beginning the install?  Did you create partitions manually before installing, or did you simply let Windows have its way with a single chunk of Unpartitioned Space?

It sounds an awful lot like a Dell installation utility was used or the partitions weren't deleted before installing.

What system is this?

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u2surfer
1 Nickel

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

This one is a R415, but the rest are R715 and look the same.  I think it's possible that I didn't delete the existing partitions that Dell shipped, and I didn't do any customizations at all, like you said just let Setup have its way.  Setup may have used Dell's that I didn't wipe out as the usual system reserve.

When I put a drive letter to it so I could view what's on it, it does contain the boot files and boot folder, and nothing else.

I guess I will try removing it and then run startup repair on one of them and if it goes ok then repeat the process with the others.  Just wish I would have realized it sooner before I did most of the config on them in case I have any issues booting.

Thanks to all that responded.

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erporter
1 Copper

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

I have a Dell R620 and am running into the exact same issue. I was wondering if it might be possible to simply convert the FAT32 OS partition to NTFS using the following method:

1) Assign drive letter to OS partition

2) Open elevated command prompt

3) Use "convert" to convert to NTFS e.g. 'convert G: /FS:NTFS'

I did do a simulation where I created a FAT32 on a separate drive, created some files on it and then used the convert tool. It was successful and the files persisted. But I'm nervous about doing this with the OS partition.

Has anyone done this?

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erporter
1 Copper

RE: Dell's extra OS partition - any reason to keep it?

Anyone?

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