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VyoamA
Copper

Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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As far as I know the active partition is where the bootloader resides. So I have a few questions:

How does the recovery partition load the Windows?

Couldn't Dell set the Windows partition itself active? If I do it myself what would I not be able to access?

Is this partition created specially by Dell or do I have this option with a non-OEM copy of Windows as well?

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8 Replies

Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Hello VYOAMA

You are correct that the bootloader resides on  the active partition.

Your next question how does it load windows? Instructions in the bootloader tell

where windows is located on the disk and where to load it from. The old DOS directory

is almost gone from the bootloader It uses <GUID> and offset to find things on the drive.

Your next question about Dell setting Windows partition active? Yes and have on some systems

and not on others. Your next question about doing it yourself and what you would not be able

to access? One thing you could not access is recover to Factory. Once the connection between

Recovery partition and windows partition is broken you can't use F8 to recover factory image.

Your next question, Yes Dell setup the partition, but is a Microsoft Windows build and you can

create your Recovery partition, system partition, OS partition and set the up in several ways.

Hope this answer some of your questions and always backup your computer before changing

things.

Tom

VyoamA
Copper

Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Thanks Tom. You cleared a lot of my doubts.

So, it seems to me that the recovery partition has a bootloader of its own which chain-loads Windows.

But I still have a bit of curiosity.

The old DOS directory

is almost gone from the bootloader It uses <GUID> and offset to find things on the drive.

What is the old DOS directory?

VyoamA

 

 

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Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Your welcome!

What I mean, the bootloader doesn't care about drive letters like the old dos file system.

The BCD bootloader is very flexable, my recovery partition doesn't have a drive letter,

but F8 still loads it. The loader can even be setup to load different OS from different

partitions on same drive or even from different drives. When an OS is chosen from loader

menu it gives that drive the letter C.

Hope this is clear.

Tom

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VyoamA
Copper

Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Thanks Tom

That made me understand all of it.

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Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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So would the conclusion of this be that I can tell my C: partition to be marked active and then delete my recovery partition using diskpart.exe? sounds too simple so I am hesitant to try it out. Thanks

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Re: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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If you are using windows 7, make sure you first create a system repair disc and that it will boot. You may have to run the repair about three times to rebuild the bcd boot files on the new active partition. Once that is working, then you can delete the recovery partition.

Tom

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tobymeister
Bronze

RE: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Tom... Not sure if you're still on this forum, but if you are, I have a question related to the answer that you posted here.

I have a Dell XPS-9700 desktop (Manufacture date Dec, 2014).  It was preinstalled with Windows 7 Pro on a mSata Solid State Drive.  The SSD has 3 Dell partitions:  hidden OEM partition (39 MB), Recovery partition (23.7 GB), and OS (C:\) partition (214.7 GB).  The Recovery partition is marked System, Active, Primary, so I guess it contains the bootloader that you mentioned above.

If I reinstall Windows 7 in the same location (C:\ partition), will I break the link between the Recovery partition and Windows, rendering the Recovery partition inoperable with F8?

If the Recovery partition becomes inoperable with a reinstall of Windows 7, is there any way around this?  I'd like to keep a working Recovery partition, if possible.

If it's not possible, do you recommend deleting the Recovery partition?  And if so, should it be done during the Windows 7 reinstall, before, or after?

I made a Dell Rescue Disk (on USB flash drive) and a Dell Factory Backup (on USB flash drive) when I first got the computer.  Will both of those restore the original factory image without needing to access the Recovery partition?  And, will they restore all 3 of the original factory partitions (OEM, Recovery, OS), or do they just restore the Windows (C:\) image?

Thanks in advance for your help.

-Steve

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Philip_Yip
Diamond

RE: Why is Dell Recovery partition marked as the active partition?

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Its best to make the Recovery USB with the latest version of Dell Backup and Recovery which has some fixes/enhancements. Instructions are for Windows 8.1 but similar for Windows 7:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/dell-backup-and-recovery-1-8-1-71/

If you manually clean install Windows 7 the recovery partition will be useless and not function...

You can use the USB media created to restore to the factory image on the same or a new SSD.

Since you want to clean install its best to remove all existing partitions on the drive.

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/cleaning-up-a-drive-format-vs-secure-wipe-ssd-and-hdd/

You can then install Windows 7 over the entire drive...

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/a-clean-install-of-windows-7/wi...

After installation of all Windows 7 Updates via the WSUS Offline Update and the system drivers you may install the latest version of Dell Backup and Recovery which will make a new recovery partition from your clean install:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/downloading-drivers-checking-hardware-ids-and-downloading-...

Note you may install additional software before Dell Backup and Recovery if you want it included in your recovery partition. The more things preinstalled, the larger the recovery partition. I usually just include an updated Windows, an activated version of Microsoft Office and the Dell system drivers. However I have included software for specialist applications (scientific instruments) in our research labs which means I can recovery the PC to a working state where the instrument acquisition software was configured and in a working state.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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