Last reply by 10-08-2022 Unsolved
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze

unknown partition, what to backup in macrium?

new inspiron 16 5620, clean install, all latest drivers installed manually offline, win 11. Partitioned into system and data drive using windows partition manager.

Was planning to do a macrium reflect (free version) backup image of the OS on the storage partition, but discovered a partition listed after the data drive I didn't recognize and wonder if anyone could clarify what it was- 600+mb, image is attached and highlighted. My assumption is some sort of recovery/chipset/system partition made with one of the drivers I installed or one specific to windows/dell? The other system/microsoft MSR partitions I recognize, along with the data drive partition. macrium unknown partition photo.png

Beyond deciphering what the partition is, is this a partition I should include in my backup?

Thanks to anyone who can clarify this for me, it's much appreciated!

Replies (11)
4 Beryllium

Irrespective of what partitions you have, the safest type of backup image is a full disk image. A full disk image, whereby you select the entire drive rather than individual partitions, will include everything needed for disaster recovery.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Macrium Reflect display of a Dell provisioned 2TB hard drive - every partition is selected for creation of backup disk image...



Hi, thanks for the quick reply- to clarify, suggesting full backup including the storage drive? I can understand imaging the unknown drive since it may contain recovery info, but imaging an entire storage drive partition (of which there is nothing critical nor anything related to the OS and is cloud synced) was not something in the plan. I'm more confused as to why the partitions got structured in this configuration, and whether only selecting the system and unknown partition would cause issue with making a backup image to restore from.


Hi, thanks for the reply- but sorry, the image didn't load, so I dunno if u linked something I should use as reference.


Always select the entire drive. That ensures that everything important is included (e.g. in an MBR drive, it includes that information, which wouldn't be included if only individual partitions are selected). You can always deselect a particular partition if you don't need it to be backed up.

You can also exclude some file types, if desired. For example, for my drive images I exclude my 700 GB of music files, as that would make imaging take too long and make the images very large. The music files are backed up separately and don't need to be included in drive images.

Also, FYI, you seem to use "drive" and "partition" interchangeably. They are not the same, and details matter when discussing imaging, backups and restores. It's best to be clear.


ah, ok, that is more or less what I meant then- I only have one "drive" as u clarified, and multiple partitions. My original question is to the nature of the highlighted partition. And yes, I would deselect the storage partition for backup.

Still, that returns me to my original question - I have no idea what that last 600MB partition is =S So, as of right now, the plan would be to select the entire drive, including the unknown partition, and only deselect the storage partition for backup. I don't know what significance, if any, there is of the unknown partition being listed after the storage partition and whether that would affect the backup image, so I suppose that would be the followup question?

4 Beryllium

Select the entire drive. Deselect only partitions that you don't need in the image, such as large storage areas or certain file types.

The safest type of backup image is a full disk image. A full disk image, whereby you select the entire drive rather than individual partitions, will include everything needed for disaster recovery.

Since you don't know what that partition is, include it. It could be a recovery partition or a few other things. It's so small that it harms nothing to include it, and you might need it sometime for recovery. No, it will not harm the backup image.

5 Rhenium

The unknown partition is the Recovery Tools partition.  Windows does not place that partition on the end of the drive but just behind the C: partition.  So, possibly you did that yourself.

I would suggest you move any relevant data off the partition then delete it and expand the C: partition into that space.

If you want to know why, during an upgrade, the Windows upgrade process can and does, change the size of the Recovery tools partition, if necessary, by shrinking the C: partition to gain the space needed.

I think the answer to the basic question is, Win 10/11 have four critical partitions, the EFI System, MSR, OS and Recovery tools and it needs all four.

XPS 9365, Inspiron 7567 Gaming, Inspiron 7779, XPS One 2720, AW3423DW
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Ah, I figured as much, thanks for further clearing up the initial question. Pardon the noob q followup- I don't imagine I have any relevant info on that partition since it's a clean install, etc, and frankly have no idea why/how it ended up positioned in that way- only used native windows partition tool to make the storage partition. As such, is deleting the the recovery tools partition and expanding the C partition necessary- would windows automatically recreate it? Honestly, I don't even know how to access that partition specifically outside of seeing it listed in macrium =S I'm currently inclined to follow the simpler method of what filbert mentioned above- select the entire drive, deselect the storage partition, and image it. 

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