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Windows 7: Removing factory restore image partition - any operational problems?


02 May 2013   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Removing factory restore image partition - any operational problems?

Hi. I've searched and read until I'm cross-eyed and still don't feel I've found a definitive answer to this. For one thing, sometimes the threads are discussing removing the Windows 7 hidden System partition and sometimes the partition containing the OEM's factory restore wim. But, sometimes it seems various responders are referring to one or the other in the same thread. Also, it seems that it may make a difference as to the PC manufacturer.

So, I'm going to try to be specific as to what I'm after. I have Windows 7 Home Premium x64 on a Systemax box. My Disk Management partitions are as follows:
System: System, Active, Primary Partition
ImageBackup (D): Logical Drive
Windows (C): Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition

My questions are:
1) Does anyone see why I should not be able to remove the ImageBackup (D:) partition without causing any problems with Windows 7 normal operation.
2) What potential problem(s) does anyone see with removing that partition.
3) Should I not be able to make a copy of the drive prior to partition removal and, then, restore the partition and drive should I ever need it (which would only be in the event that I was passing the system onto someone else).

Keeping the following in mind:
I always have 2 complete backups of my entire system that can easily be restored.
I would rather shoot myself than restore my system to its original factory settings and redo the years of customization I've done. I would only possibly want to be able to do this in the unlikely event that I would pass the system onto someone else (which is highly unlikely since I use my machines until they suffer a fatal motherboard problem or, if they just won't die, until they're so outdated nobody would want them.)
The reason I want to remove the partition is that it is 10% of the total size that I backup, I want to reduce that time as much as possible and ... it seems silly to me to constantly be copying a partition that I will probably never use.

Obviously, the question I'm most concerned about is whether removing the partition will cause any operational problems. Some threads talked about there being boot information in the partition and not being able to boot once removed. But, I've read that the boot information is in the hidden System partition and, as I said, I'm not sure which partition some of these responders are referring to. Some threads talked about the partition being written with some kind of proprietary encrypted NTFS, protected by the OEM and/or only being able to burn a disc from it one time, etc. Maybe I just don't know enough to know what they're talking about or just don't have that situation with my Systemax PC. That's why I am asking for some further opinions here.

I "unhid" hidden files and unchecked "Hide protected system files" and I see no boot information on the ImageBackup (D:) partition - just the following:
$RECYCLE.BIN folder
System Volume Information folder
autorun.inf (contains label=Image Backup)
factory.wim
readme.mht (which is a warning to not delete this partition because it is necessary to restore the drive back to the original factory image)
settings.fbf (which contains a few defaults for a restore)

I would appreciate any opinions on whether or not I should be able to remove this partition and, just for my own edification, if anyone wants to go to the trouble of explaining any of the comments I have read regarding not being able to boot without this partition, proprietary encyrpted NTFS, only being able to burn one copy of the partition, etc., I'm more than willing to listen and learn. Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 May 2013   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Since it sounds like you have plenty of system images, you can safely remove the recovery partition. I do that all the time when I transfer the OS from the original HDD to an SSD.

If you want to preserve it somehow, make an image of it - not just a copy.

PS: there can be cases when you cannot boot without the recovery partition - e.g. with a Dell system because Dell keeps the bootmgr on the recovery partition. But your bootmgr is on the system partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2013   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

OK. Thank you, whs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2013   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You are welcome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Removing factory restore image partition - any operational problems?




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