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Windows 7: Main drive partition reading as "System Reserved" partition

03 Feb 2012   #1
HunterjWizzard

 
 
Main drive partition reading as "System Reserved" partition

Hey there, not sure where to put this but here goes:

I had a friend bring me a laptop to fix, it had a nasty collection of viruses. So I took the hard drive out and plugged it in to anoter machine running XP to do a virus scan using Symantec Endpoint Protection. I didn't have a USB adapter handy so I just opened the case and installed it as a secondary drive. Scan was going well and finding plenty, but after 3 hours I needed to take the drive home to continue working on it, so I canceled the scan, shut down the PC, took the drive out, and went home.

At home where I did have a USB adapter I plugged it in and discovered that the system was now reading the drives inocorrectly. In My Womputer the main partition shows up as the 100mb System Reserved partition, while in Computer Management it shows up as a 280gb partition. In My Computer I see all the files one expects to see on the System Reserved partition and none of the operating system or user files.

So today I tried putting the drive back into the laptop and windows will not boot. Took it back out and tried it directly installed in a machine as a secondary drive, same as before, and get the same problem: can't access the main partition and can't see the little system reserved partition in the partition manager.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you in advance and I apolopgise if this turns out to be a dumb question.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Feb 2012   #2
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

The partition on that drive in which the boot manager files live must be set as "active", in order for the BIOS of your machine to go there to start the boot process. And it also must be of type "primary" in order for it to be set "active". If the partition in which the boot manager files you've mentioned live is currently not set as "active", then that would explain why you can't boot to that drive.

And of course, that hard drive must be listed as the first hard drive in the boot sequence of the BIOS setup, so that the "active" partition on that drive (which is supposed to contain the boot manager files) can be used to kick off the boot process.

This "active" partition is typically that 100MB "system reserved", with the real Win7 system partition itself being a second and much larger partition.

But there's nothing to prevent both (a) boot manager and (b) Win7 system from residing in the same physical partition, as long as (a) it's a "primary" partition and not "logical", and (b) is set as "active", and (c) the hard drive on which it lives is the 1st hard drive listed in the boot sequence for the BIOS.

Anyway, what is the nature of the two partitions you're looking at... i.e. the one with the boot manager files and the other with the Win7 system files?

Screenshot possible? You can also use Partition Wizard to examine the hard drive and modify the "active" vs. "inactive" status of the partitions if necessary.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #3
HunterjWizzard

 
 

Well this is where it gets weird. The drive is showing 2 partitions, the System Reserved partition and a "recovery" partition(which I swear I deleted a year ago when I put 7 on there instead of vista). In My Computer the first drive shows up as System Reserved, clicking on properties shows it as 100mb and exploring it reveals the standard files one would expect.

Its only in partition manager that the main partition is visible. The 100mb System Reserved partition DOES NOT appear under partition manager, and there it shows as 280gb(as opposed to the 100 seen in My Computer)

I
ll try and come back with a screenshot in a minute. This is a really weird problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Feb 2012   #4
HunterjWizzard

 
 




As you can see, the problem is with Disk 3 and the I:\ drive. In My Computer it reads as 100mb and in partition manager its considerably different.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #5
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HunterjWizzard View Post

As you can see, the problem is with Disk 3 and the I:\ drive. In My Computer it reads as 100mb and in partition manager its considerably different.
Well unfortunately, we can't see what we want to see. You've unwittingly blocked the important things we'd like to see with the My Computer overlay.

But I do see that DISKMGMT's numbers don't correspond to what Explorer shows.

What's important is what DISKMGMT.MSC shows, not My Computer.

Can you recreate that screenshot showing just the DISKMGMT.MSC output. Please make it full-screen, with the columns spread so that all the text in each cell if visible to us.

Also, can you post a screenshot from Windows Explorer (or equivalent) showing the contents of the two partitions I and J?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #6
HunterjWizzard

 
 



There ya go, hope thats a little more helpful. Basically, as far as my understanding, Disk 3 should have 3 partitions on it instead of two. Also that partiton should have a lot more on it, according to the user he had about 80 gigs free beforehand.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #7
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

What shows as F, with no file system on it... is that a Linux partition or what? It's "active", so I'm assuming that's what your BIOS is booting to. So what's on it???

Also, I edited my post after you saw it, but if would be very helpful if you could post a screenshot of your I and J partitions as presented by Windows Explorer (or Free commander, or whatever).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #8
HunterjWizzard

 
 

Drive F is a seperate unrelated drive I am presently doing data recovery on for ANOTHER person right now, it has nothing to do with this problem.

What do you mean by a screenshot of I and J in Windows Explorer? Like open the drives and look at their contents? I'll post anything if it'll help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #9
HunterjWizzard

 
 



I had to show hidden files to get it to display anything at all. This is really bizare, its like its reverterted to factory defaults somehow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #10
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HunterjWizzard View Post
Drive F is a seperate unrelated drive I am presently doing data recovery on for ANOTHER person right now, it has nothing to do with this problem.
Well I'm puzzled. The F partition shows as "active", and yet there's no file system on it. But that's where the BIOS should be going at boot time, to find some kind of boot manager files, assuming that drive is listed first in the boot sequence of your machine's BIOS.

Your C-partition shows as the Win7 "system" partition, but it's not "active". So the BIOS would not go to that drive and discover the partition to boot through, at boot time.

So, what is the hard drive shown in the BIOS boot sequence of your machine? Which of your drives is in that list first? That's where there should also be an "active" partition. But your C-partition is not shown as active.

So I'm confused as to how your machine boots.


Quote:
What do you mean by a screenshot of I and J in Windows Explorer? Like open the drives and look at their contents? I'll post anything if it'll help.
Yes, that's what I mean.

I just want to see the contents of what is currently that large partition labeled "system reserved" (although the label is irrelevant). And also of that other "recovery" partition which you said you deleted some time back.

Just open each drive, set the "view" to "details" (or even "list" would work) and take a screenshot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Main drive partition reading as "System Reserved" partition




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