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Windows 7: HDD has 3 partions

12 Apr 2011   #1
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
HDD has 3 partions

Hi,

I recently purchased a Toshiba R700 notebook. It came with a i3 32 bit windows 7 pro OS installed. I installed the 64 bit OS a few days later (both were available with this notebook.

I was looking at my HDD and noticed it was partitioned into 3 parts. A 1.46GB recovery partition, 453.22 GB of boot, page file, etc. and 11.8GB Primary Partition.

Can anyone explain why I need 3 partitions? It has me confused..

Thanks in advance for your support.

Don




Attached Thumbnails
-capture.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #2
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Hi,

I recently purchased a Toshiba R700 notebook. It came with a i3 32 bit windows 7 pro OS installed. I installed the 64 bit OS a few days later (both were available with this notebook.

I was looking at my HDD and noticed it was partitioned into 3 parts. A 1.46GB recovery partition, 453.22 GB of boot, page file, etc. and 11.8GB Primary Partition.

Can anyone explain why I need 3 partitions? It has me confused..
The 1.46GB recovery partition is probably from Toshiba, and would allow you to recover your main large Win7 partition (using the recovery disks you should also have been given or created), to restore it back to "factory" in the event of disaster.

The 453GB partition is obviously your C-partition.

The 11.8GB partition is unknown just yet, but it might be the "system reserved" partition. However it's very large for that purpose, if that's what it is. Are you sure it's that large? Not quite small, i.e. only 100MB?

Anyway, can you post a screenshot of a fullscreen out of DISKMGMT.MSC, with columns and separators spread a bit so that we can see what all the partitions on your disk look like.

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

The 11 gig partition could also be a "Toshiba Tools" type of thing that you may or may not need to keep around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #4
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Screen shot posted

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Hi,

I recently purchased a Toshiba R700 notebook. It came with a i3 32 bit windows 7 pro OS installed. I installed the 64 bit OS a few days later (both were available with this notebook.

I was looking at my HDD and noticed it was partitioned into 3 parts. A 1.46GB recovery partition, 453.22 GB of boot, page file, etc. and 11.8GB Primary Partition.

Can anyone explain why I need 3 partitions? It has me confused..
The 1.46GB recovery partition is probably from Toshiba, and would allow you to recover your main large Win7 partition (using the recovery disks you should also have been given or created), to restore it back to "factory" in the event of disaster.

The 453GB partition is obviously your C-partition.

The 11.8GB partition is unknown just yet, but it might be the "system reserved" partition. However it's very large for that purpose, if that's what it is. Are you sure it's that large? Not quite small, i.e. only 100MB?

Anyway, can you post a screenshot of a fullscreen out of DISKMGMT.MSC, with columns and separators spread a bit so that we can see what all the partitions on your disk look like.

Thanks.
Screen shot posted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2011   #5
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Screen shot posted.
Thanks.

That 11GB partition is definitely not the "system reserved" partition. It's not marked "active", so it is not "booted to by the BIOS". It may actually be the recovery partition from Toshiba, since it's pretty sizable.

In a 1-OS strictly Win7 environment installed-from-scratch on a brand new empty hard drive, the "system reserved" partition is typically allocated at small 100MB size by the Win7 installer And this is where the Win7 boot loader files are normally placed, and this partition is marked as "active".

So actually, it looks like that 1.46GB partition could be for that "Win7 boot loader" purpose, as it is shown as the "active" partition, meaning that's where the BIOS goes when the machine boots. It's larger than normal, but it is the "active" partition... and that means that's where the Win7 boot loader files must be located. Definitely not the Toshiba recovery partition.

I'd suggest you download and install Paritition Wizard (free) Home Edition v5.2 along with its standalone boot CD which you can burn by downloading this ISO file. The program itself runs under Win7, so you can see drive letters. The standalone boot CD is for emergencies, disaster/recovery, and for partition-related operations that cannot be performed while the Win7 operating system is active but must be run while standalone booted.

Anyway, if you run the program while booted to Win7, and select that 1.6GB partition (even though it has no drive letter), on the left side of the PW interface there is a major category called "Operations", and in that group is a function named "Explore Partition". If you select it, you will get a popup window showing you the contents of that partition.

For example, on my 100MB "system reserved" partition the presentation shown by using PW's "Explore Partition" looks as follows:



You can then select your other 11GB "healthy primary" partition and then "Explore Partition", to see what its contents are. I suspect this may be the Toshiba recovery partition, but exploring it with PW should let you know for sure.

Note that the BIOS boots to that 1.6GB partition because it is marked as the "active" partition on the drive, where the Win7 boot loader files are located. Then the boot loader program from that partition actually examines its "boot menu" and because you only have one [default] OS on that menu, boots directly over to the large partition in which Win7 itself lives (because you only have 1 bootable OS defined, namely Win7).

Had you had multiple bootable OS's (in multiple bootable partitions on that drive) the Win7 boot manager would instead have presented a menu to you, allowing you to select which OS on that list you actually wanted to boot to.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #6
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
HDD Partitions

Thanks dsperber. I just saved a mirror image so now I'll try your recommendation. I used paragon backup and restore program. I wonder if it has any tools to see files in each partition?? It does show that the small partition used 9gb and 2gb free.

Don
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #7
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Image

Interesting....

Name:  Capture2.PNG
Views: 43
Size:  90.1 KB


My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #8
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
HDD

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Interesting....

Attachment 148968
I now know what this is. I created 4 CDs using window media. It allows me to boot up either the 32 or 64 system.

Thanks for all your help my friend...

Don
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2011   #9
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by donaldadkins View Post
Interesting....

Attachment 148968
I now know what this is. I created 4 CDs using window media. It allows me to boot up either the 32 or 64 system.
I don't understand how/what this partition got to be 1.6GB... instead of the usual 100MB of a "system reserved" partition (which normally only contains the Win7 boot manager files in a 1-OS enviroment).

Also, what is in that other 11GB partition?

Also, you can use Partition Wizard to reconfigure the large C-partition if you want, for example into a C and D. You could shrink the partition down to maybe 60GB (or whatever size might seem appropriate, depending on what you plan to store in your \Users documents and Appdata).

Then, you could allocate a new partition D to the remaining newly available freespace, for say "data". It's not a second physical drive, but it is a second partition, which makes a subsequent re-install of Win7 a bit less intrusive in terms of concern for preserving user data.


Note that a standard "basic" hard drive is limited to FOUR PRIMARY PARTITIONS. You've already got THREE PRIMARY PARTITIONS, so shrinking C and creating a new partition from the freespace would be hitting that physical maximum of FOUR PRIMARY PARTITIONS... if you actually went ahead and allocated that newly available freespace into just ONE NEW PRIMARY PARTITION. That's it... now four.

But, if instead you allocated the new D partition in that freespace as a "LOGICAL" partition instead of a "PRIMARY" partition, that implies that you want the freespace to be constructed as what's called an "extended partition", which is a "primary" type of partition but which can support any number of "logical" partitions inside of it.

So you would end up having the 1.6GB primary partition, say a 60GB primary partition as C, an "extended partition (primary type) of several hundred GB, and then a fourth primary partition of 11GB (whatever's in there, probably Toshiba stuff).

Inside of that "extended partition" you would have your D partition (of "logical" type, not primary, but it makes no real difference to you). Or, you could allocate ANY NUMBER of "logical" partitions inside of that one "extended partition" (D, E, F, etc.) if you wanted to further subdivide your "user data".

Other than the "active" (i.e. bootable) primary partition, and the standard Win7 partition built by the Win7 installer on a new empty drive which also ends up being a primary partition, there really is no other need or requirement for "primary" partition types. Given that these are limited to a maximum of FOUR per hard drive, you can understand why this has to be a consideration.

In contrast, you really do NOT ever have to allocate new partitions as "primary". They can be allocated as "logical", and thus always be carved out of the "extended partition", and never be limited in number.

So, if you were to add a second hard drive you would NOT have to allocate ANY primary partition(s) on that new drive. You could just allocate "logical" partitions, and be unlimited in number on that drive. The first "logical" partition" you allocate causes the creation of the "extended partition" (i.e. that one true "primary" partition on the drive". After that, any additional "logical" partitions you allocate (and again, the fact that they are "logical" vs. "primary" is transparent to you) would be carved out of that one "extended partition".

This is all handled automatically by tools such as Partition Wizard, or Win7's DISKMGMT.MSC. If you did, for some reason, want to allocate another "primary" partition on that drive which was currently all allocated to that "extended partition" (which contains your "logical" partitions inside of it), you'd first have to shrink the partition at the high end of the currently allocated space, which really is thus reducing the size of the "extended partition" that contains all of the "logical" partitions inside of it, and then allocate the new "primary" partition in this new freespace at the upper-end of the drive.

Again, this would all be done automatically for you by Partition Wizard. You just indicate whether you want "logical" or "primary", and the program figures out (a) whether it's immediately possible, or (b) whether it's not possible right now but rather that you have to do some reconfiguration first.


Anyway, Partition Wizard is an excellent utility (including its standalone boot-CD which is used for more significant partition reconfigurations that cannot be done while Win7 is running).

My own suggestion is that unless you absolutely require a "primary" partition for some specific reason, there's no reason why you shouldn't allocate all new partitions (on the primary or additional secondary hard drives) as "logical". This provides maximum flexibility in sizing and eliminates all limits on the number of partitions you can place on a given drive.


Glad you finally figured out what's on your hard drive in these three partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2011   #10
donaldadkins

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Thank You

Thank you dsperber. I've learned a ton. I never really understood partitions until now.

I admire your knowledge,
Don
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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