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Windows 7: Recovery Partition and Repair Reinstallation

17 Apr 2010   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Recovery Partition and Repair Reinstallation

I would like to do some type of reinstall on my Windows 7 box to clean up the OS a bit (it's been kind of buggy lately). It is a Gateway laptop and it had Windows 7 factory installed, so I immediately made the suggested OS restore disks and what-not.

I also noticed that there is a 12 GB recovery partition with this install, but it says that it is empty. I am thinking of trying the repair install method and was wondering if there will be the option to copy the recovery disks onto the recovery partition, or is that something I should do after the install is complete?

Finally, I have partitioned the hard drive but I am unable to shrink the OS volume to less than about 250GB. I want to keep my personal files, so with the repair install, can I increase the size of the personal partition without erasing it?

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Apr 2010   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. Here are the Gateway instructions to install from the recovery partition.
2. The recovery partition is not empty. It is just "hidden"
3. Shrinking a volume to less than about 50% is not possible with the Windows facilities because they cannot move the MFT that sits in the middle of the partition/disk. With Partition Wizard you could do it. But there are risks involved and you have to first backup everything on the disk/partition.
4. I would burn the recovery DVDs from the recovery partition asap.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2010   #3

Windows 7
 
 

Thanks for the above information. Just one thing about the Recovery Partition volume:

In the Computer Management window where all the drives are displayed, it states the capacity and the amount of free space for each drive. For the Recovery Partition, it says it is 100% free (ie. 11.72GB of 11.72GB is free). What does that mean if the partition is not empty?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Apr 2010   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Some manufacturers make strange settings for the recovery partition. I am not sure how the settings are in your case, but I am pretty sure you have a fully functional recovery partition. Why don't you make the first few steps of the Gateway recovery procedure and see whether anything is happening. You can always cancel before going too far.
On my latest Gateway (6 weeks old), the recovery partition is completely hidden. I can only see it in Disk Management. And there it says also 100% free space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2010   #5

Windows 7
 
 

Fair enough. Thanks for the help, WHS. I appreciate it.

Since I don't have an external drive, it is a little annoying to backup stuff on DVDs or whatever. I was reading the instructions on the Gateway link you posted. How safe, do you think, would be the files in the partition not being used in the install? The link says that it will erase the C: partition. Is there much of a chance of messing with the other partitions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. You must get an external drive. I always say that a PC without at least one external drive is useless - LOL. They are so cheap these days. For $50 to $70 you are in business. Check on this site, they have the best offrings of the day listed.

2. The recovery DVDs from the recovery partition you have to burn to DVDs. You will need 2 e.g. DVD-R's. They will become live disks that you can load from the DVD reader.

3. If you reinstall, you first have to save your own data (e.g. to your new external disk). The reinstallation will wipe the whole C: partition. Other partitions will not be affected.

4. In the future, you should use a seperate data partition.

5. Also, you should aquaint yourself with imaging. If you use it, you never have to reinstall again but pull a prior image in which takes 20 minutes. (but you need an external disk or two).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

Most tech enthusiasts find a clean-copy installer of the OS to install using Product Key on COA stickered to machine.

You can borrow any Windows 7 installer, extract files to desktop, remove ei.cfg file and recompile to burn an all-versions DVD: Bootable ISO - Create from Installation Files

The installer is mostly driver-complete, with newer quickly arriving via Optional Windows Updates. Any missing drivers can then be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your computer or Device, or drivers/apps disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2010   #8

Windows 7
 
 

Interesting... Are you saying that I could get a copy of Windows 7 from someone else and install that using the product key on my computer? And then, I wouldn't have all the junk installations from Gateway. That would be the best I think. If that's true, I just need to find someone else's install disk, right?

I caved and purchased an external drive today (250GB - $70 taxes in - not bad). When I get the new OS up and running, I'll image it. Thanks for the suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

Until recently when they were bought by Acer, Gateway would provide a DVD clean-copy of the OS for this purpose, and a drivers/apps CD. Maybe they will send you one if you request it. Let us know what they say.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2010   #10

Windows 7
 
 

I just got off with Gateway support. They told me that I could purchase a clean installation disk for about $20. When I first opened my computer, I was prompted to burn some recovery DVDs. After I told them that, they said that I can download the drivers from their website and I was given a link to the download site.

So, I have these disks which I was prompted to title:
Windows 7-64 Recovery Disk
Factory Recovery 1, 2 and 3
Drivers and Applications

The first 4 disks are the OS, am I right? And instead of using the last disk, I can just install the drivers that I download from the website.

This discussion is growing larger than I had expected...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Recovery Partition and Repair Reinstallation




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