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Windows 7: Mystery partitions,

17 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 both 32 and 64
Mystery partitions,

Hello all,

Got a new Dell desktop and when I go into Disk Management, it shows that my C: drive has three partitions. Two are NTSF, and are labeled OS and Recovery, respectively. The other is a small FAT32 unnamed partition. Why are the Recovery and FAT32 partitions there, and why don't they show up as separate drives in My Computer?

Any help understanding this would be much appreciated. I am looking to migrate my windows to an SSD I just installed and am not sure if I need to copy all three of these to the SSD or not.

Thank you!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello Scott and welcome to Seven Forums.

The recovery partition is not named as a drive because it's "hidden". Dell created that partition and it contains all of the data necessary to return your computer to factory specs. In your Start Menu you may see Dell DataSafe or Dell System Restore or some other Dell program that would use that recovery partition.

I'm not sure about the unnamed partition. It would help if you provided your system specs and a screenshot of disk management. At the top of any Forum page click "User CP" and in the left column click "Edit System Spec".

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My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 both 32 and 64

Thank you, marsmimar, for your reply. I really appreciate it. I will update my system profile and get a screen shot and see if that illuminates things.

Do you happen to know if I need to carry over the Recovery partition to the new SSD drive along with the OS? Do they have to be on the same drive?

Thanks, again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Oct 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Traditionally, a recovery partition needs to be on the C: drive because that's where the recovery software expects it to be. If it's moved to another drive (which will have to have a different assigned letter) the recovery process probably won't work.

One of the drawbacks with a recovery partition and the recovery software is if it has to be used, everything that had been installed on the hard drive (other programs, files, folders, etc) will be erased. Also, any bloatware, trial programs, installed by Dell will be back on the machine. To get around this many people use system imaging instead. An image is like a snapshot of the hard drive. Everything is copied to the image; the operating system and all personalizations, all files, folders, documents, photos, music, etc. The image can restore the computer to the exact condition it was in at the time the image was made. Unlike the recovery partition which restores the machine to the way it was when it left the factory. It saves hours, if not days, of reconfiguring the computer.

There are also programs available that can migrate an existing hard drive to an SSD, even if the SSD is smaller than the original HDD. One of the highly rated programs is from Paragon. It costs $20 but pays for itself in one use considering how much time would be involved in moving data from a HDD to a SSD the old fashioned way. Not to mention the added time to set everything up.

Paragon Migrate OS to SSD - System migration to Solid State Drives (SSD) - Overview

You could set up your machine on the HDD and make a system image which would include the recovery partition, operating system, all additional programs, etc. Migrate to the SSD, eliminate the recovery partition, set up the SSD with your personalized settings, and then image the SSD. If you ever need to go back to the HDD you've got it's image. If, for example, the SSD becomes infected with malware you could use the SSD image and be back up and running in about 30 minutes or so.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Mystery partitions,

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