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Windows 7: Mystery 3MB Partition still showing after full disk wipe

11 Nov 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Mystery 3MB Partition still showing after full disk wipe

Hi all,

I used Killdisk from LSoft to erase my harddrive and everything seemed to work fine. Then I opened Active@ Partition Manager and it's showing a 3MB partition labelled X:BOOT. This partition doesn't show in Killdisk, just in Partition Manager, and Partition Manager can't delete it without giving an error. Does anyone know what this might be?

Googling hasn't turned up much, but could it be related to the virus problem these people were having:

Partition Virus/Non-system Drive Virus
Kaspersky Lab Forum > Alureon.E

The partition doesn't show up in Parted Magic either. I'll attach a screenshot from Active@ Partition Manager.

Please help

Attached Thumbnails
Mystery 3MB Partition still showing after full disk wipe-mysterypartition.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2013   #2
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I ran into that bugaboo on a HDD I salvaged from my old XP machine that had the OS installed on it. I tried everything I could think of and actually managed to reduce it 9MB but it wouldn't completely go away until I tried formatting it, then deleting it or merging it with the rest of the HDD (I don't remember which now).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Hi Lady Fitz, thanks for the reply. This partition has resisted all attempts to delete it, or modify it in any way. I was running Windows 7 on the drive before I wiped it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Nov 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Download Windows Executable ver 4.30 (works without installation) from

Try to low level format the full disk with it. ( Be careful to select the correct drive.)

Once low level format is completed - which you can monitor in the progress bar - format it with Windows 7.

Let us see whether it helps to get rid of the 3MB partition.

(If you have a Seagate or Western Digital HDD, zeroing it with the manufacturer's diagnostic/repair tool/utility will be a better option.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2013   #5

7 Pro x64, 10 Pro x64

does it show up in diskpart in windows?
EDIT: im surprised it does not appear in gparted in parted magic.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2013   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Keep in mind: Windows, and some other OS, use and need a small unallocated portion of a hard drive before and sometimes after the main volume. These are usually 2 to 6 MB in size.
However these small sections are supposed to be invisible and definitely should not have a drive letter assigned, so I would remain suspicious that it could be something else.

If you use DISKPART with the "Clean All" command it will (should) wipe the drive of everything. Then if you initialize it using Windows then those "working" sectors will be created as Windows likes it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I downloaded the HDD Low Level Format tool, but it gave a system error when I tried to run it: "Can't start because SHFolder.dll is missing". So I booted DBAN from USB and ran an "autonuke" that took 10+ hours to fully wipe the drive. The partition seems to have survived even that.

The partition doesn't show in diskpart.

I was able to open the partition using the Boot Disk Explorer from LSoft, and I'll attach a screenshot of what I found:

Attached Thumbnails
Mystery 3MB Partition still showing after full disk wipe-3mbdiskexplorer.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

If a hard drive survives a dban nuke that lasts 10 hours, I am thinking bad sectors or rootkit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi Tyler,
1. The problem of missing shfolder.dll has to be tackled as an entirely different problem.

2. What is the history of the HDD that has this 3 MB partition?

3.That even DBAN wouldn't touch it gives a clue that that partition remains in the HPA/DCO area.( You now know how important is the history.)

4. The easiest way to kill that partition and restore the full capacity of your hard drive is to use Atola's HDD capacity Restore Tool Restoring Factory Hard Drive Capacity Official Atola Technology Blog This works only on 32bit system and so you have to hook up your HDD as a second internal drive on a desktop running 32 bit Windows 7 and do the procedure.

5. Otherwise you have to use HDAT2 HDAT2 Download. There is a cookbook on using it. Find it and download it.

( I am allowed to sit stand and move about only for two or three hours a day. So I am not able to elaborate. My quota for the day is over.:) )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2013   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Alright, I've downloaded Hdat2 and the cookbook. Under the "Hidden Areas>>Overview of Hidden Areas" menu, there is nothing listed next to HPA or DCO. I wasn't able to take a screenshot, but the program is definitely saying there are no hidden areas on the disk.

The partition still shows in Active@ Partition Manager, though. Could another wiping program other than DBAN nuke the drive more thoroughly? Or are there any settings in DBAN Interactive mode that would force the program to wipe absolutely every single sector on the disk? I'll admit I'm getting a little frustrated...this partition seems to be immortal.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Mystery 3MB Partition still showing after full disk wipe

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