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Windows 7: Unable to assign drive letter to HD partition?

15 Aug 2014   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Unable to assign drive letter to HD partition?


Run into an issue with a hard drive showing 3 partitions, but I can't assign a drive letter to it.

Background: It was running Win 7 Pro 64-bit, but was having occasional issues with blue screening. I've pulled the hard drive from that PC and have it hooked to my own (also Win 7 Pro 64) via USB external HD enclosure to run scan disks. The first two partitions I'm accessing fine, but the third one won't give me any options, no matter what I try. Any insight would be great.

EDIT: And sorry, right under where the submenu appears that says "Help", it says "Healthy (Recovery Partition)".

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Aug 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi FuryoftheStars,

First let me tell you how to make a full screen Windows Disk Management screenshot.:)

Before you take the screenshot, go to the top menu bar and click on the "Show/Hide Console Tree" and "Show/Hide Action Pane" to hide those. Then we can clearly see all the columns in the top listing of the drives. Sometimes that information is necessary.

A sample screenshot with no information obscured/truncated:

Unable to assign drive letter to HD partition?-10-08-2014-15-00-21.jpg

Now a straight answer to your query:

The OEM Recovery partition in this case (and in most other cases too) is deliberately of a different Partition Type so that users cannot access it with Windows, meddle with it and spoil the broth. You may change the partition type to the normal type accessible to Windows and then assign a drive letter.( If you want to do it, do it at your own risk :).)

If information on it is already available, I do not want to rewrite it . Please see Techno Wizard's last post dated 21 Oct 2013 here Assigning a letter to OEM Partition ( Take only what he says about recovery partition. The hibernation partition is not applicable here.)

(Now on my part ) You can also change the partition type using MiniTools Partition Wizard.( Changing it with diskpart by normal users is a little bit tedious and requires care)

Unable to assign drive letter to HD partition?-16-08-2014-12-33-47.jpg

EDIT: You can ascertain the current partition type from the "Properties" page in the first right click menu ( the last in that menu)

Having said all this, whatever problem you had with that system, you should have sorted it out in it only without taking out the HDD and putting it in an external enclosure.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Aug 2014   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Hi jumanji and thank you for your reply.

It's interesting that Techno Wizard recommends using diskpart through cmd prompt as I've already tried that and it doesn't even list this 3rd partition on the other drive. I'll have to give your solution a shot, but not right now. It's the weekend... I'm not in the office.

As to you're very last line, I also needed to perform data recovery. It wasn't starting reliably. I've also already tried rebuilding that particular PC's image from scratch 2 or 3 times previously already. All the other PCs I've setup of the same model have had no issues. You would have to see my desk/office to understand this, but I found it easier to remove the HD (tool-less) and throw it into the external enclosure I already had next to me for exactly these kinds of things, rather than to find and clear a space to set it up near power and network. :/

At this point, though, it may be a moot point. While trying to access that 3rd partition and ultimately posted here, I was also searching for tools to do more advanced HD integrity tests. They've come back that the HD fails the tests, so I ultimately called HP (still under warranty) and have a replacement drive en-route. At this point I just want to make sure the drive is wiped clean (HR data).

I'd like to know how this happened, though. I setup my images by doing a clean install of windows from its install CD (so there's the 100 MB system partition, then the rest goes to the OS), then only install drivers from HP (none of their software, including protect tools and backup stuff) and the other third party software needed by that user... which none of what we use is supposed to do anything like that. In fact, of the almost 5 years I've been working at this place and setting up of PCs, this is the first time I've seen this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Aug 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

OK, you seem to be well-versed with OEM machines especially HP machines which I am not.

Second I had a closer look at the screenshot and found that I missed that that partition is only 102MB.

And as I understand now, your main interest now is to wipe it clean.

For that purpose you may still try Partition Wizard.

You may also try formatting it with HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool v 2.2.3 and check whether it annexes all space into one volume. You may then do whatever you want to do with it.. HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool Free Download

You may also try Bootice ( download the appropriate bit version for the computer on which you will use it.) to manipulate all partitions including zeroing all sectors. I think you are capable of exploring it and find out what all it can do. Download and experiment. Booooooooting ? View topic - [ BOOTICE: A poweful boot-related utility ] - v1.3.2.1 ( Don't worry. Your downloaded version will be in English.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2014   #5

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

MiniTools Partition Wizard did it. Not sure why, but even after changing the partition type, Disk Management still couldn't assign a drive letter. But the Partition Wizard could, so... all's good.

"HP_TOOLS"? How in the heck? *sigh* User must've installed something....

Anyway, all's good now, thank you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Glad your problem got resolved by changing the partition type and using Partition Wizard as suggested. :)

The "HP Tools" must have been installed by the OEM and that may contain the tools to diagnose and repair the system and as I said they change the partition type so that users cannot access and meddle with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Unable to assign drive letter to HD partition?

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