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Windows 7: Explain Why This Partition Set-up Was Done this way on my OEM System

3 Weeks Ago   #1
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Explain Why This Partition Set-up Was Done this way on my OEM System

Below is information on how the Partitions were set up on my HP PC as it was installed and shipped* from an authorized refurbishing seller.

The only obvious added programs are Mozilla Firefox and Libre Office 5.

The seller said their techs do not do any partitioning. They simply select the wanted Operating System from their Server, which has the Manufacturers approved image and it is installed with “literally just two clicks” on the purchased machines hard drive.


Below is (in part) what shows in Disc Management (Windows Key + R>type diskmgnt.msc):

Volume..Layout/Type/File........System Status..................................................................Capacity....Free Space
(C:)........Simple/Basic/NTFS.........Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)........452.96 GB.....420.48 GB
(R:)........Simple/Basic/NTFS.........Healthy(Primary Partition).................................................... 11.72 GB........5.65 GB
(W:).......Simple/Basic/NTFS.........Healthy(Primary Partition)........................................................495 MB*.......313 MB
System....Simple/Basic/NTFS........Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition).................................100 MB..........70 MB


As viewed from left to right:

Disk 0....................SYSTEM...........................(W:)......................(C:)..............................(R:)
Basic......................100 MB NTFS.....................495* MB NTFS...........452.96 GB NTFS.............11.72 GB NTFS
465.26 GB
Online


DRIVE Contents
(R:)
“Opening” this drive, there is 1 Folder named “Restore”
“Opening” the Restore folder shows 1 file named install.wim, Size 6,318,009 (In Properties, size is 6.02 GB)

(W:)
“Opening” this drive, there is 1 Folder named “recovery”
(No size given. Properties show 0 files, 2 folders)
“Opening the recovery folder shows it is “empty”.
When “Unhiding” and “opening” the recovery folder, there are 2 Folders (both “not accessible”) named:
system32
windowsre

(C:)
Opening this drive shows 7 Folders and 1 Application File named as follows:
Intel
PerfLogs
Program Files
Program Files (x86)
Relax
Users
Windows
TeamViewer (Application)

SYSTEM
As expected, No visible Folders or Files



Questions:
1) Is this a common “Standard Practice” installation?

2) Is the content of Drives (R:) and (W:) usually on separate partitions?

3) Could you explain more about what the differences are between the contents of Drives (R:) and (W:) and when and how how they are used?

4) When performing a Clean Install, would you recommend installing it this way? If so why?

5) If no to question 5, how would you do it differently and why?


I look forward to your critique, explanations and suggestions.

Please keep in mind my Computer knowledge level is fairly modest.



* FYI: Actually, as shipped, the W: Drive was 500 MB, but when I tried to Use Windows 7 “Create A System Image” (from Start>All Programs>Maintenance>Backup and Restore), The Backup Failed, with the error “There is not enough space to create the volume showdown copy on the storage location….(0x807801119).

It turns out a lot of people had this problem. After a lot of research I found an EXCELLENT article explaining the two most common reasons for the error message and a Tutorial to fix either one of them. The Link is: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/fix-the-0x80780119-error-when-creating-a-system-image-in-windows-7-and-8.

In my case, the reason for the failing was because that if your Volume is equal to or greater than 500 MB, you MUST to have at least 320 MB of free space. The Manufacturer screwed up the factory set up, it only had 317 MB (3 MB below the minimum requirement). Since volumes UNDER 500 MB only require 50 MB of free space, I used the “Shrink Volume Command” to reduce the volume from 500 MB to 495MB and then was able to successfully Create The Disc Image”.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
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3 Weeks Ago   #2
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Your OEM disk has the right partitions.
- System Partition (100M). In this partition, on OEM computers, it has some OEM tools links (Like Factory Recovery or Maintenance - WindowsRE, memory check, disk check etc). BIOS takes the boot sequence to this partition and you may choose to boot Windows (default) or into OEM tools.
- W: Partition is where all the Maintenance - WindowsRE, memory check, disk check etc tools are.
- C: Partition is the OS (Windows) folder
- R: Partition is where the Factory Recover image is stored. When you launch the Factory Recover option (on BIOS or under Windows) it will format the C: partition and load a disk image (install.wim). It will end as the computer came from factory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Weeks Ago   #3
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, & Kali
 
 

Hi GuitarRock,
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
Questions:
1) Is this a common “Standard Practice” installation?

2) Is the content of Drives (R:) and (W:) usually on separate partitions?

3) Could you explain more about what the differences are between the contents of Drives (R:) and (W:) and when and how how they are used?

4) When performing a Clean Install, would you recommend installing it this way? If so why?

5) If no to question 5, how would you do it differently and why?


* FYI: Actually, as shipped, the W: Drive was 500 MB,
Yes, 1, 2, 3

4,5 A Clean Install is performed by formatting the drive then installing Windows. There are no factory partitions on said installation. You may have activation issues with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) key that shipped with your computer being that it came with a SLIC table in your BIOS. The key is usually on the Desktop case or Laptop battery compartment. I use either a batch script or magic jellybean (MJ) to locate the key. In MJ it's the CD key not Product ID!

What I do depends on what the end user wishes.

In all cases, and on a routine, regular basis, back up your computer to an external hard drive!

As to what I would do differently, in my case, say on my desktop, I imaged the factory HP new, changed everything to how I wanted it, imaged. Added all the programs and features I wanted to start with as a baseline for Win7 Installs (Anti- Malware, Ransomware, Exploit, Tools, etc., Imaged, removed Factory Recovery & System Restore partitions as a waste of space with imaging I do, Imaged.

On a regular basis on my computers weekly full system Image, keep the last three on two separate external hard drives which I disconnect after use. One remains connected that I incremental backup to.

Everything you need to know before buying an external hard drive

Best external hard drives
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

3 Weeks Ago   #4
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, & Kali
 
 

Megahertz07,

You're quick!

Concise too!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Weeks Ago   #5
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Why are you thinking to do a clean install?

- You can do a Repair Install. It will reinstall Win 7 (same version) keeping your programs and data. You will have to install all updates.
- You can do a Factory Recover. Save your data on an external disk. It will format the C: partition and load a disk image (install.wim) from the Recovery partition. It will end as the computer came from factory. You will have to install all updates and programs.
- You can do a Clean Install Windows 7.
Save your data on an external disk. You will need to provide all drivers, and will have to install all updates and programs.

For the updates, my suggestion is to use Simplix.
MS releases SP2 for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #6
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Megahertz07 View Post
Why are you thinking to do a clean install?


For the updates, my suggestion is to use Simplix.
MS releases SP2 for Windows 7

Megahertz07:
Thanks for all your details and links in both your posts.

In response to your question regarding why I'm thinking about a Clean Install. It' about having a installation without all the extra garbage HP added to the system and to have a nice clean Disc Image (and future updated Image Backups) as we head into Win7 End of Life.

I'm still trying to absorb all this. I think there is steam coming from my head, ha, ha
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #7
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Snick,

I really appreciate all your comments and advice.

It really helped how you answered each question independently, going "point by point".

I found your added "bonus" comments about at what stages of your installation you performed Disc Image Backups very informative.

Wise advice about the regular backups to an external drive. When I made up my first Backup (right after I first received the system), I used Windows 7 internal "Create a System Image" tool.

Is they a good way to confirm the Image Backup is perfect (bit accurate to you original and not corrupted), so in the event you ever need to use the backup, won't get a terrible surprise that it doesn't work?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #8
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

The (R:) Drive is 11.72 GB. Given the used space is only 6.02 GB, is there a reason why HP made the total size of partition almost double that?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #9
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10 multiboot
 
 

GuitarRock,

The partition layout looks pretty standard for an OEM system, especially from HP as they tend to put the Recovery partition at the end (as vs. Dell and some others who put the Recovery partition second, right before the main OS partition).

But it's not clear to me whether or not you have an OEM factory recovery system available on that computer. Megahertz07 seems to think you might, but since it appears you got the machine from a third party refurbisher instead of officially from HP, I wouldn't count on that. Yeah, HP may have originally put that partition there, but the space may have been erased and reused by the refurbisher.

In particular, it's odd that there would only be a single file (install.wim) visible in the recovery partition. That's unlike HP. HP usually puts several files there but also uses various tricks to hide the contents, so to most people it would appear to be an empty partition. And if anything at all were to be visible, there should be some recovery launchers and ancillary files, not just a single install.wim (which, incidentally, is your recovery image, though we don't know from whom).

My guess is the refurbisher wiped the partition and copied their install.wim there in case you ever needed to go back to what they started you with, which may not necessarily be what it might have come directly from HP with.

That all becomes moot if you're planning on doing a clean install, though it's not clear what you're calling a "clean install". Are you thinking to wipe the partition and install Win7 anew from a Win7 DVD or USB stick? If so, heed Snick's warning about possible activation issues. If you're planning to wipe and restore from image.wim, you shouldn't have activation issues but that's also not what most people might refer to as a clean install. That's more typically referred to as a factory restore/recovery.

If you choose to do a clean install from DVD/USB, I personally would test-install on a spare disk first to make sure it would all work, and that you'd be able to resolve any activation and driver issues. I wouldn't prematurely mess up anything on your original disk, just in case.

Another possibility is that since you got it from a refurbisher, it may not be loaded with the usual HP crapware to begin with. If that's the case, then I'd stick with what the refurbisher gave you and not even try to clean install from a Win7 DVD or USB. It should be relatively clean to start with.

Going forward, Snick's got the right advice -- get everything set up initially and create a baseline image as your own, pseudo "factory" image you can always return to, then regularly re-image on an ongoing basis. If you do that, the recovery partition becomes superfluous, can be deleted, and its space merged with the main partition.

You could also eliminate the first and second partitions if you care, but that takes more work than you may be willing to take on, and they're so small that it may not really be worth the effort to you anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #10
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

As you have a HP it probably has a slic table in the bios.
If your machine has the correct slic table in the bios, when doing a clean install you could skip entering the key, then after installation, run 7oeminstaller instead of entering your COA key. 7oeminstaller- Windows 7 OEM Activation License.
That would make a offline activation of Win 7 IF you install same version of win7 (Home, HP. Pro or Ultimate).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Explain Why This Partition Set-up Was Done this way on my OEM System




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