Disk partitions?


S

Smirnoff

XP Pro, SP3

Trying to learn a bit about partitions.

Recently I acquired a recovery disk from Dell as my system was in meltdown
and I couldn't use the Ctrl+F11 key combination to access the recovery
partition (if there was one!).

Did a complete clean install and everything is working fine.

I have a 160GB HD and disk management is showing (all basic):

39 MB FAT, Healthy (EISA Configuration)
(C:) 145.66 GB NTFS, Healthy (System)
3.31 GB FAT32, Healthy

Although I have the Dell recovery disk, I wondered if the installation had
created a recovery partition. Tried Ctrl+F11 at boot up but did not get the
restore option.

Disk Defragmenter shows (C:) NTFS OK but the FAT32 partition is listed as
"Unmounted Volume".

If I right click the FAT32 partition in Disk Management, it gives me the
option to "Mark partition as active".

If I choose this option, I get the warning:

"This disk contains your system partition. Changing the active partition on
this disk may make the disk not startable (sic) if the partition does not
have valid system files. Do you want to continue?"

Obviously, I choose "No".

As stated, I want to learn something about partitions, not wreck my
computer. Quite frankly, using the help files in Disk Management only
confuses me more.

So, do I assume that:

1. The FAT32 partition is purely to protect the system files, does not
contain any recovery option and therefore should remain unmounted?

2. The FAT (EISA) Configuration is something to do with boot up (MBR)?

3. My HD is (hopefully) partitioned correctly?
 
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D

Daave

Smirnoff said:
XP Pro, SP3

Trying to learn a bit about partitions.

Recently I acquired a recovery disk from Dell as my system was in
meltdown and I couldn't use the Ctrl+F11 key combination to access
the recovery partition (if there was one!).

Did a complete clean install and everything is working fine.

I have a 160GB HD and disk management is showing (all basic):

39 MB FAT, Healthy (EISA Configuration)
(C:) 145.66 GB NTFS, Healthy (System)
3.31 GB FAT32, Healthy

Although I have the Dell recovery disk, I wondered if the
installation had created a recovery partition. Tried Ctrl+F11 at boot
up but did not get the restore option.

Disk Defragmenter shows (C:) NTFS OK but the FAT32 partition is
listed as "Unmounted Volume".

If I right click the FAT32 partition in Disk Management, it gives me
the option to "Mark partition as active".

If I choose this option, I get the warning:

"This disk contains your system partition. Changing the active
partition on this disk may make the disk not startable (sic) if the
partition does not have valid system files. Do you want to continue?"

Obviously, I choose "No".

As stated, I want to learn something about partitions, not wreck my
computer. Quite frankly, using the help files in Disk Management only
confuses me more.

So, do I assume that:

1. The FAT32 partition is purely to protect the system files, does not
contain any recovery option and therefore should remain unmounted?

2. The FAT (EISA) Configuration is something to do with boot up (MBR)?

3. My HD is (hopefully) partitioned correctly?

Please include *all* the information in the Disk Management window
(including *Free Space* for all partitions) in your next post. I'm
wondering if you deleted the *contents* of your FAT32 partition at one
point (i.e., formatted it).
 
S

Smirnoff

Daave said:
Please include *all* the information in the Disk Management window
(including *Free Space* for all partitions) in your next post. I'm
wondering if you deleted the *contents* of your FAT32 partition at one
point (i.e., formatted it).
39 MB FAT, Healthy (EISA Configuration) - Capacity 39 MB, Free Space 32 MB,
%Free 82%, Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

(C:) 145.66 GB NTFS, Healthy (System) - Capacity 145.66 GB, Free Space
125.40 GB, %Free 86%, Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

3.31 GB FAT32, Healthy - Capacity 3.26 GB, Free Space 264 MB, %Free 7%,
Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

Have also been reading that Dell uses PC Restore by Norton/Symantec to
access the partition. Did a search for it but nothing found.

As stated, I do have a recovery disk so I can use it in an emergency but
still interested to know exactly what the clean install put in the
partitions. If one of them IS a recovery partition and I can't access it,
then presumably I don't need it.
 
D

Daave

Smirnoff said:
39 MB FAT, Healthy (EISA Configuration) - Capacity 39 MB, Free Space
32 MB, %Free 82%, Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

(C:) 145.66 GB NTFS, Healthy (System) - Capacity 145.66 GB, Free Space
125.40 GB, %Free 86%, Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

3.31 GB FAT32, Healthy - Capacity 3.26 GB, Free Space 264 MB, %Free
7%, Fault Tolerance - No, Overhead 0%

Have also been reading that Dell uses PC Restore by Norton/Symantec to
access the partition. Did a search for it but nothing found.

As stated, I do have a recovery disk so I can use it in an emergency
but still interested to know exactly what the clean install put in the
partitions. If one of them IS a recovery partition and I can't access
it, then presumably I don't need it.

Do you have a recovery disk that allows you to return your PC to its
original out-of-the-factory state, complete with associated hardware
drivers and presumably all the trialware? Or is it one of Dell's Windows
XP Reinstallation CDs?

It looks like the FAT32 partition is the hidden recovery partition,
which as you stated is normally accessed by the Ctrl+F11 key
combination. Since that doesn't work, I would go to the Dell site and
enter your Service Tag to get the manual for your particular model. If
the answer isn't there, there are Dell forums and newsgroups that might
help.

The 39MB FAT partition is probably the diagnostic one. Are you able to
access it? I believe you need to press F12 to get that option.

Also, make sure you try these keys as soon as you power on. If you wait
too long, Windows will start to load and it will be too late.

Can you provide a Web link to the instructions you followed in order to
perform the Clean Install? Did you use your newly acquired "recovery
disk" for this?

Finally, what was it that caused your PC to experience a "meltdown"? Was
this software- or hardware-related?
 
S

Smirnoff

Daave said:
Do you have a recovery disk that allows you to return your PC to its
original out-of-the-factory state, complete with associated hardware
drivers and presumably all the trialware? Or is it one of Dell's Windows
XP Reinstallation CDs?

It looks like the FAT32 partition is the hidden recovery partition, which
as you stated is normally accessed by the Ctrl+F11 key combination. Since
that doesn't work, I would go to the Dell site and enter your Service Tag
to get the manual for your particular model. If the answer isn't there,
there are Dell forums and newsgroups that might help.

The 39MB FAT partition is probably the diagnostic one. Are you able to
access it? I believe you need to press F12 to get that option.

Also, make sure you try these keys as soon as you power on. If you wait
too long, Windows will start to load and it will be too late.

Can you provide a Web link to the instructions you followed in order to
perform the Clean Install? Did you use your newly acquired "recovery disk"
for this?

Finally, what was it that caused your PC to experience a "meltdown"? Was
this software- or hardware-related?

Hi Daave,

I think I'll put this one to bed.

For your info, yes I was sent a reinstallation disk. I did not receive a
restore disk when I originally received my computer.

It may well be that I uninstalled PC Restore along with other stuff when I
did the reinstall. I don't like anything Norton/Symantec on my machine.

Everything is working fine and I have all my files backed up, so if the
worst happens, I still have the reinstallation disk.

The reason for the "meltdown" was that I was experimenting beyond my
knowledge, I wont make that mistake again. It had nothing to do with
hardware.

Thanks for your help.
 
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D

Daave

Smirnoff said:
Hi Daave,

I think I'll put this one to bed.

For your info, yes I was sent a reinstallation disk. I did not
receive a restore disk when I originally received my computer.

It may well be that I uninstalled PC Restore along with other stuff
when I did the reinstall. I don't like anything Norton/Symantec on my
machine.
Everything is working fine and I have all my files backed up, so if
the worst happens, I still have the reinstallation disk.

The reason for the "meltdown" was that I was experimenting beyond my
knowledge, I wont make that mistake again. It had nothing to do with
hardware.

Thanks for your help.

YW.

Remember that whenever you use an XP installation CD, you need to
reinstall all the hardware drivers, too!
 
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