Blowing Away the Recovery Partition...Advice?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Daddy, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    If I understand correctly, the MBR is actually located in the Recovery
    partition, and it

    Ah, I think I understand your concern about the MBR. The MBR is not located
    inside any partition. So even if you deleted all partitions from your HD and
    manually reinstalled Win7, you would still have a Dell MBR. The MBR is
    located in LBA-0. The first sector on the HD. The first partition, the Dell
    Utility partition, is typically cylinder aligned and starts at LBA-63. Out
    of interest, here is a Dell MBR with the customized Dell boot code outlined.

    And here is a Win7 MBR

    And here is a Standard MBR

    And here is a BING MBR

    Don't get me wrong. If you delete both Dell partitions it doesn't matter
    which MBR you choose. Your Win7 will still boot. One MBR won't work any
    "better or worse" than another. (Except for the issue mentioned in my
    previous post).
    Brian K, Mar 22, 2010
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  2. Daddy

    Daddy Guest

    Aha! I think I get it now.

    I always thought that the MBR was located at sector 0, and that the
    first partition usually starts at sector 63 (the beginning of the second

    In Windows 7's Disk Management utility, the Recovery partition is
    labeled Boot - among other things - so I thought that Dell somehow
    'moved' the MBR into this partition.

    Therefore, I reasoned, if I remove the Recovery partition, I won't boot.

    Now I don't know why the Recovery partition is labelled Boot, but if the
    MBR is still at sector 0, I'll still boot even without the Recovery

    That being the case, do I understand you correctly to say that I can
    just delete the Recovery partition (I have it backed up anyway) and I'll
    still boot just fine? And I'll still be able to boot into the Diagnostic
    partition? The only difference is that if I try to boot to the (absent)
    Recovery partition, that nothing will happen?

    Daddy, Mar 22, 2010
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  3. Daddy

    Brian K Guest


    Have another look in Disk Management. The Recovery partition is not the Boot
    partition. It is the System partition as it contains the booting files. I
    know that doesn't sound correct but that's what Microsoft call it. Win7 is
    the Boot partition as it contains the Windows folder.

    So if you delete the Recovery partition, Win7 won't boot. You will get this

    BOOTMGR is missing
    Press Control Alt Delete to restart

    That's because you have deleted the booting files that were in the Recovery
    partition. The procedure I described earlier is to copy the booting files
    from the Recovery partition to the Win7 partition. This will allow Win7 to
    boot on its own without needing a second partition containing the booting

    Does this make sense? Having booting files outside of the Win7 partition is
    going to cause problems for some folks when restoring images to a new HD
    (say due to a HD failure) as two partitions will need to be restored to
    allow Win7 to boot.
    Brian K, Mar 22, 2010
  4. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    I omitted....

    You can delete the Recovery partition and keep a functioning Utility
    Brian K, Mar 22, 2010
  5. Daddy

    Daddy Guest

    Alright now, get ready: Daddy's going to eat crow.

    The whole premise behind my original post was my recollection that the
    Recovery partition was labeled Boot in Disk Management. On your
    suggestion, I checked again.

    Guess what I discovered?

    So forget all that convoluted stuff about the Master Boot Record; make
    like it was an entire season of Dallas.

    The key to success in removing the Recovery partition is knowing that
    /it/ contains the boot files, and not the C: drive...that's what you've
    been trying to tell me all along!

    Daddy, Mar 23, 2010
  6. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    Dallas was a great series. In its day. I loved JR.
    Brian K, Mar 23, 2010
  7. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    About 10 GB. I think the recovery partition is that size.
    Brian K, Mar 25, 2010
  8. Daddy

    Daddy Guest

    A progress report:

    My preference is to remove the Recovery partition using software with
    which I am already familiar, if possible, rather than installing
    additional software just for this purpose.

    My other preference is to avoid entering unfamiliar commands at a
    command prompt.

    I have discovered that I can use either of two familiar applications:
    EasyBCD (which I used when I was dual-booting) and ShadowProtect Desktop
    (one of my backup applications.)

    Brian's technique, which uses BING, would work out just fine,
    notwithstanding my previously expressed preferences.

    Since there's no big rush to get this done, I asked Dell if they would
    send me a set of bootable factory restore discs, or failing that, and if
    the price is nominal, if they will sell me the Pro version of Dell
    DataSafe Local Backup 2.0, which can create bootable discs from the
    Recovery partition (as can the free version of DSLB, except that it's
    not separately available.) I have a feeling that DSLB may be vaporware,
    since no one I have spoken to at Dell has heard of it.

    Once I have an answer from Dell, one way or the other, I will finally
    'blow away' the Recovery partition. (I have a backup of it.)

    It's been a real trip and a great education (thank you, Brian) if you
    enjoy learning about this sort of thing, which I do.

    Daddy, Mar 25, 2010
  9. Daddy

    Tom Lake Guest

    I have discovered that I can use either of two familiar applications:
    Any retail version of Win 7 can do it. Just delete the partitions when you install.
    I do that to all our Dell machines and they don't care if the recovery partition
    is there or not. Of course, if you restore from the Dell DVDs, you get the recovery
    partition back.

    Tom Lake
    Tom Lake, Mar 25, 2010
  10. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    Sure. It is a personal choice. The main disadvantage of having any type of
    recovery partition on the same HD as the OS is if there is a HD failure, you
    lose both.
    Brian K, Mar 25, 2010
  11. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    That certainly reduces the stress level.

    I have an old Gateway computer that is used for tests. Pentium 4 1.3 GHz.
    It's a little slow but it takes me less than 5 minutes to run the procedure
    I posted about removing the system partition and booting back into Win7.

    As you mentioned in earlier posts, there are blunt instrument ways to remove
    the partition and to get Win7 booting. You can just delete the partition
    using a partition app boot disc. (The partition can't be deleted from Disk
    Management as it is the System partition). Next, boot from the Win7 DVD and
    do two repairs. It is only on the second repair that you get to a menu that
    offers "Startup Repair". I don't like this method as it is time consuming.
    Brian K, Mar 25, 2010
  12. Daddy

    Star Guest

    Talking about removing partitions with Acronis I assume Disk Director.
    Good news bad news time. Acronis Disk Director is at version 10 which
    is not compatible with Windows 7 (have tried it.)
    I have been a happy user of Acronis both True Image and Disk Director
    for many years but am now wondering why 6 to 7 months after the
    introduction of Windows 7 they don't have a patch for Ver 10 or an
    upgrade to Ver 11.

    Star, Mar 26, 2010
  13. Daddy

    Star Guest

    Yes good info that I found out by accident. I had DD10 so wanted to
    set up a Windows 7 machine about 3 months ago and did the partition of
    the HDD and installed Windows 7 and the system would not run after the
    first reboot so let Win7 format the partition I created and all went
    well. I then found an update to my DD10 and tried to install the
    updated version on my Win7 machine and got the "This program is not
    compatable with the current windows version" so would not install on
    Win7 at all.

    Star, Mar 27, 2010
  14. Daddy

    Daddy Guest

    As a finale to this story: I used EasyBCD 2.0 (build 90) to reconfigure
    my computer to boot from the C: drive. EasyBCD setup a BCD store on C:,
    copied the existing BCD entries from the Recovery partition, and made
    the C: drive Active. All it took was one click.

    As effortless as that was, it took a lot for me to work myself up to
    that point.

    Windows 7 doesn't have 'blow away' as a context menu selection; I had to
    settle for 'Delete'. But my Recovery partition is now gone.

    Daddy, Mar 27, 2010
  15. Daddy

    Daddy Guest

    You are clueless.

    Daddy, Apr 1, 2010
  16. Daddy

    Brian K Guest


    I've been away and I don't have the rest of the thread. Only your post. What
    did I say about removing the recovery partition? Maybe I can fine tune it.
    I assume you have Win7 with a recovery partition that shows as Active,
    System, in Disk Management.
    Brian K, Nov 20, 2010
  17. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    Brian K, Nov 20, 2010
  18. Daddy

    Brian K Guest

    I omitted a step. While in BING, delete the recovery partition and set Win7
    Brian K, Nov 20, 2010
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