How do you deal with Dell hidden partitions?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by dld, Aug 1, 2005.

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  1. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    I need guidance on how to deal with Dell hidden partitions which I understand contain Utility Tools.
    Image Creation
    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3373/screenhunter0079gj.jpg
    In Window One you are given the option of choosing a partition on the entire disk drive. I take it that choosing entire disk drive means the Dell hidden partitions will be included in the image.
    Image Restoration
    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/1383/screenhunter0084ga.jpg
    In Window Two, highlighting the HD icon (28.64 GB) means that the Dell hidden partitions will be included in the restoration.
    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3954/screenhunter0090rg.jpg
    In Window Three, I am given the option of restoring a partition or the whole hard disk. Choosing the whole hard disk means the Dell hidden partitions will be restored, something which was already specified in Window Two.
    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/6383/screenhunter0100bn.jpg
    Window Four has the HD icon highlighted (28.24 GB) which means that the Dell hidden partitions will be overwritten by the restoration image. Furthermore one finally sees what appears to be the Dell Hidden partitions, which I assume the green block on the far right stands for.
    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/4255/screenhunter0117ge.jpg
    In Window Five I am given the option to delete or not to delete all partitions before restoring. I am also told that restoration is possible only if the destination HD is empty. So really I have only one choice, which is to delete all partitions.

    I would appreciate someone pointing out where I may be wrong in my conclusions.
     
  2. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Hi.

    Very simply, you have no hidden partitions on your drives. Your screenshots show only the C partition so you must have somehow deleted your hidden Dell partitions before you used TrueImage.

    If you did have any Dell hidden partitions they would show up in your screenshots. There would be one small one, about 60Mb (diagnostics) and one larger one, about 3Gb (pc restore if you have a newer Dell). You must have deleted them or failed to capture them before you produced the screenshots.

    Sorry.
     
  3. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Hi Boddat.. I'm sorry but I don't agree with you. This past week I had to restore my C drive for the first time using TIDesktopBackupSetB shown in Window Two. I followed exactly the procedure as shown in this post, choosing to delete all partitions on the disk. Everything went well and I'm able to boot without any problem.
    Before using ATI, I was using Dantz Retrospect Express 6.0.222. Whenever I had to restore my system, I would use the Dell Reinstallation disk to a) delete all partitions, b) reformat my Hd, c) re-install WinXP HE, d) install Retrospect Express, e) access my Retrospect Backup on an external HD, f) restore my system. I've had to do this many times, first with the help of Dell tech support, finally doing it on my own. In the reinstallation process the hidden partitions would automatically be restored.
    Needless to say, I find ATI a breeze to use compared to Retrospect Express. I don't see however that I've somehow deleted the Dell hidden partitions before my screen shots. To me the hidden partitions explain the difference of 28.63 GB and 28.64 GB of Window Two. I'm ready to be corrected on this if I'm wrong.
    Where I am confused really is whether the C drive (Pri, Act) of Window One is a C partition or a C drive. In other words, does my disk have two partitions, 1) the NTFS C partition and 2) the Dell FAT partition? Or does the C drive\partition somehow include the Dell hidden partition?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2005
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello dld,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    I agree with bobdat. According to the screenshots there is no hidden partition on the drive. You may have created the image of the C: drive only and then restored it to the whole disk. In this case the hidden partition would have been lost. Anyway, currently there is no hidden partition, otherwise it would have been shown in Acronis True Image window.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  5. Fuzzy John

    Fuzzy John Registered Member

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    Hi dld,

    Can you boot into the Utilities (Dell Diagnostics)? If yes, then you do have the partition. Otherwise it is gone (this is what I suspect).

    Recently I played with 2 Dell Inspiron 1150s. On one I booted with the Dell Recovery CD and deleted all partitions. I then reformatted the HD and installed XP Professional with SP-2 from the Dell CD. The other 2 partitions (which were clearly visible in True Image) were gone. My only boot choice at that point was to boot into the OS. I could not boot into the Dell recovery partition nor into the Dell Diagnostics.

    John


     
  6. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Ilya.. Thanks for the response. Please see my edited Post #3.
     
  7. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Hi Fuzzy John,
    How do you go about booting into the Dell Diagnostic partition. This is something I've never done.
     
  8. Fuzzy John

    Fuzzy John Registered Member

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    Not having the Inspiron near me at this time I have to rely on memory.
    After the main BIOS screen at powerup I remember seeing a Dell blue banner at the top of the screen. At that time I had to press Ctrl-F11. Or maybe it was F12 alone. That brought up a menu with boot choices. After deleting the 2 Dell partitions the Dell blue banner did not come up anymore. Again, this is from memory and may not be 100% correct.

    John


     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2005
  9. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Fuzzy John.. O.K., I think you've nudged my senior's memory. I remember a Dell tech support having me boot into the Dell Diagnostic partition. I certainly don't remember however what he had me do. In any case if the Dell Diagnostic partition is gone, so be it. I don't really think it's a great loss.
     
  10. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi dld,

    Did you at anytime create an Acronis Secure Zone? If you did and you accepted the default option to also activate the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager then that will have modified your C: drive's MBR and zapped the hidden Dell Recovery and Diagnostic partitions.

    Regards
     
  11. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    I've found out how to boot to the Utility Partition. You tap F12 as soon as you see the Dell logo on boot. It would seem I've lost by Dell Boot to Utility Partition on my Dell Dimension 2300. However I can still do the IDE Drive Diagnostic, which just tells me what kind of drive I have.

    I have never attempted a ATI restore on my Dell Inspiron 1100. I have in the past deleted all partitions on this drive, reformated the drive, and re-installed WinWP using the Dell ReInstallation disk. On the Dell Inspiron 1100 I can run the Diagnostics on tapping F12. The computer then goes through a long diagnostic procedure.

    I went through the ATI restore steps on the Dell Inspiron 1100. I get the exact same windows as for the Dell Dimension 2300. Nowhere do I see the Dell Diagnostic partition. The only thing I see is that green bloc as shown on Window Four.

    Where and how was the Diagnostic Partition on the Dimension 2300 deleted I don't know. Is the Diagnostic Partition part of the Dimension 2300 image? If so, why was it not restored?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2005
  12. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Hi Tom.. I have created an Acronis Secure Zone in the past on the Dimension 2300 slave drive and then deleted it. At no time however have I ever activated the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager.
     
  13. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hi dld,

    So that other people viewing this thread don't go away with the wrong idea, it doesn't matter where the SZ created (even on an external HD), activating the SRM will overwrite the MBR on the boot drive. However, as you didn't activate the SRM that rules that possibility out.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  14. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Hi.

    Just to clarify a couple of comments I would like to offer these comments.....

    1) There are no Dell hidden partitions on the drive according to the screenshots. If they were there, they would show up when you run TrueImage.

    2) Dell's hidden partitions are not really hidden. You can always view them under Disk Management. If they are on your hard drive they will always show up there even if you don't have TrueImage running.

    3) Menorcaman is correct that once you modify the master boot record of your original Dell hard drive which would have the hidden partitions on it, the pc restore partition (if there is one) becomes permanently inoperative. The diagnostics partition will still work though.

    However, in any case where the mbr is modified, the Dell hidden partitions will still be present on the hard drive. Modifying the mbr does not erase the partitions - it just makes the pc restore partition inoperative.

    4) To access the Dell diagnostic partition (if present) you press F12 on startup and then boot to the diagnostics partition.

    5) To access the Dell pc restore partition (if it's there and still functional) you would press (and hold) CTL + F11 at startup until you see the pc restore screen.

    6) I'm not that smart. These keystrokes are in your Dell User Manual. ;)

    I'm sorry you don't have your diagnostic partition because it can be very helpful. Of course, you can use your Dell Diagnostics CD which has almost the same content.

    I hope this adds to your understanding. Good luck.
     
  15. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    I was able to run Dell Diagnostic on my Inspiron 1100. Presumably the Diagnostic partition still exists on that computer. Why then are the five image creation\image restore windows exactly the same for both the Inspiron 1100 and the Dimension 2300? I looked for the Diagnostic hidden partition in the Computer Management\Disk Management of my Inspiron 1100. I only see my C: drive and see no Dell Diagnostic partition.
     
  16. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    When you ran diagnostics on your 1100 you were not running it from the Dell diagnostic partition on your hard drive but rather from BIOS. That's why you don't see any partitions other than the C partition.

    If you still had a Dell hidden diagnostics partition, you would have received a message to press a key to boot into the diagnostics partition at the completion of the BIOS diagnostic test.

    Sorry to say again, you have previously deleted your diagnostics and restore partitions (if you ever had restore partitions). Restore partitions only came into being about one year ago so older Dell's did not have them.

    Your hidden partitions are probably missing because whatever program you originally used to back up and restore your hard drives failed to capture those hidden partitions. Too bad.

    That's why none of your drives show any partiton other than the C partiton which is your active partiton.
     
  17. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Hi Bobdat.. OK, you've got me convinced. I learned a lot of things today. Thanks for the lesson. I did find Diagnostics on Drivers and Utilities Dell CD.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2005
  18. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Thanks. Good luck. I learned the hard way, too.

    Working with Dell hidden partitions was a very difficult process when I was a rookie at it. I ruined a few drives of my own at the time. :p
     
  19. Fuzzy John

    Fuzzy John Registered Member

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    You are "lucky" having the Drivers and Utilities Dell CD.
    The Inspiron 1150 laptops I was involved with came only with the operating system CD labeled Windows XP Professional with SP-2 (which when installed became Windows XP Home)... obviously a mislabeled CD which later Dell replaced. It also came with a CD for Word Perfect and another CD for Applications. This Applications CD was nothing more than just a DVD Player application.
    When I asked Dell about the other CDs they said that all that comes with the Inspiron 1150 is the 3 CDs I got. Everything else is on the hard drive in those extra partitions.

     
  20. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    dld said "The only thing I see is that green bloc as shown on Window Four"
    Note that in the screenshot you can see the letter U below the green block - U meaning Utility - this is the hidden partition which has apparently been deleted when the image restore was done. It looks like when you created the image it didn't include the hidden partition.
     
  21. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello tachyon42,

    In the screenshot U means Unallocated. There wasn't enough space for the whole word and only the first letter was shown. It seems that this is common 7.8Mb of unallocated space. You may read about it here.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  22. dld

    dld Registered Member

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  23. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    I am still confused by this Window Five.

    http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/4255/screenhunter0117ge.jpg

    I am being told "The hard disk drive you have chosen to restore from the hard disk image contains some partitions."

    Since these "partitions" are not the Dell hidden partitions, are we then referring here to the 7.8 MB unallocated space mentioned by Ilya?
     
  24. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello dld,

    The message you describe means that you want to restore the image of the whole disk to the disk that contain data. If you wish to restore all the data on target drive will be lost. That is why you are asked whether you want to delete partitions on the destination drive or not.

    Thank you.
    --
    Ilya Toytman
     
  25. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    So, in my case, with C on a single partition and no other partition on the disk, ATI is asking me if it can delete the data on this partition by deleting the partition?
     
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