ok to delete hidden partition at beginning of hard drive?

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by jjbtnc, Apr 12, 2008.

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  1. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Done some searching but didn't find anything so......

    I've replaced a Dell hard drive with one form an Acer laptop that was damaged and binned (yes - the Dell uses laptop drives) and i then installed a frsh xp on to it.

    In windows the hard drive was split in to 2, c: and d: and i installed xp to c: as per normal. I then used disk director (booting from it's cd) to format the d: as ntfs (it was fat32 where i installed xp on the c: as ntfs) i then deleted the d: partition, and then resized the c: to take up the space once occupied by the d:

    All worked fine and i've booted in to xp and it now shows just a c: and everything works ok.

    Going back in to disk director, it actually shows a 5gb hidden partition at the very beginning of the hard drive, physically before the c:
    This used to be the recovery partition for the Acer laptop but is of no use to me.
    Can i do as before? Format it as ntfs so it's the same as c: , delete it, and then resize the c: to consume the space it occupied?

    I'm asking because i'm not sure if it makes any difference doing what i am doing, if the partition you delete is before or after the c: drive?
    Just worried that it might mess up xp's booting from the c: ?
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    jjbtnc:

    Could you post the current contents of your C:\boot.ini file? You may have to turn on the display of hidden files and also protected operating system files to see it.

    Does the file look like this one?
    with the reference to partition(2) or does it say partition(1)?
     
  3. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    exactly the same as above - references partition2 not 1

    so...........i take it that it means that although this recovery partition is hidden from windows it is seen when it comes to booting xp?

    Could i then edit the boot.ini file to show partition 1, reboot to the disk director disc, delete this first 5gb partition, resize c: to take it's space, then start windows?

    Or should i just use DD, delete it and resize the c:, then reboot to say the recovery console and then run the fixboot command?

    While i'm here, i can see what happens when you add unallocated space that is physically after a partition to that partition - but what happens when the unallocated space is physically before the partition you want to resize?

    In my example there is a 5gb hidden recovery partition at the beginning of the drive followed by my c: with the files/data on.
    When i delete the 5gb partition at the beginning and resize the c: to take it space, does DD add it to the c: AND then MOVE the whole of the data/files on that was the old c: , to it's 'new' beginning on the drive?

    i.e. move all the data 5gb towards the start of the drive

    If so does that mean this operation is going take a lot longero_O Just so i don't get worried if it takes an age! my previous opperations took seconds, due to the fact there probably wasn't that much to do.
    I've backed up my data but i presume DD is pretty foolproof when it comes to moving data in these situations?
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    jjbtnc:

    Yes, you have correctly figured this one out. Since boot.ini is currently referencing Windows in partition 2, you will only have to change it to reference partition 1 after deleting the first partition.

    You can do all of the operations with Disk Director. Boot from the recovery CD and do the following:

    1. Delete the hidden recovery partition.
    2. Commit. Now you should have 5 GB of free space before the Windows partition.
    3. Resize the Windows partition to use all of the free space.
    4. Commit. This operation will take some time because all of the data in the Windows partition will have to be moved towards the beginning of the disk.
    5. Before rebooting into Windows, edit the boot.ini file. You can do this directly in Disk Director; here is a post showing the steps.
    6. Reboot into Windows and confirm that your C: partition is the full size of the disk.

    It is good that you made a backup. These operations should complete without issue, but there is always some small chance that something can go wrong (power fails in the middle of the operation, etc). Better safe than sorry!
     
  5. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    thanks for the reply, made me confident to proceed.

    All worked as planned though i notice something, i thought DD would shuffle all the data up to the beginning of the drive, but looking in the graphic display in the windows defrag program there is a chunk of white at the beginning (which working out the scale looks like about 5gb) and then there are all the blue blocks representing the pc files.
    Been using windows quite a bit and copying back lots of data but the beginning 5gb of the hard drive doesn't seem to be getting used.

    So........i bit the bullet - since i had previously done a backup of the whole hard drive with TI i thought i might as well copy back the image. Double checked all the partitioning was ok and the hard drive was reporting the correct size and had no errors, exited windows and formatted c: to ntfs as used by the pre backup xp.
    Booted of the TI cd and restored the backup (first time i've ever had to resize as the hard drive was bigger now) all went perfectly.

    Only thing is and i'm not sure it's just me, but after the DD operation and also after restoring a backup (and editing the boot.ini again) xp seems a tiny bit slower - slightly slower starting up and also in windows? I could be imagining it but has anybody heard of this happening after messing with hard drive partitions? or restoring a backup?
    The backup was of a clean xp with the latest drivers and seemed to be working slightly faster before the backup and my hard drive partition deleting??
    I also notice that in the win defrag it now doesn't show the 5gb (maybe?) space at the beginning - the blue block signifying the placement of files starts right at the beginning.
    This in itself i would have thought had made the post restore backup of xp slightly faster - due to the fact that the windows files, pagefile etc are now 5gb nearer the start of the drive which i have always thought was physically on the edge of the hard drive where transfer speeds are slightly faster.

    Normally i would expect the starting of windows to be slightly slower on the first boot as it sorts out the new hard drive values, i often get a new hardware found message on the first boot after messing with partitions and have to do a reboot once it's finished. But after a couple of boots i wouldn't expect it to be any slower....o_O?

    I vaguely remember reading about performance problems with xp if you over defrag or something - and i have been defragging quite a bit before making the image and before partitioning operations

    Anybody heard of that?


    Thanks again for your help - sorry to waffle!
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    jjbtnc:

    You may need to wait until a few reboot cycles have been completed so that Windows XP has a chance to rearrange the locations of the boot files (Prefetch folder). When an image is restored the files do not all go back in the same order, so it may take Windows a while to sort out the correct order.

    Once sorted, you should find your boot time to be faster. With the data moved closer to the beginning of the disk there should also be a slight advantage in disk transfer rate.

    Another performance hit occurs when the Master File Table (MFT) is not optimally located. A fresh format will locate the MFT about 1/3 of the way in from the beginning of the partition in order to minimize head seek time when doing file lookup operations. When TI restores a partition image the MFT is restored to a random, but not necessarily an optimum, location.

    Note that none of these issues have anything to do with partitioning but rather with restoring a TI image.

    If you are concerned about these issues then you may want to invest in a copy of PerfectDisk. This program will relocate the MFT to the optimum location and will rearrange the file locations on the disk for fastest performance (SmartPlacement strategy), as well as doing defragmentation. I've seen it work wonders, especially on machines with slower hard disks like my laptop.
     
  7. jjbtnc

    jjbtnc Registered Member

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    Cheers - thanks for all your help

    i'll hang on for a bit and see what happens, and like you say maybe try perfect disk


    thanks again
     
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