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Primary, Extended and Logical Partitions

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I thought about posting this in the ongoing thread about partitioning a hard drive but thought that perhaps this may be better in its own thread.

 

I've just purchased a new computer, this one has a 320GB HDD, so it makes sense to partition the disk. As it's Vista I'm using Microsoft's own Disk Management Utility (DMU).

 

I've read through googling that a disk can have 4 primary partitions but then there are extended and logical partitions too, which has somewhat confused me...

 

This is what the disk was labelled as and divided into when I bought it:

 

C: HP partition (286GB)

D: FACTORY_IMAGE (12GB)

 

(Total HD being 298GB which is also the same as 320GB depending on how gigabytes are measured)

 

So IO don't think there is any other, hidden, partitions such as a Host Protected Area

 

I decided initially to shrink the C: partition to 60GB, more than sufficient but the DMU won't allow me to shrink that partition below 51GB anyway so I rounded it up to 60GB. I then created a new Simple Volume as the DMU likes to call the whole partitioning process and labelled this Data and Media. So now I had the following:

 

C: Vista (I renamed the partition) (60GB)

D: FACTORY_IMAGE (12GB)

J: Data and Media (226GB)

 

Each partition shows in Disk Management as a Primary Partition, though of course the C: partition is also the Active Partition.

 

Upon further though I decided I wanted all my media (music and video) files to go into their own partition and having read around the internet I learned it was possible to have 4 partitions. So I decided to shrink partition J: and create another, fourth, partition for Media. However, this time the partition I created does not show as a Primary Partition but rather a Logical Drive. This is highlighted in Disk Management as the partition being colour coded blue (indicating Logical Drive) as well the graphical representation of the partition being surrounded by a green box (indicating Extended Partition). This is further shown if I decide to delete this Logical Drive, the space does not become Unallocated, as when a Primary Partition is deleted but rather Free Space. Further their is then a secondary choice to delete this Free Space, which shows in the right click menu as "Delete Partition" with a warning message then displaying is I choose this saying "This is an extended partition" and then warning about the partition becoming inaccessible etc. Deleting this then reverts the space to unallocated.

 

I apologise if this is long winded, it is at this point I am failing to understand:

 

1. why the 4th partition I created isn't a Primary Partition

2. am I right in thinking that the Media partition I created is a logical drive on an extended partition? If so, what is the extended partition an extension of?! Is it an extension of the J: partition above? If so, that's only 3 primary partitions I have been allowed before an extended partition and then logical drive appeared. I have tried and have found the extended partition can be divided into more than just one logical drive as I further split the Media (logical drive) partition to create a Media partition and a small Backup partition for computer maintenance (eg to store program set up files).

 

The more I read about all this around the internet the more confused I become... so could someone answer a few of queries for me (hopefully I haven't confused everyone as much as I've confused myself!)?

 

1. To have logical drives am I correct in thinking that the disk can only be divided into 3 Primary Partitions with the 4th partition being the Extended Partition, which can then be split into a number of Logical Drives?

 

2. Can I easily store data on Logical Drives without causing any problems for myself?

 

3. Ideally I would like the following setup:

 

C: Vista (60GB) (shows as Primary Partition)

D: FACTORY_IMAGE (12GB) (shows as Primary Partition)

J: Data (80GB) (shows as Primary Partition)

K: Media (120GB) (shows as Logical Drive)

L: Backup (26GB) (shows as Logical Drive)

 

(I assume K: and L: are part of the same Extended Partition)

 

Will I be able to fill all these partitions up with files without worrying about any access problems? For example, I'd hate to burn a number of my CDs to K: and then find I can't access the files somewhere down the line, or store all my project files on J: and then see them disappear.

 

Sorry for the length of this post, I'm not used to having more than 2 partitions to deal with on Vista so I need to be sure that what I have outlined above (at 3.) is perfectly fine and won't cause any computer problems or loss of data.

 

Thanks in advance for any answers or thoughts.

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Quite a good description of the rules governing partitioning here Rob:

 

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/structPartitions-c.html

 

Hope that helps.

Thanks Dennis

 

That was one of the articles I read last night and couldn't find the answer / confirmation I was looking for - yet upon reading it this time the answer I am looking for is at the 4th bullet point!

 

"One of the four partitions may be designated as an extended DOS partition. This partition may then be subdivided into multiple logical partitions. This is the way that two or more logical DOS volumes can be placed on a single hard disk"

 

I also believe that this article was one of the first I read last night so had I taken my time to read it properly I could have saved all my confusion and possible worry and definitely would have saved time googling looking for the answer! All I really took in at the time was point number one: "A maximum of four partitions can be placed on any hard disk. These are sometimes called primary partitions. The limitation of four is one that is imposed on the system by the way that the master boot record is structured."

 

Thanks again, I now feel reassured. And next time I'll take my time to read things more closely!

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Rob, I partitioned my one drive ages ago, and then resized it twice, and I still cannot find the patience to wade through all the why's and why-for's as to what all that stuff means.

 

Computer gobbledygook.

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Dennis. this is actually one of my favorite subjects and I've never found that perfect partitioning guide. Maybe that's because so many were written before

the new, very large 1 TB and more, hard drives started being sold. For example, should one create 10 logical disk partitions for a 1 TB drive so that you can save time and allow a utility to defrag or scan for viruses and malware by partition (that are all smaller than 100 MB)? In this manner, you can schedule a few partitions for scanning at a time.

 

I just checked the link that Robbie posted and it does a good job of explaining what partitions are, but its example is based on a 60 gig drive and recommends no more than 4 partitions. You might even want more partitions on your 320 gig drive, such as a smaller 25 gig one for data (spreadsheets, word documents, etc.). How about another partition that's used for a ghost image of your OS/programs partition (although another drive should also be used for disk image partitions in case of a hard drive crash)?

 

With today's 1 TB and 1.5 TB drives (and growing), I can't see having partitions as large as 250 gig, unless those with dual or quad core processors tell me that you can defrag a packed 250 gig partition quickly.

 

I have a feeling that HP's factory partition is similar to Dell's "hidden" restore partition. The first thing I do when I see a Dell computer is completely reformat the disk and delete the manufacturer setup. For some reason, I think the last time I did this, the Dell partition couldn't be deleted unless I used several tools from Bootdisk.com.

 

http://www.bootdisk.com

 

Bootdisk.com is even referenced by Microsoft in its article here which includes an upgrade of Fdisk for drives over 64 gig, and I'm sure Bootdisk has been mentioned here on numerous occasions.

 

 

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=263044

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Interesting point about HP's factory partition, or the "Recovery Partition" as it's called.

 

As I now have "Images" of my System Drive for recovery purposes, I'm often tempted to wipe and use that 6GB partition for another purpose. Mainly because I can't see myself ever reinstalling windows and starting from scratch again. (Shuddering here).

 

But there's always that little niggle in the back of my mind telling me that might not be a good idea. I'll bite the bullet one day and do it.... Maybe. :lol:

 

Anyone else been in this thinking about it quandry, or have you already done the deed?

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Thinking of removing the manufacturer partition files I've done on my system years ago, but it was just Dell's utilities which aren't a recovery partition which I don't have since I have an actual XP install CD.

 

One good use of partitioning would be to have one for all your setups (imagine never burning another program to a CD/DVD), and one for a disk image for restoring your system to a working state, and one just for media. That's four total if you account for C: being for Windows and Program Files.

 

I'm actually thinking of partitioning my C: hard drive since Windows and the program files have never exceeded 10 GB, and since my D: hard drive is rather full. I just need a bigger hard disk, but I don't know if I'll even bother getting one for this aging six year old computer I have.

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Thinking of removing the manufacturer partition files I've done on my system years ago, but it was just Dell's utilities which aren't a recovery partition which I don't have since I have an actual XP install CD.

 

One good use of partitioning would be to have one for all your setups (imagine never burning another program to a CD/DVD), and one for a disk image for restoring your system to a working state, and one just for media. That's four total if you account for C: being for Windows and Program Files.

 

I'm actually thinking of partitioning my C: hard drive since Windows and the program files have never exceeded 10 GB, and since my D: hard drive is rather full. I just need a bigger hard disk, but I don't know if I'll even bother getting one for this aging six year old computer I have.

 

 

With the price of hard drives being as cheap as they are at online retailers, I would think of buying a very large hard drive (or two). Seagate has been having alot of outlet store sales recently. Dell Home was recently offering 2 Seagate 1.5TB 7200.11 7200RPM Serial ATA Desktop Hard Drives (OEM) for $200 after using a coupon code. Techbargains and Slickdeals are good sites to check regularly, especially the reader comments on Slickdeals which usually lead to pro and con reviews. My preference is to buy an internal drive and install it into an external enclosure case so I can use it as a USB drive.

 

As far as the Dell Utilities go, that's what hard drive reformatting and the PC decrapifier is for. :D The only problem with reformatting is that if you have a defective drive under Dell warranty, when you call customer service (wherever on the planet the rep may be from), they may run you through their textbook checklist before ordering a replacement drive. Part of that checklist might include those utilities. I can't remember the last time I've called customer support for anything hardware related. If the part is cheap enough, it may be worth just buying it yourself (i.e. NIC card) rather than wasting 30 minutes on the line with a Dell rep.

 

As for as partitioning, since these drives are so large, I think the best way to go is to create as many partitions that you can manage. Malware and antivirus scans usually can skip audio, video, and image files, so by separating these files into partitions, you can schedule scans for just the partititions that might contain infected files. I can think of partitions for the following:

 

Operating System/Programs (you might want to have a separate partition for programs)

Ghost Partition of above

Dual boot partition (Linux or Dos or other)

Audio files

Video files

Games (if you have play computer games)

Data (spreadsheets, Word documents, email folders, html and mht files)

Images

Downloaded programs (or copies of purchased programs)

 

 

You can even go further and have a partition for programs that need to cache files (such as browsers and streaming files).

 

Using the above partitions, you can probably just schedule regular malware scans for the OS/Program partition(s), and the data, cache and downloaded programs partitions. Secondly, defragging would be a shorter process because you wouldn't have to defrag hundreds of gig at a time.

 

Similarly, you could separate the above files using directories and folders, but it's easier to narrow the location search of a program if you know what partition it's on, and less time consuming.

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Robbie, I'm sure glad you posted this. I don't feel as bad about not understanding all that partition stuff now. :P

 

I can add here that I have reinstalled my system from both the HP recovery partition and from CDs. The recovery partition was easier and quicker. That is why I have kept it. Have not used a custom image yet.

 

I made the decision a while back to store everything except the operating system on an external drive. Best decision I ever made. Best money I ever spent was for a 500 gig usb external drive. And it now sells for about half what I paid. <_<

 

It has 178 gig of data on it now, just software and backup files. That is about twice the available space on my c: drive.

I guess if you collected music or movie files it would be much more.

 

IMHO (<--- Cool blogger acronym) this is a good thread to watch.

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Robbie, I'm sure glad you posted this. I don't feel as bad about not understanding all that partition stuff now. :P

 

I can add here that I have reinstalled my system from both the HP recovery partition and from CDs. The recovery partition was easier and quicker. That is why I have kept it. Have not used a custom image yet.

 

I made the decision a while back to store everything except the operating system on an external drive. Best decision I ever made. Best money I ever spent was for a 500 gig usb external drive. And it now sells for about half what I paid. <_<

 

It has 178 gig of data on it now, just software and backup files. That is about twice the available space on my c: drive.

I guess if you collected music or movie files it would be much more.

 

IMHO (<--- Cool blogger acronym) this is a good thread to watch.

I'm keeping the HP recovery partition too, at only 12GB it's not exactly taking up a lot of space and I never know when I may need it. The first thing I did after setting up the system was to create the set of recovery DVDs that the Recovery Disc Creation program allows. It's unnecessary to do this and probably not advisable but after initial setup I always test both the recovery partition and the recovery discs to check that both work properly (I'd rather know if there was a problem at the outset than if I really needed to do a recovery months down the line). Both worked fine. As you said, recovery from the partition is much quicker and easier than using the disks. Unlike other PCs I've had before, the recovery partition on my new HP isn't hidden which makes it easy to (accidentally) format (and to remove by choice as there's an option in Recovery Manager to do that). I've used the free TweakVI utility program to remove the recovery partition from showing in Windows Explorer, so at least it's hidden from view but still accessible when I need it.

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Unlike other PCs I've had before, the recovery partition on my new HP isn't hidden which makes it easy to (accidentally) format (and to remove by choice as there's an option in Recovery Manager to do that). I've used the free TweakVI utility program to remove the recovery partition from showing in Windows Explorer, so at least it's hidden from view but still accessible when I need it.

 

You should have a process running at startup Robbie, called "recguard".

 

Recguard ... recguard.exe is a process from HP that prevents a user from deleting or corrupting the WinXP Recovery Partition on Hewlett Packard computers.

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As far as the Dell Utilities go, that's what hard drive reformatting and the PC decrapifier is for. :D The only problem with reformatting is that if you have a defective drive under Dell warranty, when you call customer service (wherever on the planet the rep may be from), they may run you through their textbook checklist before ordering a replacement drive. Part of that checklist might include those utilities.

Dell's Utility partition is in my views only useful to Dell if you call them for help. :P I don't call them for any help and won't since my extended warranty ran out in November 2007, and since they're the format kings and want you to format for reasons I'd call completely unnecessary which is why I don't bother calling them for anything since I can Google it on a working system.

 

The Dell Utility is also on the Dell Resource CD, just boot with it and wallah there's no need for that hard disk partition they install - at least it was that way with my system back in 2003. Of course that CD will disintegrate before I even think of ever using it. :lol:

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You should have a process running at startup Robbie, called "recguard".
Recguard is on my other computer which also has a Recovery Partition but is not on my new HP computer (I've done an extended search for it, definitely not there). However I don't think recguard actually hides the partition but rather just locks it so that no files or folders protected by it can be accessed. On my other computer the actual factory image is on a specially configured partition with no drive letter and is not visible except in disk management where it still cannot be accessed - the partition uses "EISA configuration" which seems to be the special key to hiding the partition and is the normal method used by computer manufacturers to store the recovery partition (presumably it's also called the "host protected area"?). I have tinkered about with the recovery partition on my XP computer by using special software to change the attributes which hides / unhides the partition and adds a drive letter and I was able to see the partition in Windows Explorer - clicking on Recovery folder in that partition then brought recguard into play as all the files were locked away and couldn't be touched. I then just removed the drive letter and hid the partition again to keep it safe.

 

Anyway, I digress! On my new HP computer I've used TweakVI to hide drive D: (that holds the recovery partition) from being shown in Windows Explorer though it is still easily accessible via Disk Management. Not 100% satisfactory but it should be enough. It's not very clever of HP to leave the recovery partition so open like that though - unless it is deliberate since there is an option within Recovery Manager to delete the Recovery partition and if it was locked with this special EISA configuration I'd imagine it wouldn't be possible to access the partition from Windows let alone delete it. However a type of recguard must still be in use as the main recovery folder on that partition is locked though there are a handful of files on the partition that are visible and could presumably be deleted and of course the whole partition can be formatted as it's accessible, which would then destroy the whole partition and everything on it anyway.

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Robbie: "...It's not very clever of HP to leave the recovery partition so open like that though ..."

 

True. At one time they didn't, right? Hazelnut made a good point a while ago, to turn off system restore for the recovery partition, wh/ I have done. And, since it is open, I copied it as is to the external drive. If if somehow does get corrupted I can get it back.

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Robbie: "...It's not very clever of HP to leave the recovery partition so open like that though ..."

 

True. At one time they didn't, right? Hazelnut made a good point a while ago, to turn off system restore for the recovery partition, wh/ I have done. And, since it is open, I copied it as is to the external drive. If if somehow does get corrupted I can get it back.

at least system restore hadn't been enabled for the recovery partition on my computer nor had the "index this drive for faster searching" option been chosen either.

 

My main concern about leaving the recovery partition so easily accessible is for those people who are curious by nature and after right clicking on the recovery partition wonder to themselves "what does this format option do...?"!

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I'm surprised your new PC doesn't have the recguard.exe. Can't see the point of HP taking that out of the install.

 

In case it's there but not running, you would find it in C:\WINDOWS\SMINST, which you probably already know. I wonder if it would be worth copying it over to your new PC, if that would work, as it's worth having running IMHO.

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I'm surprised your new PC doesn't have the recguard.exe. Can't see the point of HP taking that out of the install.

 

In case it's there but not running, you would find it in C:\WINDOWS\SMINST, which you probably already know. I wonder if it would be worth copying it over to your new PC, if that would work, as it's worth having running IMHO.

I checked the SMINST folder, which on my HP computer is in the Program Files directory (but is in the Windows directory on my other computer) and it definitely wasn't there, nor anywhere else on the computer. I may copy the recguard file over and then run it at startup and see what happens.

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To those that think the recovery partition is useful:

 

Will it still be useful a year from now when your registry might be 5x the size it is now, and you've installed dozens of addtitional programs? Unless I'm mistaken, that recovery partition will send you back to square one, with a registry that just reflects the installation of your operating system without all the MS critical updates and registry strings for all your new start-ups, security programs and other software.

 

That's why I reformat the entire factory drive installation, reinstall the OS, firewall, antivirus program, and all updates before creating an image of the partition. I then create additional images as needed.

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That's the reason I keep thinking about using the space for maybe Photographs or Music backups.

 

If you have a new pc, then reinstalling windows isn't gonna take you very far back from where you are, but if it isn't new, then reinstalling is gonna give you a s**t load of work, and some of the stuff you have may be difficult to replace unless you keep Program Installers and records of registration details.

 

The last time I reinstalled must have been 2 years or so ago, and I would hate to go back to scratch again.

 

It does help having a CD Image of SP3 to reinstall, which I do, but reinstalling all the software I have doesn't bear thinking about.

 

If you're pc is a long way short of being "new", I would strongly recommend getting acquainted with "Image" backup software such as "Macrium Reflect" or "DriveImageXML". Both freeware.

 

And bear in mind you need a "boot" CD to enable you to restore one of these Images. Macrium makes it's own, which I know works, as it's the program I use.

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. . .

that recovery partition will send you back to square one. . .I then create additional images as needed.

 

BrownSuger, you really know your stuff here. Square 1, quite right, that is what happens on mine. Same for the backup CDs. I have a question, if I may.

 

The last time I reinstalled, I used an XP Pro cd, to get some additional features. But it didn't work very well. There is more about that HERE. This hardware is still fairly fast so I don't think it is that.

So I just reinstalled from the original CDs, then installed SP3 from a CD, uninstalled some of the junk, and made an image of the HD using Acronis.

 

Now the question. Is it likely that HP has somehow "optimized" the OEM operating system to work best with this hardware, and if so wouldn't I be better off to reinstall the original stuff? The XP Pro installation worked very poorly.

 

Now the next question. :P How long does it usually take to restore from an image? The one by Acronis is 2 full DVDs and a little bit on the third.

 

Thanks.

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The last time I reinstalled, I used an XP Pro cd, to get some additional features. But it didn't work very well. There is more about that HERE.

 

Now the question. Is it likely that HP has somehow "optimized" the OEM operating system to work best with this hardware, and if so wouldn't I be better off to reinstall the original stuff? The XP Pro installation worked very poorly.

 

Now the next question. :P How long does it usually take to restore from an image? The one by Acronis is 2 full DVDs and a little bit on the third.

 

Thanks.

 

 

I just read your other thread, login123. I also had the missing NTLDR problem, but I think I had a copy on a floppy disk and was able to boot up again

after coping the file to the root directory. The NTLDR file doesn't change (check the date and time of yours and you'll see it was the date of installation). It's copied directly from the install disk and is needed for the boot procedure.

 

This site (and many others) gives step by step instructions in how to deal with the problem of the missing NTLDR. I usually like to copy and paste the instructions into a text file for future reference, so that even if you can only boot to Dos, you can use the "type" command to read the text file:

 

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000465.htm

 

It's all a matter of booting up from your Windows XP CD, using the Repair option and:

 

Copy the below two files to the root directory of the primary hard disk. In the below example we are copying these files from the CD-ROM drive letter, which in this case is "e." This letter may be different on your computer.

 

copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\

copy e:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\

 

As far as whether HP did a factory optimization for your computer, it's possible, but it would probably hurt their labor profit margin to spend any additional time on these computers. You said you reformatted the hard drive but some programs still were recognized as if they were still in the registry. When I reformatted a friend's Dell, I found the only way to really clean the hard drive was to use a Bootdisk.com Win 98 bootup disk from Bootdisk.com and the updated MS Fdisk utility (for drives over 64 gig). I wasn't able to delete the hidden partition from Dell with anything else.

When I was sure all partitions were deleted, I then used the dos format command (you could also try Eraser to make sure the disk is really clean, but that would take longer). Have you posted any messages to the HP forum about the optimizing of your system? Have you checked the BIOS to see if anything has been changed or needs to be changed? From what I understand, dual core and quad core processors (if you have them) can really be fine tuned in many ways. You might also want to try the Anandtech forums and ask about your particular computer. I have a feeling that you still had a protected HP recovery partition of some sort that remained even after you reformatted, and that partition restored all or part of your registry in some fashion.

 

In regard to the speed of restoring your Acronis image, it all depends on the speeds of your DVD drive, hard drive. CPU, etc. Restoring from a DVD drive will always take longer than restoring from a 2nd internal hard drive partition, or an external USB/firewire drive.

 

When you reinstalled Windows XP, why did you need so many disks (as indicated in your other thread)? Aren't you reinstalling from the Windows XP CD?

Before you installed the service pack and all OS updates, did you make sure your firewall and antivirus programs were installed and updated? Are you using a 3rd party firewall other than the one in XP? Is your computer attached to a NAT router? Did you close unnecessary services before updating the OS? Without all the necessary protection, it's possible to get malware even as you attempt to update a newly installed system. Several 3rd party

firewalls are better than the one in XP while some feel that a NAT router makes a software firewall superfluous. I still prefer both (if you have need for a router). With a new installation, there are many services that really don't need to be classified, "Automatic" and start when Windows boots. All they do is leave unnecessary ports open. I'm not stating that this is why your computer felt more sluggish after reinstallation, but the possibility exists if all precautions aren't taken. Take a look at this site and see the recommendations for services that can be changed from Automatic to Disabled or Manual. There's even very good reinstallation recommendations and a guide to using Fdisk:

 

http://www.blackviper.com/

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Hope this post is not too tiresome. It grew with the telling. I keep thinking about Robbies first post, about confusion concerning the terminology of partitions. I think that happens because we leave out stuff which we think everybody knows. I for one don't know that derned stuff, and I bet there are plenty of others who don't. They and I could benefit greatly from good explanations like the ones here by Robbie, Dennis and Brownsugar. Thanks.

 

Bought this computer new in 2006. No CD or DVD with it, just a recommendation to make backup cds, a one time only operation. It made 13 of'em, and that was all I had until the Acronis backup. The XP pro disk is a single, didn't come with the computer. Both re-installations gave the message that the HD would be reformatted, but I didn't use the dos command, just the installation exes from the CDs. For sure I deleted the HP Recovery partition once, maybe twice.

 

Immediately installed a new cpu, dual core AMD athlon X2 4800+. HP help (very helpful, by the way) said it would work w/ the original bios and it did. That recommendation is still current, so I have not changed the bios. Sort of afraid to, way over my head. Plus it is fast right now, don't wanna tinker with it. It is faster that an Intel p4 I use, ... never said that before, didn't wanna draw fire from the Intel advocates. But there it is, so HA! :lol:

 

Yes, I did install a firewall and AV before hooking up to the net, thanks for reminding me. Fwl is outpost free, av is Avast!.

 

There is some indication over at Wilders Wilders Link that PowerShadow ver 2.82 makes an entry in a reserved boot sector, maybe sector 15, which persists after a reformat. I think that when a user first registered version PS 2.82 on the internet, that change was made deep in there somewhere and it does survive a reformat. That's OK, I like PS and want to keep it, but you do have to use the firewall to keep it from phoning home. It tries to after 30 minutes every time internet explorer is started. People need to know that, I think.

 

Your post is very informative. If I read it right, the following are true:

- Computer Hope, Anandtech & BlackViper are good reference sites. I'll check'em out asap.

- NTLDR and some other necessary files should be kept on a boot disk (CD here, no floppy drive installed).

- Point number two is not necessary if you have a backup image prepared.

- Recovery from a DVD image is better because it is more "customizeable"

- Recovery from a DVD image is really a matter of copying back the stored files, so is pretty much determined by the speed of your DVD reader.

 

If I understand that last part correctly, then the image backup is the way to go. Only issue, I guess, is that when the one makes a substantial change to the system, one must make a new set of backup DVDs. Right?

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Just a little added info from me, about Image Backups.

 

I have my System Drive backed up as an Image over 3 DVD's. Obviously the amount of disks you need depends on how big your OS actually is. Mine just slips into the 3rd disk, but I have a lot of programs installed.

 

The point I want to make is, the Image on DVD's is my 2nd line of recovery, as I have exactly the same Image backup in a folder on my Partition. (have only 1 drive at the moment)

 

It's still in the 3 DVD sized sections, but this is the Image I've successfully restored twice, and each time I did, my first thought was that it's time I made a fresh one. I'm finding because of my laziness, I'm having to reinstall more software, and MS updates. I WILL make a new one soon. Hopefully.

 

If you have the space, try not to rely on a DVD backup on it's own. I think by virtue of what it is, a restore from DVD's probably carries slightly more risk than from a Hard Drive. So have a copy of the Image on another drive or partition. Use the DVD option as a second line of recovery if you can.

 

If anyone adopts this backup method for the first time, please, please, DO NOT take shortcuts to cut down the time of the operation. You just must check all the boxes of whichever application you're using to verify everything.

 

Make sure you verify the completed Image after it's created, and just as important, ocassionally run your Image making software to verify it's continuing integrity.

 

If you hit the situation where you need to restore the Image, the same thing applies, DO NOT shortcut the process to save time. Verify the Image again before you start.

 

And if you've done all that correctly, it shouldn't let you down. If you do a restore, it isn't the quickest operation to carry out, so expect it to take some time as it will be verifying all the data before it actually begins.

 

One other bonus with this type of backup, is that you can usually mount the Image as a drive using the program you made it with, and then explore it like a normal windows folder, and copy/extract any of the data stored there. I've done that quite a lot with mine. Very handy.

 

If anyone following this thread has further questions about this stuff, please jump in regardless of how simple or otherwise your question/s may be. This is stuff everyone should acquaint themselves with, and I'm sure Robbie won't mind this thread wandering slightly from the original "partitioning" question.

 

They go hand in hand really. If you have 1 drive, and partition it, you will then have somewhere to store an Image backup of your Operating System, which could be worth it's weight in gold.

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