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Repartition a Dell that has a hidden partition

by rfcdvc / December 3, 2008 6:01 AM PST

System Info: Dell Dimension 8200 P4 (2Ghz), 512-GB RAM, XP-HOME w/ SP-3, C-drive=75Gb (50-Gb available) Other: Attached 75-GB External USB HDD (50-Gb available).

I would like to repartition my hard drive in such a way that Windows and applications are on one partition and data is on another. I could then make a disk image of this new Windows partition, which would provide me with a quick and fully updated Windows recovery solution in the event of a system catastrophe.

I currently have an NTFS 75-GB C-drive with a hidden partition (no volume name). The hidden partition is listed in the Disk Management console as a basic FAT (EISA configuration), Capacity=31-MB, Free Space=30-MB. I assume from my research that this is a Dell Recovery partition of some sort. I have the Original Dell XP Home Reinstallation CD, and I intend to slipstream a new XP/SP3 setup disk. However, I have been advised that adding further partitions or deleting the hidden partition might have unknown consequences???

What are my options?
Delete the hidden partition, and re-create two appropriately sized new partitions (Windows+Apps, Data)?
Copy the hidden partition to USB external, or to CD/DVD for restoring later?
Create a third partition (Windows+Apps, Data, Hidden Recovery partition)?
Do I even need the hidden partition if I have a current slipstreamed setup disk?

Oh, and one final thing. I've successfully removed all of the pre-installed Dell crapware, and I wouldn't want that all reinstalled if I have to restore from the image. Would the crapware be part the Dell reinstallation CD?

How would you suggest I proceed?

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