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Strange unlabeled HD partitions

by Phaedrus76 / September 17, 2009 6:46 PM PDT

I happened to look at Windows disk management and got a bit of a shock. While my main C Drive partition is considered "healthy" (it's NTFS format) I have two ghost partitions with no drive letters that are also healthy but will not let me know what they actually are. One of them is the "EISA Configuration" partition I've read up on- since my computer is a Dell I assume it's there for the same reason it's there on everyone else's computer (though nobody seems entirely sure, even now, what that reason is.) The loss of 47 unaccounted-for MB in that case isn't a big deal to me, but more perplexing is the OTHER unlabeled partition (called, "unknown partition") that I've found. This one, a FAT32 partition, represents 4.63GB of space- and most of it is filled, with the exception of 682MB- a whopping 86%. That to me is a little more serious, and I'd love to know just WHAT this is- but the only option I get from the right-click menu is "delete partition" and the perfectly useless "help." Does anyone have any idea what this might be, or better yet, no a program that will actually let me look into the drive?

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Re: partition.
by Kees Bakker / September 17, 2009 7:02 PM PDT

I think it's the recovery partition with the information that's needed if you press f12 - recover to factory conditions.


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How do I know?
by Phaedrus76 / September 20, 2009 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: partition.

Like I asked, is there any program I can use to find out for sure? Since I have all my install disks I don't really see the need to have 4 GB sitting around doing nothing. I'd just as soon delete it.

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To me, you confirmed it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 20, 2009 9:45 AM PDT
In reply to: How do I know?

4GB is about right. But tell me how many copies of your restore media you have. I find many have "the one."

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At last count
by Phaedrus76 / September 20, 2009 10:33 AM PDT

I have two backup copies along with the original disks. To be frank, if my four-year-old computer has a problem requiring a complete reformat I'll probably end up moving on to a new computer at that point. There comes a point where diminishing returns becomes a factor.

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Those are the Dell OEM Partitons
by TheOutcaste / September 22, 2009 10:35 AM PDT

The 47 MB one is the Dell Diagnostics, the 4.63 GB one contains the ghost images used to restore the system to Factory Defaults. Your User Guide explains how to use them, but not how to view the files inside.

You can use Test Disk ( to change the partition type bytes to the standard ones for a FAT partition for the 47 MB one, and FAT32 for the 4.63 GB one. Note them down if you want to restore them.

Once you've set the partition type byte, you can right click the partition and assign a drive letter and browse the files.
Dell provides a tool to remove the Recovery partition. Look in C:\Dell\Utilities\DSR
I don't know if this also removes the Diagnostic Tools partition.

You can also image the partitions with something like Acronis True Home, and then mount and browse the image files

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by Phaedrus76 / September 26, 2009 8:17 AM PDT

Thanks- that's a great help. I may go ahead and back up the partition to disk now that you've given me a way to take a look before I delete it!

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