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Recreating the Dell Recovery Partition on New Hard Drive

Messages
15
#1
I am not sure if this is the right forum for this question. If it is not, please feel free to move it.

My Dell 1525 Inspiron with Vista Home Premium has a bad hard drive and I am getting a new one. I want the new drive to be like the old drive was as it was shipped by the factory.

On the old hard drive there are at least 4 partitions - Recovery (D - FAT32, has the factory image on it), OS (C - NTFS) and MediaDirect. There also is a hidden FAT16 partition with the diagnostic utilities on it and I have the CD that supposedly allows me to recreate that hidden partition on my new hard drive when I get it. But I can't find information about how to recreate the recovery partition.

The MediaDirect partition I can live without. It is apparently in what is called a Host Protected Area and what it allows you to do is to pop in a DVD and watch it on your computer without having to boot Vista. It is a nice feature, but never used on this computer. And I may be able to recreate it from the CDs that came with the computer, but even if I can't, I can live without it.

However, what I cannot figure out how to do is how to recreate the Recovery partition on the new hard drive from the recovery CD. I don't think I can. I can see the recovery partition on the old hard drive and I can boot into DOS from the Recovery CD and access the recovery partition (D). I can use the DOS command robocopy to copy the contents of D: to an external hard drive, then the plan would be to copy it back to the new hard drive. The main things I want to know are:

1) the Recovery partition is FAT32 and the OS partition is NTFS. How will I be able to partition the new hard drive to have both a FAT32 and an NTFS partition?;

2) will robocopy faithfully copy all the contents of the FAT32 recovery partition to an external hard drive formatted in NTFS if I use the /MIR switch?; and

3) if so, will there be any problems copying the contents back to the new hard drive?

Thanks for any input!
 

My Computer

richc46

Staff member
Vista Guru
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Messages
20,105
Location
Fairfield County, CT
#2
There is no need to recreate, exactly, what you had. You can download this free software
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
Make a copy of your HD. Then keep it either on an external HD or on the HD that has the OS (this is not the best way). If you ever have a problem, you can just use the image that you saved.
I said this is not exactly what you had, because it is better. As you add programs etc and make changes, you can update your image. With the recovery partition, you would go back to day one. You have to install and the upadates, files and folders etc. This way everything is right there.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT

richc46

Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
20,105
Location
Fairfield County, CT
#4
Your very welcome. Just for you Harriet, put all your questions together on Macruium; I will get my friend from Seven forums to come and answer them. In my mind he is THE forum expert on Macrium.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT
Messages
15
#5
The only problem I see with this is what if I get a virus and I have imaged the drive with the virus on it and I can't get it off and I need to go back to the factory state as a last resort. Then I would want the factory image restored.

Am I going to be able to partition my new hard drive to have these hidden FAT32 and FAT16 partitions along with an NTFS partition?
 

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richc46

Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
20,105
Location
Fairfield County, CT
#6
Not true you can do what I do.

You are ok now, make an image and put it away.

Then once a month make an image and replace it the following month.

You will always have a good image regardless of what happens.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT
Messages
15
#7
Not true you can do what I do.

You are ok now, make an image and put it away.

Then once a month make an image and replace it the following month.

You will always have a good image regardless of what happens.
That's true, but you have to be on top of things to do that. This machine is owned by a young person (21) who I am helping. The whole reason I got involved was because she never backed her stuff up despite that I told her over and over again she better do it (Grrr!).

I wanted her to at least have a way to get back to the factory image using the hard drive in the laptop in case she lost the external hard drive I am giving her (she loses her cell phone, keys, camera, etc., quite frequently so I have no doubt the external hard drive I am giving her will eventually go missing). I am honestly surprised she has had this computer for 2 years without losing it, lol! I told her when I bought this one for her that this was the last one I was buying for her and she will have to buy her own from now on. So maybe that is why she has been able to keep track of it.

I told her this is the last time I will help her if she doesn't back up her stuff so maybe that will sink in this time, too.
 

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richc46

Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
20,105
Location
Fairfield County, CT
#8
This is even better than the partiton. Make a copy now when you know there are no problems and put it away.
To be honest, thats the only solution that I have.
If she makes a copy, you can keep it for emergency. Im grasping at strawers, but dont think there is a way to do what you want.
You can get a restore DVD for about $25.00. Some companies do not have a restore partition and only give a DVD with the computer.
Wish I could give you more, but thats what I know.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT
Messages
15
#9
Wish I could give you more, but thats what I know.
Thanks, you have been incredibly helpful. For now, I am using robocopy to copy the contents of the recovery partition to an external hard drive. When I get the new hard drive installed, I will see if I can use it to return the system to its factory image. If not, then I will do a clean Vista install and reinstall the drivers and software and then image it using your suggestion.
 

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SIW2

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
2,741
#11
It may be possible to do .

It depends how Dell have set up the partition as to how you would be able to access it from the new HD.

Please post up screenshots of the recovery partition - and it's contents with all the folders expanded - so we can see the files inside.
 

My Computer

System One

  • CPU
    Intel E8400
    Motherboard
    ASRock1333-GLAN R2.0
    Memory
    2gb DDR2 800
    Graphics Card(s)
    nvidia 9500GT 1gb

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