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Reinstalling Vista and Dell's "unknown" partitions

A

Albédo

#1
Hello from France (again).
I'm upping this because I'm afraid "Timothy Daniels", who started answering my
problem on 06/27, seems to have missed my reply, and this is getting drowned by
now. Kindly forgive me if it is considered unfair or whatever...

"Timothy Daniels" :
| This posting belongs in "alt.sys.pc-clone.dell",
| as it concerns procedures and software
| that is specific to Dell laptops.

I did post there, but to no avail.

| (...) the 2.01GB partition will contain
| the re-installed MediaDirect application
| and its "embedded" OS.

I don't get this: so far, that peculiar volume seems empty (as far as I can
tell, since it can't be accessed in the usual way, like through File manager),
and I'm finished with reinstalling Dell MediaDirect. Do you mean that 2.01 Gb
partition is were the system copies its temporary files when I'm using Dell
MediaDirect? Does that apply both from Vista and without having loaded Vista in
the first place--which seems to be the reason why Dell MediaDirect is made for?)
? If so, if I just delete that partition so as to let C: get the liberated
space, what will happen next time I launch MediaDirect?

I am *very* sincerely grateful for bothering to explain that much, and I hope
you can explain a bit more...
--
a.
 

My Computer

M

Malke

#2
Albédo wrote:

> Hello from France (again).
> I'm upping this because I'm afraid "Timothy Daniels", who started
> answering my problem on 06/27, seems to have missed my reply, and this is
> getting drowned by now. Kindly forgive me if it is considered unfair or
> whatever...
>
> "Timothy Daniels" :
> | This posting belongs in "alt.sys.pc-clone.dell",
> | as it concerns procedures and software
> | that is specific to Dell laptops.
>
> I did post there, but to no avail.
>
> | (...) the 2.01GB partition will contain
> | the re-installed MediaDirect application
> | and its "embedded" OS.
>
> I don't get this: so far, that peculiar volume seems empty (as far as I
> can tell, since it can't be accessed in the usual way, like through File
> manager), and I'm finished with reinstalling Dell MediaDirect. Do you mean
> that 2.01 Gb partition is were the system copies its temporary files when
> I'm using Dell MediaDirect? Does that apply both from Vista and without
> having loaded Vista in the first place--which seems to be the reason why
> Dell MediaDirect is made for?) ? If so, if I just delete that partition so
> as to let C: get the liberated space, what will happen next time I launch
> MediaDirect?
Go to Dell's user forums and post your questions about Dell Media Direct
there. It's a special partition that is used for Dell Media Direct and
there are specific instructions on Dell's site for restoring Dell Media
Direct. This isn't a Windows issue.

You can get to Dell's user forums from here:

http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/

Malke
--
MS-MVP
Elephant Boy Computers - Don't Panic!
FAQ - http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/#FAQ
 

My Computer

A

Albédo

#3
"Malke" :
| (...)
| You can get to Dell's user forums from here:
| http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/

Thanks, I'll try that.
Now I do have a question that's a Windows issue: if I start it all over again,
booting from the Vista DVD (not using Dell's MediaDirect DVD at all) and going
to re-install Vista, do you think all partitions will disappear and I'll get to
create a new C: and D:?
Thanks in advance.
--
a.
 

My Computer

K
#4
if you choose to reformat your drive as part of the install then yes, you
can wipe out the partitions and start over. you could also re-install in an
existing ppartition leaving the d: drive intact. it's up to you.


"Albédo" <ac.albedo@xxxxxx> wrote in message
news:ebDQ6LG3IHA.4484@xxxxxx

> "Malke" :
> | (...)
> | You can get to Dell's user forums from here:
> | http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/
>
> Thanks, I'll try that.
> Now I do have a question that's a Windows issue: if I start it all over
> again,
> booting from the Vista DVD (not using Dell's MediaDirect DVD at all) and
> going
> to re-install Vista, do you think all partitions will disappear and I'll
> get to
> create a new C: and D:?
> Thanks in advance.
> --
> a.
>
>
 

My Computer

C

Colin Barnhorst

#5
Is the dvd a standard retail dvd or a recovery dvd? A recovery dvd will
simply restore the computer to factory condition.

"Albédo" <ac.albedo@xxxxxx> wrote in message
news:ebDQ6LG3IHA.4484@xxxxxx

> "Malke" :
> | (...)
> | You can get to Dell's user forums from here:
> | http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/
>
> Thanks, I'll try that.
> Now I do have a question that's a Windows issue: if I start it all over
> again,
> booting from the Vista DVD (not using Dell's MediaDirect DVD at all) and
> going
> to re-install Vista, do you think all partitions will disappear and I'll
> get to
> create a new C: and D:?
> Thanks in advance.
> --
> a.
>
>
 

My Computer

T

Timothy Daniels

#6
No, Dell provides a real installation DVD that re-installs Vista.
Dell also provides a DVD that contains the necessary drivers
plus the diagnostic utilities.

*TimDaniels*

"Colin Barnhorst" asked:

> Is the dvd a standard retail dvd or a recovery dvd? A recovery dvd will
> simply restore the computer to factory condition.
>
> "Albédo" wrote:

>> "Malke" :
>> | (...)
>> | You can get to Dell's user forums from here:
>> | http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/
>>
>> Thanks, I'll try that.
>> Now I do have a question that's a Windows issue: if I start it all over
>> again,
>> booting from the Vista DVD (not using Dell's MediaDirect DVD at all) and
>> going
>> to re-install Vista, do you think all partitions will disappear and I'll get
>> to
>> create a new C: and D:?
>> Thanks in advance.
>> --
>> a.
>>
>>
>
 

My Computer

T

Timothy Daniels

#7
The MediaDirect manual for v. 3.5 says that the MediaDirect
reinstallation DVD is used twice. The first time, it is booted
by the BIOS, and the small (3GB for v. 3.5) MediaDirect logical
drive is made having type code dd(hex) within an Extended
partition that is at the very end of the hard drive. A Primary
partition of about 78MB is made which contains the diagnostic
utilities is put at the front of the hard drive, and you are given a
choice of making all the unallocatted space between those two
partitions to be one big C: partition or a C: partition and a D:
partition.

Then, you remove the MediaDirect DVD and insert the Vista
installation DVD and boot that up and install Vista, and then
remove the Vista DVD. Then start Vista, and when it is running,
insert the MediaDirect DVD again, and let Vista start it up and
let it reinstall MediaDirect into the type dd(hex) logical drive and
do whatever else it must do to install the code that runs as a
result of pressing the button with the "house" icon.

The MediaDirect logical drive contains a small OS which runs
MediaDirect in normal operation so that Vista is not needed
when viewing DVD movies, etc., and the security risk of having
a running OS is not incurred. Whether the code for MediaDirect
(as an application) resides in the MediaDirect logical drive or in
the C: partition, I don't know, but the MediaDirect application
also resides in the C: partition and it can also be run from Vista,
so it may reside in one or both locations.

When there is no partitions of type dd(hex) to be found by the
MediaDirect startup code, processing does not progress beyond
the MediaDirect splash screen, and you can shut the laptop down
and restart it by using the power button.

What I would do (and what I plan to do) is to leave out the Media-
Direct app until Dell releases versionn 4.0 of MediaDirect, which
has been designed to be less brittle and more user friendly in its
reinstallation procedure and in its tolerance for additional partitions
(such as for Linux and/or XP). Just allocate partitions without any
use of the MediaDirect DVD just as if it didn't exist. To do that,
I'm using Gparted from a USB "thumb" drive, and it all works OK
so far. Whether the eventual v. 4.0 of MediaDirect will work with
pre-Vista partitions is something that is not yet known. It may
comfort you to know that the predominate feeling among Dell laptop
owners who add partitions (such as for dual-booting) is that
MediaDirect is just junk and should be discarded.

*TimDaniels*

"Albédo" wrote:

> [......]
> "Timothy Daniels" wrote:
> | (...) the 2.01GB partition will contain
> | the re-installed MediaDirect application
> | and its "embedded" OS.
>
> I don't get this: so far, that peculiar volume seems empty (as far as I can
> tell, since it can't be accessed in the usual way, like through File manager),
> and I'm finished with reinstalling Dell MediaDirect. Do you mean that 2.01 Gb
> partition is were the system copies its temporary files when I'm using Dell
> MediaDirect? Does that apply both from Vista and without having loaded Vista
> in
> the first place--which seems to be the reason why Dell MediaDirect is made
> for?)
> ? If so, if I just delete that partition so as to let C: get the liberated
> space, what will happen next time I launch MediaDirect?
>
> I am *very* sincerely grateful for bothering to explain that much, and I hope
> you can explain a bit more...
> --
> a.
>
>
 

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A

Albédo

#8
"Timothy Daniels" :
| The MediaDirect manual for v. 3.5
| says (...)

Yes, I found the information in a flyer that came with the machine and did just
what you describe. I still don't quite understand where the unnamed, 2.01 Gb
partition came from though...

| (...) It may comfort you to know that
| the predominate feeling among Dell laptop
| owners who add partitions (such as for dual-booting)
| is that MediaDirect is just junk and should be discarded.

That is *just* what I was hoping to read. Since I just reinstalled the whole
thing and haven't done much more with it up to now, I guess I'm going to install
once more, skipping the whole DMD step(s), and have some Vista resident program
read my DVDs instead.
I am grateful, Tim, that you bothered to resume the thread, as I went to that
other forum you suggested but never got any answer.
So my Frenchiest thanks again!
--
a.
 

My Computer

T

Timothy Daniels

#9
"Albédo" wrote:

> "Timothy Daniels" :
> | The MediaDirect manual for v. 3.5
> | says (...)
>
> Yes, I found the information in a flyer that came with the machine
> and did just what you describe. I still don't quite understand where
> the unnamed, 2.01 Gb partition came from though...
The small MD partition is made during the 1st use of the MD
reinstallation DVD, when the utility and main Vista partitions are
made. The MD reinstallation DVD is necessary to do this (I believe)
because nothing else short of a hex editor could make a partition
having hex DD as its type code (this is a partition type that is
proprietary to Dell). During this time, the startup code that passes
control to start the MD OS in the small DDh partition is also probably
set up. Whether the code for that small OS is inserted into the DDh
partition at this time, I don't know, but whatever is done happens quickly.
Later, after Vista has been installed, the code for the MD app can be
inserted into wherever it resides - in the Vista file structure and/or in the
DDh partition's file structure.


> | (...) It may comfort you to know that
> | the predominate feeling among Dell laptop
> | owners who add partitions (such as for dual-booting)
> | is that MediaDirect is just junk and should be discarded.
>
> That is *just* what I was hoping to read.

MediaDirect is a "product differentiation" feature that is meant to
make Dell laptops different from other manufacturers' laptops by
providing a pleasant way to enjoy media while visiting friends or
while sitting on a long airplane flight and not have all your private
documents exposed by a running Vista. But to anyone doing
anything "interesting" with their laptops, MediaDirect has been a
serious pain in the butt - to both owners and to Dell. A Dell tech
rep even told me to just dump it because it's nearly worthless. He
said that if I wanted watch a DVD movie, to just run it under Vista.
And that is why Dell has funded the effort to revise MediaDirect
so that it doesn't require a complete rebuild of the entire hard disk
in order to reinstall it and to maintain that differentiation feature.
That should come with version 4.0, and I won't do anything about
reinstalling MediaDirect until 4.0 is released.

*TimDaniels*
 

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A

Albédo

#10
"Timothy Daniels" :
| (...) to anyone doing anything "interesting"
| with their laptops, MediaDirect has been
| a serious pain in the butt (...)

....and it still is: I just decided to go through a whole Vista installation
again--*without* of course using the DMD DVD at all-- and here I find that the
smaller, 47 Mb partition that was created the other day (when I installed by
brand new hard disk using the DMD DVD) is *still* there, and Vista can't seem to
make it go. This volume (which I simply cannot use at all but which, though it
is unnamed, uses up one of the three volume Vista allows) is stuck on my
yesterday-brand new hard disk. >:-(
Would you think there is any way I can get rid of it, please?
Thanks again--and possibly in advance, once more.
--
a.
 

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T

Timothy Daniels

#11
"Albédo" wrote:

> I just decided to go through a whole Vista installation
> again--*without* of course using the DMD DVD at all--
> and here I find that the smaller, 47 Mb partition that was
> created the other day (when I installed by brand new
> hard disk using the DMD DVD) is *still* there, and Vista
> can't seem to make it go. This volume (which I simply
> cannot use at all but which, though it is unnamed, uses up
> one of the three volume Vista allows) is stuck on my
> yesterday-brand new hard disk. >:-(
> Would you think there is any way I can get rid of it, please?

Now that is really strange - Vista cannot delete a Primary
partition that was made by the MediaDirect reinstallation DVD.
This is even stranger: The Extended partition which contains
the MediaDirect OS as it comes from Dell has the new Vista
2,048-sector offset for its contained logical drive, as revealed
by Cute Partition Manager (a free software). But the Extended
partition as made by the MediaDirect DVD does NOT have the
2,048-sector offset. (See this webpage for details on the new
Vista partitioning rules: http://www.multibooters.co.uk/partitions.html .)
But the Primary partitions (utility, system restore, and Vista) do not
have the 2,048-sector offset as they arrive from Dell, so there is an
inconsistency in the partitioning rules on the hard drive from Dell.

This has led me to follow the advice of others in the various
web forums - just delete all the partitions and re-create whatever
partitions I need with a pre-Vista partition editor. I happen to use
Gparted, a popular partition editor and manager in the Linux world.
It is free software, and it can be downloaded to make a live CD or
a live USB "thumb drive". This approach works because Vista is
happy to use pre-Vista partitions as well as those of its own
creation.

So if you can't get rid of the small utility Primary partition, try
Gparted or some other 3rd-party utility, such as BootItNG, and
then either leave that area unallocated, or delete the Vista partition
and re-create it to include the unallocated area. Gparted and
BootItNG also allow you to "slide" or "extend" the Vista partition
down into the unallocated area, but "slide" and "extend down"
operations are considered risky, and in the case of Gparted, it
may take hours to do. What I did in preparation for my experi-
ments was to use a Casper live CD to make a clone of the original
Vista partition onto an external eSATA hard drive. In doing the
transfer, I also directed Casper to fit the original's 135GBs into
a 20GB partition on the eSATA drive. Casper was able to do
this (without any compression) because most of the Vista partition
was empty and contained no data. Then, with only 20GB to
transfer, I have been able to easily re-clone the Vista partition to
wherever I want on the original hard drive without having to re-
install it there. The only "touchups" needed after a re-cloning has
been to fix the BCD with "bootrec /rebuildbcd" from the Vista
Repair Console's command prompt in the Vista installation DVD,
and to set the Vista partition's "active" flag by using the Gparted
partition editor. (Gparted calls the "active" flag the "boot" flag.)

*TimDaniels*
 

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A

Albédo

#12
"Timothy Daniels" :
| (...)
| *TimDaniels*

Thanks for all this, Tim. I'll try whaterver I can. To this point, I dont' mind
reinstalling, as I only got started (all over again, I mean). I went to Dell forums, but--for some reason--the bots send me complaints about
my posts, their tone and language. I guess "Boy I wante to write to state how
happy I am with Dell and its wonderous MediaDirect thing" is what is expected
there.

>sighs again<
Thanks to you, Tim, I finally understood DMD is just what I don't need.
--
a.
 

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A

Albédo

#13
"Timothy Daniels" :
| (...) Keep watching the Dell Linux blog site

I don't think you ever mentioned that place before, you just directed me to
alt.sys.pc-clone.dell; where can that site be found, please?
A big thank you for your attention, Tim.
--
a.
 

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