Solved Is it safe to delete recovery partitions?

Asus motherboard / P8 z77-v lx2
January 17, 2014 at 10:36:02
Specs: Win 7 home 64 bit, Intel i5 3570

I'm just settling into my first self build computer.

I have a fresh install of windows on a new 500Gb drive.

When the computer was up and running I connected two older drives in order to recover data from them and plan to keep them connected for storage.

This prompted windows (7 Home 64bit) to create two new drives which are both labelled "RECOVERY" and are approx 12Gb in size and do not seem to have any contents (not even hidden files).

I therefore have three questions:

1. Am I correct in thinking that these are partitions created by windows and that they exist on the drive on which windows is installed?

2. Is it safe to delete them, do they serve any useful purpose, why were they created?

3. If I can delete them, what's the best way to go about it?

Thanks for any advice that you can provide.

See More: Is it safe to delete recovery partitions?

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January 17, 2014 at 11:15:58
The Recovery Partition contains files required to rebuild/reset an installation back to how it was when you received it from the factory…Typically you press a key or a couple of keys to activate it when booting up and thus start the whole recovery process.

Not wise to delete that partition if you ever wish to have that option in the future…

They were not created by windows - but rather by the manufacturer (or more correctly whoever created their installation routine for the OS on a mass production scale).

If that partition goes missing (gets deleted etc.) for whatever reason and you wish to run the Recovery routine, usually one can either download an ISO files (from the manufacturer's support area), save to a hard drive, burn it to a DVD (maybe even two…); then use that to start a Recovery routine. Or… some manufacturers will (for a wee fee…) send you a set of discs that will do the same as the ISO download… Usually it's one or the other that most manufacturers offer; seldom both (as far as I know).

So - it is such a small partition (compared to the size of the drive…) - nothing to be gained by deleting it?

Regardless.. even when you have that recovery partition intact (and/or the discs) it's wise to make your own set of discs - once the system is as you would like it to be. Almost all manufacturers encourage that and most provide a means of so doing…

And remember that when you run the recovery routine you will erase all files on the drive at the time; which includes all your personal files etc. (and any applications you may have installed after delivery of the system).

message edited by trvlr

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January 17, 2014 at 11:19:44
This is not a factory PC, I built it myself (my first build) and installed windows 7 from an iso burned DVD.

The hard drive that holds windows was brand new.

So these recovery partitions were not created intentionally. The only "program" on the PC at the time was windows, save for a few motherboard drivers that had been installed.

Also, they appear to be empty.

Does this change your answer?

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January 17, 2014 at 12:20:15
✔ Best Answer
mmm - sorry about not registering the self-build aspect in your post (need gnu eye-glasses…).

I have "never" managed to install any windows OS ('9x up to and including win-7) and have hidden partitions created in the process?

The only thing that comes to mind is that in the past some windows OS created temp partitions/files (and one even created a temp RAM drive) during setup; but deleted them afterwards… I think there was a version of '9x (95-OSR2B?) that did the RAM drive routine?

Where are they located (physically on the drive), and what is their type (primary or extended/logical drives?).

It would seem logical that if they are empty... then no harm to delete them? But ensure of course that they are truly empty first?

However… before posting this response with the above comments… Being a curious type I dun a little trawling via google - and discovered that win-7 (and it seems even Vista - remember that disaster) can create a recovery partition; but not all versions do it…

and this olde Toms Hardware post is very informative too…

This is a learning curve for me - as wasn't at all aware that win-7 was into recovery partitions etc… during setup!

message edited by trvlr

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January 17, 2014 at 13:02:59
The clue here is "...and installed windows 7 from an iso burned DVD." and since MS does not sell their OS as a download, you must have installed it from a recovery download designed for another computer system so it apparently was designed to remake the recovery partition on a new drive. If this is the case, you may not have a legal copy of Windows on your system and probably do not have the correct drivers as well. I see no reason to delete the recovery partition as long as you have the room for it on the drive. If you do decide to delete it, consider making a recovery disk set if you have that option or an image of the drive once everything is set the way you like it. If you have an unregistered installation or it was intended for different hardware, Windows will begin telling you this within about 30 days I believe.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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January 17, 2014 at 13:27:04
Thanks for the replies.

I just became familiar with "Computer Management" in administration tools and now note that each of the recovery drives are present on the two drives I placed in the computer with old data on them. Presumably they were created to help access the data.

I'm in no hurry to delete them and will firstly recover my data safely before I go playing with the partitions to see how it all works.

I'm fairly confident that my copy of windows is legit, I used the .iso file because my previous motherboard was fried by a lightening strike, but my Activation Key is all kosher.

Thanks for the answers though, very helpful as usual.

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January 17, 2014 at 13:46:24
The drives apparently were taken from OEM computers (Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, etc). The Recovery partition is supplied by the OEM as a method to reinstall the OS - they do this rather than supplying a physical disc. From what you've said, they contain no data so either someone deleted the contents or the recovery disk set was created. If you have no intentions of ever reusing them in the original PCs they were removed from, you can safely delete the partitions.

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January 17, 2014 at 14:24:57
The drives were taken from OEM computers, but there was no trace of these drives when they were in those computers. Is it possible that they were hidden?

Also I definitely didn't delete the contents or create the recovery disk set at any stage. I had no idea they existed to be honest.

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January 17, 2014 at 14:44:37
Indeed if the drives were originally in whatever brand of computer (with factory installed OS) then they would likely (as stated earlier) have a recovery partition... It is usually "hidden" - for safety sake...

If someone deleted the contents of them and left the partitions... then obviously they are now redundant. Quite why they didn't also delete the partition(s)...?

The links in response 3 do discuss how win-7 (and Vista too...) can be used to create a recovery partition - within certain limits.

If you have a legit key for the version of the ISO you loaded... (retail key for retail based ISO, or OEM key for an OEM based ISO) then you're fine.

Again - I would recommend you create your own set of recovery disc - just in-case... Win-7 allows this apparently; and then there are utilities too that allow imaging of an installation - which can be restored later if needs-be. I use Acronis to make an image of, clone my windows systems. And there is a similar utility from Easus - amongst others.

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January 17, 2014 at 20:41:06
The contents of the recovery partitions may still be there but are not understandable to the normal OS environment (for good reason) as well as being highly compressed. Delete them if you are not going to use their original computers again.

Recovery disk as far as I know can be made only from factory installations, but Windows can make a drive image for you in the back up section and you also make a Repair Disk at the same time because it is needed to reload the image if it ever becomes necessary. The repair disk has other important uses like being able to do a start up repair and a system restore if the system is not bootable or if the built in system restore becomes corrupted but you still have the restore points on your drive.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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