Solved Self-propagating partitions in Win 10 ?

December 13, 2017 at 03:51:50
Specs: several
Newish HP notebook computer with Windows 10.

I'm fairly sure there were only two or maybe three
partitions on the computer when I first got it. Now
Windows Disk Management shows four partitions,
one of them ( RECOVERY (D:) ) twice. Here is a link
to the screenshot I put on FileConvoy. It will remain
there for 10 days:

http://www.fileconvoy.com/dfl.php?i...

What are each of those? Why are there two different
recovery partitions, and why does D: appear twice?
Did I cause this when I reinstalled Windows?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
December 13, 2017 at 13:01:24
Jeff Root: What are each of those?
In order:
- Boot loader partition
- Main partition
- Windows recovery partition
- OEM recovery partition

Jeff Root: Why are there two different recovery partitions
Because OEM's restore and Microsoft's restore are two separate things.

Jeff Root: why does D: appear twice?
So long as this is the only place it's shown, it's a known graphical bug. Not sure what causes it, but no one fixes it because it doesn't harm anything, and it's relegated to a tool few ever use.

Jeff Root: Did I cause this when I reinstalled Windows?
Depends. The recovery partition could have appeared after you applied one of the major Win10 patches. The rest were probably there from the start.

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#2
December 14, 2017 at 16:24:05
I used a rather old Ubuntu disk (Karmic Koala) to view
the partitions, and it found not four but five!

273 MB filesystem - FAT 32 - EFI system partition
17 MB Unrecognized - unknown - Microsoft Reserved Partition
Windows - 980 GB NTFS - Basic data partition
Windows RE tools - 1.0 GB NTFS - Basic data partition - MBR Partition Scheme
RECOVERY - 18 GB NTFS - Basic data partition

The last two were marked "required/firmware".
All these numbers are slightly higher than those in the Windows
Disk Management thingie, due to 1 kB = 1000 vs 1 kB = 1024.
(Don't confuse the 17 MB unrecognized partition with the 17 GB
RECOVERY partition, or confuse the 980 MB Windows recovery
partition with the 980 GB main Windows partition.)

273 MB is small compared to the overall 1 TB size of the drive,
but why is the boot loader partition that large? Windows says
it is 100% free, meaning it is empty, or nearly so. 273 MB is
more than 8,000 times as large as the entire operating system
of my first computer (a Commodore).

I take it that the 1 GB Windows recovery partition, labeled
"Windows RE tools" in Ubuntu, is the partition which contains
all the packed files to install Windows.

What does HP's "RECOVERY" partition contain?

Windows and/or HP won't let me look at the contents of any
of the partitions except C:. How can I pry them open?

Any guess what the 17 MB "unrecognized" partition might
contain or where it came from, or why it showed up with
Ubuntu but not Windows?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#3
December 14, 2017 at 19:19:17
✔ Best Answer
Jeff Root: All these numbers are slightly higher than those in the Windows Disk Management thingie, due to 1 kB = 1000 vs 1 kB = 1024.
Oh, wow. Occasionally there's a push to have Microsoft relabel sizes as KiB. MS doesn't and says it's because no one cares. Turns out they're right, since all 8 of them went off to make Linux tools instead. Also: https://xkcd.com/394/

Jeff Root: why is the boot loader partition that large?
*shrug* It used to be 100MB, which is the minimum allowed size for the UEFI standard. I read there was some third party that went off and started storing their junk there, filling up the volume and causing Windows issues. That probably had something to do with it.

Jeff Root: 273 MB is more than 8,000 times as large as the entire operating system of my first computer
Is this the start of one of those, "Back in *my* day, disks were floppy," rants?

Jeff Root: I take it that the 1 GB Windows recovery partition, labeled "Windows RE tools" in Ubuntu, is the partition which contains all the packed files to install Windows.
Correct! ("RE" stands for "recovery")

Jeff Root: What does HP's "RECOVERY" partition contain?
Don't know; do a factory restore and find out!*

*) Warning: The cost of acquiring knowledge varies, and such acquisition could be costly indeed.

Jeff Root: How can I pry them open?
DISKPART, from an admin CMD or PowerShell, can assign (and remove) drive letters to those partitions. Win10's Explorer refuses to browse the EFI partition, but you can poke around with CMD or PowerShell instead.

Jeff Root:
Any guess what the 17 MB "unrecognized" partition might contain or where it came from, or why it showed up with Ubuntu but not Windows?

It's just a chunk of reserved space, in case you ever convert the drive to a dynamic disk. If you do, it'll hold the data that makes the disk dynamic. I remember it used to be 10 MB, but got upped to 16 MB with Win10. Windows used to show it as unpartitioned space, but they've since hidden it. Just part of the continuing effort to hide things from the user.

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#4
December 14, 2017 at 23:55:55
Thank you, Razor! Lots of good stuff in both replies!*

*Including in the footnote.

Although I have boxes and boxes full of floppy disks, my
thing is mainly comparison of the size of current operating
systems to the size of my Commodore's OS. Like one time
I determined that more than half of the content of all
Windows OS files is zeros. Padding. I figured a then-new
computer could do 4 times as much as my Commodore,
with an operating system 4,000 times as large.

I note that the 273 MB of the boot loader partition is more
than twice the installed size of Windows 98.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root


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