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Is it even possible?

Example: many new computers come with a built-in application which prompts the user to burn CD/DVD recovery discs as a way to back-up their operating system in the event of a hard drive crash/replacement (out of warranty, of course).

However, even though these discs are being created from a partition on the drive, because this partition is "hidden" (no drive letter assigned- & resists a letter being assigned), I can't seem to find a way to back up this image to an external drive - rather than to 4-6 DVD's. In addition, assuming you can do this, would it be possible to launch the recovery from the external drive afterwards- if so, how?


asked Aug 13 '12 at 07:23

geekomatic's gravatar image


they are not hidden and the partitions are not asigned letters on the windows partition gives them names backup and recovery most have 2 only one can be deleted the smallest one that is just about 1gb is the boot record delete that and windows wont boot up no more .. they are only not visable in the my computer panel as they are by default set as Hidden like hidden files so they wont accidentily be removed they are your only legal back up of window and recovery ..

just a reminder you the recovery partition will only allow you to make 2 copies so once you have done that you can delete it ..

if you go to any partition program they show up they can be deleted and the volume can be expanded to pull the space together ..

you can delete the recovery and or back up partition no problem the small paprtition that seems pointless is the key dont remove that one unless you are planning on installing linux nand removing windows

answered Aug 13 '12 at 08:03

jadtechnic's gravatar image


I think he's referring to the OEM partitions that reset to factory install.

(Aug 13 '12 at 08:27) ClosetFuturist ClosetFuturist's gravatar image

yes they are called different things and you need to be aware there is more then one hidden partition :)

not all can be removed

all had drive today come with 3 partitions some come witha 4th HP good exsample HP loads there tools one a 4th drive you can only have 4 main drives on a a hard drive there for the drives are locked from adding any other partitions for dual booting .. linux boards are very loaded with people who buy or own HP and a few others trying to add Linux finding it cant be done :)

spent several years on the Ubuntu forums helping people untangle some of the wickedest evil messes to get Ubuntu installed and working still go there now and again but the help forums can eat you alive after a while you need to go away no one understands yes it is your computer you bought it you should be able to do anything you want with it how ever Microsoft disagrees and is trhying everything it can to make useing anything but window impossible the farther they fall from #1 and profits the worse it gets ..

though microsoft is not the only one some OEM's are moving in the same direction in ways ..

(Aug 13 '12 at 08:51) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image

It's not a bad way to go especially for IT because they can be set up in bulk. They can be removed with cleaning tools but it's gotten time consuming with the larger disks. They remove the entire logical format and write the disk to all zeros. You can imagine how long it would take to write hundreds of gigs of zeros. Since there's no much resale value and they can be destroyed in a couple of seconds; cleaning tools are impractical and overlooked.

(Aug 13 '12 at 09:30) ClosetFuturist ClosetFuturist's gravatar image

I appreciate your concurring that there is/are, indeed, hidden partition(s)- but my query remains:

Is it somehow possible to save this out (in a usable, bootable form) to external HDD vs. a bunch of CD/DVD's?


answered Aug 13 '12 at 11:51

geekomatic's gravatar image


yes it is :)

that was the whole point JUST MAKE SURE >you dont not delete or remove the partition with the BOOT MANAGER !!!

move it any wherI recemend you use external drive since it would take like 40 CD's to make the win7 back up image since they dont not always work you need to make 2 or more copies ..

(Aug 13 '12 at 12:00) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image

you can backup any type of partition to an external drive, If you have no other info on it or are able to backup the data (as there is a risk of data loss)

you can partition the external drive to have some unallocated space, after which, you can use a program such as gparted to copy over the hidden partition.

Another option that is easier (though not really free), is yo use a program such as acronis true image to backup the partition. The benefit of acronis is it saves the backup as a single compressed file (though proprietary format) and can be easily restored (no repartitioning needed)

I have done backups of factory restore partitions many times with no problem.

(I mainly do it for SSD upgrades since you cant simply copy over the entire drive, if you do, the partitions will not be aligned properly so instead, you must partition the SSD to have enough space for a windows install (4K aligned), then add the recovery partition later.

You can then do a full backup of the SSD and keep the alignment, then test if the factory restore works and if it does then you can restore the backup you made and be happy that you have done a full SSD transfer properly. (PS some computers, eg some HP's will not handle SSD transfer very well, their recoveries sometimes expect a certain size so unless you match the set of sized that the company offers,the recovery will not work (in that case, you need to make your own custom restore disk).

So for a simple rundown to backup a hidden recovery partition

1: backup the data on an external drive or what ever HDD that you have

2: resize the main partition to leave enough space + an extra 500MB or so to make sure there are no problems.

3: use gparted to copy over the recovery partition

4: you are done, if you need to restore that partition, simply use gpaerted to copy over the backup and make sure it is in the same place.

(Ihis only works if you have a bios option for recovery, if a bootloader is used for a recovery then the data needed to boot into recovery is stored in the primary partition (meaning you have to backup both the primary partition and the hidden one, then copy both over to run the restore)

answered Aug 13 '12 at 13:08

Razor512's gravatar image


The disk tools for Seagate-Maxtor and Western Digital are both flavors of Acronis, free and probably usable.

(Aug 13 '12 at 13:27) ClosetFuturist ClosetFuturist's gravatar image

do make the recovery cd before you try any of this :)

even though removing this to dvd and external drives is common does not make it any-less a risky the system still could crash during the move the recovery cd assures you have a way to boot into recovery mode ...

in the unlikely chance you mess up wrost case you may one day find you need to by a new full version of win7 or recovery cd :)

if the worst does happen and window is gone , you can alway install ubuntu for free :)

(Aug 13 '12 at 13:34) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image

No go...Gparted cannot move it for some reason. There are other partitions on this laptop drive- and any one of those can be copied. The one I want (I'm assuming is a recovery partition @ 2.75GB, end of the drive), when chosen, does not have the option to copy. I'm just trying to copy it off to my external HDD. I'm running 8 right now- but I'm undecided what I want to do after the trial period is done (still leaning towards Mint). I just figured I may as well have the original OS as a fallback.

I thought I'd used Gparted before & it wouldn't do it- but I tried the newest download just to see.

Any other thoughts?


answered Aug 17 '12 at 08:09

geekomatic's gravatar image


you can make a copy of the recovery right form windows infact it is set to allow you to make 2 CDs after that it locks up cant use it no more..


make 2 cds then just wipe the partition it of no use ..

(Aug 17 '12 at 10:21) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image

Find out what company makes your HDD and use their disk utility.

(Aug 17 '12 at 11:23) ClosetFuturist ClosetFuturist's gravatar image

the 2.75 gb partition is nothing but the recovery you can make 2 copys of ..

the window back up partition will be 40GB or larger depending on the software the manufaturer loaded on it :)

this is goingto be this is what many with the new tablets coming out will have issues with they are clearly going to be cloud driven , they will be coming I am hear none are plaining to come out with Drives of over 32GB and yet will sport a full version of windows 8 not only will it just have os and little room for anything else apparently there will be no back up as with out a doubrer it would require more then 32gb of space just for that..

(Aug 17 '12 at 11:54) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image
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Asked: Aug 13 '12 at 07:23

Seen: 29,755 times

Last updated: Aug 17 '12 at 12:00