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Asus Partitioning Scheme (5+ partitions). Can anyone explain? Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by rick_deckard, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. rick_deckard

    rick_deckard Newbie

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    I just got my Asus N56vj and all in all, it's a beautiful machine. But as I was starting to install things and have a poke around, I saw that it had FIVE partitions plus 40GB of unallocated space. Among the partitions are TWO recovery partitions. Everything sort of makes sense except the two recovery partitions and the 40GB of unnallocated space. So the partitions look like this:


    1. EFI System Partition - 300 MB - good

    2. Recovery Partition - 600 MB - okay

    3. Labelled "OS (C:)" - 372.6 GB NTFS and listed as Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    4. "Data D:" - 498.84 GB NTFS

    5. 39.06 GB unallocated

    6. 20 GB Recovery Partition

    A few questions/observations

    1. Why two recovery partitions? I've never seen that before. Judging by the sizes (the first one being roughly CD size), I'm guessing that the first one is just the WinRE and the second is all the data required for the restore and Asus is trying to do me a favor by getting that 20GB further out the disk.

    2. Isn't 372 GB rather large for the OS?

    3. The machine ships with all User data on the C: drive. So the theoretical advantage of being able to restore your system without losing your personal data is just that, theoretical, unless you take steps to make sure it stores your Documents, Download, Pictures, Music and so forth to the D: drive. Asus does NOT set this up for you.

    #3 seems crazy to me - I would imagine most users have no clue how to point their Documents folder to the D: drive.

    Anyway, I'm weighing the pluses and minuses of deleting the D: and grabbing that space and the unallocated 39GB and adding them to C:

    The only disadvantage of that is if I do have to do a system restore, it will overwrite all the data. On the other hand, so much (settings etc) is in the AppData I'm inclined to trust to my data backup and just make it all part of the C: drive.

    The main advantage is that I don't have to decide ahead of time how much space to allocate for the OS.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Meaker

    Meaker Company Representative

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    Is the 2nd recovery program linked to an included backup imaging program of your current install as the 600mb partition will only be able to reset your machine to factory defaults?

    But yes it is a bit of a mess and if you can make a set of backup DVDs then it's worth clearing out and using a fresh install.
     
  3. Terpen Tijn

    Terpen Tijn Notebook Consultant

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    My U500VZ has a similar arrangement. More annoying is the fact that AI Recovery does not work on my model, and thus I can't seem to make set of restore DVDs or restore USB stick. Any advice would be most welcome on this.

    BTW #6 is not a "recovery" partition like #2; it is called "restore" partition, suggesting that the actual (600MB) rexovery partition does indeed have some sort of pre-windows environment on it that probably loads when you press F9 at boot (conjecture on my part).

    So this is a function you'd lose when you wipe them. I still think I will... I am not liking this marriage between BIOS and OS/OEM installation much.
     
  4. rick_deckard

    rick_deckard Newbie

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    I wrote a reply a while back and must have not hit save or something.

    Yes, you're right. The 20GB partition is the Restore partition and I guess that's your restore points. The 600MB is presumably the WinRE which can fit on a CD (though when you create a Recovery USB stick it wants at least 16GB).

    Also, the plot thickens. I have been trying to take a disk image and Windows Back (now in Win 8 called something like Windows 7 File Recovery) fails repeatedly, saying there's not enough disk space. It turns out this is because there's not enough space on the SOURCE partition when Shadow Copy is trying to make an unlocked copy on the same partition before copying to the backup disk. I only figured that out because of these two awesome pages:
    - How to fix Error code 0x81000033 when using Windows 7’s Backup and Restore
    - Page Start

    So I fired up Macrium Reflect and it turns out that I don't have 5 partitions plus the unallocated space, I have SIX partitions, one of which does not show up in Disk Management. That partition, sure enough, is 128MB and has no free space on it. That, I think is the one that is messing up Windows Backup. It is listed as an "unformatted primary" partition.

    Normally, as I understand it, Windows 8 should have these partitions in this order:

    - EFI is supposed to be first on the disk (CHECK)
    - System Recovery is supposed to come after EFI and before the first data partition (CHECK)

    But then I have this completely full unformatted 128MB partition.

    THEN I have the first data partition, second data, unallocated space, and the 20GB Restore partition.

    Reflect lets me take a disk image despite this full partition (why can't Windows Backup do this?), and then I can change the partition size and add another 128MB so this doesn't happen anymore (unless this is being cause by USN Journaling as mentioned in the pagestart.com article... in which case presumably it will keep filling up unless I can stop it.

    So it's all very strange, but there it is...
     
  5. Meaker

    Meaker Company Representative

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    Asus really does like to do things its own way :/

    Are you sure that 128MB is not the windows boot area where it stores information on the OSs installed? Is it at the start?

    On SSDs I believe its also used to correctly align the drive.
     
  6. rick_deckard

    rick_deckard Newbie

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    I think it probably is the boot sector. Can't imagine what else it would be.

    No SSD here though - had one on the computer this one replaced, but two hard drive crashes in two months convinced me to bring it back and get the Asus.

    Macrium Reflect says it has 14 more minutes until it has a complete disk image. At that point I'll be a lot more willing to play around with this stuff.
     
  7. Meaker

    Meaker Company Representative

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    It also serves that purpose but it will still be put on a standard HDD, you can expand it if you will have a lot of OSs but otherwise I would not worry and it should be first even for windows 8 IIRC.
     
  8. Terpen Tijn

    Terpen Tijn Notebook Consultant

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    That is strange indeed. On my U500VZ it turned out that Windows 8 was in fact capable of making a backup of the 20GB partition, using it's own "Recovery" wizard. It would only offer the option to do this on a USB stick, though. I have since then re-partitioned the drives (2 RAIDed SSDs underlie my partitions), and now have just the Windows 7 system partition (100MB), the main drive, and 16GB (7.5% IIRC) of unallocated space at the end-- this is for SSD redundancy purposes, most likely.
     
  9. rick_deckard

    rick_deckard Newbie

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    ahh well... I have it sorted with Macrium Reflect, so I guess it's okay. So strange though
     
  10. dcbayl

    dcbayl Newbie

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    Hi! Share who can partition to restore Asus U500VZ
     

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