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  1. #1

    Dual Booting - The Quest for Hidden Partitions.......

    Hey everyone,

    Bit of a convaluted question I'm afraid......

    I'm using a Packard Bell Easynote Laptop. It came preinstalled with Windows XP. Having tired of the numerous Windows related problems, I decided to install FC3. Using "Partition Magic", I formated the 40gig hard disk, allowing 17gig for a fat partiition, (FC3) and 17gig for a ntfs partition, (I wanted to dual boot with Windows).

    The other sector of the hard disk was taken up with a "hidden" partition. This is where, using the Packard Bell recovery disk, you can "rescue" the system; it contains various bits and pieces which reinstall Windows XP with all the relavent hardware drivers.

    My problem is thus; I used an XP pro disk to install Windows on the ntfs partitiion. As we can expect, Windows has subsequently developed countless IRQ conflicts as a result of using incorrect drivers etc for my laptop hardware. I now want to use the Packard Bell recovery disk to install a clean XP with all of the "factory" setting drivers.

    I'm finding it hard to correctly boot with the recovery cd. It's telling me to "Insert Master disk A". I was wondering whether there is a way to burn nessecary files from the "hidden" partition to a CD and then boot from that. I've mounted the partition, and there's about 100megs of stuff in there.......

    Long and convaluted I know, but I really appreciiate the time you've spent trawling through this and any subsequent time you spend advising me when and where you can!!

    Thanks again.


  2. #2
    YES!!! There is a way, BUT you have to be careful!!!

    Instructions PART 1:
    (1) Insert Linux disc and boot into either rescue mode or command mode.
    (2) run fdisk, cfdisk, sfdisk, or parted. Check to see what partitions show up then.
    (3) mount the partition you think is the rescue partition.
    (4) enter
    ls -a /mountpoint
    where mountpoint is the folder you created temporarily with 'mkdir'.
    (5) enter
    df -h
    to see how big it is.
    (6) unmount with

    If the size of the partition is less than 4.7 GB, then it (the whole thing), can be burned to a DVD. If not, then if you have a little flash drive, then you may be able to copy the necessary files that way.

    Remember that Linux can recognize over FORTY different disk types (that includes the "hidden" partitions! ). Oh, and in Linux, guess what: The partition "hidden" in Windows, the one that is untouchable? If it shows up as 'CP/M' type (remember to use fdisk, cfdisk, sfdisk, or parted, to view the information), it will not be hidden in Linux, because Linux needs to know how to see it, or more precisely, where to put it.

    Anyway, to burn it to a DVD, if you have a portable USB HDD, do the following:
    (1) Set up Linux on that USB HDD, and segment out a 10 GB Primary partition of type FAT32 (be sure it is this, because that way the computer can read the files from all over).
    (2) Mount the partitions (yes, even the hidden), as names you will remember. Mounting does not harm the partitions whatsoever, it just tells Linux what folders or directories they are to be called on your computer.
    (3) When done, restart the system and boot into Linux.
    (4) Start the X Window system.
    (5) Be sure that the file programs are set up to reveal hiddencfiles and backup files (Linux has those files marked beginning with dots at the beginning of their names).
    (6) Go to the folder containing the "hidden" drive.
    (7) Select all of those files.
    ( Copy them to the primary 10GB FAT32 Partition. (Linux will copy them just fine, or they should copy just fine).
    (9) Reboot, or try to burn the partition copied to a DVD.

    See, with Linux, you can actually prepare them for burning in Windows, because where Windows may hide the partition, Linux sees it as a workingt disc partition, needing a place where you can see what goes on.

    Now, if Linux can not recognize the partition, then I am not sure what to do. You may have to call the company.

    There is one piece of advice I can give to help: Dell, and possibly Hewlett-Packard (HP), may use the file system type CP/M (also sometimes referred to as VFAT).

    I hope this helps, because the hidden partitions may have tricky sequences that require you to press, when it may be possible to select that partition at boot time to restore the system.

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