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My laptop came with Windows 7 Home Premium and I would like to upgrade it to Pro. My questions are:

  • Would the install of Windows 7 Pro affect my recover partition?
  • How does the recovery partition work (how does my system know it is a recovery partition, is it embedded within the windows install or does the partition have some kind of bootstrap)?

I don't think it matters but my laptop is an Asus.

EDIT: By upgrade I mean a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your recovery partition would not be updated, so if you use your laptop's tools to recover, you will have to upgrade to Pro again. In the old days, that would have meant a new install, but for you, you should be able to do an "Anytime Upgrade".

There is some kind of method that it uses to tell you to push a key, which redirects booting to the proper recovery partition.

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i believe those use a modified bootloader of some sort. least the varient lenovo used to use did. – Journeyman Geek Jun 28 '11 at 15:23
I don't want to upgrade it using a tool, I want to install a clean version of windows without any of the preinstalled software found on manufacturers windows installs. I have a purchased copy of Windows 7 Pro and I want to install that version on my laptop but I wand to make sure I can go back to my original install if needed. – Greg Jun 28 '11 at 16:49
@Greg You can certainly do a clean install, and as long as you do not delete that recovery partition during that install, you will be able to go back without issue. That said, I would not call "Anytime Upgrade" an upgrade in the original sense of the how we did things for years. It is much cleaner, just adding the minimum changes to change the OS, rather than a complete upgrade as in the past. It only takes about 10 minutes (depending on download speed), and you are done. – KCotreau Jun 28 '11 at 17:14
@KCotreau If I do an clean install how will I be able to recover from the recovery partition? Asus allows me to backup the recovery on 6 DVDs (it shows how much crap they install with windows) but I hate backing up on DVDs cause they get scratched/lost easily and I cannot find a software that would backup the recovery on a harddrive. The recovery partition is hidden (i can see it in computer management) and it is almost 22GB is size. – Greg Jun 28 '11 at 19:06
@Greg, first you can choose not to make them since you can always download the ISO image and make a new DVD without all the crapware from ASUS. You can get them by searching Google for "Windows 7 ISO" (minus the quotes). You can legally download the media and burn them to disk.… As far as when you actually install, if you do a custom install, you will be able to see the disk and all its partitions. You will be able to delete or not delete any partition. Clearly the most important one to you will be pretty small – KCotreau Jun 28 '11 at 19:21

Would the install of Windows 7 Pro affect my recover partition?

Yes, you will no longer be able to trigger a recovery from that partition using the manufacturer bios keystroke (F11 on a HP)

How does the recovery partition work (how does my system know it is a recovery partition, is it embedded within the windows install or does the partition have some kind of bootstrap)?

Yes it is part of the Custom Master Boot record, when you install W7 (or any other windows OS) from a regular install disc it overwrites the factory custom MBR, breaking the F11 function on a HP, it will break other manufacturers methods also. It can break other bios keystroke functions also, depends on the manufacturer and how they customized their MBR.

Recovery partition is a bootable partition, the recovery process allows the system to boot into that partition rather than the OS partition.

There are work around's for getting the recovery partition to work after the MBR has been changed, it involves marking the recovery partition as "Active" then reboot the PC, it should then boot into the recovery partition, It works on HP's, not sure about other Manufacturers, but it will recover the system back to the original OS from the factory.

Some Manufacturers allow you to make a set of Recovery discs right on the PC, I suggest you investigate this and make them before you install the other OS. These will allow you to restore the PC to exactly like it was when new, custom MBR and all partitions.

Advice, use the Windows Anytime upgrade, this will convert the Home to Pro in minutes without re-install, and will not damage the MBR, be sure to record your anytime upgrade key some place safe, you will need it if you ever recover the PC, as this upgrade will not change the recovery partition to a pro version, you will have to upgrade it again after recovery.

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