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My new Dell XPS 15 L521X just arrived. I need to set this up to dual boot Linux. Sadly, the system comes with four primary partitions. I can't do a clean install at the moment, so one of the partitions will have to be deleted before I can install Linux. The layout is as follows:

OEM: 39mb
Hibernation: 8gb
OS: 457gb
Recovery: 12gb

Obviously, I can't delete the Hibernation and OS partitions (will shrink to make space for Linux) and I'd like to keep the recovery partition if possible. So my question is what is on the small OEM partition? What functionality will I lose if I delete it?

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Will 39MB even make a functional difference regarding your end goal? – EBGreen Aug 1 '12 at 15:56
It's not about the space. Apparently all four possible partitions are already used. – Marco Aug 1 '12 at 15:57
Sadly, this question has been closed when it is not a duplicate and the links above do not answer my question. The moderators are making assumptions about my needs because I added some context. Please ignore the linux installation discussion. I do not have any questions about primary vs extended partitions. My question is simply: "What is on the new Dell XPS OEM partition (39mb) and is it safe to delete?" I think it just contains hardware diagnostics but I'm not sure. Hopefully, the moderators will re-open the question. – timepilot Aug 1 '12 at 16:50
To avoid such issues the moment I get a new laptop, the first that I do is delete all partitions and repartition the disk based on my requirements. Then reinstall the OS from the recovery disc that is provided with the laptop. – Shivaranjan Aug 1 '12 at 18:07
up vote 4 down vote accepted

That OEM partition you're looking at is most likely the Dell Utility Partition. It essentially contains a diagnostic suite that you can access via the BIOS. It's not at all required for recovery or a factory restore, and you can download the same exact utilities from Dell's website and put them on a CD if you need them. Therefore, I'd say it's completely safe to delete it.

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I'm uncertain that the Utility Partition is unused during recovery, but it's been a long time since I've had experience with Dell. I only mention as a caution and I'd recommend creating a full drive image as a backup before doing anything. – jhayes Aug 1 '12 at 16:04
Thx guys ... this is exactly the kind of answer/discussion I'm looking for. – timepilot Aug 1 '12 at 16:53
@jhayes The answer isn't meant to say the Utility Partition is not useful for recovery, or not used by Dell for recovery. It's meant to say it's not required for recovery. System recovery can be performed with third-party tools outside of the Utility Partition, just as well as (if not better than) with the tools that are pre-installed there. The tools are just there to help facilitate end-user support - generally a moot issue for power users of the kind who would be installing multiple OS's. – Iszi Aug 1 '12 at 17:33
Before deleting any partition, the OP should use a utility to determine which partition is marked as the active partition. If this OEM partition is also MS's System Reserved partition, then he's in for a nasty surprise. – sawdust Aug 1 '12 at 22:56

Yes - but make sure you use the tools to make recovery DVD or USB stick. I just recently got a XPS 8500 and did this after making the recovery stick, I wanted to boot from SSD so it was also a good time to verify the recovery stick made from the DELL utility would also install windows back to the default - it did.

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It's not safe to delete OEM partition because it contains your OS image file. You won't be able to reset your system back to the initial state after deleting the partition, so it's better to keep the partition.

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