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Here's how my hard drive is partitioned:

Recovery Partition 21 GB (primary partition)
C: 101 GB (Primary partition)
D: 141 GB (logical drive)
E: 141 GB (logical drive)
F: 190 GB (logical drive)
SYSTEM: 100 MB (primary partition)

The Recovery Partition is empty, hidden and no letter is being assigned to it. I want to use it to save an image of my current state of Windows. But it is undetectable to any Windows software.

Also, what is the difference between a primary partition and a logical drive?

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4 Answers 4

  • Right-Click "Computer", Click on "Manage" (you need Admin rights for that!) and select "Disk Management" in the right area of the upcomming window.
  • Right-Click your hidden partition and click "Change Drive Letter and Paths..."

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  • Click "Add...", select a drive letter and click "OK" in both of the small windows.

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A primary partition is the a partition on a harddrive. You can create up to four primary partitions. When you want to create more then four partitions, you have to create 3 primary partitions and one extended, which is a workaround to create more partitions. All further partitions created in the extended partitions are called logical drives. Booting is only possible from a primary partition.
See also: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/What-are-partitions-and-logical-drives

Edit: Seems like Windows only allows 3 primary partitions. Might be so to prevent users from creating 4 primary partitions so they don't have to delete one partition to create an extended one. Windows 7 only allows the fourth partition to be an extended partition.

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When you have some partitions hidden to your system, that's because they have the flag "hidden" applied to them.

I use a free application to manipulate all available flags and other disk operations:

MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 7.5

  1. On the list, right click the desirable partition;
  2. Access "Modify";
  3. Click over "Unhide Partition";
  4. On the far left of your toolbar, press "Apply" to save the settings to the disk;

Change Hidden Flag

When finished, you may need to restart the PC to have windows presenting the new partition.

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If you boot with a linux boot disk such as knoppix you can use fdisk(8) to make a partition not hidden.

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For that particular partition, if you don't want to make it always showing up but instead just view it when needed, you can use http://www.coderforlife.com/projects/win7boot/extras/#OpenHiddenSystemDrive which will open that drive in an Explorer window without actually changing the properties of the partition. This program however only finds the "SYSTEM RESERVED" partition (or whatever your language calls it).

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