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I have a Dell laptop dual-booting to Windows 7 and Linux. I have through my own stupidity royally stuffed the Windows partition.

I have the set of recovery DVDs that I created when I first got the laptop, and I've successfully booted from them in a VirtualBox VM and ended up with a fresh (albeit virtualised) installation of Windows 7.

When I started the recovery process, there was mention of other partitions being preserved, but it was unclear as to whether non-NTFS partitions would survive the process.

The question is: can I run the recovery procedure without risking my Linux partition?

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It really depends on the layout of the partitions of the recovery image. Without that information we can't predict what might happen. –  Ramhound Jun 25 '13 at 15:57
    
What about posing your problem to Dell support? –  mdpc Jun 25 '13 at 16:57
    
I did ask Dell, but got a vague 'well it should work, but we don't support that configuration, so who knows?'. I was hoping someone here might have had a go :) –  Flup Jun 25 '13 at 17:28
    
As for layout, they were created as part of the laptop's setup procedure when I first switched it on, which I presume is Dell-specific. –  Flup Jun 25 '13 at 17:29
    
@Flup: Just to be on the safe side why not image your Linux partition, perform the recovery process, then restore Linux if required? –  Karan Jun 27 '13 at 22:59

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After much experimentation, tha answer is that a Dell DataSafe backup will not overwrite a non-Windows partition when it's restored from scratch. As long as there is enough non-partitioned space on the disk, the restore process will use it to create a new Windows partition.

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