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I recall reading somewhere that some version of a Dell laptop (I think it was an XPS) can't actually use the factory restoration partition if any of the partitions are modified. For some reason, it only works in the original layout, because it checks the lengths of the partitions but won't actually recreate them.

I plan on shrinking the Windows partition to install Linux on my computer, naturally. I'm wondering if the restore partition (or any media created based on the restore partition) will reformat the harddrive correctly after the partition layout is modified.

I'm also creating the Windows restore image cds but from what I can tell, those simply rewrite the partitions so I'm not sure if the images themselves contain the partition layout (hence, I'm assuming they probably won't work if I change the layout? Not completely sure)

If anyone knows if either method works correctly after a partition change (or, in the worst case scenario, getting a completely new harddrive), that would be nice.

The exact model is E6530, but that shouldn't really matter.

I don't mind if the restoration features completely overwrite the rest of the partitions or restore the original layout - I can reinstall linux after, anyway. Its fine also if it can reinstall into different partitions as long as they are large enough.

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If you're worried that you won't be able to use the recovery partition either let Dell send you a recovery CD/DVD or clone the entire hard drive. – user555 Jul 8 '13 at 22:15

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