I have a Dell laptop that stopped booting. I downloaded the recovery image on a usb and when I run it, it says that it will remove all my personal files. My laptop has two drives, a 128 GB drive for the OS and a 1 TB drive for everything else. I think the 1 TB drive was partitioned into smaller drives by Dell whereas it is now just one big drive.

If I go through with the recovery option, will it wipe my data on my 1 TB drive or just reset my 128 GB drive?

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    You run the recovery image to a USB stick, not a regular drive. Yes, it will overwrite everything. – Tetsujin May 30 '17 at 16:52
  • @Tetsujin - OEM devices can have a recovery partition. The environment contained on this partition does not differ from the recovery environment contained on an installation ISO though. – Ramhound May 30 '17 at 17:00
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    If you Windows is not booting, and your at the point you want to use the recovery image, you should instead use the current Windows 10 ISO and install Windows on the SSD. This will prevent any chance of you losing your data on your 1TB drive. You should of course, before you do anything, is backup your data. – Ramhound May 30 '17 at 17:04

Best to play it safe, and just disconnect the 1TB drive while doing the recovery. Regardless of what should happen, I would assume it should only adjust the 1st drive, why chance it.

This is under the assumption that the recovery only covered the core OS. If your recovery also included the spare, which isn't always the case, this might cause issues with the recovery. That's going to be on you, to know if it does or doesn't. Worst case you try with it disconnected and it fails. Reconnect and try again.

Most likely this is an older recovery and the 1TB has newer files? Then export those files with a live cd if needed.

  • Or back up the drive to external media. You can safely boot from a USb containing Windows PE (which can be created by Macrium Reflect) or a Linux distro, such as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, to perform the backup from the laptop. – DrMoishe Pippik May 30 '17 at 21:30

Similarly to JustAGrump, I suggest shutting down, then unplugging the data drive before performing the restore. One more suggestion : Have an external backup of your data drive, before doing any OS or imaging work. It's a good idea to make a monthly (or weekly, etc) backup of your data so you don't lose it.

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