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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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  • 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..."

    enter image description here

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

    enter image description here


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.

  • "Only 3 primary partitions" is just a limitation built into the GUI tools. You can use the diskpart command line tool to create a 4th primary partition on an MBR disk - works just fine. – Paul Groke Aug 20 '15 at 18:07
  • Just notice that if your system has UEFI, you should be using GPT instead of MBR, then you can have as many partition as you want without the extended partition hack. See here for more info. – mTorres Oct 4 '15 at 8:20
  • If the "management" option isn't available by right-click (per Step 1), you can go to Start > Run and type diskmgmt.msc – roblogic Jan 22 '16 at 2:06
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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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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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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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or diskpart

Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: HOSTNAME

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          465 GB      0 B

DISKPART> sel disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list part

  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary             39 MB    31 KB
  Partition 2    Primary             10 GB    40 MB
  Partition 3    Primary            455 GB    10 GB

DISKPART> sel part 1

Partition 1 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> det part

Partition 1
Type  : 17
Hidden: Yes
Active: No
Offset in Bytes: 32256

There is no volume associated with this partition.

DISKPART> sel part 2

Partition 2 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> det part

Partition 2
Type  : 17
Hidden: Yes
Active: Yes
Offset in Bytes: 41943040

There is no volume associated with this partition.

DISKPART> sel part 3

Partition 3 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> det part

Partition 3
Type  : 07
Hidden: No
Active: No
Offset in Bytes: 11096031232

  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
* Volume 1     C   OS           NTFS   Partition    455 GB  Healthy    Boot

DISKPART> sel part 2

Partition 2 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> set id=07

DiskPart successfully set the partition ID.

DISKPART> assign letter=z:

DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.

and to undo it

DISKPART> set id=17 OVERRIDE

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