Windows 10: EFI and Recovery partitions. Solved

  1.    04 Oct 2016 #1

    EFI and Recovery partitions.


    new hp pavilion laptop, the 2 default partitions besides C:
    notice they are 100% free space,
    they both are before C: , however posts I have been reading call for them to be after C: for rebuilding them?

    -EFI system partition, according to wikipedia this is:
    "When a computer is powered up and booted, UEFI firmware loads files stored on the ESP to start installed operating systems and various utilities"
    so if its 100% free space, how is it being used to load the o/s? is this a new version of the previous boot sector in previous versions of windows?
    if it is actually being used as the boot startup location, how can I back up? and restore it?

    -Recovery partition
    this is where to install the recovery console? why would it be so large, various posts indicate a recovery console is more like 100-300mb?
    I have been investigating how to create image backups for everything, o/s and files but not apps, etc, but of course they go to an external hd or the cloud. so not sure at this point just what the recovery partition is used for?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails diskManager.png  
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    04 Oct 2016 #2

    bbxrider said: View Post
    new hp pavilion laptop, the 2 default partitions besides C:
    notice they are 100% free space,
    Almost certainly they aren't. That is just what disk management shows.
    bbxrider said: View Post
    they both are before C: , however posts I have been reading call for them to be after C: for rebuilding them?
    Actually you have EFI before and Recovery after which is what MS recommends to OEMs but not what they do themselves on a clean install.

    The order doesn't matter but yours matches MS recommendations and is the best I think.

    bbxrider said: View Post
    -EFI system partition, according to wikipedia this is:
    "When a computer is powered up and booted, UEFI firmware loads files stored on the ESP to start installed operating systems and various utilities"
    so if its 100% free space, how is it being used to load the o/s? is this a new version of the previous boot sector in previous versions of windows?
    if it is actually being used as the boot startup location, how can I back up? and restore it?
    It isn't empty, it is used and you can back it up with Macrium or any other backup software.. Or you can mount the ESP as described below and just copy the contents somewhere.

    bbxrider said: View Post
    --Recovery partition
    this is where to install the recovery console? why would it be so large, various posts indicate a recovery console is more like 100-300mb?
    I have been investigating how to create image backups for everything, o/s and files but not apps, etc, but of course they go to an external hd or the cloud. so not sure at this point just what the recovery partition is used for?
    You can boot into your recovery partition if your C:\ partition will not boot. On a clean install (with no partitions created) MS will make it 450MB. HP can make it whatever size they want and they could have added extra options to the WinRE.wim or left some space for it to grow in future. Depending how much space is used you could shrink it, move it further to the right and extend C but I really would not bother as it would be a lot of work for very little benefit and you may have to undo it later.

    To get a better understanding of what is going on could use diskpart to have a look at what you have in these partitions. This will let you see what partitions you really have and what is in them. First look at your partitions..

    Try this from an elevated command prompt
    Code:
    Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]
    (c) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
    
    C:\Windows\system32>diskpart
    
    Microsoft DiskPart version 10.0.14393.0
    
    Copyright (C) 1999-2013 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: MACBOOK
    
    DISKPART> select disk 0
    
    Disk 0 is now the selected disk.
    
    DISKPART> list partition
    
      Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
      -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
      Partition 1    Recovery           500 MB    20 KB
      Partition 2    System             200 MB   500 MB
      Partition 3    Reserved            16 MB   701 MB
      Partition 4    Primary             32 GB   717 MB
      Partition 5    Primary             55 GB    33 GB
      Partition 6    Unknown             23 GB    88 GB
      Partition 7    Unknown            619 MB   112 GB
    Yours will be in a different order but most likely you will have:

    • partition 1 = System - this is your ESP, (mine is partition 2)
    • partition 2 = Reserved - this is your MSR (Microsoft reserved partition) which doesn't show in disk management, (mine is partition 3)
    • partition 3 = Primary - this is your C partition - you may have more than one - I have a C and D drive so mine are partition 4 and 5
    • partition 4 = Recovery (mine is partition 1)


    Now assign some letters so you can see what is in ESP and recovery - you'll need to change the partition numbers most likely:
    Code:
    DISKPART> select partition 1
    
    Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
    
    DISKPART> assign letter = s
    
    DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.
    
    DISKPART> select partition 2
    
    Partition 2 is now the selected partition.
    
    DISKPART> assign letter = t
    
    DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.
    
    DISKPART> exit
    
    Leaving DiskPart...
    
    C:\Windows\system32>
    Then you'll see them in explorer but you probably shouldn't use explorer to look at the contents as you'd have to take authority.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can see what is in them from elevated command prompt without changing authorities. First ESP - you may have different directories and less junk here but the MS EFI loader is in the EFI directory
    Code:
    C:\Windows\system32>dir s: /a
     Volume in drive S is EFI
     Volume Serial Number is C866-15EC
    
     Directory of S:\
    
    21/09/2015  14:13             4,096 ._.Trashes
    21/09/2015  14:14    <DIR>          EFI
    21/09/2015  14:13    <DIR>          .Trashes
    21/09/2015  14:13    <DIR>          .Spotlight-V100
    02/10/2016  00:00    <DIR>          .fseventsd
    23/09/2015  16:20               512 BOOTSECT.BAK
    06/11/2015  21:36    <DIR>          Temp
    26/06/2016  12:28    <DIR>          System Volume Information
    19/11/2015  12:45    <DIR>          BOOT
                   2 File(s)          4,608 bytes
                   7 Dir(s)     150,160,896 bytes free
    The recovery partition you can see has a directory called "Recovery" and reagenc shows if it is used to hold the WinRE.wim recovery image.
    Code:
    C:\Windows\system32>dir t: /a
     Volume in drive T is Windows RE tools
     Volume Serial Number is 5446-B5A3
    
     Directory of T:\
    
    06/08/2016  17:20    <DIR>          Recovery
    16/12/2015  12:48    <DIR>          System Volume Information
                   0 File(s)              0 bytes
                   2 Dir(s)     190,341,120 bytes free
    
    C:\Windows\system32>reagentc /info
    Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) and system reset configuration
    Information:
    
        Windows RE status:         Enabled
        Windows RE location:       \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition1\Recovery\WindowsRE
        Boot Configuration Data (BCD) identifier: 3d8f8344-bc56-11e5-a7c5-85493d747884
        Recovery image location:
        Recovery image index:      0
        Custom image location:
        Custom image index:        0
    
    REAGENTC.EXE: Operation Successful.
    
    
    C:\Windows\system32>
    hth
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    04 Oct 2016 #3

    wow!, many thanks for this super thoughtful reply with tons of good info, now its starting to make some more sense
    one more question, if I may, I'm about to encrypt drive with bitLocker, I'm assuming it knows what to do with the EFI and recovery partitions?
    I'm going to create at least one logical drive should I create those drives before encrypting?
    thanks again!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    05 Oct 2016 #4

    The GPT partitioning scheme doesn't use logical partitions. They were used in MBR partitioning where there was a limit of 4 primary partitions and so you had to make the last one split into numerous logical partitions. GPT (used by UEFI) has no such limitation (or if it does it is large).

    If you are saying should you make a D: partition for data before encrypting C then it doesn't really matter but if you know you want to do it you should probably do it first. If you don't and encrypt C with bitlocker you would need to decrypt it before shrinking it to make your D partition. And then encrypt it again. This isn't a problem but takes a long time especially if you encrypt the whole volume and not just the used space.

    When you use bitlocker the drivers to unlock the encrypted volumes are placed in the recovery partition. The Recovery partition isn't encrypted and it is also this recovery environment that is booted into if you need to enter your bitlocker key. You don't need to worry about ESP and recovery partitions when turning on bitlocker (at least I never have).

    Configure UEFI/GPT-Based Hard Drive Partitions
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    05 Oct 2016 #5

    ok, thanks again, very good point about having to decrypt and encrypt, if I had a say a d: partition created and encrypted, and want to carve another partition out of it, would I only need to decrypt the d: or do need to decrypt the entire drive again?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    05 Oct 2016 #6

    Just D - you only need to decrypt the volume you want to change.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    05 Oct 2016 #7

    t hats good news, once again many thanks
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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