Windows 7 hidden boot partition confuses Hiren's boot disk
by justric - 2/23/10 12:28 PM
My Windows 7 configuration has a hidden (no name or drive letter associated with it) 300MB partition that apparently is the boot partition as it is the active, primary partition. Also, it is noted as a system partition.
The partition with all the system files, however, is noted as the C: drive and is also a primary partition and a boot partition, but not noted as active (in the Disk Management utility). It's allocated size is the rest of the disk space available, less the 300MB of the hidden partition.
My problem is that this configuration apparently prevents utilities such as Hiren's boot cd, and ERD, from seeing the real windows partition with all the files. I believe those utilities see only the 300MB active partition and therefore cannot access files or perform any tasks on the partition that has the files and information I need to access.
I discovered this while trying to reset the administrator password. I tried Hiren's first, because it has never failed me yet. It sees one Windows partition that has zero files, and has no way, that I can find, to point to a different partition where the files are.
Since the Hiren's utility did not work, I tried several others and all experienced the same issue. None of them could see the real partition, only, apparently, the small one that does not contain any system files, other than boot files I guess.
So I am stumped and cannot figure out how to get past this without re-installing Windows 7 and attempt to prevent the creation of the hidden partition. That is not an option for me in this particular case.
For reference, this is specifically a Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit install on a virtual machine (VMWare). I don't believe the fact it is on a virtual machine to be a factor in this issue. I have used these utilities many times on Windows XP virtual machines and have never had a problem.
Does anyone have an idea on how I can get past this issue and get these utilities to see the real Windows partition instead of the small, hidden one? Any ideas will be welcomed.