Recovering a disk with a hidden partition

A hidden partition may be created by the PC manufacturer for diagnostics or system recovery. Recovering a backup of a system disk with a hidden partition requires that you to take into account some additional factors. First of all, it is necessary for the new drive to keep the physical order of the partitions that existed on the old drive. In addition, you should place the hidden partition in the same location – usually at the start or the end of the disk space. To minimize the risk of possible problems, it is better to recover the hidden partition without resizing.

Attach the external drive if it contains the backup to be used for recovery and make sure that the drive is powered on. This must be done before booting from Acronis rescue media.

  1. Arrange the boot order in BIOS so as to make your rescue media device (CD, DVD or USB stick) the first boot device. See Arranging boot order in BIOS.
  2. Boot from the rescue media and select Acronis True Image Home 2011 (Full version).
  3. Select Recovery ® Disk and Partition Recovery in the main menu. Choose the image backup of your system disk that you want to use for recovery.

    If the disks have different disk letters in Windows and the recovery environment, the program will display the following error message: “Acronis True Image Home 2011 cannot detect volume N of “Name” archive”. Here “Name” is the name of the required image backup. The volume number (N) may be different depending on the number of backup versions in the backup.

    Before continuing with the recovery, you need to know the sizes and physical order of all existing partitions. To see this information, click Details on the wizard’s toolbar. Acronis True Image Home 2011 will display information about the backed up disk. This includes a graphical view of all partitions the disk contains and their physical order on the disk. If a partition display is too small to accommodate the relevant information, hover the mouse pointer over the partition to see the information.

  4. Select Recover whole disks and partitions at the Recovery method step.
  5. At the What to recover step, select the boxes of the partitions to be recovered. Do not select the MBR and Track 0 box, as this will result in selecting the entire disk for recovery. Recovering the entire disk does not allow you to resize partitions manually. You will be able to recover the MBR later. Select the partitions and click Next.

    Selecting partitions leads to appearance of the relevant steps “Settings of partition …”. Note that these steps start with partitions which do not have an assigned disk letter (as usually is the case with hidden partitions). The partitions will then take an ascending order of partition disk letters. This order cannot be changed. The order may differ from the physical order of the partitions on the hard disk.

  6. You can specify the following partition settings: location, type, and size. You will first need to specify the settings of the hidden partition as it usually does not have a disk letter. Because you are recovering to the new disk, click New location. Select the destination disk by either its assigned name or capacity.
  7. Clicking Accept will return you to the “Settings of partition …” screen. Check the partition type and change it, if necessary.
  8. Proceed to specifying the partition size by clicking Change default in the Partition size area. By default the partition will occupy the entire new disk. You need to keep the hidden partition size unchanged and place it in the same location on the disk (at the start or the end of disk space). To do this, resize and relocate the partition by dragging it or its borders with a mouse on the horizontal bar on the screen. Or you can enter corresponding values into the appropriate fields (Partition size, Free space before, Free space after). Click Accept when the partition has the required size and location and then click Next.

    Specify the settings for the second partition which in this case is your system partition. Click New location, and then select unallocated space on the destination disk that will receive the partition. Click Accept, check the partition type (change, if necessary). You should remember that the system partition must be primary and marked as active. Specify the partition size which by default equals the original size. Usually there is no free space after the partition, so allocate all the unallocated space on the new disk to the second partition. Click Accept and then click Next.

  9. Carefully read the summary of operations to be performed. If you do not want to validate the backup, click Proceed. Otherwise click Options and select the Validate backup archive before recovery box before clicking Proceed.
  10. When the operation finishes, proceed to MBR recovery. You need to recover the MBR because the PC manufacturer could change the generic Windows MBR or a sector on the track 0 to provide access to the hidden partition.
  11. Reselect the same backup. Then right-click and select Recover in the shortcut menu. Choose Recover whole disks and partitions at the Recovery method step and then select the MBR and Track 0 box.
  12. At the next step, select the destination disk as the target for MBR recovery, click Next and then Proceed. After MBR recovery is complete, exit the standalone version of Acronis True Image Home 2011.

Windows should not “see” both the new and old drive during the first boot after recovery because this could result in problems booting Windows. If you upgrade the old drive to a larger capacity new one, disconnect the old drive before the first boot.

Switch off the computer, if you need to disconnect the old drive. Otherwise, just reboot the computer after removing the rescue media.

Boot the computer to Windows. It may report that new hardware (hard drive) is found and Windows needs to reboot. After making sure that the system operates normally, restore the original boot order.

Recovering a disk with a hidden partition