FYI Win7 & Mini-Tool Partition Wizard

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by sorgum, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. sorgum

    sorgum Well-Known Member

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    I think this experience may be useful to Win7/8 users who build and maintain home and small business systems. I regularly clone and swap drives keeping at least one spare at the ready per system at all times. I was shocked to discover that under certain conditions Win7 installation creates a 100MB "boot partition". This is annoying and unfortunate to say the least. The boot partition is a discrete unallocated partition that contains the MBR or GPT loading files (perhaps authentication files as well). I needed a bootable Linux based low level disk utility that would clone a Win7 multiple partition image to either a slightly larger or slightly smaller HDD. I wanted to avoid a complicated repair procedure or total re-installation necessary to rid myself of this 100MB anomaly. I found a way to work around it and ignore it and be better prepared for my possible next WinOS - Number 10.


    Most imaging utilities will not clone from larger to a smaller drive or automatically re-size the primary partition to fit available sectors. Some will not clone multiple partitions, which means some partitions must be copied individually or reconstructed manually. Few imaging utilities run as bootable media which gives total control of the drive without WinOS getting in the way. Mini-Tool is freeware, is a Linux based boot media, has an intelligently designed GUI, and works miracles where other utilities simply fail. Most importantly for future SSD users, it aligns sectors and can be manipulated to clone to a smaller drive by downsizing the primary partition from which the image is being copied. MTPW is GPT and UEFI compatible. If you plan to install an SSD system drive, start moving data storage to a separate partition so you can keep the system and programs primary partition at minimal size. This is where cloning individual partitions will come in handy. MTPW does all the above with surprising ease and facility.


    I believe the remedy for avoiding this 100MB unwanted nuisance is to do a deep pre-format on the installation drive. Do some research if you want to avoid what I consider to be a design fault. In any case, there was no warning during Win7 installation and the damage has been done since Win7 is no longer being officially retailed. It might be interesting to note if the 100MB boot partition afflicts Win8.x owners as well. Judging from my personal experience working at DellHell in TN, I rather doubt that mass production or even local custom systems builders are bothering to do a six to twelve hour deep format on HDDs during the mfg process.


    Mr. Moderator, this is not a sales pitch. I have no connection with the above company Mini-Tool. The free download bootable utility mentioned above is freeware, although the site link advertises retail WinOS applications s as well. But MTPW is of such quality that I would nonetheless recommend a donation to the authors. I heard about this tool by word of mouth and it is in many ways superior to even the Acronis products which are insanely "licensed" to specific PC-OS system installation keys AND vastly more expensive beyond all reason. To be fair Acronis offers back-up functions and other unrelated advantages but the basic disk tools are comparable in every way except cost.
    http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html
     
  2. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    For the most part this does not apply the vast Windows users and really only applies to the die hard enthusiast's such as your self. As the everyday user has no idea that there is a 100 MB partition or what it's purpose is. They just go about there business on their computers.

    The 100 MB and 350 MB MBR partitions are not unallocated, they are in fact allocated and tied to the C drive. With out them windows will not boot.

    Note: with windows 8/8.1 the MBR partition has increased to 350 MB
     
  3. sorgum

    sorgum Well-Known Member

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    An addendum to the above - The Linux bot media ISO that contains the Mini-tool application does not have AMD APU compatible video drivers. Any intel and any non-APU integration AMD chipset will work as expected and display at approx 720P.


    I used the term "unallocated" only because that is how winOS defines it in ctrl pnl>admin tools>disk mgmt. After the boot partition is cloned to another drive, Mini-tool assigns the next available drive letter which is not the native WinOS practice. I experimented with this and the system will boot with or without a drive letter assignment. You should remove the drive letter from the 100MB/350MB boot partition using the partitioning tools in Win7/8 disk mgmt, especially if the system is on a LAN. ONLY REMOVE THE DRIVE LETTER NOT THE PARTITION. Most small business and many home LANs will have specific privileges, permissions, back-ups or data locations assigned to a specific drive letter so you don't want an extra letter designation thrown in that might shift the sequence or confuse the "Libraries" dispositions.


    Rotating drives as well as SSDs are geting so inexpensive, it is wise to keep a few spares and make at least one "fresh install" (with apps) clone and keep it for emergency use. And/Or make frequent "as we go" clones, AND data backups in triplicate with perhaps some cloud storage or at least one copy in off-site secure storage. Back-up back-up Back-up
     
  4. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Yep....can't argue with any of that....good advice there. I use my case built in docking station to stick in a HDD and create my backups. I also have HDD's for all my personal data as well.
     
  5. whs

    whs Extraordinary Member

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