Hidden MESH FAT32 partition (XP-SP2 O/S, AMD64)

  Danoh 19:21 16 Nov 2004

Recently I had to fix a MESH AMD64 3000+ PC with a 160 Gb SATA hard disk drive.

I noticed that there was 3.42Gb of FAT32 space in front of the NTFS C: partition which took up the remainder of the HDD.

This volume was named "Recovery", file system FAT32 as mentioned, with only 18% free space left (6.32Mb). It had not been allocated a drive letter.

Has anyone come across this before and if so what are the contents and purpose of that FAT32 partition?

  Sans le Sou 19:32 16 Nov 2004

Yes I have one on my Mesh. When I get tired of life I press F10 during bootup and access the hidden symbol on the recovery menu. The computer is then reset to factory settings similar to when you first booted up after purchase. All you have to do then is find all of your updates and all the other stuff and reload your machine. Hours of fun!

  rawprawn 19:36 16 Nov 2004

To the best of my knowledge that is the secure zone that Mesh incorporates into it's computers. If you hit F11?? on Mesh at boot up that is where it will take you, so that you can restore or even it can take you back to factory settings. As for it being a FAT file I don't know the technical reasons, but I run Acronis True Image as a backup which produces a "secure zone" this is also changed from NFTS to FAT even though the rest of the HD is NFTS. I'm sure that there must be a sound reason. Sorry I cannot give you a full answer, but unless someone with more knowledge of Mesh can explain, I think that is what happens.( I don't have a Mesh so I can't be more specific )

  Sans le Sou 19:38 16 Nov 2004

There are other repair options as well - you can check your Windows files without disturbing your installation or do a system restore. Quite handy really saves using the recovery disc, be nice if you could update it a bit to save a complete manual reload.

  Danoh 20:01 16 Nov 2004

Sorry guys, off checking to see which unresolved threads I could help out with seeing as I'd signed on.

Sans le Sou, what you say sounds spot on. I'm not with the PC now but I do remember an "F10 Recovery" on boot up screens.

And there I was using the recovery disk!! Mind you, was after repairing with sfc rather than a reload of the original image. Good to know as the PC is the one I got for my elder son at Uni and its already gone a bit "feral" in just a couple of months.

rawprawn; many thanks for the insight into Acronis T.I. (which I'm beginning to think I ought to have bought in preference to Drive Image7 for its incremental data backup capability ~ does it also have differential backup capability?). I'm only guessing as well but I suppose FAT32 can be accessed by all utilities whether they are 9x vintage or NT-XP vintage.

I'll tick this as resolved, with many thanks to both of you and especially Sans Le Sou {BTW, whats the inspiration for that Nom de plume? A race horse?}

  Sans le Sou 20:35 16 Nov 2004

No means "without any money" without a sou, old French money. Am after the sympathy vote!

  TomJerry 21:20 16 Nov 2004

good stuff on that recovery area

You can build a WinXP installation CD from stuff you got in that hidden area if you do not have a XPCD handy.

  Danoh 23:03 16 Nov 2004

Sans le Sou; yeah I got that ol' penny :)

TomJerry; Hi again! So how would that be done? I presume it also enables that C: partition to be reformatted leaving the FAT32 area intact, if there was viral contagion in C:?

  TomJerry 09:57 17 Nov 2004

(1) make hidden partition visible

(2) copy \i386 directory over for future use

(3) follow instruction here: click here

  Danoh 10:25 17 Nov 2004

That looks really neat, TomJerry! Thanks! Will read it properly later when I have more time.

  TomJerry 13:12 17 Nov 2004

you need to copy file on root directory as well apart from \i386 directory

more info for making bootable CD

click here

click here

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